Manchester’s elected representatives will NOT get the chance to scrutinise the city council’s climate ‘achievements’ and future plans this week. An annual report on the council’s climate plan had been promised to the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee since last February. Despite having twelve months to prepare it, it is now not going to happen until March, at the last meeting before the scrutiny committees break up before the May elections.
Last year the Council simply did not produce a report on its 2013-4 ‘actions’, and activists had to stitch one together using the Freedom of Information Act. The shocking report revealed that many promises (e.g. “hold 5 events during Climate Week”) were broken, and many actions were not even measured against stated targets.
There a couple of possibilities to this latest delay.
- One is that the Environmental Strategy Team, which is being disbanded, simply didn’t have the capacity to do the job in a timely fashion. [A request for a statement about the disbanding and its implications has been received by the Council weeks ago, but not replied to].
- Another is that a report was completed, but then someone somewhere has decided it wasn’t up to scratch, and has asked for more time.
Neither option speaks well to this Council’s ability to perform what should be utterly standard actions.
Meanwhile, still no word on who the 23 councillors who HAVE completed their carbon literacy training by the end of 2014 are (the Council’s target was 60). This despite a Freedom of Information Act requesting names as well as numbers having been submitted in early December.
The switch to a three year cycle was supposed to streamline the annual reports. This clearly hasn’t happened. It will be interesting to see if any scrutiny committee members point this out.
Quarterly “progress” reports were promised by the Executive Member for the Environment. With the exception of one extremely brief document outlining only the emissions (which had gone UP), this hasn’t happened. It will be interesting to see if any scrutiny committee members point this out.
And it’s not like the Council doesn’t have form. The 2012 report was delayed because, in the words of a previous Exec for the Environment. “The item was deferred from July until the next available meeting in September as we wanted to guarantee that the figures being put before the committee were accurate.”
Through all of this debacle, the people elected to secure the long-term future of Manchester have just sat there and taken it, with a couple of them asking for quarterly reports, but then being willing to be fobbed off. It will be interesting to see if there is any change this year.
Next post: the monthly “what’s being scrutinised” list, since the Council is unwilling/unable to produce such a list itself.