Scrutiny Week – January 2016. #Manchester

Manchester City Council has 6 “scrutiny” committees that are supposed to keep tabs on what the 9 member Executive and the officers are up to. Supposed to. One of the problems is, there is not a single non-Labour councillor. So, while there are some councillors with axes to grind and bones to pick, there are very few who will get hold of an awkward issue on which the council has been faaaaaaiiiiiiling consistently (take, oh, I don’t know, climate change as a random example) and ask specific questions, and then refuse to be fobbed off by the officer or Exec member. Failure to back off and accept the nonsense they spout would be a career-limiting move, you see. The people at the top do not reward such awkward independence that lets cats out of bag, skeletons out of closet.

But asides from them all being from the same party, the problems go deeper.  Reports are opaque, delivered at short notice and there is simply too much for some committees to tackle.  And councillors are just normal human beings (well, most of them), with other commitments (jobs, family, volunteering, helping people who are getting screwed by the Tories).  So the amount of time and energy they can dedicate to piercing the propaganda is extremely limited.

Meanwhile, both the media and civil society are largely asleep at the wheel. [For more on all this, see here] .

So, scrutiny is an empty soothing ritual, where naïve activists go to get their belief in the representatives of representative democracy crushed.

If you DO want to go to a scrutiny committee meeting then please, for the love of gaia

a) do not go alone

b) do not go unprepared.

Some of the most miserable, horrible, soul-destroying hours of my life have been spent watching the farce that calls itself ‘scrutiny’.

It IS worth going (once or twice maybe), but not alone, and not unprepared. Srsly. Here’s a five minute video about what happens and some further advice.

Please feel free to contact MCFly – mcmonthly@gmail.com if you want more info.

Here below I have click click clicked through to all the specific pages of the website where the six scrutiny committee agendas are.  The Council COULD, if it wanted, easily have one page where all the agendas were available. The fact that it doesn’t tells you exactly how much they care about keeping citizens informed.

Tuesday 26th January

Young People and Children’s

10am The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Reports

Neighbourhoods

2pm The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Reports

Wednesday 27th January

Economy

10am The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Reports

Communities

2pm The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Reports

Thursday 28th January

Finance

10am The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Reports

Health

2pm The Scrutiny Committee Room, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Reports

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About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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