Exclusive: #Manchester City Council renames Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee

There’s a headline to lead the 6pm news, eh?

Manchester City Council has decided to change the name of its “Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee” to “Neighbourhoods and Environment,” with the change taking effect in May.

Neighbourhoods is one of six scrutiny committees that the council has.  These are supposed to hold the 9 member executive and the senior officers to account.  That’s a bit tricky given that there all 96 of the Council’s members are Labour. It’s especially tricky on climate change since so few of the councillors have even bothered to undertake the ‘Carbon Literacy’ training that everyone who lives, studies or works in Manchester was supposed to have had by 2013.  The man who launched that program, aka the Leader of the Council, has not done the training himself and recently refused to commit to doing so anytime soon.

There was a proposal to actually have a seventh scrutiny committee, dedicated to our (growing) environmental problems.  That proposal suffered three fatal flaws

  • it didn’t come from inside the Town Hall
  • it was entirely sensible
  • it could end up resulting in genuine scrutiny of the Council’s appalling record and staggering incompetence and incapacity on environmental matters.

It sank without trace.

Instead, we have a re-badging of an existing unwieldy and consistently under-performing behemoth.   The good news is it may force the next chair of the committee to pay more than zero attention (there are councillors who think Neighbourhoods should be about dogshit and street-lighting).

BUT, in the real world, this renaming means nothing without a sea-change in attitudes and knowledge by councillors, and a similar sea-change in behaviour of officers and Executive.

And those will not happen spontaneously.  What would be needed is for ‘civil society’ to get its gameface on.

It won’t.  We’re toast.



About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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2 Responses to Exclusive: #Manchester City Council renames Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee

  1. As usual Richard Leese and Howard Bernstein are spending money, on needless thins. At a time when they say they do not have any money for front-line services! Even changing a committee’s name, comes at a cost. Changing letterheads, signage, directory entries, etc. But Leese, the failed mathematics teacher, will tell you it all adds-up! If Bernstein and Leese can only find time to tinker with trivia, they will never see the bigger picture.
    By the way, how many Labour MPs voted against the bill to cut benefits to the most needy?

    • Hi Patrick,

      I strongly suspect the cost of the change will be about £3.25. They will need to update the website, and there is a little more printer ink to be spent, but other than that… They (infamously) don’t do signs telling the public that a scrutiny meeting is on. They did for a bit,but then stopped again. Funny that.

      I don’t know how many Labour MPs voted against the cuts. I don’t think either of us expect anything from Labour MPs, for the most part, do we?

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