Manchester City Council has given 70k in cash, and sent two staff to work full-time to a group that promised to produce newsletters and has not done so. Council Leader Richard Leese and Executive Member for the Environment Kate Chappell both spoke at the 2015 Annual General Meeting of the “Manchester A Certain Future” group. In the annual report presented at the meeting one of the commitments that council-funded group made was that
“a new bi-monthly newsletter will start in summer 2015” (page 9)
And despite all that money (your money, if you pay council tax) and the presence of those two full-time council staff… you guessed it, no newsletter.
Why? MCFly asked the chair of the group, Mr, Gavin Elliott, who recently presided over a meeting where there were two attendees and eight apologies to confirm. He told us
You are indeed correct. We are not publishing a newsletter.
Post-Annual Report / and with the CIC up and running, we spent a bit of time looking at how we would distribute tasks between the SG & the CIC, and also whether anything we aspired to do was already being done by other agencies/groups of people within the City/GM with the same agenda (like the LCH for instance) so as to avoid duplication of effort/inefficiency.
To this end Platform already publish a calendar of events, news stories & have a newsletter which is mailed out to subscribers – so it seemed pointless to duplicate this. Particularly when the MACF website is already hosted on Platform ie. there is a close relationship between us/them in terms of provision of news/content/events etc.
So we took the view it would be better to focus our efforts elsewhere.
Trust this helps.
That sounds very reasonable, doesn’t it? Even responsible. There’s just one thing…
All those reasons were true BEFORE the promise was made.
So we have a situation where this group – that gets all this money, and has all this ‘talent’ – can’t even think through which promises to make. It just spits out shiny-sounding feel-good stuff and hopes that nobody notices when it doesn’t deliver. The firm commitments it gives, on paper, are worth nothing. A true son of the Council itself, then.
There are many questions to ask about this. The main one right now is why on earth is Manchester City Council, when cutting essential services to the bone and beyond, throwing good money after bad at this group? Why? Readers of MCFly might like to ponder this, and take it up with their local councillors, especially if any of these councillors are Executive Members, or sit on the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee, which is supposed to monitor the council’s spending on environmental matters.
Manchester City Council, what can you do with them?
Continue to tell the truth about them is about it. The Labor Party have an absolute lock on the election system. The Lib Dems may get one councillor back this May, the Greens have no chance, in my opinion. And the elections are a sideshow – what matters is week in, week out scrutiny. The Greens are both unwilling and unable to do that, and seem not to care about that sad fact (i.e. they’ve never in my 8 or so years of observing them closely in this city ever made any serious sustained effort to build the necessary infrastructure and culture for doing that. But still want people to vote for them?!!!