Manchester City Council has spent well over one hundred thousand pounds propping up the “Manchester A Certain Future Steering Group”, but has not undertaken any cost-benefit analysis. In response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Council has stated that “no reports have been produced”
The Steering Group was set up to galvanise climate activity in Manchester. It was supposed to be an elected body (elections never took place), and for a while held a (dreadful) annual conference. This annual conference has been replaced by an abysmal ‘General Meeting’ where the group releases an annual report full of promises that it… doesn’t keep. For example, it promises newsletters that don’t appear, promises an engagement process for its next strategic plan and then doesn’t deliver, it says it will update its rubbish website and doesn’t. This also a group holds meetings with only 1 of the 9 board members present, meets in private – even councillors cannot attend, and has been unable to get anyone to be the chair of its energy subgroup. You can see why the Council, which has thrown no-strings-money at the group might be reluctant to undertake an analysis of what the Group achieves – the answers would be embarrassing for everyone, egg on face all-round. Best to let sleeping dogs lie, eh?
MCFly asked for “Copies of all reports and assessments conducted by Manchester City Council about the value it has received for its spending.” The reply, which clearly went through a couple of drafts (it is called “GAN_A82JS8 v0.2.doc”), answers thus;
No reports have been produced by Manchester City Council. The CIC and seconded staff report to the CIC directors and undertake work consistent with the CIC articles of association. Details of the CIC’s work are available in the CIC Board of Directors’ meeting minutes available from http://www.manchesterclimate.com.
Yes, those would be the minutes where the November 2015 ones were not even put up until MCFly asked where they were (this group got 20,000 pounds purely for secretariat work, but can’t even do the basics!) Those would be the minutes where you can learn that the Council’s Executive Member for the Environment, who is also a Director of the Steering Group Community Interest Company, has missed the last 8 meetings, and that the group seems not bothered enough to even formally discuss changing the time it meets to resolve this. And those articles of association? I managed to get a copy by other means, but the Steering Group itself did not make them available, despite repeated requests.
You would not make this up, you really would not.
If you give a damn, why not track down your three ward councillors by punching your postcode into this and ask them what they intend to do about the large sums of money being spent in the absence of any assessment of effectiveness?