Manchester City Council and its #climate silence – “Scrutiny” Week June 2016

Why doesn’t Manchester City Council put all its scrutiny committee meeting agendas on one web-page?

Is it just their usual incompetence and indolence, or are they trying to make it that leeeetle bit harder for citizens to know what is going on, how and when to engage?

(to be fair – there is now a page from which you can see the upcoming meetings. But all the agendas on one page is still not happening)

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 – out of 96 councillors – only a single non-Labour councillor (John Leech, Lib Dem, in Didsbury West Ward). 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 – 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 21st June

Young People and Children’s

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



Neighbourhoods and “Environment”

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




Weds 22nd June

Economy Scrutiny Committee

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




Communities and Equalities

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



The Health and “Resources and Governance” meetings are happening on 30th of June.


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
This entry was posted in Democratic deficit, Manchester City Council, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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