Manchester “Climate Change Agency” – that legal advice in full

In honour of the AGM of the so-called Manchester Climate Change Agency that is happening this evening, this post may be of interest. Councillor Chappell was asked for a comment many weeks ago. T

What procedures might the Council want to follow as it dishes out tens of thousands of pounds to a “community interest company” that one of its Executive Members helped to found?   It’s a good question, isn’t it?  Immediately below you can see all the legal advice around any potential conflict of interest about the Council’s extensive support for the Manchester A Certain Future Community Interest Company, established in September 2015.

advice

In response to a Freedom of Information act request the City Council has written to say that it

“can confirm that there is no correspondence between Cllr Kate Chappell and the Council’s Legal personnel about Cllr Chappell’s role or potential conflicts of interest as a Director of the Manchester A Certain Futures [sic] Group and her role as an Executive Member.”

For the benefit of any lawyers reading this, let us all be clear – Councillor Chappell derives absolutely no financial gain from her directorship of the Community Interest Company that now rather grandly (and with zero justification) calls itself the “Manchester Climate Change Agency”.

However, as Executive Member for the Environment she presumably has responsibility for whether the group receives further funding and support (i.e. seconded staff) from the Council’s depleted coffers. Given that the Council has never asked for any independent assessment of how effectively the group spends the money and resources it has been given so far, it would surely be helpful to ask about potential conflicts of interest?

MCFly emailed the Executive Member for the Environment for comment on Monday evening [13th June]. At time of going to press, no reply had been received.

Perhaps she would like to blog about this?

 

 

Here’s the FoIA reply that MCFly got last week (3rd June)

I am writing to request the following information.

  1. a) If it exists, a copy of the written guidance given to councillors who are directors of companies (including Community Interest Companies) that receive funds from Manchester City Council around questions of propriety and (potential) conflicts of interest.
  1. b) All correspondence between Councillor Kate Chappell and relevant legal officers in Manchester City Council about her role as a Director of the Manchester A Certain Future Community Interest Company, established on 3rd September 2015, and giving its address as the Town Hall Extension and her simultaneous role as Executive Member for the Environment in connection with conflicts of interest.

In response to your request , I confirm that guidance in respect of Members interests including guidance on decision making where there may be a potential conflict of interest can be found in Section 6 Part A of the Council’s Constitution which can be accessed here:

http://www.manchester.gov.uk/downloads/download/4030/the_constitition

There is no specific written guidance concerning conflict of interest given to councillors who are directors of companies, including Community Interest Companies, that receive funds from Council.

The Council can confirm that there is no correspondence between Cllr Kate Chappell and the Council’s Legal personnel about Cllr Chappell’s role or potential conflicts of interest as a Director of the Manchester A Certain Futures Group and her role as an Executive Member.

Please note if you are not satisfied with this response you may ask for an internal review. If you wish an internal review to be undertaken you should contact the Democratic Services Legal Team, whose address is, PO Box 532, Town Hall, Manchester, M60 2LA, email:

informationcompliance@manchester.gov.uk in the first instance. A copy of the Council’s access to information complaints procedure can be downloaded from http://www.manchester.gov.uk/downloads/download/6095/access_to_information_complaints_and_appeal_procedure. If you do not have internet access and require a paper copy, please let me know.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review process, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.

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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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