About five years ago activists (okay, me and a couple of other people) got the Executive Member for the Environment of Manchester City Council to set a target that all 96 councillors would quickly do a day’s worth of “carbon literacy” training.
Of course, after making the promise, very very little happened – that’s just the way Manchester City Council works – a toxic brew of cynicism, indifference and staggering incompetence. Intermittently, we’ve kept tabs on the promises made. And the promises are always about training “about to happen”.
The last time I asked was August. So I asked again, using the Freedom of Information Act (this is time consuming for the Council, and costly. I wish I didn’t have to do it that way, but bitter experience has taught me that unless they are forced to, they tend not to release any information, especially if it embarrasses them. More about this in the new year…) So this FOIA has just come back:
Me to them: “You told me that 52 members of the 96 member council had completed their training. How many of the council’s 96 elected representatives have completed both aspects of their carbon literacy training as 3 December 2018. Please supply the names of any new “completed” councillors, and any who were on that list but are no longer councillors.”
Them to me: At present 52 elected members have completed their carbon literacy training. No training sessions have been run since August 2018.
Me to them: You told me that Sara Todd was the only member of Strategic Management Team to have completed their carbon literacy training. The other members you listed were Joanne Roney; Carol Culley; Carolyn Kus; Paul Marshall; Eddie Smith; Fiona Ledden.. Could you please provide, in a table the current make up of the SMT, and their current carbon literacy status including specific dates where they completed one (or both, if the stars are so aligned) elements of their carbon literacy training.
Me to them: What is the total number of staff presently employed by the council?
Them to me: As of November 2018 there were 7,252 members of staff (headcount) which equates to 6,200 full time equivalents.
Me to them: How many of them are carbon literate?
Them to me: The Council currently has 612 staff who are carbon literate.
This is how competent they are. This is how seriously they take the existential threat of climate change.
To all you hand-wringing activists, and “these things take time” councillors out there… Merry Christmas.