At present, climate change has been siloed within Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee, with a brief foray by Economy Scrutiny. This does not reflect the reality – that climate change will affect our community cohesion, our finances, our health and our young people.
Vigorously encourage the six existing Scrutiny Committees to include climate and environment issues on their forward plans, with the expectation that each Committee will have made space for at least one climate-related item by the end of the year.
That lovely chairs-of-the-six-scrutiny-committees meets. And announces that it agrees.
Alternatively, it releases a statement that cogently explains why issues relating to health, community cohesion, young people and finance are all best dealt with by… Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee.
Commission reports (these do NOT have to be written by Council officers, surely) on, at the very least, the following –
- Community cohesion (what if there is war between two countries which have large diaspora populations in Manchester. What if the 2011 recur with flooding/heatwaves as the “spark”
- How do we finance adaptation?
- What impact is climate change going to have on our physical and mental health.
- What mitigation plans to the city’s hospitals have? What heat wave and cold-snap plans do they have. Are they fit for purpose?
- What will the implications of extreme weather be on the vulnerable (elderly, young, single, disabled)
- What do young people know and think and want to do about climate change?
- Whatever happened to the promised annual conferences for young people (see MACF, 2009). Can they be instituted via the Manchester Youth Council?
When these reports are due to come to committee, make sure that they are widely publicised among relevant civil society groups.
Command & Control/unanswered questions
Is any really needed? This is a quick win.
Only if you insist that all reports to the Committee are written by Council officers. Let go of that, and everything gets much cheaper. Clearly reports about the Council’s own internal actions have to, but that’s not what these reports would be about…
Potential multiplier effects
Huge! You might start getting all sorts of people thinking that it was normal behaviour to engage constructively with the Council’s scrutiny committee. This would surely be pleasing to everyone.
Consequences of non-delivery of this action
Important issues continue to be ignored and whatever contingency plans do exist are un(der)examined. Nasty surprises happen. Opportunities to act creatively and effectively are lost because everyone is in a blind-panic, not having had a chance to get their heads around the issue beforehand.
Next short-term action(s)
Hold that chairs meeting. Make that announcement, one way or the other.
Medium-to-long term actions
Get cracking with commissioning those reports.