#Manchester City Council ignoring #climate risks. Will Audit Committee bother to ask?

Manchester City Council’s Audit Committee next meets on Tuesday 28th July at 10am. Its members have the power to ask searching questions about the giant risk the city (and the Council) faces from climate change, and about the totally inadequate “parallel universe” communications and thinking of the Council’s leaders and hangers-on.

What are we talking about? Well, in the last two years, Manchester as a city, has used up a quarter of its ENTIRE carbon budget for the 21st century. Where did we get that fact? Not from listening to the elected and appointed “leaders” of the city’s climate policy at last Wednesday’s 90 minute “conference”. No, we got it from reading through the detail of a glossy and otherwise gaslighting report by a body that grandly calls itself a climate change “Agency.”

So, the Audit Committee’s remit is this

“The Committee is responsible for approving the Council’s statement of accounts; considering the Audit Commission’s Annual Audit and Inspection Letter and monitoring the Council’s response to individual issues of concern identified in it. The Committee also considers the Council’s annual review of the effectiveness of its systems of internal control and assurance over the Council’s corporate governance and risk management arrangements, and engages with the external auditor and external inspection agencies to ensure that there are effective relationships between external and internal audit” (emphasis added see footnote 1).

On page 12 of the report to be discussed on Tuesday, there’s this

Perhaps we’re wrong. Perhaps a councillor or two will demand real scrutiny. We’ll be watching the webcast, but not holding our breath.

There is an urgent need for proper scrutiny, for backbench councillors and citizens to save us from our leaders, and save them from themselves and their delusions. We don’t live in a parallel universe, where using a quarter of a century’s budget in two year’s is beneath mention. We should live in a world where getting a 4% reduction instead of the target of 13% leads to a searching reassessment, and an appeal for better ideas.

We need to create that world.  One small way we can move towards it is by getting a seventh scrutiny committee, one which could scrutinise the Council, its so-called “Agency” and the “partnership” it clings to.  If you live, work or study within Manchester City Council’s boundaries, you can sign the petition here. Wherever you live, please share it with people who are eligible to sign it.
We urgently need more help in spreading the word about it. Whether you want to post on Twitter, Facebook, draws some cartoons, wangle us invites to speak at a Zoom call, whatever, we’re keen to hear from you.

Please help us to make Manchester’s climate policy fit for the real world, not some parallel universe. Our email is petition@climateemergencymanchester.net

Footnote

(1) Nobody is scrutinising the efficacy of the Manchester Climate Change “Agency” – a community interest company funded by the Council, with staff seconded from the Council. For years they have reheated promises, set low targets and often missed them(see for example this year’s report, where they admit that many things just, didn’t happen. No explanation is given.

And the scrutiny? Entirely absent. According to its remit, the Audit Committee might like to have a look, no?

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