Pass it Up! Why councillors must pass the climate petition to full Council!

Today Climate Emergency Manchester is releasing a two-page briefing note that explains why the petition for a seventh scrutiny committee dedicated to climate change must be debated by full Council.

Briefing Paper page 1

1760 people signed the official petition (thank you, everyone!), according to Council documents. This is the highest number of officially recognised signatures collected by any citizen-led campaign to Manchester Council.  The initial result of the petition is a hearing on Tuesday 9th February at 10am at the Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee/ There are twelve councillors on the committee who will decide the fate of the petition.

Yesterday, Climate Emergency Manchester sent all 12 councillors a two-page guide to the issues. Today, we release the briefing note to the public. The briefing explains:

  •         why a 7th scrutiny committee dedicated to climate change is a vital step towards effective city-level climate action
  •         why existing scrutiny arrangements are inadequate compared to the scale of the challenge
  •         why rejecting the petition would signal that nothing needs to change – at a time when transformative change is needed

The briefing asks councillors:

  •         to recognise the need for transformative climate action in Manchester
  •         to recognise the severe limits of existing scrutiny arrangements
  •         to recognise the value that a seventh scrutiny committee would bring
  •         and, ultimately, to pass the petition to full Council

All the councillors who sit on the Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee voted to declare a climate emergency in 2019, as did all their colleagues at full Council. This should be a no-brainer for them!

The twist is that the Council Executive are likely to oppose the petition. They will have their official reasons, but the real reason they oppose it is because powerful people do not like scrutiny and they do not like being held to account by councillors asking awkward questions. Those who have presided over a track record of failures will fight to stop anyone from prising open their black box.

According to statutory guidance, councillors on scrutiny committees are supposed to be there to amplify the voices and concerns of the public. They are supposed to attend with an independent mind-set. They should act as a check-and-balance to the Executive. We think that councillors on the Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee should remember this on Tuesday when discussing this petition, signed by so many of you.

The Council Executive should not try to exercise control over the work of a scrutiny committee, and we plead, to any councillor who is being threatened with the whip or otherwise being pressured to take a position on this issue: please call out any such behaviour, please try to resist.

The councillors on the Resources and Governance Scrutiny Committee will have their say on Tuesday. If you would like to contact your councillors to ask them to take this issue seriously, before they meet on Tuesday, we invite you to do so. Their contact details are listed below.

You will be able to watch the meeting live at this link here. No questions or public participation is allowed, so make your views known to your councillors in advance.

Thank you for all your support. 

Councillors on Manchester’s Resources and Governance Scrutiny CommitteeWard Represented
Sarah RussellNorthenden
Ahmed AliRusholme
Paul AndrewsBaguley
Ben ClayBurnage
Joan DaviesDeansgate
Shelly LanchburyHigher Blackley
Bernard PriestArdwick
Emily  RowlesMoss Side
Andrew SimcockDidsbury East
Greg StantonDidsbury West
Sam WheelerPiccadilly
Annette WrightHulme

 

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