So here we are again. The almost-monthly ritual where “scrutiny” is performed (and we mean that word in every sense you can imagine). Manchester City Council (see our beginner’s guide) has 96 councillors. 93 of them are Labour. There are 2 Liberal Democrats and one vacancy.
There’s a 10 member “Executive” from those 93 (that will get chopped down to 8 after May, we are told – the game of musical chairs just got real!) . The Executive rules (and we mean that word in every sense you can imagine). There are six scrutiny committees that are supposed to make sure promises are being kept, problems with implementation of policy are spotted. But this would involve members of the same party holding the Executive to account. And if you are an ambitious councillor then you quickly figure out – or are gently/forcibly reminded – that vigorous/repeated scrutiny means… annoying those with considerable control over your future. So, councillors start to “phone it in from Milton Keynes” – our pet term for scrutiny that only looks like scrutiny.
This is bad enough in normal times. These are not normal times. The climate emergency (the same one all 96 councillors declared all the way back in July 2019) requires honesty, transparency and keeping a very close eye on what is and is not being delivered around climate change. That’s why Climate Emergency Manchester spent almost all of last year on a petition to get a seventh scrutiny committee, devoted to looking not just at the City Council’s actions, but also the city’s. Because the city has burned through a quarter of its carbon budget for the 21st century in the last two years, and nobody in power is taking any responsibility for that, or doing anything beyond the usual….
All this brings us neatly to the first item on the first scrutiny committee agenda….
|Resources and Governance
|Tuesday at 10am
|Proposed refresh of the Council’s Social Value Policy and what Social Value has been derived during Covid-19 lockdown
|Post transfer governance-Council Housing service
And next up, Health. Fun fact- despite the enormous health implications of climate change, the MCC Health Scrutiny Committee has never looked at climate, despite being asked to. Yeah, it’s an emergency, sure.
|Tuesday at 2pm
|COVID-19 Update – To follow
|Better Outcomes, Better Lives
|Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) COVID-19 Related Service Changes – To follow
|City Health Walk-in Centre and COVID-19 – To follow
And next up, Children and Young People. Fun fact-despite the enormous interest of young people in climate change, and the implications it has for them, the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee has never looked at climate. Yeah, it’s an emergency, sure.
And next up, Neighbourhoods and “Environment”. Fun fact- despite the awkward fact that Manchester as a city has burned through a quarter of its carbon budget for the 21st century in the last two years, the last time this Scrutiny Committee looked at climate was… July last year. Yeah, it’s an emergency, sure.
|Neighbourhoods and Environment
|Wednesday at 2pm
|The lifting of eviction restrictions in the Private Rented Sector and the impact of these changes on the homelessness directorate PDF 361 KB
|Housing Allocations Policy Review PDF 288 KB
And next up, Economy. Fun fact- asides a November 2019 report on “Green Jobs” (which were, of course, never properly defined) , the economic implications of climate do not get a run. As our Hung Drawn and Quarterly report showed last month, the whole “green apprenticeships” schtick has been left to swing in the wind. Yeah, it’s an emergency, sure.
|Thursday at 10am.
|Wythenshawe Hospital Strategic Regeneration Framework PDF 343 KB
|Withington Village Framework Update PDF 334 KB
| Greater Manchester 2040 Transport Strategy and City Centre Transport Strategy 2040 PDF 382 KB
|Economy COVID19 Sit Rep report
And finally, Communities and Inequalities
|Communities and Inequalities
|Thursday at 2pm Video
|Support for the Culture Sector in Response to the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic PDF 411 KB
|Residents and Communities Recovery Situation Report Summary PDF 255 KB
We know (all too well) how depressing and alienating local “democracy” can be, and that it doesn’t HAVE to be this way. But we also know there is a climate emergency going on, and that we have to use our freedom of assembly, speech and information as best we can.
Climate Emergency Manchester is constantly looking for new people to get involved in “Team SF,” which does monthly scrutiny of the council (and much more).
If you’re interested in getting involved, please get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org