Council has no written guidelines for accuracy of its tweets. (#Climate bullshit challenged)

On 29th September the following grotesquely misleading Tweet was sent out into the world, to bamboozle and soothe.

Reader, this is AFTER the Council admitted, in an appendix to a report to a scrutiny committee (i.e. buried as deep as it could, in a locked filing cabinet in a basement with no stairs, behind a sign that said ‘beware of the leopard’) that the city has burned 40 per cent of its entire carbon budget for the 21st century in just three years.

So, we fired off a Freedom of Information Act request (these are free, btw), to informationcompliance@manchester.gov.uk and learnt that … there are no written guidelines about the accuracy of Tweets, and that responsibility for this lies with… the future leader of the Council.

Here’s the text.

1. What guidelines, if any, exist, for the accuracy of communications by the Council (please provide a copy if they do)

The communications team work closely with the service areas to check accuracy of the messages posted on all our channels, including our social media accounts.

2. Which Executive Member is ultimately responsible for the Tweets put out from the MCC’s many social media accounts

The Executive Member responsible for Communications is Councillor Bev Craig –
Strategic Communications is in her portfolio.
https://www.manchester.gov.uk/info/200033/councillors_democracy_and_elections/3195/the_members_of_the_executive

3.  Have the comms team received their carbon literacy training?

In-house Carbon Literacy training is a mandatory 3-part training module for all Council Staff. The full training programme has been completed by the majority of members of the communications team with the rest of the team either enrolled or partway through the programme. [see below]

4. Who do I complain to about the accuracy of Council tweets?

Complaints and feedback can be made online at www.manchester.gov.uk/complaints

So, what do we learn?

That the Council, extraordinarily

a) has no written guidelines for accuracy of its Tweets [just as they didn’t bother to fact check their awful bus adverts last year, that cost £30k.]

b) that its comms staff have not been a priority for carbon literacy

So what are we doing?

Well, we’ve sent the following back to them.

Thank you for the reply
[FOI/5790] Guidelines for Tweets

I would like, WITHOUT an internal review, to request a more detailed answer to my third question.
I asked if the comms team had received their carbon literacy training.  The answer was quite imprecise.
A precise answer would be something like
“There are 12 members of the comms team. 7 of them are fully carbon literate. 3 of them have done some of the training2 of them have not started”
I hope you will see the sense of providing such a breakdown without all of us having the hassle of an internal review, which I am keen to avoid.
Best wishes
Dr Marc Hudson

And, of course, we will be making a complaint.

2 thoughts on “Council has no written guidelines for accuracy of its tweets. (#Climate bullshit challenged)”

  1. Assuming that it is true about the low carbon home developments, this tweet is not factually inaccurate. They ARE moving towards their goal with this, but they are still grossly negligent in not mentioning the carbon budget.l

    1. Hi Patrick,
      the problem is that the homes will take years to build (and involve lots of cement, steel etc) and so the alleged savings are a) small and b) years away.
      As you say, they are grossly negligent in not contextualising this with the overall budget and the blow out.

      All along, this council wants praise for announcements, but is conspicuously silent on what its real “achievements” are. This is tax-payer funded propaganda and perception management. It is not what we need in an emergency…

      Best wishes

      Marc from the core group. PS Do come, if you can, on Sat 6th November

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