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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
Dr Marc Hudson
And, of course, we will be making a complaint.