Today, 9 February, Manchester City Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee meets to discuss health and climate change for the first time.
You can watch the meeting online live or later at the link here. The key piece An introduction to the impact of climate change on health and healthcare in Manchester‘ is’ item 8 on the agenda, scheduled for 11:20am. So, plenty of time to grab a coffee and strap in.
We’ll be tuning in and then reporting, looking out for signs that the recommendations from our report will be taken up. Councillors on this committee have a copy, some attended our event last night. The message from both was clear: we need to know what Manchester will do next. There is no shortage of ideas. Each of our speakers last night highlighted one thing that MCC could do in the next 6 months, and we received a flurry of suggestions from the floor.
Of course, Health Scrutiny committee does not take place in isolation. This is ‘scrutiny week’ when all six committees meet. Our Team Scrutiny will get the highlights to you. Many of February’s scrutiny committees contain budgets, ahead of the confirmation of the Council budget for 22/23 in March. The papers coming to the scrutiny committees this week will contain many familiar budget lines and won’t yet feed in results from the Council’s budget consultation, which closed yesterday (indeed, whether this exercise will change anything significant in the budget is unclear).
Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee includes an update on homelessness, as well as an item on cultural impact, perhaps as a promo for the new zero carbon guide for cultural organisations.
Mike Franks looked ahead at Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee for us and reported the following:
Business as usual. After January’s climate fest, it’s perhaps a surprise to find even one mention of carbon reduction and its impact on climate change this month. This within the Children and Education Services Directorate Budget 2022/23 paper. It’s also reassuring (at least in terms of continuity) that the COVID-19 Update offers increases in the liability of the City again as a response to the desired outcome of a liveable and low carbon city. It’s as if I have never commented on this oversight for over a year now.
Other items on the agenda for consideration in February include:
Annual Virtual School Head’s Report and an update on families residing in both bed and breakfast accommodation and homeless accommodation outside of the city boundaries, and the impact on schools and transport.
Perhaps there’s scope for discussion of climate anxiety in an update on wellbeing and mental health and support for schools … within the list of items-yet-to-be-scheduled.
February’s Economy Scrutiny Committee is focused on skills and education, with an update on the new Work and Skills Strategy. As we’ve commented before, it makes no mention of green jobs.
Finally, the Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee includes an item that will be presented by Manchester Climate Change Agency: a refresh of Manchester’s Climate Change Framework 2020-5. A refresh of a document one year after it was published is odd and it has not been made clear to a wider audience why it had to be refreshed so soon. Is this an acknowledgement that the first framework was not fit for purpose? Any revisions need a much greater sense of urgency and visibility. How is this being communicated? Are businesses, schools, residents aware of this work?