A decade on 10 MCC “senior leaders” still carbon illiterate

The story of Manchester City Council’s journey on action towards limiting the impacts of climate change since 2009 cannot be separated from what was described back then in their 10-year strategy document as creating a ‘low-carbon culture’ by developing programmes of ‘carbon literacy’. It took a further 3 years to launch the Carbon Literacy Project at the Arndale Centre in Autumn 2012.


We went through a short potted history of carbon literacy in episode 9.2 back in December as MCC had committed earlier in the year that all 138 managers comprising the “Senior Leadership Group” would have completed their training by the end of 2022.


So at CEM we wanted to check whether those promises have been kept considering this training is now considered mandatory. A FOI request was duly sent on the first working day of the year and we got a fairly prompt response. We can confirm as of 03/01/23 125 out of 138 have now completed the training. Some of these might be new starters so we also asked how many were in post at the end of March 2022 to see how many might be considered those who are taking a long time to do their training – 9 months to complete mandatory training seems like an unreasonable amount of time to us.


In total 10 senior managers are yet to complete their training and therefore should be considered “carbon illiterate”.


Maybe more concerning than being carbon illiterate is there doesn’t seem to be any Human Resources & Organisational Development (HROD in MCC-speak) guidance or policies for line managers relating directly to the consequences of not completing mandatory training. I wonder whether this applies to mandatory training in other areas such as safeguarding or equality and diversity issues.


Whilst MCC have finally now got many of their senior managers to complete their carbon literacy training (after 10 long years of and many FOI requests relating to progress),, what will happen to those 10 “senior leaders” who seem fairly reluctant in making the time to complete this training? It doesn’t appear that anyone, not even their line managers, can hold them to account…


Ultimately this speaks volumes about MCC’s attitude towards this issue – carbon literacy is a bare necessity to work as a public servant in the 21st century, but we continue to see it treated as a “nice to have”. No wonder any progress made is hard won and incremental, rather than the transformative change so desperately needed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.