Friday, 18 June 2010

Steering Group meets at long long last

OK, so that may not be quite the most exciting news headline you'll ever read, but this stuff does matter*. Please read on!

On the evening of Thursday 17 June, the "Steering Group" (SG) for the Manchester Climate Change Action Plan finally met. MCFly has been reporting on this group since it was first mooted, back in the back end of 2009. Essentially, its purpose is to be a group. That steers. The Action Plan. You know, the Action Plan that you've heard so much about from the Council; on their website, on their twitter feed, in the pages of Manchester Pravd.. People, on their facebook group, on the big screen in Piccadilly Gardens, on the blog of Richard Leese and the blog of the Executive Member for the Environment, via your Council Tax bill, via the Manchester Evening News and via interviews by officers and members when they pop up on BBC radio and Northwest Tonight and on Granada tonight. You know, that Action Plan.

But anyhow, about this group; It has a chair- Steve Connor, of the ethically inclined communications outfit "Creative Concern". That's the same Creative Concern who were heavily involved in the unsuccessful "Yes" campaign for the Transport Innovation Fund referendum of 2008. Mr. Connor has a blog called "headstretcher".

At the moment there is no Vice Chair (but that could change.) The SG was to be a twelve member body, but when the original nine met they decided to give themselves the option of expanding to 15, since they are keen to "plug gaps, grab talent and increase the diversity of the group." This expansion may go some way to help redress a pretty pale and male set up as it stands (Steve Connor is joined by Phil Korbel, Dave Coleman, Richard Paver, Paul Andrews, Nigel Murphy, Nigel Rose and two other... men.) The SG is not to be panel of experts, bur rather a stakeholder group. MCFly will report on these as they are announced.

The original plan was for the Steering Group to meet four times a year, but after discussion, it will meet "6 to 8 weekly in the first instance" with two more meetings before the November 30th "Stakeholder conference". The next meeting will be in late July, and IS open to the public (if you ask nicely).

They'll be preparing a report for that Stakeholder conference,and have as their immediate priority "to do a push on getting more organisations to endorse the plan and start preparing their own plans. That includes McFly readers of course!" Given the truly appallingly low take-up rate by organisations invited to endorse the Action Plan so far (46 out of 1067), that seems like a very good place to start. Watch this space.

MCFly says:
MCFly's gift to Steve Connor would be a lawn-mower. Or a scythe. Or perhaps a flamethrower. Anything that will help him hack away at the sky-high grass that has grown under everyone's feet since November 2009, when the action plan was launched with a certain hullaballo and self-satisfaction. We're more than half way to the first "stakeholder conference" (Tuesday November 30th. Book yer annual leave now) and there's been virtually no work on telling the public about what's going on. The website for the Plan doesn't allow people to make comments on it (positive or negative) and does not explain how businesses and organisations can "endorse" it. There's been no effort to maintain and nurture the incipient networks established in the hurly burly of writing last year's Action Plan. The second half of 2010 had better be substantially less crap than the first. Just sayin'.

*Sort of: MCFly is with John Maynard Keynes on this - "in the long run, we're all dead." It's just, he didn't mean gnawing on the bones of a beloved pet cat while wondering why we didn't ever pull our finger out on carbon dioxide mitigation in the 2010s...

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