Our Current Investigations
Summary of the Year 2015/2016
The Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee looks at a wide range of services and issues in the city, including carbon emissions and climate change, highways, housing, planning, street management and waste. The Committee also looks closely at the work of the Growth and Neighbourhoods Directorate and examines how the services it delivers meet residents’ needs and expectations.
The Committee dedicated their meeting of the 29 September to environmental issues. This included an update on Manchester: A Certain Future and an update in the MCC Climate Change Action Plan. This provided members with an opportunity to review how Manchester was performing against the target of reducing city’s CO2 emissions by 41% by 2020 against 2005 levels.
The Committee is committed to scrutinising the implementation of the new Neighbourhoods Service which sees the integration of what was previously Neighbourhood Delivery Teams, Neighbourhood Regeneration Teams and Community and Cultural Services. The Committee are keen to ensure that neighbourhoods thrive and are places where people want to live. The Committee will continue to monitor the implementation of this new service in the next municipal year.
Members recognised that an important issue for residents is rubbish and associated fly tipping. To allow sufficient time and consideration for this important issue the Committee established a ‘Waste and Recycling Task and Finish Group’. This group agreed to monitor the implementation of the new waste collection contract that had been awarded. The group held five meetings where they received performance updates and discussed matters arising across the neighbourhoods. The group reported their conclusions and recommendations which included measure to promote and improve recycling rates across all wards to the November 2015 meeting. The final report can be accessed via the following link:
During the previous 12 months members undertook a number of visits to different sites to witness the delivery of services. This included a visit to the waste and recycling centre in Sharston and the new HOME cultural facility at First Street.
27 October 2015 - Progress update in relation to Rough Sleepers Strategy and a progress update on the recommendations of the Homelessness Task and Finish Group
The Committee discussed the Council’s response to the issue of Homelessness in the city. There had been a lot of recent media coverage and the Committee has a keen interest in this subject. The Committee established a Task and Finish Group in 2014 to investigate homelessness in detail. The group held a number of meetings over a period of five months and heard from various witnesses. These included charities, faith groups and other organisations working with homeless people across the city. The group also held a meeting attended by people who had first hand knowledge and experience of homelessness and invited them to share their experiences and ideas with the members. At the end of their investigation the group made ten recommendations based on the evidence they had received and heard. The final report and recommendations of the Homelessness Task and Finish Group can be read at -
This meeting provided members with an update on the actions that had been taken in response to the recommendations of the group. Councillor Paul Andrews, Executive Member for Adult Health and Wellbeing said that the work of the Group had been invaluable in informing the Council’s response to the issue. The report described the range and variety of services available to provide early intervention and prevention of homelessness; developments around various types of accommodation and the services to assist people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This had been funded by the Council using money made available through the Homeless Prevention Grant. The Committee were disappointed that the reporting in the local media had been negative and did not include any of the positive actions taken by the Council to help homeless people. The Committee were pleased with the developments described and said that it demonstrated that the Council was committed to working with partners to respond to the challenge of homelessness
21 July 2015 -Response to Manchester Evening News article alleging licences have been issued to drivers who have criminal/motoring conviction
At the July meeting the Committee received a full written response to the Manchester Evening News front page article published on 16 of December 2014. The paper had alleged that the Licensing Unit had issued licenses to drivers with serious criminal convictions.
The Chair had invited the Executive Member to the December 2014 meeting to speak to the Committee about these serious allegations. He had assured the Committee that he took the allegations very seriously and a full investigation had been launched and the findings of this investigation would be reported back to the Committee. This investigation was fully supported by the Chair of the Licensing and Appeals Committee who was also in attendance at the December meeting.
The findings of the investigation were detailed in the report at the July meeting. The report assured the Committee that a full check of licences issued had been undertaken and no driver has been found to have a conviction of the type alleged in the article. The report described the process used to assess applications by both officers and when applications are referred to a Licensing Panel for consideration. Members were also made aware of the published guidance that is applied when dealing with applicants who declare a criminal conviction. A copy of this guidance can be found at -
The Committee were reassured by the findings of the investigation and said that the news paper article was clearly sensationalised. The members called upon the Manchester Evening News to join with Manchester City Council in a thoughtful campaign to nationally reform the taxi and private hire licensing trade to make is a safer and an all round better service for the people of Manchester.
23 June 2015 - Manchester Renting Pledge Update
The Housing and Partnerships manager introduced the report. He said that 40 organisations have signed up to the pledge which was launched in March 2015. This represents some fifteen thousand properties in Manchester .
The Manchester Renting Pledge is designed to develop a quality private rented sector with well managed, desirable accommodation across the city. Enforcement activity across the city will continue to target the worst offenders in the private rented sector.
Members were also pleased on hearing that the same model of targeted activity will be adopted to address empty properties that have a detrimental effect on neighbourhoods.
26 May 2015 - Plastic Bag Petition: update report
The Councils Legal department confirmed that there is currently no legislation in force which gives Manchester the power to make a byelaw prohibiting use of plastic bag in it's area. Byelaws are intended to deal with local issues not national issues. Plastic bags have been recognised as a national issue by the UK Government, as set out in the Queen’s Speech in June 2014. Government is due to introduce a 5p charge for single use plastic bags from October 2015. It was recommended that an update should be provided to the Committee in six months time.
To find out more information have a look at our full work programme. This includes what topics we will be looking at, what specific issues we will be considering and who we will be hearing from. Please bear in mind that the programme is continually updated, and so dates and agenda items may change from those listed in the programme.
If there's an issue you want to contribute to, let us know. You can either send a written contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can attend a meeting and ask the Chair if you can speak. You can also suggest a topic for us to look into by filling in our 'suggestions form.'
If you want to speak to somebody about contributing to the committee, please call our scrutiny support officer on 0161 234 3376 or e mail email@example.com.
Role of the Committee
"The Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee deals with many of the city council's services which are most visible to residents - housing, highways, the street environment, waste and recycling - and also monitors the council's planning and environmental policies, including our carbon reduction plans and climate change strategy.
The role of councillors serving on the committee is to ensure that our policies are fit for purpose and that we are delivering services which serve the interests of the people we represent. My role as chair is to make sure that members have all the information they need to ask the right questions and make appropriate recommendations to the council's executive as to how to best implement our policies and deliver our services.
In the year ahead we will:
- Continue to monitor the city council's plan to reduce carbon emissions by 41% from 2010 levels by 2020.
- Work to improve street cleaning and waste disposal services as we monitor the delivery of the contract with Biffa.
- Engage constructively with the city council to monitor and improve plans to increase recycling rates across the city.
- Scrutinise the city's new Housing Strategy to ensure that our policies meet the needs of tenants and residents.
- Monitor the delivery of highways programmes to maximise value for money and quality whilst minimising disruption to residents and visitors.
A key focus for all members of the committee is ensuring that residents have the ability to influence local decision making through the scrutiny process and I would strongly encourage and warmly welcome any local residents or community groups who wish to attend our meetings, suggest items for future work or otherwise help us to conduct scrutiny effectively.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and ideas.