Manchester City Council

The Council & democracy Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee

Our Current Investigations

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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.

Summary of the Year

Over the previous 12 months the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee has continued to examine the many services that are based in local areas that have an impact on communities and neighbourhoods. The Committee has received and considered reports on a varied range of subjects including Waste and Recycling, the Libraries service, Community and Cultural events, Green and Blue Infrastructure and updates regarding the Climate Change Action Plan. The Committee has also established subgroups or task and finish groups to investigate specific subjects of interest in much more detail.

Subjects have included the role of Letting Agents and Managing Agents in the Private Rented Sector and Homelessness. The groups held a number of meetings and heard from a number of invited guests and witnesses. At the end of this process the groups reported their findings to the main Committee along with their final recommendations. The recommendations presented by the Letting Agents and Managing Agents in the Private Rented Sector group helped inform the Manchester Renting Pledge launched by the city council in March 2015. This pledge is designed to develop a quality private rented sector with well-managed, desirable accommodation across the city.

Please click here for the final report of the role of Letting Agents and Managing Agents in the Private Rented Sector Task and Finish Group which contains detail of the investigation and the full list of recommendations.

Please click here for the final report of the Homelessness Task and Finish Group which contains detail of the investigation and the full list of recommendations.

At the March meeting the Committee established a subgroup to examine Waste and Recycling as part of measures to reduce the amount of residual waste and increase recycling rates across the city. This group will continue their investigation into the next municipal year and will report their findings of their investigation to the main Committee in December.

18/11/2014 - Discussion with invited community representatives to discuss sustainability, community impact and behaviour change

At the November meeting the Committee invited representatives from ‘Upping It’ and the Moss Side Allotment to the meeting. These two community groups are based in the Moss Side and Rusholme area of the city. The Committee invited them to learn about their work in the community and discuss resident engagement and how to influence behaviour change.

Members heard how ‘Upping It’ was formed by local residents in response to environmental issues within their neighbourhood, such as discarded rubbish and poor recycling rates. The Committee learnt that Street Representatives had volunteered to engage with, educate and support local residents to help improve their area by reducing incidents of dumped rubbish. Members were informed that to achieve this residents were encouraged to take responsibility for the correct disposal of their own rubbish.

The Committee learnt that engagement with all residents had resulted in people taking pride in, and responsibility for their street and alleyway. Members were told that as a result of this commitment a strong sense of community and responsibility for the area had emerged amongst residents and this is evident in the reduction in fly tipping and increased rates of recycling.

Members were impressed with the success achieved by the ‘Upping It’ group Members were especially keen to hear of their engagement with young people through engagement with the local schools. Members commented that issues surrounding waste and recycling had been a theme of many meetings of the Committee and they were pleased to learn about an example of where resident involvement had achieved a positive behaviour change and agreed that this model should be encouraged in all areas of the city.

26/08/14 - Petition for Debate: Ban Plastic Bags
At the August meeting the Committee considered a petition that had been submitted by the Manchester Bag It Campaign. The petition organisations had collected over 1000 valid signatures in support of their call for Manchester City Council to impose a ban on plastic shopping bags.

A representative from the petition organisers was invited to the meeting and she delivered a presentation which argued the economic and environmental reasons why such a ban should be imposed. The presentation also provided examples of other countries and cities where such a ban has been successfully adopted. The Committee discussed the benefits of introducing a plastic bag ban and agreed that they were in favour of exploring ways that such a ban could be achieved in Manchester .

The Committee thanked the petition organisers for raising this issue and recommended that the Executive Member discusses with the City Solicitor the possibilities of Manchester introducing a By Law to ban single use plastic bags.  The members requested that this information be reported back to the Committee in six months time.

24/07/14 - Drainage Maintenance Task and Finish Group
Over the past few months a subgroup of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee has been carrying out an investigation into the ongoing maintenance and repair of the highways drainage system. The Drainage Maintenance Task and Finish Group examined the current service operation, financial implications and future considerations. Members made a number of recommendations to improve processes. The Group was pleased to hear that two bids had been submitted for Clean City funding to undertake additional maintenance and repair of the drainage system and made recommendations on how the work should be prioritised. The Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee endorsed the Group’s recommendations at its July meeting and has asked for a report on the implementation of the revised approach to drainage maintenance to be submitted to a future meeting of the Committee.

The first meeting of the Committee following the election took place on Tuesday 10 June. The Chair opened the meeting by welcoming all those present, and in particular to those new members of the Committee. At this first meeting of the year the Committee took an update report on the development of the HOME Arts Centre and invited Dave Moutrey, Artistic Director of HOME to join the meeting and aid the discussion. Members were pleased with the positive progress that has taken place at the site since the Committee last considered this. Members particularly welcomed the news that HOME is currently in discussion with a local charitable Trust about a scheme that would deliver theatre tickets for HOME productions at £1 each, targeted to local communities. The aim would be to offer 10% of these tickets in this way. The Committee was also particularly pleased with the ambition to maximise resident participation with the offer of work based training and internships and looked forward to the opening of this world class cultural facility in early 2015.

20/03/14 - Summary of the Year
Over the previous 12 months the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee has continued to examine the many services that are based in local areas that have an impact on communities.  

The Committee has received and considered reports on a varied range of subjects including Winter Services, Central Library, the Manchester International Festival, Street Lighting, the expansion of Metrolink and Waste Disposal.

In addition to these varied subjects, the Committee has also established smaller groups to investigate specific subjects of interest in much more detail. These have included a group looking at Drainage Maintenance across the city, and a group examining the role of Letting Agents and Managing Agents in the Private Rented Sector. These groups will continue their investigations into the next municipal year and will report the findings of their investigation to the main Committee

Members of the Committee also contributed to the Environmental Sustainability Subgroup which was established in conjunction with the Economy Scrutiny Committee. It was recognised that the remit of the investigation covered both committees and it was agreed that a joint subgroup was appropriate. The final report along with its recommendations was published in January of this year.

28/10/13 - Manchester International Festival
This month the Committee looked at the evaluation of Manchester's recent International Festival and invited Alex Poots (MIF's Artistic Director) and Christine Cort (MIF's Managing Director) to join the meeting to aid discussions.  It was a very positive picture of substantial achievements: members heard about good levels of engagement with a wide cross-section of Manchester's residents and a discounted ticket initiative for residents on lower incomes, which members warmly welcomed and wished to see more of.  The Committee were also pleased to hear that the international profile of the Festival had grown considerably and that the extent of private sector funding for the Festival had significantly grown and commended Alex, Christine and the wider team on their hard work. 

Get Involved

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 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   

Role of the Committee 


 "Our focus, as members of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee, is on the services that are based in local areas that have an impact on communities. It is our role to ensure that they are being run in the best interests of the residents who use them. These services include those that are vital to the effective running of a city, such as waste and planning, but also those that bring benefits to residents who access them such as culture, leisure and libraries. Our key priority is ensuring that the views of local people are influencing those making the decisions that affect them and that services are being run to benefit residents.

Our areas of interest include waste, street management, carbon emissions and climate change, planning, highways, culture, housing, libraries and theatres, leisure and sport, and neighbourhood working.

Through this page you'll be able to keep in touch with what we've been doing, find out what we'll be investigating over the next few months and how you can get involved."  Councillor Daniel Gillard, Chair of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee


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