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SALFORD MAYOR TRANSPARENCY PROMISE IN FLAMES
 

Star date: 26th June 2012

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAYOR'S TRANSPARENCY PROMISE?

"We as a Council must be more open and transparent with the public. I will seek to generate that openness and transparency in future…" Ian Stewart

Almost two months after Ian Stewart promised a more "open and transparent" Council on becoming Mayor of Salford, things seem to be going backwards as virtually none of his 13 Assistant Mayors have produced public reports or forums on what they are actually getting up to all day.

Meanwhile Ian Stewart himself has held just two City Mayor's Briefings with no items on the agenda open to the public. Transparency score so far? 0 out of 10!

Full shocking story here…


The night that Ian Stewart was elected Mayor of Salford he promised a more "open and transparent" Salford City Council. His exact words were…

"We as politicians are not very good at communicating with the public, and the public are making decisions without basic information sometimes. That's our fault as politicians, we need to get better at that. Getting better at communication means that we as a Council must be more open and transparent with the public. I will seek to generate that openness and transparency in future…"

Hmmm… It's now almost eight weeks since the Mayor uttered those words and there's absolutely no sign of any transparency at all. A quick look at the `Access All Meetings' section of the Council's website (click here) reveals that virtually none of the 13 Assistant Mayors have made their activities public and open to scrutiny.

First up is Paula Boshell, Assistant Mayor for Learning Skills and Employment. Click on `Meetings for Learning Skills and Employment Assistant Mayor's Briefing' and there's nowt there but the statement `No forum has been published for this meeting group'

How about Peter Connor, Assistant Mayor for Adult Services and Services for Older People? Click on `Meetings for Adult Services and Services for Older People Assistant Mayor's Briefing' and it's the same statement…`No forum has been published for this meeting group'…

There's also a `No forum has been published for this meeting group' sign up at the `Meetings for Health and Wellbeing Assistant Mayor's Briefing' led by Margaret Morris.

Anyone hoping to get an insight into Mr Stewart's invented art of `Humanegement' will also be disappointed. The `Humanegement and Workplace Reform Assistant Mayor's Briefing' fronted by Paul Dennett as Assistant Mayor for Humanegement and Workplace Reform, did actually meet on 28th May – but there were no items on the agenda at all. Not a bad day's work for someone on over £23,000 a year.

It appears that `Humanegement' has been slapped together with Finance for the longest titled meeting in the universe – the `Joint Assistant Mayor's Briefing for Humanegement and Workplace Reform and Finance and Support Services'.  This meeting did actually happen last Monday, 25th June, but there was nothing about `Humanegement' and, at the previous meeting of this forum the Assistant Mayor for Humanegement wasn't even there. So everyone is still in the dark about what the hell `humanegement' is…or does.

Meanwhile, there's no reference at all to any meetings or reports concerning the Assistant Mayors for International Relations, Technology, Culture, and Transport and City Region.

Just when you thought you'd struck the jackpot with a massive five Meetings for Services for Children and Young People Assistant Mayor's Briefing, led by John Merry, it all turns secret again. There's no minutes published for any of the meetings, and half of them don't even have any reports attached; just a load of meaningless agenda items. The Children and Young People's Dept has also come under fire for the cloak and dagger dragooning of Salford schools to become academies (see here and see here).

The `Meetings for Joint Assistant Mayors' Briefing for Housing and Environment and Strategic Planning' are lumped together but, again, no minutes of previous meetings are published. The Deputy City Mayor has two `briefings' – one for Community Safety, where at its only meeting all items were `closed to the public', and one for Property, where, legally, he's obliged to disclose what's going on.

The Mayor himself has held only two `briefings' – the first on May 28th where all items were closed to the public, and one on 11th June, when, er, all items were closed to the public. There's also been one Cabinet meeting, with only one item on it, concerning the sell off of Salix Homes (see here). And a special forum for Meetings of Mayor Team…but…`No forum has been published for this meeting group'

There's not even any reference to any meetings by the Assistant Mayor for Communication and Community Engagement, led by Lisa Stone. It's a funny way of `communicating' and `engaging' with the community by keeping it all secret…

How the hell can the public hold these councillors up to account if no-one knows what they do all day?

As far as `seeking to generate openness and transparency', Ian Stewart, so far, is failing badly. There's actually less information open to the public than under the previous Council Leader system, as predicted by opponents of the elected mayor concept…

Two months in and the verdict on transparency isn't `could do better' – more like `could at least try to get it off the ground'

PS. Since last year Salford Council has been obliged by the government to disclose all monthly spending over £500 – this information hasn't been disclosed for the last six months…

See previous Salford Star feature on the Mayor Team's salaries – click here.
And on the Mayoral Team – click here

And on Mayor Promises More Open Council - click here

Dufas Tweddle wrote
at 1:27:18 PM on Sunday, July 1, 2012
Bullshitterisation . A new word , for the new mayor ,to sum up every deed , word , and action emanating from the Swinetown Madhouse .
 
New Salford wrote
at 8:33:02 AM on Sunday, July 1, 2012
Ian Stewart also criticised councillors for not tweeting - strangely silent for two months now!
 
Tootie wrote
at 3:42:45 AM on Friday, June 29, 2012
Great post , mum . The People of Salford have yet again been shafted . We have been lumbered with another useless career politician , to lead the rest of the useless , inept and pathetic wasters . The bullshit , deceptions , treacheries , betrayals , and secrecy will just continue . The entire , rotton lot of them deserve to be pilloried , then drawn and quartered . Word of the Day : Sewerescapery , meaning live somewhere else .
 
mum wrote
at 11:00:24 PM on Thursday, June 28, 2012
Transparency-access all meetings-check out the date some of these forums met. Hardly current, avisitor to the website would have no idea what meeting have morphed into other forums. 1.Meetings for Accounts Committee Monday 24 September 2007 at 9.15am (Meeting 3366) 2.Meetings for audit and accounts No forum has been published for this meeting group. 3.Meetings for Audit Committee Friday 26 September 2008 at 0.00am (Meeting 4306) 5.Meetings for Blackfriars / Broughton Community Committee Wednesday 31 March 2004 at 7.00pm (Meeting 1121) 6.Meetings for Budget & Audit Scrutiny Audit Sub Committee. Friday 26 May 2006 at 0.00am (Meeting 4303) 7.Meetings for Budget and Audit Scrutiny Committee Wednesday 31 January 2007 at 11.31am (Meeting 4305) 8.Meetings for Budget and Efficiency Cabinet Working Group Monday 14 August 2006 at 10.30am (Meeting 2684) 9.Meetings for Chief Officer Disciplinary / Investigations Panel Wednesday 2 December 2009 at 9.00am (Meeting 4333) 10. for Children's Services Scrutiny Committee Friday 29 May 2009 at 0.00am (Meeting 4295) 11.Meetings for Claremont / Weaste Community Committee Special Meeting Tuesday 5 December 2006 at 7.00pm (Meeting 2979) 12.Meetings for Community and Social Services Lead Member Briefing Thursday 3 February 2005 at 3.00pm (Meeting 1906) 13.Meetings for Community Plan Review Cabinet Working Group Monday 26 September 2005 at 2.00pm (Meeting 2289) 14.Meetings for Community, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee Wednesday 23 September 2009 at 4.14pm (Meeting 4264) 15.Meetings for Corporate Services Lead Members Briefing Monday 20 September 2004 at 9.00am (Meeting 1689) 16.Meetings for Culture and Sport Lead Member Briefing Wednesday 8 June 2011 at 10.00am (Meeting 5035) 17.Meetings for Culture Cabinet Working Group Monday 26 March 2007 at 2.00pm (Meeting 2968) 18.Meetings for Customer and Support Services Lead Member Briefing Monday 23 May 2011 at 9.00am (Meeting 5004) 19.Meetings for Customer and Support Services Scrutiny Committee Tuesday 26 May 2009 at 2.00pm (Meeting 4114) 20.Meetings for Cycle Forum Thursday 27 January 2011 at 6.00pm (Meeting 4867) 21.Meetings for Development Services Lead Member Briefing Monday 20 September 2004 at 9.30am (Meeting 1695) 22.Meetings for Development Services Scrutiny Sub-group Wednesday 6 April 2005 at 2.00pm (Meeting 1473) 23.Meetings for Economic and Community Safety Scrutiny Committee Wednesday 20 December 2006 at 12.04am (Meeting 4296) 24.Meetings for Environment Cabinet Working Group No forum has been published for this meeting group. 24.Meetings for Environmental Scrutiny Committee Thursday 5 November 2009 at 10.57am (Meeting 4301) 26.Meetings for Environmental, Housing and Planning Scrutiny Committee Friday 29 May 2009 at 12.08am (Meeting 4302) 27.Meetings for Equal Opportunities Forum Wednesday 23 March 2011 at 10.00am (Meeting 4945) 28.Meetings for Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee Thursday 9 September 2004 at 2.00pm (Meeting 1685) 29.Meetings for Health and Wellbeing Assistant Mayor's Briefing No forum has been published for this meeting group. 30.Meetings for Housing and Environment Assistant Mayor's Briefing No forum has been published for this meeting group. 31.Meetings for Human Resources Cabinet Working Group Monday 20 August 2007 at 12.00pm (Meeting 3156) 32.Meetings for Joint Customer and Support Services and Children's Services Lead Member Briefing No forum has been published for this meeting group. 33.Meetings for Joint Customer and Support Services and Housing Lead Member Briefing Monday 31 January 2011 at 9.00am (Meeting 4864) 34.Meetings for Joint Housing and Planning Lead Member Briefing Tuesday 19 October 2010 at 12.00pm (Meeting 4743) 35.Meetings for Kersal, Pendleton and Charlestown Community Committee Wednesday 9 July 2003 at 6.30pm (Meeting 1134) 36.Meetings for Lifelong Learning & Leisure Performance Management Sub Group. Tuesday 25 November 2003 at 11.00am (Meeting 1238) 37.Meetings for Lifelong Learning and Leisure Scrutiny Committee Thursday 30 September 2004 at 0.00am (Meeting 4294) 38.Meetings for Mayoral Team No forum has been published for this meeting group. 39.Meetings for Overview and Scrutiny Special Meetings. No forum has been published for this meeting group. 40.Meetings for Personnel and Performance Lead Member Briefing Friday 16 January 2004 at 10.00am (Meeting 1300) 41.Meetings for Planning Sub Group Tuesday 11 December 2007 at 10.00am (Meeting 3471) 42.Meetings for Quality & Performance Audit Sub Committee Monday 17 January 2005 at 9.30am (Meeting 1863) 43.Meetings for Quality & Performance Scrutiny Committee Thursday 30 September 2004 at 0.00am (Meeting 4298) 44.Meetings for Regeneration Initiatives Cabinet Working Group Monday 16 November 2009 at 2.00pm (Meeting 4316) Meetings for Salford Local Admissions Forum Tuesday 17 March 2009 at 4.00pm (Meeting 4024) 45.Meetings for Service Development/Neighbourhoods Lead Member Briefing No forum has been published for this meeting group. 46.Meetings for Social Scrutiny Committee Wednesday 10 October 2001 at 9.30am (Meeting 179) 47.Meetings for Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education Thursday 4 March 2010 at 4.00pm (Meeting 4449) 48.Meetings for Strategic Planning Assistant Mayor's Briefing No forum has been published for this meeting group 49.Meetings for Strategy and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee Friday 29 May 2009 at 0.00am (Meeting 4297) 50.Meetings for TEST No forum has been published for this meeting group.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 8:23:06 AM on Thursday, June 28, 2012
And we have it...! The definition of 'humanagement': It's the action of manipulating people by telling them one thing but simultaneously having the full intention of doing the exact opposite. E.g, in Salford, the 'humans' (derogatory Labourspeak; spoken with irony and a smirk) have been 'managed' into voting for Labour again, with the assurance that they're a higher priority than the Party. Thank you Mr Stewart, please invent more words, I honestly didn't believe a mayor would be this useful :)
 
Peter Davies wrote
at 10:51:17 PM on Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Perhaps we could invite the new mayor to view all these comments and respond. Salford Labour Party have a sorry history where open government is concerned, before he was elected Ian was aked if he had to toe the party line or serve the people of Salford He said he would choose the people every time. Time for some serious action, sack the old guard and bring in some new blood with new ideas.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 6:07:15 AM on Wednesday, June 27, 2012
@CitizenOneill - the irony is that although 75% of the electorate didn't vote, it's 100% who are unrepresented. I think the real question is why the 25% *did* bother to vote - are there this many deluded people around who think we live in a democracy?!?
 
mark armstrong wrote
at 6:06:57 AM on Wednesday, June 27, 2012
@Tony Franklin If I was hired to to a job on a salary of circa £80kpa I am sure that my employer would complain if I had produced so little and spent so much! Really what is he doing as no one seems to have a clue.
 
Mark Armstrong wrote
at 11:30:39 PM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Can we not make another mayor? we have enough wicker, mud and straw from the last attempt so maybe the next one could stand up and be counted if it had more substance than this one.
 
Tony Franklin wrote
at 3:55:05 PM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I think the new mayor should be allowed a bit more time before wading in. As for any con-servative being honest, caring and or concerned. Get out of town. Your the minority in Salford. Wind yer neck in love.p
 
debbie wrote
at 3:54:43 PM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
WTF is Humanagement!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
 
Taters wrote
at 3:54:37 PM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
75% OF THE ELECTORATE DID NOT VOTE BECAUSE OF STUNTS LIKE THIS . THE VAST MAJORITY IN THIS ROTTON , LIVING HELL , DEAD CITY ARE SICK AND TIRED OF THIS VENAL GANG OF CONTEMPTIBLE CRETINS ,LITTLE-HITLERS AND TINPOT DICTATORS . WE NEED TO GET RID OF THEM ALL , ESPECIALLY SPICER , STEWART , MERRY AND LANCASTER .
 
@CitizenOneill wrote
at 12:45:52 PM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I noticed this and tweeted on it back on the 14th. In comment... An 'open & transparent' council in Salford would take real reform. How many residents in Salford would be able to attend these briefings if and when they ever occur? A councillor has the uncanny ability to recite every meeting and event attended if you were to accuse them of doing 'nothing', but some are seemingly unable to inform residents of these meetings/events beforehand. Does cllr collinson believe the saviour of democracy would be a Conservative on the cabinet? I think we need to examine seriously why the 75% of the electorate didnt vote?
 
wrote
at 8:12:07 AM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I also agree,the SCC access all meetings section is partically useless-it often doesnt even have minutes of previous meetings attached-when you ring they always say its down to the IT dept. If you click on to meeting list you find that over half the meetings on the list are obsolete, they havent met for years-so why not remove them? I recently contacted one of the new assistant mayors to enquire how the first meeting of their area of responsibility had gone-not even had a response!
 
De La Croix wrote
at 8:11:44 AM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Just another Professional Bullshitter . Will mix in well with that inept gang of shysters , con-artists ,fools and wasters . What an absolute Shower of Shites reside in the Swinetown Madhouse .Every decision the Inept Turds make , every sweetheart deal with their Big Biznez Chums and every treachery and deception they attempt , must be open to scrutiny and comment by the Taxpayer . Ater all , WE fund the inept,despicable Wasters. Venal , leeching , parasites , all of them .
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 8:11:31 AM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
True. Give any political party the opportunity to go Totalitarian and they'll grab it with both hands.
 
Councillor Jillian Collinson wrote
at 7:27:41 AM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I can only agree with what has been said above. As a member of the only Opposition Group within Salford City Council, the openness and transparency is seriously lacking as no-one in the Conservative Group has been offered a position on the Mayor's team. Democracy is now non=existant. Mr Stewart said last week at our Policy Day that he is aware that a sizable number of the electorate voted Conservative. However, apart from in the wards where they represent their residents, there is no Conservative representation for residents on the Mayor's newly created team.
 
Winston Smith wrote
at 7:27:37 AM on Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I believe it's gone quiet while they're compiling their additions to the Newspeak dictionary to go with 'humanagement'. E.g. 'Newtweet' ('modern' bullshit distribution mechanism that they're very keen on), 'Peelful' and 'Tescoful' (approved thoughts and actions) and 'Opencouncil' (off the record meetings). More Newspeak here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Newspeak_words
 
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