09 April 2007

A Sustainable Coventry

This link is to the 2006-2007 report to the city council (specifically, to Kevin Foster, cabinet member for City Services) from Chris Thomas, the council's Sustainable City Co-Ordinator.


"3.1.1 The Sustainability Team has continued to be understaffed for a number of reasons during 2006-2007, with one member of staff, rather than three. This has clearly resulted in a reduction in outputs, but colleagues in other Directorates have covered some key areas originally allocated to the Team."

" In the absence of an education officer in the Sustainable City Team, work with schools other than the sub-regional Coombe event has made little progress." The biennial "Indicators for a Sustainable City" report was due to be published during 2005-2006 and was postponed to 2006-2007. This has again been delayed due to the lack of staff resource.

This understaffing has occured for two years running (since 1st July 2005, to be exact).

If they lost two-thirds of their small business advice staff, would they just not rehire for two years? If the council lost two-thirds of their youth workers, whoops, let's not rehire for a few years? It's scandalous. Why?


"With regard to sustainable procurement, the City Council has achieved National Procurement Strategy milestones around procurement's relationship to social, economic, and environmental issues. This also includes considering how the Council will encourage a diverse and competitive supply market, including small firms, social enterprises, ethnic minority businesses and the voluntary and community sector."

I suppose my problem is with the phrase "will encourage", as opposed to "require." We need to require council departments to procure from local ethically-oriented small businesses.


" The newly appointed Sustainable Communities Officer will be spending an estimated one day per week (on average) on fair trade activities."

A city with 300 000 people must have more than one council employee putting only 20% of their time towards promoting fair trade activities.


"IP1 Produce a draft Climate Change Strategy for Coventry for further input and consultation from the wider community. The draft Strategy will include an action plan to tackle the causes and effects of climate change in the context of the Council as service provider and estate manager. Following community consultation, it will ultimately include actions relevant to all sectors and individuals."

The report states that the target to achieve this objective is June 2007, and that is only for a consultation draft. Bear in mind that the council signed the Nottingham Declaration on climate change in October 2006.

So, eight months for a draft strategy.

If we leave it to the "grey" parties at the Council House, how long until we have an implemented, muscular and effective strategy that affects all council activity across all council directorates?


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