Updated: Friday, 22nd May 2020 @ 2:15pm

Computer says no: Manchester councillor blames 'carbon literacy’ training failure on password problems

Computer says no: Manchester councillor blames 'carbon literacy’ training failure on password problems

| By Kimberley Reader

Manchester City Council's failure to train more staff in 'carbon literacy' is down to logging on issues, a councillor has claimed.

A report issued by the council at the start of this year – at which time six councillors had completed the course – clearly stated that by June, 2014, 30 councillors would have been trained, but to date only ten out of 96 councillors have completed the training.

It seems one reason councillors cannot complete their training, which is split between one online and one face-to-face session, is because they simply cannot log on to the website.

Councillor Mark Hackett, who has now done the training, tried to log on to the site on a number of occasions over the last 12 months, and knows others who faced the same issues.

He said: “Once you could log on it was fine, it was good. I enjoyed it, it was useful, but logging on was difficult.

“I am sure we can overcome that difficulty because this is not the most difficult thing in the world to organise.”

The training was taken on as an environmental strategy by the council following a recommendation from the Economic Scrutiny Committee in May 2013.

Manchester Climate Monthly editor, Marc Hudson, said: “Why, eight months after officers assured councillors that the target was 30 councillors carbon literated by June 2014, is the whole process still an omnishambles?”

Cllr Hackett also expressed concern over something that should be a fairly straightforward process.

He said: “If the council can’t get something that simple right, what hope is there for the big stuff?”

Well, in spite of the hiccups and slow progress, there may be hope yet.

In their first report, the council suggested the training of all councillors would not be completed until 2016.

However, a report filed this month states under the heading ‘Additional Input Required’, stated the process will be finished in 2015, though Mr Hudson is unconvinced.

He said: “Additional Input Required is clearly bureaucratic code for ‘We have no ability or intention of doing this, and … um … LOOK, A SQUIRREL!!!’”

Cllr Hackett has urged more council members to do their bit and learn how they can best have a positive impact on the environment and keep Manchester city green.

“It is extremely important. It is a basic minimum thing members should do,” he said.

“This is something that is very important to me and has been an important part of my personal and political life for years.”

Carbon literacy training is just one of the methods adopted by the council in a bid to make the city greener.

A Manchester City Council spokesperson explained: "The Council's Climate Change Action Plan details how we are working to reduce our direct carbon emissions by 41%, by 2019/20. 

“The delivery of carbon literacy training to members of staff and councillors is an action point within this plan.”

The council did assure MM that although only ten councillors have completed their training many more are partway through the course, making their aims and promises well within reach.

"To date, ten members have completed their online learning, while a further 32 members have registered to undertake this course,” a spokesman for the council said.

“Twenty members have attended a face-to-face training session, with a further ten members booked to attend face-to-face sessions in the coming weeks. 

“Further sessions are planned through to the end of the year, to ensure that all members have the opportunity to attend."

Image courtesy of BBC, via YouTube, with thanks.