The Stop G4S campaign invites you to join them in a protest at the next Manchester City Council Executive meeting. The protest is from 8.30am to 10am in Albert Square. There will be placards, leaflets and a prisoner in a cage . Please make it if you can. At 9.45 people will go into the executive meeting.
The Stop G4S campaign is also asking Manchester residents to contact their councillor. A template letter is listed below.
I wish to update you regarding the petition put forward by Greater Manchester Community Branch and endorsed by GM Stop G4S Campaign and many other concerned organisations. (Petition attached). This petition has been rejected, as a petition, by Manchester Council.
However, we find ourselves in direct communication with the city solicitor Ms Treacy, not with any elected member of the Council. This leads us to believe that elected councillors may not be aware that Ms Treacy has formed the view that the petition is “inappropriate” and therefore that the petition will not be placed on the Council website. (Ms Treacy’s ruling is attached.) Ms Treacy says she has consulted leading Counsel (at council tax-payer expense), but she refuses to give us a copy of the ruling, quoting “legal privilege”.
Furthermore we have been told that any appeal has to be made directly to the city solicitor (this is Ms Treacy, who made the decision in the first place), because the post of Head of Democratic Services which is mentioned in the appeal procedure has in fact been disestablished.
I hope that as an elected member you are as dismayed by this decision and process as we are.
Where is the political, democratic, process in this exchange? Ms Treacy must be going beyond her brief, making political decisions rather than informing the political process.
I understand that as councillors you may need to take legal advice when making a decision but we as Manchester residents expect to be in dialogue with our elected representatives. We are not a firm of lawyers, but through the Union we could talk lawyer to lawyer if that is how decisions are made by Manchester Council. The question would then have to be asked as to what is the role of elected representatives.
Our aim in presenting the petition was to give elected councillors a chance to assess the strength of feeling of Manchester residents about contracting with G4S and then debate the issue. This process is going on in other cities where the elected representatives are willing to debate the issue and are looking at introducing ethical procurement policies as a result of this. In Manchester no debate has been allowed, the Council has hidden behind legal advice and now it seems has abdicated decision making to Ms Treacy.
Greater Manchester Unite Community Branch with the full support of all other organisations supporting the petition is appealing the decision.
The Stop G4S campaign will continue to campaign for Manchester Council not to have any future contracts with G4S.
We would meanwhile ask you to:
1) Question this decision by Ms Treacy and ask why putting this petition on the website is “inappropriate” and by what definition it is “inappropriate”.
2) Find out which committee will hear the appeal and when the appeal will be heard.
3) Ask that we be given the legal ruling from leading Counsel.
4) Reply to us with your own views on the petition process.
3) Support our campaign for Manchester Council to agree to signing no future contracts with G4S.
Thank you for your attention. In anticipation of a quick reply.