Business: Why use 1 form, Manchester City Council, when 8 will do??

‘Do as we say, not as we do’ appears to be the mantra of Manchester City Council this morning in my office.

Manchester City Council have made a strong stand on ‘green’ issues and according to Richard Leese’s blog ( ) they even have a grand title for this commitment:

” ‘A Certain Future’ – the name of Manchester’s Climate Change Action Plan, which was unveiled at a Friends of the Earth organised event last night at Manchester Central.”

Mr Leese ” also made it clear that the City Council is absolutely committed to a shared stakeholder approach to tackling climate change, sharing responsibility, sharing solutions, sharing the benefits. The big question of the night, given this was an audience of the committed, was how do we persuade the vast majority of not so committed individuals in the city to sign up to making their contribution. We’re not going to do it by brow-beating and bullying – we have to make energy saving easy for people and show that it is something they can benefit from. If you want to know more go to but don’t expect a weather forecast.”

Tut tut to all those not so committed individuals in the city, those who waste energy and materials and don’t tackle climate change head on and with responsibility.

Errrrr, hang on. Shouldn’t they get their own house in order before they start preaching to the rest of us?

I use Enterprise Manchester Partnership Ltd to order skips, “an innovative public private partnership, joint venture company between Enterprise and Manchester City Council” i.e we used to have council employees to do stuff like empty bins, now the council use our money to pay these companies to do the stuff they used to do. That’s how I understand it anyway.

I order skips from them on an ad hoc basis, for various different properties as and when needed. As a user of skips, I now have to fill in a Duty of Care form once a year, to make sure I don’t poison anyone with toxic waste….. So that’ll be one form, one signature, one envelope, one stamp, job done. You’d think.

Except we’ve had had 8 letters, with 8 envelopes, 8 x 36p stamps, each containing three A4 sheets, and 8 self addressed envelopes, each referencing a different address, one-off addresses where the skips were placed in the last 2 years. Even though they will never be there again and Enterprise know that. So I called them up to ask why. “It’s the computer’s fault,” I was told, “It’s a computer error, it thinks each of those properties still has the skip there.”

Eh? No, it doesn’t, I said, it knows there is no skip there, otherwise you’d be chasing me asking for your skip back! It’s not a computer error, it’s how the computer’s been programmed. I asked the girl, don’t you think this is very wasteful and that it’s wrong that a company in partnership with the city council is wasting money and resources like this. And that’s partly tax-payers money right? If you are sending out repeat letters like this to every one of your skip addresses that would equate to hundreds and hundreds of pounds? “Oh yes” she agreed “I agree with you, it is a waste, I’m a taxpayer too.”

Bit ironic as this is their bumf on paper recycling haha

She suggested that she go into my account and change the setting on it to only generate one Duty of Care form, but surely only one should be sent to every company to cover ALL their skips?? What a bloody daft system. Which we are partly paying for.

Don’t even get me started on council tax bills for landlords….do I really need the 376 booklets which come out with each bill EVERY time I get a demand for an empty flat (and anyway, why am I paying for council services on a flat that’s empty…..?)?

My shredder is wheezing with the strain of shredding unnecessary crap generated by Manchester City Council’s finest, Mr Leese, clearly you need to brow beat and bully your own partners and departments into carbon neutral submission before you take on the rest of the world.

One thought on “Business: Why use 1 form, Manchester City Council, when 8 will do??

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