A call for transparency, consultation and accountability.
Bristol City Council has set up a private limited company to run the 2015 programme, operated by a legally constituted Board. As the former Manager of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership I feel an especial duty to push for greater transparency and accountability – both of which have been widely acknowledged, including by members of the Board, as minimal to date. We entered the award to accelerate progress, more so than to celebrate achievements so far, leading to the conclusion that 2015 should be primarily about legacy; a legacy that must be owned and shared by the people who live and work in Bristol. The first step in creating that sense of ownership is in grave danger of being missed through a lack of meaningful consultation with the very people and community organisations who worked so hard to lay the foundations for winning in the first place.
Therefore, based upon a series of conversations I have had with the many and various people around Bristol who have a stake in the European Green Capital award, I have prepared a set of questions for the Board. I remain totally committed to the success of the year and will do everything I can to help; it is in this spirit that I ask the Board of the 2015 Company to consider and answer publicly the following:
- In 2013, the BGCP and BCC were successful in their bid to become European Green Capital. To safeguard the interests of the residents of Bristol (the key stakeholders in the award) the BGCP and BCC operated a publicly accountable process. Minutes from meetings were available and transparent /democratic decision making was preserved. The delivery of the Green Capital year is the responsibility of a private limited company; Bristol 2015. To date, no meeting minutes or decision making processes have been made publicly available by the 2015 Company
- Is it the intention of the Board for all or some discussions and decisions to remain confidential?
- If so, why and how will it be decided what is released to the public?
- Please clarify what the 2015 programme consultation process is.
- What is the scope for residents and community groups, to read, review and comment on the 2015 programme before it is finalised?
- If so, when and for how long will the consultation period be?
- As a result of the City of Bristol and its residents being given the Green Capital award, the Government allocated significant financial resource to the Project, to stand alongside funds raised locally or through business sponsorship. Please clarify:
- Where the allocation of budget is documented, specifically:
i. whether the document is available to the public
ii. if it isn’t yet available, when it will be, and,
iii. how often it is updated;
- What proportion of the public monies have to date, and will by the end of the project, have been spent on salaries, consultancy and administration compared to what will be given to residents and communities, i.e. what is the percentage governance?
- How much each constituent element of the programme is going to cost?
- Is Bristol 2015 going to be subject to an evaluation of its outcomes?
- If not, why not?
- If yes, how?
i. What baseline information is being used
ii. How will the long term effect of the 2015 programme be ascertained
iii. what operational metrics are being used by the Board to ensure that public monies are being spent efficiently and the team is being managed effectively?
- Bristol entered the award to accelerate its long term performance against the EU Award’s criteria.
- What decision making process is being used to ensure that 2015 events have a positive impact on the ‘green’ metrics of the city?
- How will the Board ensure that the 2015 programme will provide demonstrable legacy?
- Please clarify what procurement rules are being used by the 2015 Company
- Where are the tenders being published?
- What are the criteria?