Manchester City Council

Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 20th June, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Antechamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension

Contact: Rachel McKeon 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

20.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 145 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision

 

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2019 as a correct record.

 

21.

Petition for Debate - Add Public Space Protection Orders around all abortion-providing clinics to end harassment of service users and staff pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit

 

This report provides the Committee with the details of a petition to add Public Space Protection Orders around all abortion-providing clinics.  It also outlines the procedure for the Committee to debate this petition in accordance with the Council’s Petitions Scheme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit which provided details of a petition to add Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) around all abortion-providing clinics.  The report also outlined the procedure for the Committee to debate the petition in accordance with the Council’s Petitions Scheme.

 

The Committee welcomed Eabha Doherty from Sister Supporter Manchester who outlined the reasons for submitting the petition.  She reported that so far two other local authorities – Ealing Council and Richmond Council – had introduced PSPOs around abortion-providing clinics in their areas.  She emphasised that women should be able to access health care facilities to which they were legally entitled without harassment or intimidation and while retaining their anonymity.  She informed Members that her organisation had been collecting evidence of harassment of service users and staff around the Marie Stopes Clinic in Fallowfield for 18 months and that the Marie Stopes Clinic had also gathered evidence.  She outlined some of the tactics used by the protesters, including carrying placards showing graphic images, approaching and filming women trying to access the clinic and spreading unfounded claims about the health effects of having an abortion.  She advised that, as well as having a traumatic effect on women using the clinic, this behaviour also impacted on local residents who had been living with this problem for many years.  She reported that the women harassed often did not report the harassment to the police, due to feelings of shame, and stated that the protesters were targeting vulnerable women with the aim of stopping them from going ahead with their own choice.

 

The Strategic Director (Neighbourhoods) was then invited to respond to the issues raised.  She outlined the purpose of PSPOs and the Home Office guidance, highlighting that they had to be used responsibly and proportionately.  She acknowledged the issues that Ms Doherty had raised and reported that mediation had been tried to resolve this issue but that this had not been successful.  She reported that the Council now had significant evidence of the issues around abortion-providing clinics, including evidence provided by the petition organisers.  She outlined the steps involved in making PSPOs, informing Members that officers were engaging with the Council’s Legal Service with a view to undertaking a consultation on this issue. 

 

The Statutory Deputy Leader expressed her support for women to be able to access health care to which they were legally entitled without fear of harassment.  She drew Members’ attention to the motion that the Council had passed in January 2018 which, she advised, demonstrated the Council’s support for this; however, she reported that there were some challenges relating to the implementation of PSPOs around clinics.  She reported that the Council was committed to addressing these challenges and outlined what the Council had done so far, including speaking to groups on both sides, as well as local residents and clinic staff.  She informed Members that the Council was in contact with Ealing Council, which had already introduced buffer zones around abortion-providing clinics  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Peterloo Memorial Design pdf icon PDF 234 KB

Report of the Director of Strategic Development

 

This report provides an overview of the design process and the work undertaken as part of the design of the Peterloo Memorial.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Director of Strategic Development which provided an overview of the design process and the work undertaken as part of the design of the Peterloo Memorial.

 

The main points and themes within the report included:

 

  • The inception of the project;
  • The design formation; and
  • The current position.

 

The Lead Member for Disability commented that the Our Manchester Strategy Outcomes at the front of the report did not mention equalities and suggested that the Committee might want to give consideration to how equalities could be incorporated into this.  She informed Members that she supported the creation of a memorial to the Peterloo Massacre but that it had to be for everyone.  She advised Members that this issue should have been identified and addressed earlier in the process and that it was not acceptable for non-disabled people to decide that a ramp which enabled partial access to the memorial enabled ‘meaningful participation’ for wheelchair users.  She expressed concern that the process through which the memorial had been developed had failed to ensure accessibility and called for a review of the Council’s processes, as well as training for Members and officers, to ensure that the issue of accessibility was central in future work.  She questioned why there was no reference to the social model of disability in the documents and whether an equality impact assessment had been carried out.  She also questioned whether there was any ongoing dialogue taking place between the Council and disabled people’s groups and advised that it was important for this to happen.  She emphasised the importance of pro-actively consulting with the public, including disabled people’s groups, rather than putting a consultation on the Council’s website and assuming that was sufficient.

 

Brian Hilton from the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP) reported that his organisation supported the creation of a fitting memorial to the Peterloo Massacre but that a fitting memorial could not involve the segregation, discrimination and humiliation of disabled people.  He stated that the consultation had been flawed and that the consultation period had not been long enough.  He reported that the campaign to make the memorial fully accessible had been widely supported, including by local, national and international disabled people’s organisations, by the group which had campaigned to have the memorial built and by a number of high profile individuals including the singer-songwriter and political activist Billy Bragg.  He commented that the Peterloo Memorial had been described as a memorial that people could interact with in a number of ways, including viewing it, climbing on it and speaking from it, but that disabled people could not do this and that, in its current design, the memorial was a metaphor for segregation, with disabled people at the bottom being talked down to.  He advised Members that what was important was not completing the memorial in its current form by the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre but getting it right by ensuring that it was accessible for all.

 

Mark  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Overview Report pdf icon PDF 328 KB

Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit

 

This report provides members with details of key decisions that fall within the Committee’s remit and an update on actions resulting from the Committee’s recommendations. The report also includes the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee is asked to amend as appropriate and agree.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit was submitted. The overview report contained a list of key decisions yet to be taken within the Committee’s remit, responses to previous recommendations and the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee was asked to approve.

 

The Chair requested that the Committee receive an update report on the Peterloo Memorial at its September meeting and that it review progress on PSPOs around abortion-providing clinics in six months’ time.  He informed the Committee that the proposed Terms of Reference for the Advice Services Review would also come to a future meeting. 

 

Decision

 

To note the report and agree the work programme, subject to the above amendments.