Online Ward Forums can enable communities to discuss Covid vaccination – let’s use them for the Council’s climate emergency plans too

A week ago we said ‘During Covid, Council and communities need to be talking to each other, but Birmingham’s Ward Forum system is broken. There are supposed to be Ward Forums in each of the 69 Wards, meeting 6 times a year with their councillors. But in 2020 21 Ward Forums never met at all, even online.’

But Lozells is one ward that is showing how it should be done. Lozells held 6 Ward Forums in 2020, in February, March, May, July, October, and in November an ‘Emergency On-Line Ward Meeting in response to the rise in Covid 19 Cases in the ward’.

Now Councillor Waseem Zaffar, the ward councillor, has organised a special online meeting on Thursday 26 January to discuss the Covid Vaccination programme for Lozells (though anyone can take part).

Lozells

Lozells Councillor, Waseem Zaffar MBE will be joined by three special guests to discuss the Covid Vaccination programme for Lozells and to share valuable information relating to the vaccine. The three guests are Pip Mayo (Managing Director – West Birmingham), Dr Masood Ahmed (Medical Director – Black Country & West Birmingham CCGs) and Dr Ian Sykes (Chair of the Sandwell & West Birmingham CCG). We will be taking comments and questions from those watching during the programme.

Communities need Ward Forums to work with the Council on the Covid emergency – and on the Climate Emergency

The Council has just published its plans to tackle the Climate Emergency – the 62-page Route to Zero Call to Action report is on the Council’s CMIS website for 12 January. The chair of the Council’s Climate Emergency Task Force is Councillor Waseem Zaffar. He said at its December meeting that ‘After approval we need to think how we engage with the public and stakeholders’.

Up till now there has been very little opportunity for participation by the citizens of Birmingham in the whole Climate Emergency planning process since it began in June 2019. That is why campaigners in Climate Action Network West Midlands have been calling for special online meetings of Ward Forums to be held across the city for local residents to discuss the Council’s climate plans and to put forward their own views. But this was rejected by the Council’s Climate Emergency Task Force.

We say: Councillor Zaffar has shown in Lozells how Ward Forums across the city could tackle key issues with the local community – now do the same for the Climate Emergency!

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