Manchester City Council

Power. What power?

Had to make do with BBC’s disappointingly brief highlights of last night's City game - hope they improve when BBC Sport move to the Quays next year. Couldn't go to the match as I had a meeting in the ward last night and I think I know where my priorities lie.

Earlier I'd been in Wythenshawe for what I suppose would be described as a staff development session as part of a programme called Connect. I've often pointed out to my Councillor colleagues that we can pass all the motions and resolutions we like in the Council Chamber, nothing will happen unless the people who work for us make it happen, and how well services are delivered is largely down to their skills, enthusiasm and commitment. Just barking out orders doesn't deliver. Indeed using bullying tactics no more works in motivating Council employees than it does Premier League footballers, though the latter are slightly better rewarded (I didn't say paid). The best way of getting things done is to make sure employees are absolutely clear what is expected of them, that they understand why they are doing what they are doing, that they feel they've been able to contribute to the thinking and planning, and that they can see the work contributing to meeting their own personal needs and aspirations. That does mean that if we want our employees to give of their best (and we do), we need to give them some time to think about and talk about with colleagues where the Council is going and what their own role within that is. That's what Connect does. It brings together Council colleagues from different departments and different levels in the hierarchy to both listen and be listened to. Perhaps something we don't do enough off.

A moderately early start today with the Overview and Scrutiny Co-ordinating Committee but as the meeting lasted barely ten minutes I'm not sure it was worth getting out of bed for; a view that I'm sure is shared by my colleague Councillor Mary Watson, who doesn't like early starts at the best of times. Hope to be done by around 8.30/9pm this evening after I've spoken at and been interrogated at the FC Utd AGM. We're still working with the club to identify a site for a new stadium and to put together the finance needed to build it and I'm confident we will get there. Think I'll still be hanging on to my Eastlands season ticket though!

There are 34 responses to “Power. What power?”

  1. Alex Says:

    Really appreciated your appearance at the AGM. Hope the positive response from everyone there conveyed the willingness of everyone concerned to do whatever it takes to make this work. We have 2,000 plus behind this now, once we have a permanent home in Manchester that figure will double and continue to grow. This is good for Manchester on so many levels, we can make this work!

  2. Peter wharton Says:

    Appreciate your input at the FC United AGM and the positive comments you made at or meeting. Don't forget that we are a broad church and if you want to watch a team on the up you will be made most welcome at FCUM. You might also see the odd trophy won and lets face it thats something you haven't seen in 34 years LOL. Thanks again for your on going support.

  3. Manchester City Council Staff Member Says:

    Fantastic to hear ,as a member of staff that works under a few people who " bark out orders " and use "bullying tactics " this article is quite a helping hand in helping to beat some of the bosses that use this tactic , it helps to know the leader of the council is of the same mindset as the staff .

  4. Sue Donym Says:

    If you want to motivate council staff, why don't you have all their jobs regraded so that many members of staff lose thousands of pounds a year. You should probably limit this to just those earning 40k per year or less...Sorry I've just been told that this is exactly what has just happened. Also, for those with the impression that council staff earn a fortune, I manage 10 members of staff with a multi million pound budget and earn approximately 20k per year. Has MCC never heard of Maslow's hiercahy of needs, money is not a motivating factor, but becomes a demotivating factor when taken away. You can consider my (productive and cost saving!!) days of employment with MCC numbered.

  5. Richard Leese Says:

    I assume Sue is talking about the impact of single status on her and her team. This has been a difficult process and I suspect that the people who negotiated the national agreement over a decade ago are probably wondering why they did. There were always going to be winners and losers in any council-wide reappraisal of pay levels that at the end would meet our obligations under Equality legislation we are fully supportive of. We've tried to minimise the number of losers and the extent of their losses by for example job re-design, and a scheme that was supposed to be cost neutral is costing Council Tax payers several million pounds a year more on the Council's salaries bill. The only other thing I can offer is sympathy and a reminder that as this is affecting every local authority, the grass isn't necessarily greener elsewhere.

  6. Sue Donym Says:

    I appreciate the thought. Unfortunately Tesco do not accept sympathy and reminders. I know it isn't your fault but I cannot see anything other than skilled staff leaving the council. Salary costs will be driven down but so will customer service and service delivery which, as a resident and a staff member, is a very worrying prospect. The worst part is that this single status thing is implemented without even interviewing staff by some clueless and faceless malcontent.

  7. Ian Says:

    Richard I'd like to know if all other local Councils like Manchester have taken those who earn more than 40K out of the single status?

  8. MCC over 40yrs Says:

    Well leader it's good to know you don't really have any knowledge of of how poor you management is.As you come down the lines of managers so the bullying and the little Hitler's appear who can make your life a misery I've been ther in my 40yrs.And so to single status or JE whatever,myself and my wife 2 JE's 2 down grades marvelous just as I'm looking towards my pension.But not to worry I'm on protected pay and if i'm not successful in our restructure you'll redeploy me to some other lower graded job (I can't wait) But's what's this I see on the horizon Manchester new scheme to cheer up long serving staff even more, if you want to improve your prospects and perhaps better yourself lose your extra days holidays for your long service go down 3or4 days another morale boost for the staff. Well I could go on and on about the rubbish flexitime scheme etc. But I'll just finish with this I can remember a Tory Council for a number of years and even they didn't treat us like this. look forward to a reply Richard

  9. Ivor Grievance Says:

    I for one, think that the Single Status and Service Improvement Program have been handled in such a manner that they are an example to all. Unfortunately they are an example of exactly how not to do things. Throughout the whole process staff have been given misinformation, received emails which need responding to within 24 hours to signify your acceptance of terms (people do take leave), had to take tests to prove they can do the jobs that they've been doing for years etc etc. Staff have recently received new contracts within the post, yet I do not know of anyone who was informed of this prior to finding the contract on their doormat. How long does it take to send an email to let people know things before they happen? If the aims of the single status were to create disharmony amongst the workforce and a general disillusionment of life at the Council, then it has definitely been a resounding success. Your 'umble serf Ivor

  10. Manchester City Council Employee Says:

    I fully understand and empathise that staff feel disheartened and disillusioned with the changes and re-structure of the council, however s an employee of MCC my genuine concern is that the council are not addressing the bullying and intimidation of staff that has become the hidden culture of the council although it is quick to promote "zero tolerence". Maybe our leader and senior managers shhould incorporate the irradication of bullying as part of the restructure and corporate changes to ensure that this unacceptable and demeaning culture is erradicated once and for all.

  11. Jon Redfern, Head of Corporate Personnel Says:

    By other 'local Councils' I am assuming that Ian is referring to the other nine Councils that are part of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA). The organisational structures and Job Evaluation process adopted for each Council differ, and each organisation has implemented Single Status in their own way, but most have limited their scheme to around the £40k mark. At Manchester we have recently extended the Job Evaluation process above the £40k threshold and we will continue to ensure that we review our processes to meet our obligations around equal pay.

    Manchester City Council is committed to maintaining a positive culture in communicating change to our employees. There are mechanisms in place to ensure that employees are included in this communication process. Feedback from the last Employee Survey would seem to demonstrate that these mechanisms are effective and that our employees are generally satisfied with the support provided to them by the Council. 82% of our employees rate the Council as a good employer and 80% believe staffs views and concerns are listened to.

    We do not tolerate nor condone bullying or intimidation in any form and, should an employee experience this type of behaviour there are robust procedures in place to ensure that appropriate action is taken and that these issues are dealt with in an objective and transparent manner.

  12. Ian Cognito Says:

    Mr Redfern, thanks for joining the discourse, it helps to shed some light on where the 'Corporate Speak' comes from.  I find it bemusing to constantly hear terms such as 'fair and transparent process', whilst for the majority, this has been anything but.  At what stage were staff informed about the £40k cut-off level? Staying on that point, surely a a truly fair process would judge each job and person their specific merits, rather than naively assuming that all staff earning above £40k are without fault and wholy efficient.  Who made this decision?...oh yes, the +£40k earners.

    Whilst you're here, can you explain why there hasn't been an official communication issued to staff regarding the backdated cost of living rise of 1%.  Staff gratefully received this within our last pay packet, yet nobody was exactly sure what agreement had been reached.

    Emails are much like many of the sub-management workers....cheap, efficient and effective.

    Ciao, Ian

  13. fed up Says:

    I believe someone up there has mistaken the word 'transparent' for the word 'opaque'. The JE and restructure in my department has been confusing, frequently erroneous, badly managed and riddled with buzz words and management-speak. Consult with staff all you like, communicate as much information as you like - it won't change the fact that I'm doing the same job I was doing 7 months ago for £2.5k less a year. Luckily my baby son can't quite understand English yet, which should make it slightly easier to tell him that Christmas is cancelled this year.

  14. Cheerio MCC Says:

    80% of respondents believe that the council is a good employer (not 80% of staff). It is fantastic that all the directors are now going to be subject to the JE (you didn't say this but it was certainly implied or did you simply mean that the new mark is £42k). What I would like to now is, following the JE will the councils salary bill be higher or lower? I believe that the chief exec earns just less than the PM so there is no way that the salary related to this post can be justified under the current JE rules. Also, one final point, the JE appeals process is a complete joke, run by under qualified, over paid lackies. If the JE rules were applied to the JE appeals team, none of them would be able to afford to pay attention.

  15. lazyitis Says:

    What havebeen people's experiences of appealing against the JE result? As someone who is going through this process at the moment (an apppeal) It'd be interesting to hear if anybody had any success?

  16. dave Says:

    What did the Unions think would happen when they agreed to this. Did they really think the Local Authorities would increase the wages of female staff. If so they should consider their
    positions. This has gave the council a nice way of saving money thats what its all about, nothing to do with equal pay. As Mister cameroun has said any new Government will look at all CE's salary's as he thinks that they should not recive more than the PM roll on that day.

  17. City Council Employee Says:

    I have worked for Manchester City Council for over 20 years. I was already proud to work for the City Council but over the last 2-3 years work loads have become unmanageable, Managers have become unbearable, barking out their orders and having absolute no consideration for their staff. Is it any wonder that morale is at its lowest. Job evaluation has reduced everyones wage apart from senior managers. I am ashamed of my employer, MCC is a disgrace. You rely on staff good will to run your business, shame on you.

  18. Cheerio MCC Says:

    Re Lazyitis (point 15). I can't be too specific here but I can honestly say that I have never had such a one sided conversation in all of my life. The rules are changed to suit the appeals team, facts are ignored and decisions are simnply thrown out with little understanding of their impact. Any queries you have will be met with a scripted 'you can take your appeal to stage 2'. I queried a couple of key facts and received absolutely no answers. The decision was taken by the team with literally no knowledge of me, my job, my role, my service etc. I personally look forward to the end of the JE process so that this no-mark, inept team will be in the dole queue where they all belong.

  19. er7c Says:

    re:lazyitis, yup! we did appeal, it was like Hello!! and banging your head against a brick wall, no-one understood what we were talking about and these were the highly paid people who had just interviewed us......like the previous repondant said "whatever were the unions thinking about???

  20. fed up Says:

    i was 'assimilated' to grade 3 back in april. my pay protection kicked in from 1/4/09. for the last seven months i have done exactely the same job i was doing before and only began working to my new job description a couple of weeks ago. i am still doing my old job, which is a full time job, but i am now doing my grade 3 duties as well. in effect i have been given more work to do for less money. i have queried the pay protection with personnel as i feel it should take effect from the date i began doing my new job, and i also believe i should be given this year's cost of living increase and protected at the 2009/2010 spinal column point for the top of scale 4. personnel have fobbed me off with some half-baked answer about PP taking effect from the date i was 'assimilated'. i've consulted with the union and it appears that this is actually unlawful. Can the Leader explain why staff are expected to be treated unlawfully by their employer and STILL perform to the best of their ability?

  21. Richard leese Says:

    Clearly some people didn't read my earlier comment.Single status didn't save the council a penny but cost it several million pounds a year on the wages bill

  22. Disgruntled Too Says:

    Why engage in a process that was so costly then? Would it not have just simply been easier to match UP staffing costs. It would probably have cost less in the long run. And wouldn't result in staff not being quite so resentful. Not really seen any comments here praising the council's approach - so just throwing some ideas out there.

  23. fed up MCC worker Says:

    Come on Mr Leese, who are you kidding? Pussy footing around with your leaders blog, trying to make everything sound wonderful. The top and bottom of it is, MCC is trying to be more business like, no business worth anything would treat its hardworking, loyal staff with such contempt. Stop spending money on worthless, useless members of society on crazy Council schemes, it's a waste of money. Have more consideration for hardworking staff. Stop putting little hitlers into management posts and make these managers be accountable for their actions.

  24. dodgy statistics Says:

    Mr Redfern, 82% of staff who responded said that of our employees rate the Council as a good employer and 80% believe staffs views and concerns are listened to. That's 82% and 80% of the half dozen staff that responded, I may be exaggerating here, but not all staff responded, so your statistics are not worth the paper they are printed on.

  25. Angry & Annoyed Says:

    Like many of you out there, I have also been down graded along with the so called 3 year protection, however as a job sharer I was asked by management to increase my hours when my partner retierd, (which was before any interviews had taken place). After many discussions, I agreed to increase my hours from J/S to 4 days a week. I was then asked to wait until the JE process had been completed and my job & the section I worked in, had moved to its new department. I finally moved on at the beginning of Oct 09, and started my new hours on 1st Nov 09, I found out a few days later when my new contract arrived at home, that I have now lost my protection, and have been down graded straight away, when I questioned this I was told that as my new take home pay on the lower grade with the increased hours is higher than my old pay on J/S, that I automatically go on the new grade and that this is council policy. As you can imagine I am very angry about this and after numerous discussions with Management & Personnel to try and resolve the unfareness of the situation (without success) I am now seriously considering returning to my J/S position, which will of course be at greater expense to MCC, as they will have to employ another member of staff to fill in the vacant half of my post, who they will have to train, pay annual leave, sickness, N/I and possibly pension to. I don't believe that this policy is cost effective and feel that MCC have lost their common sence!!!

  26. angry too Says:

    Seems to be lots of contention about the staff survey, how many members of staff responded?

  27. fed up Says:

    i take it that the leader cannot offer an answer to my question.

  28. Richard Leese Says:

    First of all to Fed Up, I and the City Council do not support us acting unlawfully in any way. Secondly, regarding single status, the impact on employees has been that 19.53% are worse off, 44.12% have stayed the same and 35.95% are better off. I still think we have done better than most local authorities, but at the same time I recognise there will be a fair few disgruntled employees. The attitudes displayed by one or two of the comments tell me that for some people, the sooner they leave the better, for them and for Manchester. For others, and I suspect the vast majority of others, as an employer we need to provide the support and training to give those who have lost out the chance to get back to at least where they were. Finally,it's obviously impossible to tell how representaive comments are on a blog but even a couple of little Hitler managers is two too many. People clearly have a responsibility to manage their own behaviour but the Council also needs to make sure it has given all our managers the tools to do their jobs in more appropriate ways. If you are yelling and bawling all the time, barking out orders, you are failing.

  29. Cheerio MCC Says:

    The atitudes displayed by one or two?
    Do you go out of your way to be patronising or does it come with the job?
    I continue to work to the same high standard that I have always done and continue, despite my huge grievances to save the council money. When money is taken away, it becomes a demotivating factor, this is basic management knowledge. To get upset with people for following their basic physcological instincts is ridiculous. I will be leaving the council following 0 consultations with the JE team. That is why people are upset, I haven't even met one of the JE team but they saw fit to drop my wage. How is this just? How on earth is this legal? So yes, it will be better for me to leave, but better for Manchester? I don't think so, I love this city and until my departure will give the residents (not you or my boss) my very best.

  30. Fed Up Says:

    If you don't support the council acting unlawfully then do something about it! I can't afford to leave my job because I have a family to provide for. In effect I am trapped and will have to suck it up for the time being but I reserve the right to complain as loudly as possible as this whole rotten process!

  31. Ann Onn Says:

    Do you class the Admin Level 1 (who have lost the final increment of their old grade 3) as having stayed the same? A level one Admin Officer lost approximately £400.00 because their final spinal column point was taken away. In a small service of 15 people, 6 have stayed the same, 9 have lost money. If the grade 3's are classed as not having lost money (which is factually innaccurate) then the figures would be a litle closer to the 20% quoted.

  32. Miss Noted Says:

    Read some of the comments below and found it most interesting. Just reading some of what the 'people' had to say and there are some lessons to be learned here. It’s a good platform for the MCC workers to air their views, which can in some instances, can be used as a learning tool. Senior Managers and directors need to know how their employees are really feeling. When it comes to money, it is not something to be taken lightly, particularly when it is at a loss to hard working people. We have to do all that we can to show understanding and sympathy; we are after all living in very difficult times and money plays a big part in all of that.

    I must say that I was most disappointed with your remark, Mr Leese, "the sooner they leave the better, for them and for Manchester." It really was, as one writer said on the blog, a patronising remark, one I feel you have used with little sympathy and clear understanding when it is very clear the frustration that the writer(s) are showing is real. I too have lost a grade so I also lose out financially and to add insult to injury my responsibility has increased! MCC are getting more out of me for less money! What do i do about it, well I stay and see if my role matches my new job description and take it from there. My recommendation to those recently Job Evaluated, keep clear notes of the work you do so that you can make a comparison to your job description because that may be the only way you may be in a position to challenge it at a later stage.

  33. fed up Says:

    I'd like to add to the above comment by saying that anyone who feels they have been unfairly treated should approach the union. i've raised my issues with Unison and I'm now seeing some progress in having my PP corrected. This has the added benefit of confirming that the JE was wrong and that I have, as I knew already, been treated like a nobody by MCC. Investors in People...I don't think so!!

  34. One Of Many Says:

    I can only write a comment and not an essay as is really deserving. But where to start? First off, 'Connect' seems to have collapsed even before the process was finished... I for one am happy about that because I simply cannot spare these wasted hours because I am literally run ragged every single day by the volume of work I am expected to carry out. There isn't room for an essay here. Let's just say that I have been an employee of the Council for a very long time. Nothing to do with single status, but following a Departmental restructure a few years ago (which others are now experiencing) I lost my professional status, my professional title, several thousands in pay, and a reduced pension to look forward to as a consequence - my reward for decades of really dedicated professional service to the public, and mostly employed by MCC. Everything I'd worked towards, literally erased overnight - thank you Sir Richard. Feel proud as you head MCC. In my area of work, citizens of Manchester are so badly served by un-professionals, literally unqualified to do the job - and here today, off tomorrow as they literally cannot cope with the stress because they haven't the qualification/ training. Good hard working tax paying citizens of Manchester assume they are being helped to resolve their problems with appropriately qualified and knowledgeable officers... LOL!!! Members themselves are so very unaware of 'professional officers' actual lack of real qualifications and experience, they really ought to ask more questions, or dare they??? On a personal level I have never ever been so totally depressed in my work. Totally stressed out, professionally and managerially unsupported, and in anticipation at any time of a 'right good rollocking' if I make any 'mistake' notwithstanding workloads, or miss a service target by a much as a day, even when I'm very clearly overstetched - it's never acknowledged of course, else MCC have failed to take appropriate action, and MCC managers, once appointed, whatever their lack of skill, experience and management qualifications can never ever ever be wrong - maybe that is where MCC are failing - REAL challenging audit and scrutiny of qualifications and experience by HR of proposed managers, BEFORE final appointment. My department actually employ another whole TEAM of 'data quality' staff to check 'performance' - who actually offer nothing, zilch, nada, to actual real delivery of service to customers, but avidly feed hungry managers with performance data, absorbed as if it were life or death. REAL service providers, REAL PEOPLE, who are the front line staff interfacing with the public, and not just computers, are working daily in literal fear of their line managers, who we know take their lead from their managers, who are being pushed in turn by their managers to 'bully' front line staff IF NECESSARY to deliver their agendas, especially if that is what Members are perceived to 'want'. PLEASE don't insult us with platitudes like "we take bullying very seriously...". Sir Richard, I'm not having a go at you personally as I actually believe that you really have no idea of what the actual reality of working for MCC in some departments really is like - it's absolutely horrid. But maybe you are heading a current culture in MCC where the management encourages bashing the workers to 'perform' to meet data targets, and I really do mean bashing. Achieving targets is one thing, but at the expense of making the workforce really really stressed out and miserable is another. How will that benefit our citizens?

 

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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