Manchester City Council

Savage

That's the word used by the Manchester Evening News today to describe cuts proposals the City Council published this morning - and they're not exaggerating.

As a result of the government's grant settlement, the City Council has to reduce its annual budget by £109m next year, rising to £170m the year after. That can't be achieved by efficiencies or by shaving a bit here, a bit there. It means real cuts. Like me, people will be shocked and angered by what we are having to do to balance the budget but we have been put in a dreadful position where the only choices are as to what cuts we make. We are seeking public views on the proposals which can be viewed in full at:

 www.manchester.gov.uk/budgetproposals and comments and questions can be sent to: budget.enquiries@manchester.gov.uk

Please remember though that we can only put something back into the budget if we take something else out.

There are 165 responses to “Savage”

  1. Ice Says:

    I do like the idea of public proposals and it is exactly the way it should be. However will our views be listened to and actioned?? Opinion poles are always broadcasted but have never figured out what they achieve apart from debate.

  2. Aaron H Says:

    Ice

    Given the plausibility of some of your previous comments, probably not.

    This is a sh*t day.

  3. ShyCat Says:

    Public sector workers in Egypt are getting 15% pay rise... how did they get to that? Hmmm - think we can learn something from them - again.

  4. John Shiers Says:

    You still have a choice Richard. You and your colleagues can resign from running the political administration and campaign from the backbenches with trade unions, community groups, anti-cuts organisations and concerned individuals for Manchester and against these cuts. Tell me how, given the scale of the cuts being proposed, you are going to become anything other than servants of the Government in presiding over the destruction of everything that your colleagues and you personally have built up since your became Leader in 1996?

  5. Jimmy Says:

    Resigning would be an easy way out - it's far easier critisising the decisions of others and far harder to stay and take the hard decisions in the best interests of Manchester.

  6. Bruce Robinson Says:

    I agree with John Spiers. Labour councillors should not be implementing Tory cuts but leading the fight against them. Otherwise you become part of the problem.

  7. Andrew Says:

    It is disgraceful that the Government should impose these disproportionate cuts on Manchester. I'm grateful to the Councillors and officers who have struggled with these painful choices on our behalf.

  8. Anon Says:

    Sir Richard, you know what elese is savage? The Council's treatment of fixed term and temp contracted workers, who still haven't been told where they stand in relation to redundancy and redeployment. While the packages offered to the majority of staff are indeed generous there has been no public mention of the fact that hundreds of fixed/temp staff are still in the dark. Why wasn't the eligibility and legal implications for these staff considered long ago when VER/VS were first considered?

  9. steve Says:

    well ive a few things to say to sir richard,many thanks for the new year,we have a 8wk premature baby my partner works or worked at levenshulme pool,the knock on effect we cannot offrd to rent so we will all be home less richard leese have you a spare bedroom as you have mucked up big time,the worst part is leese you have the cheek to go to abraham moss pool but not close that one

  10. mar Says:

    Dear Mr Leese, Will you show solidarity with the City by taking a pay cut. Please give a direct answer. Please respond to this post - we are waiting to hear from you.

  11. MailToTheChief Says:

    Hmm, angry enough to send that knighthood back...?

  12. IceT Says:

    Ok, we have been asked for our comments and proposals on the Council budget cuts, so as follows:

    First of all I think you should listen to some of the serious suggestions made in the comments to these blogs. You seem to have completely ignored the points made, whilst devoting an entire blog to the frivolous suggestion that you be sent to prison for implementing the cuts.

    As for the cuts, I think we can agree that Manchester has been treated terribly by the coalition government but I think you need to seriously consider a 5% cut to the top paid 500 Council positions.
    At a guess I would estimate that this would be a saving of approx £1.25m, which if the average council wage is £20k equates to over 60 jobs a year.
    I would argue that this would be quite a boost for front line services. Additionally, these 60 staff would all be Manchester residents (unlike a lot/majority of the top Council earners) so would serve the Council mantra of People Pride Place.

    My second main suggestion is to cut the number of councillors from 3 per ward to 2.
    I think we've entered a new stage in the evolution of Manchester and I think if we're honest a lot of councillors offer little material value to the running of Manchester in this troubled time. A lot dont have the skills/experience or the drive to deal with these particular problems.
    Also with the demise of the Libs as a credible opposition having 3 councillors per ward is an unnecessary/unjustifiable expenditure when most residents would rather the money be spent on front line services.
    I have no idea how much is spent on councillor wages & expenses (how much is it?).
    I think you should make a commitment to residents that Councillor expenditure should be cut by at least a 10% target.
    I'm sure most right minded councillors would actually agree to this, and any that dont I would question their attitude.

    You might try & dismiss this as tokenism but I think it would show a united council rather than what currently looks like senior management looking after themselves at the expense of front line services and lower paid staff.

  13. Ubermensch Says:

    These are cuts are indeed savage and it is a worrying read scrolling through the various proposals and agendas that have been put online.

    I have read with interest the various blogs and comments over the past few weeks and have to say that even though I do not care for politicians comments in general, Sir Richard has actually come across as completely genuine in his anger and remorse at what has and is still going to happen.

    It is a tough time for everyone in this country, and the Schadenfreude that that various people have been experiencing at the hand of MCC employees is in most cases completely unfair.

    The majority of people are very hardworking and care a lot about the City of Manchester and it's residents.

    It is a truism of capitalism that there will be boom and busts, but what we have been experiencing is not a boom but complete and utter transference of wealth and debt by the top 1% of rich people in the world.

    Sure we can blame labour for the welfare state and we can blame the Condems for the current cuts, but at the end of the day whether we are told not to blame them or not our present situation lies at the hands of the super rich (bankers et al) that have decided to abolish capitalism and socialism altogether to create a hybrid system....namely privatise the profits and socialise the losses.

  14. Ice Says:

    @ Aaron

    I have given my reasons in the previous blog yesterday but it seems that either the moderator doesn't want to post my view or there is another problem. You talk about the validity of what I say, but have NO concept of country wide or cross border economics. For that is the reason we are in trouble as a country and no matter what Manchester does, it will make nil difference on the problem at hand. I do not expect one sentence I have posted to summarise or generalise the country - just make people think! Remember, this is a BLOG and you are not the MODERATOR!!

  15. 30 year Employee Says:

    The sadest day in my personal working life as a City Council employee, but not the reasl sadness I feel is for the Front End Low paid workers, of which we owe so much, lets hope there is Life after the Council.

  16. Smb Says:

    @sir Richard. Try by giving my mum her severance and retirement pay.

  17. Lisa Says:

    I think it is disgraceful that both yourself and the high paying salary managers are not prepared to share in the pain of the cuts but are only to happy to make cuts to those Manchester residents who are already suffering and vulnerable and to expect hard working and long standing employees to make hard financial decisions.
    The fact that you cannot grasp the fact of the implications that managers taking a pay cut could have on public and especially employee morale and also in saving a few more jobs or services from being cut, just goes to prove your lack of conscience and willingness to support those you are supposed to represent. Never mind the fact that there is still no apology for empoyees finding out via the media about the loss of jobs.
    Although the Government are hugely at fault for the mess we are in, you are also equally at fault for how all this has been handled.

  18. PA Says:

    Is it just me alone or can't anyone else see what the governement in Westminister is trying to do. They drastically reduce the settlement for Labour controlled Councils to turn the people against the party and their leaders since they have to implement the cuts in their Councils, other wise, can someone explain why a Council that is amongst the top five most deprived in the country be amonst the worst hit while some councils in London only had their budget cut by less than five percent. It is sad that the governement is allowing politics influence their decisions and as result destroying the lives of people. Any way, what else should we expect from people who are so detached from the real man on the street and go about chanting 'we are in this together'. I just hope the are watching events in Egypt and understand that power actually belongs to the people.

  19. Mr X Says:

    "Home improvements on the horizon?
    MCR+ cardholders can benefit from discounted building services from The Good Builders. No job is too large or too small and house extensions, driveways, carpentry, kitchens and bathrooms, loft and garage conversions , plumbing and plastering are all specialities! "

    To quote Harry Hill "What are the chances of that happening"!

    I thought Richard made his points well on the local and national news last night.That Tory minister made it abundantly clear the sort of people who are running the country. Despicable.

  20. Dan Says:

    This just shows how the council has wasted our money in the past. Sell Manchester Airport. Stop publishing the glossy, council self promotional magazine 'Life', which we receive four times a year. Stop wasting money on highway projects, which after 12/18 months are deemed dangerous and so are put back to what they used to be.

  21. Mcc employee Says:

    Can I ask what is happening to the children's centres?? know body is telling us anything we only hear about it from the media. These centres are at the heart of deprived areas and are the hubs for working with the community and the most vulnerable children. It as been written that we will be taken over by private providers, this alarms me due to the number of children we have taken from the private sector due to them not meeting there needs and working with the family to keep them from hitting crisis point.

  22. CSB Says:

    Richard no doubt this is a terrible time but I think the proposals that have been put together are intelligent and well judged. They set out clear priorities about what is going to be cut but also about where investment is going to be made.

    A quick run all round is reducing the number of Councillors though, especially given the reduced size of the Council in the future.

  23. unhappy Says:

    I agree with the post above children centre's are the heart of the communities in the most deprived areas, by selling them off to private provides is leaving us wide open for more child deaths and child protection issues as of which has been highlighted recently in the media.What is the response to this? How are you going to stop this happening with the proposals you are now making?

  24. unhappy Says:

    In response to CSB I take it your job is safe??

  25. REDSTEVE57 Says:

    I watched Sir Richard on the BBC local news last night and I would like to congratulate him on his dignity during that interview with Gordon Burns. Gordon Burns seemed absolutely determined to focus in on what the Tory minister Grant Bluenose offered as a way to avoid £110 million in cuts, cut Sir Howard’s £200k per annum. Though I am not a mathematical genius, what ever the cut, there is not quite a match up financially.

    Clearly the Tory administration is trying to deflect the blame for the cuts from themselves on to any target they can. “It’s the last Labour Government”, “it’s Sir Howard’s pay packet,” “it’s all those public sector employees paid higher than the Prime Minister” “it’s global warming” “it’s el nino.” It’s not the Tories financial backers, that avoid income tax, or the banking system to which most are either involved in or have relatives that are connected to them. No it’s never the rich, that will suffer the least, but those that are already suffering and will suffer even more, the young, the vulnerable, the elderly and disabled.

    Richard you are clearly passionate about defending Manchester but you seem to be resigned to the fact that there is nothing you, as the Leader, can do and there is an air of inevitability that Manchester’s public services will be decimated without so much as a whimper. I feel like we have surrendered unconditionally.

    I will be marching in London on 26th March to show my support for the Trade Union movement and my total abhorrence of the ConDem alliance.

  26. MCC Employee Says:

    I am at a loss as to why the Children's Centres are being hit so hard with the cuts. I have had to go through redeployment once before and it made me ill, I don't think yourself or your coleagues give two hoots for the front line staff and all the work they have done behind the scenes to make sure a decent service would be delivered. Please can you tell me that by getting rid of 2000 employees now can help you to establish 74,000 jobs in the future. This Council has gone from bad to worse.

  27. Manchester City Council Employee Says:

    I work for the council in a Children's Centre and would like to know what is happening with the Centre's, are we closing or not, will i be redeployed or not, these are basic questions and we all have a right to know the answers. Are we not being told because you are worried we will apply for other jobs? Parent's are asking now if they should transfer to other Centre's and I don't know what to tell them. They have a right to know as many of them work.I can't understand in the first place why we are closing but to drag it out like this is disgusting and unnecessary.

  28. Aaron H Says:

    Ice

    Be quiet. And no need for the capital letters - I CAN READ NORMAL TEXT THANKS.

    The saddest part of all this is that the ConDems are probably rubbing their hands with glee as people within the council, and the public sector in general, turn their anger in on each other and not outwardly at the government where it belongs.

    If there is a collective sense of wrongdoing, we need to channel that at the people who are making the decisions that are impacting on our city.

    And Ice - which part of 'cross border' economics don't you think I have a grasp of?

    Back to your GCSE Economics / Politics class.

  29. unhappy Says:

    I agree with the post above children centre's are the heart of the community in the most deprived areas. By selling them off to private providers we risk more child deaths and child protection issues as this was highlighted recently in the media. Can you tell me how you are going to protect these children when you are basicially selling off your responsibility towards the most vulnerable children and familiies.

  30. John Says:

    41% of management jobs are scheduled to go as part of the cuts process. There is a clear focus on protecting the front line as far as possible- the problem is that the scale of what has to be done makes total protection impossible. This is a scandalous piece of governmental regional and political malice.

  31. Richard Leese Says:

    There are a number of comments asking specific questions about the budget proposals. As it says in the blog entry please send them to budget.enquiries@manchester.gov.uk and you will get a response

  32. Ardwick Aardvark Says:

    Speaking of Savage, what about Gordon Burns last night. He seemed to be more intent on a grilling interview than asking fair questions and was in the minority of solely blaming MCC.

  33. Another worried MCC employee Says:

    @ steve, unhappy and others - your/your wife's employment is safe. Both Sir Richard and Sir Howard have said there will be no compulsory redundancies. At the Unison briefing I attended Pat McDonagh also made it clear that there was no mandate for compulsory redundancies. Hopefully, there will be enough people willing to go via the VS/VER route that it will never come to this.

    On the other hand, your job might not be safe. Very few people's are either within MCC or outside. I and many others have already been through the process and we're quite realistic that many of us will have to go through it again but we have jobs.

    @mailtothechief and The Beatles sending their MBE's back ended the Vietnam war??

  34. Michael Everett Says:

    Manchester is one of the most deprived cities. How have our councillors responded to this challenge? They sign-off on an epic project to renovate the Town Hall Extension and Central Library, which in themselves are laudable aspirations, but no so laudable in the context of arguing you’re in a deprived area that needs to keep more money. My point is that whenever you spend money, there has to be a value judgement attached to the purchase. It is clear from yesterday’s budget that the Council hold no value to the areas from which they cut.

    If they wanted to save local swimming pools and Children’s Centre’s they would have made the decision to cut the epic waste within the Council borne out of a lack of control on spend. They value having a stake in Bristol Airport and continuing major public works, they made their judgement. Central government are dealing with a situation that they have been lumbered with. It strikes me that they may have looked at us spending so much on said Town Hall Extension and Central Library work and thought that it might be a bit much and have applied a reduction on the grant.

    Rather than having a chip on our shoulders we should all dig in and find solutions. A lot of people commenting here, who work for the Council have been so negative, would you want to work with them? Instead of asking what about me, perhaps they should be suggesting effective alternatives and say, what about this?

  35. Heartbroken Says:

    I watched Sir Richard on the BBC local news last night. Yes he is well.
    But Sir Richard: a pay cut of 5% for senior staff or for Sir Howard is “Tokenism”??
    Come on Sir Richard don’t be so selfish. We all are blaming the ConDem government but what you are saying, about this 5% pay cut, is not any better than the Tories. You should like them now. Protecting the senior officers, while screwing the low paid is not tokenism; it tells us that they control you. 5% pay cut may sound like a tokenism to you but to us, the low paid employees – it is a show of solidarity.

  36. Token Play That Game Says:

    I don't know what more of a token gesture would be? Top staff 5% cut or closing all public toilets?

  37. MCC employee Says:

    Agreeing with unhappy and MCC employee children centres are the main resources for working with the most vulnerable families. MCC have invested money into many of the children centre workers in completing degree's. You say you want to invest in ore social workers, why not use these people and place them in student social worker roles, they only need to top up there degree in the to become a social worker

  38. MCC employee Says:

    In response to Michael Everett, are you having a laugh? You have the gall to say that a lot of people working for mcc have a chip on their shouldres.!! Thinking about themselves and who would want to work with them!!! How dare you, I have worked for mcc for 23 years and with the last lot of cut backs and re deployment I can assure you there is no solution that myself or my colleagues could suggest because the mcc have already made their decision I can assure you of that. As for working with people like me, you should be so lucky, I was and always have been a dedicated front line worker who takes all the grief and tries to solve peoples problems and I get a chance to opt into M People as a big fat thank you for your service.

  39. unhappy Says:

    This is just a suggest but in the proposal in states that you are investing more into social work. Why don't you train the staff in children's centres who already have degrees to become social workers and who are committed to Manchester City Council

  40. marcia Says:

    I think IceT makes a valid point about the reduction in the number of Councillors. Just as there is no need for the inflated numbers of MP's in Westminster, there is no need for 3 Councillors per Ward in Manchester. A reduction here would also give a huge knock-on saving in 'Ward Co-Ordination' and the laughably titled 'Regen teams'. I have watched this area of the 'service' mushroom as more and more roles are added. They are vast teams and as far as I can see they are an unecessary layer of bureaucracy, who's main tasks seem to be talking shops, keeping the Councillors happy, organising events and publishing glossy, expensive leaflets, telling residents how great the Council is. I have attended LAP meetings where large rooms were not large enough to accomodate the number of Councillors and officers attending. I have attended 'Tasking Meetings', which take place every fortnight, where there have been Police Inspectors, and several Police Seargents as well as numerous Council Officers. All talking about the same crimes, criminals and problems, week after week, month after month and year after year. I can honestly say there was little, if any, improvement. Away with it all.

  41. worried Says:

    Marcia - I have to defend Tasking Meetings - "All talking about the same crimes, criminals and problems, week after week, month after month and year after year. I can honestly say there was little, if any, improvement. Away with it all" - agencies and committed workers coming together to problem-solve and task crimes and issues that matter to the community, multi-agency work that has proven success in reducing crime for Manchester residents and you want to 'do away with it all' - will you still feel the same if crime rises and Manchester takes a downward turn. Sure there is waste but these kind of meetings are really productive and really do make a difference!

  42. poor front line employee Says:

    I am a single mum who trained full time for two years and worked for the council for 13 years, the whole time receiving a wage of £3,000 below my qualification level. My sons question is why didn't you claim benefits all your life mum when you would have had more money? At this moment I really don't know why. City council don't even respect me enough to give me the information I need to make an informed decision about my future.

  43. Disestablished Says:

    In previous blogs the Leader has responded to the millions of £s being spent on the town hall, extension and library by stating that the library needed to be repaired or it would have to be closed. He also indicated that the library was a major tourist attraction. The library is currently closed and will be closed for, I understand, 3 years. The impact of this closure? None. Impact to the loss of major public services? Socially massive for many years to come. Where was the public consultation on the cost to the renovation of these buildings when the Authority was already carrying a large financial deficit prior to the ConDems taking power)? Noted no explaination why the town hall and extension also had to be renovated at this time. If you were considering a loft conversion in your own home would you press ahead even though your job was at threat?? It is just bad management and that is why you and Mr Bernstein etc should take a pay cut.

    Instead we are left with devastation of front line services. As a life long labour supporter and a Council worker for 23 years I can't help but wonder if these front line cuts are a political tactic by the LA to make the ConDems look bad as they have suggested. Surely more backroom staff could have been cut (including the layer upon layer upon layer of management present in every single Department of the Council).

    It also was not appropriate to see Mr Leese smiling in quite a few of his television interviews yesterday.

    I think you have completely lost touch with the people of this city and as such Manchester has lost some of it's best elements as well as good staff.

    I hope that you have the courtesy to respond fully to all of these posts.

  44. IceT Says:

    Thanks Marcia, add to that with only 2 councillors there would be less by-elections therefore a saving for the Council coffers there.

    To me it makes perfect sense.

    Actually though I question whether any of these suggestions will be listened to.

    @ Richard Leese, can you tell us if ANY of these suggestions are being seriously considered?

    I realise its a difficult time and I hate the Tories for the way they are hitting the Labour Northern cities but good leaders play the cards theyve been dealt.

  45. Disabled MCC employee Says:

    When times are haerd is when an organisation or individual shows their true values not just the expensive slogans. It's a disgrace that disabled employees at MCC those who are deaf, blind, cerebral palsy, learning disabilitiesor other impairments are being sidelined and ignored by the council who can't be bothered to provide accessible information during this difficult time to assist them to make decisions about voluntary redundancy or to try and understand the load of jargon in the awful M-People process. Excluding your vulnerable employees from information that affects their life is inexcusable, lazy as is the poor attitude and lack of support to disabled staff. MCC pretends it cares about disability issues but can't even be bothered to have an accessible internet, this version is rubbish below average, i bet the person who designed it got well paid though. Its not suitable for learninng disabled residents or visually impaired. The amount of money spent on refurbishing one first street was astounding. For a labour council to allow fancy private sector consultants to spend public money on expensive new office furniture because it matched the colour scheme and refusing to allow staff to transfer exisiting furniture that had nothing wrong with it other than not matching the new office is vanity on a large scale. Folk might have kept their jobs if this type of spending was stopped. They even prevented disabled staff from bringing their aids and adaptations to the bright shint new building because we didn't match the colour scheme and had to be bought new. Disgraceful waste of public money.

  46. OldFella Says:

    OK, Sir Richard, I am one of those who expressed interest in VER on day one, 20th January, and so far heard nothing back at all, and that goes for all my colleagues. The 'first' deadline on expressions of interest in VS/VER is nigh. Your own 'incentive update' to staff suggested a headline leaving date for some as early as tomorrow. Who? How many? Where? I haven't myself heard of a single person leaving as early as the 10th February!? There'll be someone else your statement would be disingenuous, and I'm sure that isn't the case.

    I have a 'conspiracy theory'. Personnel have reviewed, approved, and confirmed severance figures for very many. But the staff affected are being deliberately kept in the dark. Why? Because that way WHEN we get confirmed approval of our 'applications' (assuming) and told our severance £numbers we'll be so much more flexible and amenable to saying 'yes' quickly... because it will be a blessed relief to weeks (if not months) of anxious waiting. Then we'll be rushed out the front door. I personally am ready to go end of February if at all possible. I've had enough of this waiting uncertainty, and vacuum in communications. I'd just rather know, and go... asap. Please.

  47. loubielou04 Says:

    I am outraged that you are considering shutting the childrens centres, both my children attend belthorne and it is by far one of the best nurseries in the area, I work in early years education and I attend private nurseries on a daily basis, the reason I chose to put my children in a MCC nursery, as private nurseries don't provide the same level of care or rarley have the resources. I have known all the staff since 2006 and feel very happy leaving both my children with them, they always have time to discuss my childrens needs and are very willing and helpful. It's a sad day!!!

  48. marcia Says:

    Worried - do I detect a vested interest? Perhaps you are a 'Community Safety Officer'? Sorry, but I have been part of this system for far too long and I see no real evidence that these meetings achieve anything tangible. I often think to myself what would the community want to see? All these officers (including the growing number of Police that attend) sitting in a room for one morning a fortnight, talking and passing around statistics OR actually out there doing the jobs they are paid to do? I not only worked for the Council but I live in the community and I know which I prefer. If we are having to make tough choices on what were to allocate our resources, then Regen teams, Tasking meetings and Ward
    Co-ordination is wasteful and simply not 'fit for purpose'.

  49. Tee Says:

    I’m surprised by the amount of people who seem obsessed with Sir Richard and Sir Howard taking a pay cut. Why? With such pay comes responsibilities so please people stop banging on about this issue.

    With regard to the cuts I think it is about time the council acknowledged that compulsory redundancies are going to have to happen. I attended an M People briefing and what emerged was the simple fact that there are not going to be enough jobs for people and all that is going to happen is the people are going to end up in a form of job ‘purgatory’ floating around doing meaningless tasks whilst being paid to do so.

    Although I appreciate what M People is for I do think that in reality it is merely going to prolong the agony for many and redirect money away from more important services that could still be maintained at the expense of staff whose role has effectively become meaningless.

    I am however appalled at the Town Hall and Library renovation. The building could easily be updated without this enormous cost and given the climate I cannot even to begin to understand how such expense was approved. In turn I believe it is time Manchester had an elected mayor in the same way London or American cities have. This I feel would promote a more democratic environment for residents to be involved in local government.

    Another pointless role that can go is the ceremonial mayor, please can some explain what this is for and also how much it costs?

  50. Kal Says:

    There are a lot of comments here about the shutting of children's centres (I believe 'outraged' has been used). A quick question for those appalled by these proposals, where exactly would you make cuts to save the £110m required this year? One would assume that each service could argue that it is as vital as the next. Cut managers? - Management is being cut by 41%
    In anticipation of the 41% is still not enough brigade, what exactly would be an acceptable level of management?
    @Old fella - The 18th is the soonest anybody will be leaving, the first panel isn't due to sit until Friday so you are not being kept in the dark.
    These cuts have been forced upon MCC, look around, staff and services are shutting all over our region and everybody is bizzarely venting at the council.
    The cuts have to be made, we cannot protect all services, be realisitc and vent your anger where it should be vented, Cameron and his cronies.
    We are a country being run by a party who did not win the public vote and who doesn't care about the Labour strongholds as he has nothing to gain here.

  51. Mr X Says:

    @Disestablished.
    I saw Mr Leese on Local BBC News and then on Channel 4 and he was smiling on neither.

  52. ShyCat Says:

    Think we need to focus on who is making MCC having to make this cuts - and target them, not attacing individuals. Yes there has been far too much waste over the years, and yes there has been far to many managers elevating themselvs and their friends above their abilities. Howeve, public service workers choose to work in the public because they care. My colleagues are crying - not so much about their own situations but becuase they care about the people they support in Manchester. We need to get united, not divided.

  53. ShyCat Says:

    ...and we can do that by taking the train/bus to London the 26 March. Will there be a demonstrtation in Manchester?

  54. Stop the ride I want to get OFF Says:

    Can anybody advise on how many people have actually expressed an interest in VS / VER so far...........?

    It would be a good idea if MCC let staff know the number as soon as possible as this could help people to decided to Opt into the scheme and equally it could prevent people from feeling forced to go when they may not have to.

  55. Ice Says:

    @Marcia

    I totally agree with the comments regarding regen/ward co ordination. Unfortunately it's about who knows who? and what the councillors want to see as an agenda. Efficiency here is bottom line!!

  56. Another worried MCC employee Says:

    At the UNISON briefing, they said there would be an update after the 11th Feb.

    I have heard that there have been over 2000 but whether they will all be cost effective is another matter. They may also be on low grades which will leave them needing more than 2000.

  57. Anon Says:

    As frontline member of staff attending a meeting last week when someone asked how many so far had expressed interest in VS/VER the management refused to say, probably because they thought it may influence our decision whilst they were trying to give the offer the "hard sell". However word is that approximately 800 as of end of last week have "expressed initial interest"! So will be interesting to see if they will stick by committment of no compulsary redundancies!

  58. Lizzie burg Says:

    Its a dark day for Manchester, when essential services have to be cut. After working for the council for 26 years I feel privilegde to make a difference to peoples lives. However I have seen front line staff suffer already from cutting staff and the impact that has brought. Communties will be affected, crime will increase, streets will be litterd. Where is the pride in that? Staff I have worked with are truly devastated to loose their jobs, members of the public will be affected. Children and families will be affected by changes in excellent services we provide from Childrens centers, Leisure and Libraries. We need less top level management and more staff and jobs for frontline staff.

  59. Devastated. Says:

    I have worked in an early years daycare site for many years now. We are part of the core offer from the childrens centres. The familes are at the heart of all the communitys served by Childrens centres. The centres serve working parents, community parents and Vunerable families. Without our valuable imput from early years these children will never gain the skills they need for the future. I think the cuts are in the wrong place and we need to remember it is childrens lives that are being played with. I have experianced many situations in my working life and can put my hand on my heart to say this for myself and all my collegues children parents and carers got to say its the worse mistake Manchester City Council will make to privatise such a valuable service. I have and many people i know have worked in private provision for daycare and it wasnt a pretty picture. The council inverst in people to give skills and experiences to staff to see to all childrens induvidual needs and have a whole family approach. The staff are not being told what is going on and the stress and pressurse in imense!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  60. MCC employee Says:

    I agree with Devasted its the children and staff lives that are being affected. The Government wants to erdicate child poverty by 2020 Hmmm!!! how are they going to do that?? when they will be placing all early years workers who are middle class workers into poverty, this in turn will affect their children and families placing them into poverty. The standard of care in private is so bad that not 1 member staff of staff at the children's centre I work will stay and work for PVI. MCC as instilled high standards of care within the centres to expect staff to stop and work for PVI who are out for profit and not children's welfare is outrageous.

  61. Doodle's Mum Says:

    Please protect our children!! My child is currently blossoming into a beautiful flower, mainly due to the staff at Belthorne children center, she has a full time place, which allows us to go to work knowing that she will nurtured and encouraged to develop. The staff are a wonderful team and will not suffer fools gladly, external providers strip out and replace with lower skilled & cheaper workers who have not got the wealth of experience. I have seen proof of this by visiting other sites in the area, Remember are our children are the earners of the future, ensure they get the best start by providing the best care, Please leave the Nursery's alone, at least they can bring you an income!

  62. MCC employee Says:

    I agree with devasted it will affect the lives of children and early years workers. The government wants to erdicate child poverty by 2020 how are they going to do this with all these cuts?? They will place more children and their families in poverty not less including MCC employees.

  63. Sugar Says:

    Has anyone actually experienced what it's like to be part of M people? I have 2 choices either to take the VER or go into M People, and I don't know what to do. What if I go into M People and compulsary redundancies kick in, it'll probably be the M People targeted first.

  64. Aaron H Says:

    @Sugar

    It's not an easy place to be is it? And it certainly doesn't help when you are unable to get a straight answer out of anyone involved in M People, personnel or OD.

    Be honest in weighing up if you are think you are ripe for the chop after the VS / VER period is over. If you think you will be surplus to requirements, and bear in mind that there are not a great deal of jobs for people to go into with directorates and jobs being disbanded now, and an expected further 1700 over the next year or two, consider VER as a realistic option.

    There is no point going through this rigmarole if you are only going to get CR and statutory redundancy at the end of it all. Look after yourself - it's a difficult time.

    Best of luck.

  65. Janet Batsleer Says:

    Why not lead a Manchester March to Westminster to highlight our grievances as a city. I'm sure Manchester citizens would support you.

  66. Puzzled Says:

    I cannot understand what privatisation of the councils daycare is going to achieve. I predict there will be a rise in child deaths for a start and the serious case child deaths overview panel will have ther time cut out investigating these deaths. The staff in the current childrens centre thatprovide daycare are the eyes and ears of society and step in a childs life preventing them from harm. I have personally worked in a private daycare setting where the average age of the workers are between 16-18 yrs old. I know we all started somewhere to work and thats how old timeres like me build up skills but my fear for privatisation of the councils daycare site is that the staff who work at these sites have experiance and skills and maturity to spot signs of harm and know how to act on these. Children are at the heart of these cuts and lives will be lost. I have recently viewd private establishments and they are not good settings. The staff are young and inexpirenced work long hours for basic holidays and expected to take training in the evening and at weekend they get half an hour for lunch. How can they do recording on children and attend important meetings like child in need meetings case conferences or meeting s for children with additional needs?. Its the familiar old you pay for what you get, the council may pay the staff in the childrens centre more that a private nursery but that reflects in the quality given from the early years daycare sites. ......

  67. Red Mist Says:

    The possible closures of the Sure Start Centres surely don't tie in with MCC's motto of "People, Pride & Place" do they ? Many low paid people rely on these centres so they can work so to pick these for closures is shameful. I do agree with may other posters on here. Sir Richard, please stop trying to excuse why the Chief Executive won't be subject to a paycut on the basis that it won't make much of a difference. We all know that but there might be a little more respect if he did take a paycut and "was in it with the rest of us". I remember the days when there was one Chief Executive (know as the Town Clark at the time) and on Assistant Chief Executive. Why are there so many assistants now ? Is that really necessary ? If staffing cuts are to be made, they need to be spread from the top down.

  68. young mum Says:

    sir richard has not had the decency to reply to any of these responses council have made thier descisions and to hell with everybody else they are not bothered about our young kids having no nurseries all they are doing is creating jobs for more social workers well we saw what happened in london with poor baby p who slipped through the net shame on manchester council if that happens here some of those kids that go to the nurserys go because of family problems if they dont end up going whats going to happen ??? I just hope the ones in the council who decided cuts on the kids can live with themeslves if something happens to another young child i hope they will be able to sleep easy .At least leave some nurserys for thesekids open run by you and not private providers who are only in it for buisiness

  69. children's centre manager Says:

    I have worked for early years for 11 years now. I wanted to work for an organisation which i believed did things properly !!!. I would like to thank the City Council for the training opportunities which i have had, which have enabled me to progress to be a manager. I now think - what was it all for ? The council has invested a lot in developing it's workforce, but to what end. I for one will not work for a private provider.
    My centre provides daycare which is currently providing support to 24 vulnerable families. Who is now going to safeguard these families ? --Sponsored places in a private nursery, which are then overseen by someone sitting in an office at Overseas house. ? Not exactly quality is it. The future for our most disadvanteged children looks bleak to say the least. It appears that Every Child Matters , but only if there isn't a cost associated with them. No private provider will provide the level of support that children's centres do. The staff teams are expected to carry on regardless, with a smile on their face whilst waiting for alternative providers to be found, lets rub salt in the wounds , why don't we !! Yet again we rely on the loyalty and good will of our staff. It is shameful that we have had no information to date as to what the future holds for our centre's and our staff teams.
    The role of Children's Services is to safeguard children , not farm them out to private providers who are only interested in profits. The city council used to stand for something a little more ,but sadly they appear not to care at all now.

  70. julian Says:

    Can mr lease explain why ten senior executives are all on around £100,000 per yr or why 96 council officials received allowances totaling £1.97 million around £20,000 each What about the chief executive on over £200,000 grand per yr paid more than the prime minister why? is he what does he do to deserve this salary explain.
    You have said that 2,000 will go why cant you get rid of all the political correct non jobs which you have created which serve no purpose.
    The fact of the matter is that labour controlled council are using the word savage cuts to score political points against the gov this is immoral. Saving can be made by doing what other councils have done like trafford merging depts cutting waste taking pay cuts slashing non jobs i mean does manchester really need a climate officer or policy officers i think not there are many other jobs that could go.
    What about reducing the number of officials and imposing pay cuts on senior exec starting with the chief himself.
    The fact is manchester council alng with many others have spend and wasted tax payers money with out any democratic scrutiny So instead of cutting frontline services and scrqming about savage cuts You can start by making savage cuts to your own fat salaries and making savage cuts to all the waste political correct non jobs and making things more efficient i mean what does a creative director do eh salary £120,000 per yr or what about a travel change planning officer eh £34,000 per yr or what about new media manager £35,000 per yr well mr lease explain how you can justify these jobs whilst slashing front line services You wont because you all a bunch of cowards who should hang you heads in shame to use the public as a political tool is a disgrace

  71. Daz H Says:

    Mr Leese, please spare us your pathetic protestations about the tory cuts imposed on you. They have simply given you the gilt-edged opportunity to cast off the burden of providing real public services which actually benefit normal people in places such as Levenshulme which do not register on your city-centric radar. The people of Levenshulme now see this labour council for what it really is, a willing participant in the cuts and ally of the Tories in the devastation of public services and working class communities. And can I just ask, how much is the City council spending on MIPIM this year so that you can all go out on a nice corporate junket in the South of France?

  72. Andy K Says:

    Dear All,

    Please keep up your ramblings, for I am sure each time a libdem or tory in Manchester see's them (or even lets hope david cameron see's them) they will make a little more impact, we need to keep the pressure up.

    Speaking of adding pressure if you have not signed the Manchester Petition yet I ask you to do this today! Simply visit http://ManchesterPetition.org and fill in the form - simple!

    Then send the link to all your friends and family!

    Stop the Savage Cuts

  73. in despair Says:

    awake again at the crack of dawn wondering what the future hoids! After giving up my evening last night to waste my time listening to the leaders of childrens services giving politicions answers to the vital questions asked by the staff of childrens services who have dedicated there whole working life for the children families and young people of manchester! It disgusts me to hear pauline newman say she doesnt care who provides early years services as long as its provided!!!. Our early years daycare sites have people with many years of skills and experiences and have always provided the best outcomes for children! Private providers are a buisiness and do not have the child and family close at heart!!! Manchester be proud pride in the city what a joke. Many lives will be devastated homes lost a rise in mental health issues for both staff and families ! All these things i have worked for many years to eradicate and never thought manchester city council would put me in the position to experience personally. We need answers people and need them now. We need a list of early years and surestart centres which will close so staff can make an informed choice!!! Treat us like humans not dogs!!!!

  74. childrens centre manager Says:

    i too wasted my time last night. one thing that came through loud and clear was that senior management don't care what happens to staff and the families that we support. We are no clearer now than we were before !! And to then be told that they can refuse to let you go because thay need to off load us as a going concern is disgraceful. i for one am eagerly awaiting that letter coming through my letterbox. A private provider won't pay the wages we are on at present, and 90 days notice to change your pay and conditions -- what a joke.!!! As for Pauline Newman , she has announced these drastic cuts, but is not going to be around after 31st March. She simply doesn't care. She came across as arrogant and patronising.

  75. gladtobeanemployee Says:

    There is an open union meeting (Unite) at Friends Meeting House on Tue, 22nd Feb, 7pm. You don't have to be a member to attend.

  76. what equality!! Says:

    I too sat in a joke of a meeting. Pauline Newman should be disgusted by her professional manner at yesterdays meeting. I was extremely upset for my colleagues who have worked for the city council for years, she didn’t care who took over the services (as long as they where good!!!) and that she has evidence to show that MCC is no better than private providers. If this is the case, how did she keep her job for so long? All we want is honest answers, so that we can make informed decisions that will affect the rest of our lives. I have studied for many years (whilst paying thousands to get the education, the government wanted me to have) and I now have to take a career change through M people, what a waste of my life and a waste of my money!!
    I was also disgusted that are HOCs did not ask questions as passionately or as strongly as many others in the room. Your staff teams are struggling, their livelihoods are at risk, and the families that come to your centre for safety, security and support, will no longer have access to such provision. How can you not care??
    I feel disheartened that the families are no longer at the centre of work we do, but my own career and pay is my concern. I have supported some of the most vulnerable families in are city. I have fought to develop services that will address their needs and impact of future service provision, and now these services will be no more. These families will go by the waist side, and they don’t even know it is happening to them. MCC should be disgusted by their attitude, approach and ruthlessness.
    Be it on whose head made these decisions, when a major child protection incident occurs!!

  77. Mrs F (Lucas' mum) Says:

    I am utterly disgusted that Belthorne Childrens Centre is being privatised. I am a working mum of 2 children, one of whom is attending Belthorne at present. When i was informed this morning that it is going to the private sector i was in floods of tears for several reasons...I attended Belthorne 28yrs ago, all the children in my extended family have attended Belthorne. The reason for this is due to the caring nature, professionalism and outstanding dedication to each child. My son has flourished into a beautiful, kind and thoughtful little boy and this is PARAMOUNT to the staff at Belthorne and EVERY CHILD MATTERS!!!! The staff are human beings, they deserve respect and a MEDAL for their dedication to all children. I would NEVER consider putting any of my children in a private day nursery. I have visited many different nurserys myself and i can honestly say that they do not have a patch on the private nurserys in the surrounding areas. These Children are our future, how can anybody believe that they have the right to take this away from them???? Shame on MCC for making these cuts to OUR CHILDREN, THE CHILDREN OF THE FUTURE!!!!!

  78. Mrs F (Lucas' Mum) Says:

    just to clarify that the above comment was supposed to say 'the private nurserys in the surrounding areas do not have a patch on Belthorne.'

    Can i also just ask the people who have made these disgraceful decisions, 'Who would you rather leave your child with?? 'Somebody who has many years of experience, knowledge, wisdom, empathy for real working class families including vunerable families??? or somebody who is underpaid, overworked and not given constructive time to write up the essential and VITAL paperwork that is used to meet the needs of every individual childs needs???.....I wonder, I really wonder who they would all choose....Oh and is anybody willing to tell my 2 1/2 yr old boy that the place where he feels safe and happy whilst mummy and daddy go to work is no longer going to be available??? It makes me sick to my stomach and whoever you all are you should be completely and utterly ashamed of yourselves....

  79. A demoralised staff member Says:

    I think Pauline Newman owes early years staff an apology for the shambolic and disloyal presentation in the meeting last night. She must regret the use of the words ’I don’t care about who runs services’, when she is referring to services that she has been responsible for. If she truly believes that Sure Start services have ‘gone wrong’, it is her responsibility. It appears that management are quick to take credit for the successes gained by front line staff, but quickly disown them in a crisis. Kath Smyth and Kate Warring put in equally dismal performances, the usual suspects with the usual inflated salaries. If this has been the quality of our leadership, it is no wonder we are suffering so badly from an ideologically driven central government. It is as if MCC have no values or commitment to their staff or services. People came to that meeting to understand the decisions that we know have already been made, so that we can make decisions about our own lives and families. People Pride Place. How ironic.

  80. Richard Leese Says:

    I am going to make one brief comment on Children's Centres. For many years I was lead member for children's services overseeing the opening of a new wave of children's centres in the late eighties. In the nineties I played a small part working with Treasury to develop what became Sure Start, which in my view was the finest government programme ever introduced. These are issues dear to my heart and an area of work that is vital to the long term future of the city and its citizens. However government has cut the Early Intervention Grant which amongst other things funds Sure Start by £8million a year. That means we cannot go on as we are and have to do what we can to protect the provision. Transferring to other providers seems the only way of doing that. Our preferred providers would be schools but we will look at voluntary sector and private providers if necessary but whoever runs the centres we will expect quality to be maintained. With a cut from government on this scale avoiding the closure of centres will be very difficult but keeping all the centres open is what we are committed to doing.

  81. centreworker Says:

    I to attended the meeting on 14/2/11 which was a complete and utter waste of time and money, if all the proposals are not yet passed then why have some staff already been given notice to take vr and given no time to think about taking it, being rushed into a decision that affects their whole life and ability to provide for their own families or join the merry go round called M PEOPLE, we as staff love our jobs and the families we work with but also have families of our own ,the council should take a good look at there own misson statements and rename them NO CHILD MATTERS.
    No doubt in years to come we will here the words we are all so familiar with WE WILL LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES.

  82. moral rock bottom Says:

    mr lees can i ask have schools been consulted yet on the childrens cenres? Have voluntary and private providers started to be sought? Also what will happen if any of the 3 do not work out are you still willing to keep the centres open?? All childrens centre staff need to be told which centres are safe and which are not as 11th march fast approaching! Also where is the support from higher managers to frontline managers who are still expected to continue buissiness as normal with centres full of demoralised staff!! We are human beings with feelings we have families and dependants! We need answers now its unfair to keep us in the dark... Give the avalible gps and councelling services the heads up as they will be unindated with people thanks to mcc!!! Last comment a rise in stress related sickness already starting. Once was proud to live work eat breath manchester not any more!!!!!

  83. betrayed Says:

    Richard in reply to your response you said you worked as a lead member trying to get childrens centers established and they mean a lot to you and it is because the government have pulled out thre early intervention grant well lets just see how dear to your heart the children in these centres mean to you go and vistit the centers any of them and see what the children look like or will there faces haunt you if after the cuts we end up with lives lost .If you remember there were day nurserys long before sure start was around so if thats the case privatise only the ones that came along with sure start funding and leave the original nurserys alone keep them in house as you have done with the direct works/morrisons or at least keep a percentage ie 10% do not hand them lock stock and barrell over to private providers who are only interested in the monetery gain .You have heard stories of what happened to many council nursing homes that were taken over how many elderly were neglected trust me this is going to happen again only with children it has already happened in the private sector. Can you hand on heart guarantee this wont happen to those children of Manchester that you say are so dear to your heart . No you cant put a stop to full privatisation keep some control .If Private providers hike the fees you will not be at a loss but will have the opportunity to return the centres to council cantrol if you ever want to. At the meeting last night I wonder how Pauline Newman was ever given the job she had and held it for 9 years she dosent give a damn for the children or thier welfare her words i dont care who takes the provision that says it all it I DONT CARE no she is getting out and basically dosent give a toss about the kids and familys lives she is devastating .I am sure after this fiasco Manchester people wont be looking at the amount of money that was taken by the government .It will be looking Directly at a Labour Council who decimated thier services so dont be surprised if you dont get the labour seat in manchester again as i for one wont be voting Labour and there must be around 200 people i have spoken too who feel the same . Before this descision is finalised rethink yes cut but dont take away all control of these centres look after your children your future generation As one day they could be looking after you. I would like a response if it is not too much trouble in laymens terms as why you cant keep some control instead of privatising ask your staff would they take a pay cut to keep thier jobs or more important would they take a pay cut to protect the children they are looking after I am sure you would get a better response from the latter as unlike Pauline Newman THEY DO CARE .

  84. LJ Says:

    Mr Lease regarding your one brief comment on children's centres, that seems to be a common theme on this topic. I attened the briefing on monday night and went home devastated. Devastated by the way in which we were spoken about, in particular the comment from Pauline Newman 'I don't care who provides these services as long as they are good' that really installs confidence in the council and our leaders when we are seen as something which can be brushed aside without thought. Also the questions which we need answers to, to enable us to make an informed decision about our personal futures were either brushed aside or left unanswered. It doesn't matter what we do or say regarding these services as the decision has been made and the stark reality is we are being privatised. It's about time that the staff and service users are shown a little respect and given the information we deserve and need.

  85. Dan Says:

    Mike Livingston looked like a nodding dog at tonight's meeting. What is he paid for??? He didn't utter a word. I am glad he finds this terrible situation worth smirking at. They obviously don't care. People have given their lives to Manchester City council and how we are being treated is disgraceful. Their highly paid drops are safe so why should they care?

  86. Disestablished Says:

    People. Pride. Place?? I think MCC should seriously reconsider changing their strap line as the powers that be clearly don't have any pride in their own people providing a vital service for the children and families of Manchester. 'Every Child Matters' - well clearly not in manchester as Pauline Newman very clearly spelt out - I think her response was 'well we can't really be expected to deliver that with the budget we are proposing' - so clearly NOT every child matters in Manchester - we might as well just throw that document in the bin then, along with every other commited individual that has worked so very hard to uphold these outcomes for ALL children. I never thought I would be so disgusted in an organisation that I work for. Shame on Pauline Newman.

  87. SAD Says:

    Sir Richard we are in the middle of what feels like a total meltdown for staff in the City Council.
    It was totally devasting to be told by Pauline Newman at Monday nights meeting for Children's Services staff ,that 'she did not care who she got services from...as long as they were good!'
    Children's Services has been for many years, and remains to be the JEWEL in Manchester's crown.
    It was obvious from Pauline's comments about the service that she does not have an understanding of what the service provides.
    We deliver high quality services to children and families in Manchester, why don't you talk to children and families?
    Pauline was very quick to come up with a list of problems about Children's Services, she seemed to be unaware that she, indeed is the Head of Children's Services and instead of laying blame at front line staffs door,she needs to look at bit closer to home.We have been in a service restructure for the last 10 years, there has been a complete lack of Senior Management involvement or future vision for the service.
    There is a real disconnection about what we do ,and what Senior Management think we do.
    It was so sad looking around the room on Monday night, 99% women who have worked for Manchester for many years.Have you considered the equality issues here...putting an entire children's workforce out to grass, who are virtually all women..please don't waste your money on International Women's Day as this just isn't believable any more.
    The cuts,look at the numbers of staff that need to go 926 from Children's Services with the possibility of 631 that may be tuped over.These figures are not arbitury, they are precise.They know exactly who is going and who will be retained.
    The Children's Centre teachers were disestablished and as Pauline said 'there was no requirement to keep them!...The Children Centre Teacher's are living things with a beating heart and families to look after.The fantastic work that they have done for the children of Manchester was dismissed with one line.
    These cuts will result in real poverty and child deaths in Manchester.
    Pauline has a very short memory it was only a matter of weeks ago that she was relying on the same staff to get Manchester through the Safeguarding OFSTED Inspection of Manchester.

    The future lives of children and families are now at risk.... one child's death is not worth taking a chance on!

  88. Frustrated Says:

    "Transferring to other providers seems the only way of doing that. Our preferred providers would be schools but we will look at voluntary sector and private providers if necessary but whoever runs the centres we will expect quality to be maintained" - That's all well and good Mr Leese, but who are expecting to check on the quality of these private providers when you are removing all the qualified staff, such as the Children Center Teachers, Quality Asssurance Team and SLO's who check on the provision. Your only option will be to commishion there services in, yet if they have taken severence they are not allowed to be bought in. Would it not have been more effective to keep a smaller team of these staff than to get rid of them all? Instead you will have to pay through the nose for the service they provide - therefore not saving yourselves very much money.

    And have to agree with others about Pauline Newman's attitude at the meeting on Monday 14th. Both what she said and her body language screamed "I don't care, I'm taking my money and running." Through her own addmision the service has not been effective over the last few years, so why was she allowed to a) keep her job and b) run away with a big fat pay off. And don't get me started on the fact that she could not for sure name private Nursery provision in Manchester or which schools had been approached...

  89. Why ?. Says:

    I can`t believe reading these stories from fellow Employees that the great Pauline Newman who is leaving a sinking ship with a big pay packet as the nevre to put down her own Department and Employees. What as our great leader got to say about this one ?.

  90. ccl Says:

    After sitting and listening to the meeting last night it became blatantly obvious that these 'other providers' have already been sourced and probably the deal has already been done-as a result of which our jobs will 'no longer be needed' and if we choose m people then we will not be doing any kind of role like we are doing now, we will need new skills.
    in other words-take the money now or you will be got rid of anyway within the year.
    The atmosphere could only be described as dejected and in a word sad-i also saw several early years staff wiping away tears. staff, including myself,who have dedicated many years to the children of manchester, to care for them and keep them safe from harm. not once was there any thanks for theyears service we have put in, only a recognition of how poor the service is currently running. I agree with SAD, they are fully aware which staff are in line for TUPE and which are to be disestablished but are holding this information back.
    well i hope Mike Livingstone has a clear diary for the coming months because i fear he will be attending a few more Serious Case Reviews and being held accountable.

  91. Mrs F (Lucas' Mum) Says:

    In response to Sir Richard: you say that Sure Start is dear to your heart, I take it then that you are going to stand with all the dedicated members of staff, parents and families on the front line and stay true to your word?????

    Are you going to stand united to fight for what we truely believe in and show the so called 'Top Dogs' that we as genuine members of society are going to take a stand and show these so called 'top dogs' that we REALLY DO BELIEVE CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE, EVERY CHILD MATTERS, THE SAFETY AND WELFARE OF EVERY CHILD IS PARAMOUNT????
    I would appreciate an immediate response to this as i and so many others need answers, real genuine answers. NOT TO BE FOBBED OFF with false claims and contradictory statements......My true statement is, I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they posess inside, give them a sense of pride!! Its a few lines from THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL......maybe if you get chance you should listen to this song on repeat......I Will wait for my response Sir Richard.

  92. Sad and Confused Says:

    How can you expect Schools to opt in for taking over the running of the children's centres when there own budget is not being increased?! They have not had any communication (a bit like the rest of us!!!) in respect of how, if they were to take over the running how it will be funded! More communication is needed!

  93. sad Says:

    I feel a mixture of feelings to the closure of children's centres. These were put in deprived areas to protect our mostvulnerable citizens our children our future. Do not make safe guarding children a business who will then take the blame for the death of a child will it be the over worked social worker or the private daycare as all the best well trained experienced staff wont be there to prevent children being harmed. please dont let a child die first before you realise what a big mistake you are making. Save Our children

  94. janet Says:

    Reading you comments sir richard and the comments on here it seems the lower paid childrens centre staff are the ones with the commitment and insight of the furure of manchester they are the ones that run and staff the front line services the ones that see the everyday realitys not the likes of Pauline Newman for gods sake listen to your staff gain thier respect be on thier side ask them how many would be willing to do a 4 day week to save their jobs (how much money would that save the council) have you even ballotted the staff because if you have i havnt been informed .You say people should make informed choices give them that choice as the Leader of the council show you stand behind your staff and ask is there another way we can go apart form private do not implement the tory cuts fight like anything show them manchester are against them you are the only one that can stop the final descision on 9th March you have made one response on here make one more show your staff you will fight with them that you are behind them that Labour are here for the workers and that you beleive in working class people look after the kids their nurserys go see the kids in thier nurserys dont let the kids down the meeting on monday night was awful and upsetting i have worked 25 yrs for the council and worked hard because i stupidly like many of the other employees thought the council cared for its workforce for the children and young people what fools you made us feel on monday night especially when the director over us who cares for the kids services said I dont care !! thats Tory talk not Labour I for one am upset and disgusted and as one lady on monday was told you cant work for the council for 2 yrs if you take VS was she having a laugh how many people that you have dropped from a great height are A .. want to work for the coucil again and B... will ever vote a Labour council in Manchester again I would like your response please dont just give one response to all these blogs your staff are waiting for thier answers

  95. Dan Says:

    Come on Mr Leese please give some straight answers. You know what is happening to the centres and staff so do the decent thing and be honest.

  96. Mum of 2 boys Says:

    I am utterly devastated to hear that the children's centres will be privatised or closed. My children currently attend Boxgrove and it does a wonderful job. The staff are like extended family, caring for my boys and nurturing them in the same way a loving parent does. My first child previously attended a private nursery and the level of care he received was inadequate - young, inexperienced staff, with little interest in developing him. Boxgrove provides wonderful care. As a teacher in Manchester I am seriously having to think whether I may have to leave my job looking after Manchester's children so that my own children can get the level of care I would expect for them. Every Child Matters should apply to every child. Have a conscience and look after Manchester's children.

  97. trish Says:

    i have commented 3 times noticably my comments have not appeared why does the truth hurt well not half as much as you are hurting people thats right you dont give a damn devastating peoples lives no one being told whats happening well here goes i hope you are in the same position because once you have axed all your staff you top bods will be all thats left so lets hope your time will have come whats the saying what goes round comes around dont suppose this will get put on the blog either nor will sir richard have the decency to reply tell the kids whats happening to their nurserys or is that too much trouble

  98. Phil W Says:

    I am horrified by the swinging cuts that the council is making to services. These are, it has to be admitted, as a result of the incredibly large cuts imposed by the government on the council. And the size of the cuts affecting Manchester are extraordinarily large compared with wealthier councils who have got off much lighter.

    But that said I cannot condone Manchester's wholesale closure of the Sure Start childrens' centres. Scaling back or reorganising services is one thing. Closing the entire service is incredibly callous and dangerous for the future of the talented and deditated staff, and the huge number of children in its care. If the service is running at a loss then there must be ways of addressing this without killing it off.

    Making the assumption that private and public organisations are going to want to or be able to pick up the place of the council's brief is either naive, patronising or a mixture of the two. I am sure that some will be taken over but there are going to be a considerable number of nurseries that will disappear and will never be replaced.

    What are the staff are going to do? Especially the older or more senior staff who are not ready for retirement, and may find retraining and employment elsewhere difficult. Newly qualified staff may find re-employment in the private sector easier but more highly qualified and better renumerated staff will find getting new jobs difficult.

    Parents have been left in limbo by these changes. There is precious little information and there seems to be no acknowledgement of the massive impact that this is going to have on a huge number of people. Parents do not know if their nursery will disappear or when, and if the staff they have worked with and trusted will be in post from one day to the next.

    People need to be treated better than this. Talk to the staff and the parents. Tell them what is going on!

    Sure Start is a service not a business, it serves the people of Manchester and gives a good service to them.

  99. Richard Leese Says:

    A number of posts appear to be ignoring the response I've posted on Sure Start so I'll have another go. We are not proposing to close any Sure Start Centres. As a result ofcuts in governement grants we are having to reduce the Council's budget by £109m this year rising to £170m the following year and possibly even more the year after that. As part of these government cuts, the Early Intervantion Grant which funds Sure Start has been cut by £8m a year. These government cuts mean we cannot go on as we are. There isn't enough money. What we are aiming to do, even with cuts on this scale, is keep all the centres open by running them in a different way.

  100. Aaron H Says:

    We all want to see Sure Start centres stay open. If there isn't enough money to continue as they are and they have to go out to tender, MCC must be absolutely rigorous in ensuring that standards within these centres remain high.

    Is there no possibility of a TUPE agreement with any agencies coming in, so as to maintain the existing staff and maintain some kind of business continuity?

    And to echo the thoughts of some of the other posters on this forum - we would all appreciate the truth from our senior managers, and leaders. It is becoming quite clear that the 'cynical' atmosphere that is now enveloping the whole council regarding M People is not cynical at all, but merely just a case of people reading between the lines. We all know MCC wants to say that no CR's were made, and everything was done voluntarily - but realistically CR is going to start in the summer of this year, and that is obvious to everybody.

    If there are going to be CR's, tell people. Let people consider VS / VER as a viable option because the workforce needs to get back to collectively focusing on service provision, not the internal pandemonium that MCC has become recently.

    And I can also sympathise with the people who attended the Children's Services meeting recently - as someone who has historically tried to work with the service to improve outcomes for Manchester's citizens, I often found their aloofness at senior management level particularly distasteful. I understand Pauline Newman when she says that she doesn't care who delivers services, as long as they are of a high standard - just think of a different way of saying it infront of a room full of people who are probably going to be losing their jobs.

  101. Ian Says:

    Can't people understand on this blog it is a cut in funding by central government that is causing all this. To fall for the right wing press's idea its due to overspending by the local council is a screen to cover up the most cuts we have seen since the 30s. To do this to the council and then say its there fault that services are being cut, hopes that we'll forget who is making this happen. The north gets more grants cause of the more deprived areas who have still not got over thatcters cuts of the 80's. Now they are cutting again trying to match the short fall caused by having to bail out the banks, there is a new ecomonic policy around that privitizies bank profits and nationalizes bank loss's.

  102. Bill Says:

    Can't you just raise the council tax?

  103. Doodle's Mum Says:

    What is wrong with a private provider for Child Care?????? - Let me tell you the answer!!
    Most of them are paid a minimum wage!
    High staff turnover!
    Not educated enough to deal with the different types of ability!
    Average age of staff 18-25yrs
    No life experience!
    Company to make a profit which is not reinvested in the center,
    Company will strip out to save against expenditure and overload current staff!

    Ofstead reports may be good - well we all can sick things on the wall & get extra staff in on a day of inspection!
    Inspections will always be good if you have days to prepare and therefore clean, paint, bring in extra staff!

    Drive/walk past or even visit on the off and see the staff, updating FB, or listen to them chatting about their activities on the Saturday night!!!!
    NOW do you understand why we need to fight for our existing childcare teams who our children are happy and safe to be with!!!

  104. Hann Says:

    I surggest the North Manchester Creche Service team be used for vulanarble children and families in the community.As a team many skills;resurces and a quilty service will be a great waste.For M.C.C to lose all these skills would be a loss to MCC and the community

  105. Aaron H Says:

    Doodle's Mum:

    You have got stuck into the quality of private daycare for children in your post, then gone on to say that existing council staff blagged in the inspection and spend the rest of the time gabbing and playing on facebook.

    Who exactly do you want?

  106. Aaron H Says:

    I see now you were talking about private daycare provision, possibly.

    Taxi for me!

  107. Mrs F (Lucas' Mum) Says:

    In Response to Sir Richard: You say that many people are ignoring your response regarding sure start....you do not intend to close these sure Start Centres but to have them Run in a different way....

    As a very upset, angry, confused parent, i would like to stress, in what way shape or form does it make sense to 'get rid' of all the dedicated staff who work at the Sure Start Centres?? Surely it would make sense to guarantee all the staff or as many as they possibly can, to stay where they are and continue to deliver excellent childcare, commitment and dedication to the children of our future. Let the staff be safe in the knowledge that they can still provide for their families and we as PARENTS, can go to work safe in the knowledge that our children are being looked after in a nurturing environment.

    Im not stupid or dumb, i might be saying things that dont make sense to some........Im a working class parent, who is passionate in the belief that we as adults and decent members of society, it is our responsibility to BE THE VOICE FOR OUR CHILDREN..... So if you feel confused, then try and walk a day in other peoples shoes, I am proud of the fact that I will do whatever it takes to protect my children, If i dont speak for them, then who will????

    So Sir Richard, as i asked previously, are you going to stand with us united and show how Sure Start really is DEAR TO YOUR HEART??? Yet again, im still a sad, angy, even more confused, parent who deserves honest direct answers. Yet again i await my response Sir Richard

  108. Mr X Says:

    "Bill Says:
    17/02/2011
    Can't you just raise the council tax?"

    Not by much. In fact there is a new grant for Council's who do not raise their Tax. It has been calculated that the income from raising the Tax by the max allowed (which would impact on Mcr tax payers negatively) would be broadly similar to the grant. About £3m - the papers are on the website. So no point.

  109. Disgusted Says:

    i too agree with Lucas mum why can't you give a proper answer to what she is asking if you really care you would be doing more than you are i bet your not having sleepless nights worrying about your job.... Lots of us have worked for mcc for many years and are just below the age for retiring therefore what do we do?

  110. Doodle's Mum Says:

    Arron H: I was talking about the private child care run places, NOT and under no uncertain terms have I experienced that at the council run places, that is the difference!!! yes call a cab!

  111. june Says:

    message for sir richard can you reply please How much will you show your staff you care Will you come to the protest meeting on sat 26th February at 1-30 outside the town hall will you be there with your staff and stand in solidarity with them show the Torys and Lib Dems how much these cuts to the childrens intervention grant and childrens services mean to you . Dont walk away like Pauline Newman did will you be there ????????

  112. mcc employee Says:

    to all mcc employees i also saw the sadness on monday evening at the meeting you have all worked hard as i have for may years some for 25 years and over making sure the children of this city have been looked after nurtured and cared for making every child feel like they matter and feel valued giving them the skills they need to venture out into the world and to start school .Also giving the parents peace of mind knowing they leave their child in a loving caring environment knowing their child is safe I for one applaud you and say well done !!
    You have put in years of hard work and would have still put in more.Not like Pauline Newman who was over the service who has been with us 9 years who quite blatently said She didnt care .How many proposals did she make on paper??? More to the point how many childrens faces did she see how many children did he meet ? I for onre have met many children as you have we care we can hold our heads up for what has been .But not for what may come that is out of our hands tuped off staff will leave kids will start on £5 90 an hour paid peanuts .So girls thank god the previous generations of Manchester have had you behind them .Pity the future generations to come its out of our hands! WELL DONE form one mcc employee to all the others in the childrens centers pity higher management cant say the same to the valued staff who has kept them employed in a job for the LAST 9 YEARS

  113. JUNE Says:

    TO ARRON H

    I just read your comments arron yes the staff will beTUPED across at the centers if a buyer is found to run it they will be kept on with same pay and conditions then after 90 days they can rop the staffs pay to minimum wage take holidays away stop the pension scheme they pay tupe can be a dicey thing so why cant the council keep a share in each center so the existing staff who are tuped are looked after also after 90 days the new employer can make redundancys .Ifthe staffagree to work for the new employer on the same terms and conditions then say no to the new changes ie minimum wage , 5 days hol taken away conditions changed they can be finished but because they refuse the conditions they wont get redundancy even if some have been with the council for 25 years they will be told you have officially made yourself unemployed so bye bye go sign on the dole the council needs to keep a hand in and not put full control over to the new employer they did it with the direct works why not with the childrens centers ?

  114. sue Says:

    richard leese if you read these blogs which as you are commenting im sure you do .Dont you think it would be a ood idea to ask Pauline Newman to put out an appology to her staff for the remarks made at Mondays meeting .Also can i ask are all the nurseries going to be run diferent or re any going to be kept in council control i have worked for 28 yrs and have 5 left and want to know whee i stand . I am like many many others I have like you got a family a mortgage and bills to pay also children to provide for we need answers not beingkept in the dark please GIVE you must know something tell the staff

  115. Pip Says:


    Manchester is my city, where i have lived, learnt and grown! I have always been proud of the commitment to quality that this city has sought to invest in its children and families. 
    Yet what I have experienced in the last week as a parent, as a resident and as a mcc employee. Manchester and it's senior directors are no longer committed to the 'visions' for every citizen of this city!!! Yes the cuts from central govt are inevitable but to hit Childrens services in such a way is apauling. Yet what more can we expect if the director of Childrens services cannot even champion the services that this city has prided itself upon and for which she has to be ultimately responsible. To tell a room full of vastly experienced and knowledgable staff who have committed themselves to this city that they not only do not have jobs but that she doesnt care who provides the service is not acceptable and has left staff feeling devalued and angry in an already very difficult situation. It is clear to me that these decisions are being made top down by people who do not value or depend on the services that this city has offered and been building upon for over 40 years.
    I really hope you can sleep at night!!! 
    No job, increased childcare costs and loss of valuable local services is my reality!! I fear for my children growing up in this city that no longer cares!!!

  116. Dan Says:

    let centre workers, parents / carers have a say in who will take over the centre in order to retain the high quality service we currently offer.

  117. LJ Says:

    Mr Leese, we are not ignoring your comments proposing that your not closing sure start centres. You are not hearing that by privatising them you are in fact closing them for many staff, parents and children. Staff have not only been in the service for years but have been working in the same children's centre for years. Not just looking after children but becoming a familiar face in the community and caring for different generations of children from the families within them communities. These faces will be lost along with their experience, commitment and dedication.

  118. HOPEFUL Says:

    HOPEFULLY IF OUR VOICES ARE HEARD AND WE PULL TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A CHANGE TO SOME OF THE CUTS, FACEBOOK, PARENT FORUMS AND MORE IS BEING DONE,WHEN WILL THEY HEAR OUR VOICES AND TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION, THE DAMAGE THEY ARE DOING TO OUR CHILDREN AND THE YOUTHS OF NOW AND THE FUTURE,I KNOW CUTS ARE NEEDED TO BE MADE , BUT WHY AT THE RISK OF OUR CHILDREN

  119. Not happy Says:

    Reading through some of these blogs......it actually scares me to think what childcare options will be available to parents once sure starts are closed!!! i noticed someone mention raising council tax.....?????what ??? i already pay £102 per month so can't work out why someone would suggest that however have'nt you thought of mentioning the VERY highly paid managers? to take a pay cut?

  120. Anon Says:

    I think what is happening to the Sure Start Centres is terrible and I really feel for the staff who have been treated appalingly. Also for the parents who use the centres for childcare. As a parent myself I totally understand the importance of childcare and ensuring that your child is safe and happy whilst you are at work.
    However, in terms of some of the very negative comments on here about private childcare, I disagree. I accept that some people may have had bad experiences with private nurseries but please do not tar all nurseries with the same brush!! I actually send my 3 year old to a private nursery and I cannot fault it, indeed I am 100% happy with it. The staff there are all caring and nurturing, they are all fully qualified and vary in ages. To say that staff at private nurseries have no life experience again a sweeping and unfair statement to make. A lot of the staff at my child's nursery are in fact parents themselves. I don't doubt that there are some terrible private daycare settings out then, however there are also some very good ones and I guess I have been very fortunate to have found an excellent one.

  121. not happy Says:

    Why not slash the pay of the top exec's, one being on 230k a year??? disgraceful, i don't care what responsibilities they carry that gives you a monthly salary of 19k ?? if you are passionate about your job and work you do it and take on responsibiliities but people are paid far too much these days it is greed!

  122. LJ Says:

    @ Anon
    You have been very fortunate to have found such a good private nursery to send your child to and yes some are the acception, however we have seen too many times that this is not the case. Also you chose to send your child to a private nursery. The parents of the children who attend the children centres chose these centres for who they are and what they stand for. That choice is now being taken away from them. They are being left with whoever takes over their child's centre. Some may be lucky and the new provider will offer the same standard of care but what happens to those that aren't so lucky??? They are being expected to lay down and take what comes.

  123. pam Says:

    Richard Leese if you are reading these comments can you read junes is this is what going to happen to your staff after many years service as an ex mcc emplyee i think you should keep somecontrol ver the child provision Yes you say council an no longer provide sole provision of childrens services why not provide joint provision with another provider instread of off lading it and your dedicated staff i await your reply to this it should be interesting

  124. Curious of Manchester Says:

    Given the ConDems have been voted in what did you think was going to happen? MCC has had it's Grants cut savagely. Instead of ranting at Senior Managers who will always answer with a 'straight bat' write en masse to the relevant Minister and the National Dailies. Set up a Facebook Page etc. However I assure you asking for answers as to why this Senior Manager did this or that is a completely fruitless and ultimately demoralizing exercise. Plan for the worst and hope for the best then you will never be surprised by anything that happens in MCC.

    A 30 year verteran of Local Goverment in many guises.

  125. former labour voter Says:


    I agree Sure Start is a service not a business, it serves the people of Manchester and gives a good service to them. Its intention was not just to serve 'Vulnerable families 'but to give every child the best start in life.It should not be sold/tendered to private providers as a business opportunity.Why has Pauline Newman not been made to apologise/held accoutable for her sweeping comments about a service she has been paid and paid well to led for the past nine years.Or is it as we are all begining to learn senior mangers are never held accountable for their actions or words its front line staff that take the brunt. Even the Torys apologised in the house of commons for getting it wrong re selling of forests. Tells us something about this Labour council dont you think? If the people that held the briefing on Monday are the senior managment team then god help the children of Manchester. Staff and families have the right to know whats happaning.

  126. An MCC employee/Mum Says:

    I would also like to share my disgust at the thought of losing the nursery my son attends. I have worked for MCC for 14 years and been a hardworking dedicated employee. When I had my son I looked around at many nurseries in my local area and was shocked at both the cost and poor standards such as processed food and nothing but young girls looking after the children. No disrespect to the young girls as we all have to start somewhere but I feel you need a good mix of ages of staff as life experience is vital when working with children. It just seemed the private nurseries were determined to pay out as little as possible but charge you the earth. My local early years and play nursery was recomended to me by another mum who's daughter is the same age as my son whose other chioldren had also attended there over the years. I was amazed at how fantastic the staff are and how when speaking to other parents there was never a bad word to say about it. The children are served fresh home cooked food everyday and there is a real wealth of experience which is being passed on to the younger staff they employ. The biggest bonus was how affordable it is. By privitasing it chances are we will lose the staff, and prices will go through the roof. How on earth can the government say they want people to work for a living when they are taking away the facilities that allow us to. My son will be due to start school this year which causes me another problem as the local after school facilities and holiday club facilities which are run by the early years and play staff are also being shut down. I think it is disgusting.

  127. sara says: Says:

    I am, just like many others are absolutly disgusted with the comment that Pauline Newman came out with on monday's meeting at the town hall, she surely must regret the use of the words 'i dont care who runs the services' when these are the services she is responsible for. she owes everyone an apology or better yet made to aplogise. As for the situation regaurding the sure start children's centres, privatising or closure of the centres would be catastrauphic. private providers are all about running a buisness and making money rather than educating and providing a safe and stimulating environment for the children to grow and learn in. How are children going to be expected to thrive and have a good start in life when these private nurseries are the only option they have.
    After the meeting on monday evening i am now on the understanding that the increase in the safeguarding children's budget to 6 million will be used to fund these private nurseries to take vulnerable children, Pauline Newman made a speech about this being their main priority in safeguarding vulnerable children and families. as a centre worker i have first hand experience of working with these children and families and know that these children in my centre have come form the private providers because there needs were not being met, and staff are not educated enough in dealing with these families. you now want to put these children back into those private centres were yet again there needs are not being met, how is this safeguarding children???????

  128. Louise Says:

    I feel very sad for the uncertainty and anxiety a lot of MCC employees are facing especially those in front-line services such as Manchester Advice and SureStart, who clearly feel passionately about helping manchester's vulnerable and deprived residents and embody the spirit of the best in public sector values. I wish them all the best in future employment. As an MCC employee of nearly 10 years with a previous private sector career, i regret to state that MCC has a large number of employees at all grades who are a disgrace to public sector values and show a contempt for colleagues and residents alike by their laziness, ineptitude and abuse of generous employment benefits; examples? treating sickness absence as an extension of annual leave, why work for 12 months of the year when you can take 6 months off every year on full pay, and shamelessly expect colleagues to cover. Parents who use their kids as excuses to take days off or turn up late. Staff who manage to waste time on personal calls, breakfast breaks and internet surfing. Those who contribute nothing to their team but manage to drain the life out of colleagues and line managers with endless whining and absence management. In the private sector these individuals would have been rooted out, given a chance to improve and kicked out on their useless backsides if they didn't. In the Council? they are shuffled around, ignored or tolerated with a union all too ready to defend the indefensible and make sacking someone virtually impossible. So these leaches cling on and it forces the council to employ extra people to do the work whilst still paying these incompents to contribute nothing of value. This has gone on for years, everyone at MCC knows it, i don't believe in a no redundancy policy it was never sustainable and the public sector cannot be immune from the economic realities that face everyone else. I also believe some good may come out of this current situation, in that it's an opportunity to clear out the deadwood employees, and keep the workforce that is a credit to the council and residents who won't have the burden of carrying their lazy colleagues anymore. Finally, M-People, get a grip of your project you are becoming a byword in the council for shambolic, disorganised, arrogant and patronising methods. If M-People policies really
    are the last best hope for those of us who remain at MCC then you need to up your game and sort yourselves out. Stop writing in jargonese you are council employees not rejects from The Apprentice!

  129. Pee Says:

    WOW! Just reading some of the comments on here get's me even more annoyed and upset than I already was. I have worked for the council in a children's centre for a long time! I have seen children develop and flourish! I am proud that I have contributed to the education of the future generation. Our centre is not just a place for parents to leave their children at whilst they go to work, but a place where they know their children are safe, cared for and loved. What I am not proud of is the disgusting way that MCC are treating children, parents & staff! Honestly we are going to end up like a third world country! How are the government and local councils going to combat unemployment? Oh I know how about a " BIG SOCIETY" Get a backbone, look after people in this country and stop giving BILLIONS away to Foreign Aid!!!!!

  130. takethepowerback Says:

    @pee

    "stop giving money to Foreign aid" Yeah, you really sound like you want children to "develop and flourish" or is that just the UK kids??
    21st century and people still think like this. Very sad.

  131. not happy Says:

    @takethepowerback

    Yeh of course just the uk kids who else?

  132. lazygoodfornothingunionmember Says:

    Wow Louise - not sure what department you work for (yes, I'm looking at the blog in my lunch half-hour). There 'may' be some truth in 'some' of your comments, but the fault is MCC's in general for not getting a grip on HR processes and capability - it certainly isn't the fault of the unions and there are shirkers in every organisation. On behalf of all employees, the hardworking and not so hardworking, I take offence at your Daily Mail comments. Now I'm off to have lunch...

  133. Working Mum Says:

    Louise, have you had breakfast? Please go and surf the net and find a job in an organisation that you will be happy in. Do not sit on your emotions for another 10 years, while you watch you watch your colleagues making you unhappy!!!

  134. mandy Says:

    Plans to privatise council nurseries have been dropped by Newcastle City Council as it apologised to parents following a bureaucratic error. As Nursery World reported last week, the local authority had interpreted the Childcare Act as a duty to manage rather than to provide existing and planned childcare services


    Are manchester council interperating it wrong too one coucil has already stopped nurserys going private as it looks like it was their responsibility to uphold the childcare arrangements what do others make of it

  135. takethepowerback Says:

    @nothappy

    Oh dear, someone rattle your Daily Mail?. No wonder you're 'not happy' How on earth are the poorer areas of the world ever meant to get on a level playing field, if the richer states dont help them out?? Ok, children's centres may go into the private sector (not happy about that myself) but children in this country dont die of AIDS, starvation and all manner of diseases, in their thousands, on a daily basis. Get some perspective.

  136. Message for ( Louise ) Says:

    What is wrong with people like you - when you start saying things like you have said on here.
    City Council employees have been given a lot of stick over the years for all sorts of stuff but you have taken the biscuit with this one.
    I for one have taken my leave to be off ill when really I should have been on the sick - so not everyone is as bad as you think at the Council - nobody wanted a job years ago in the Council now everyone wants one.
    Terms and conditions are what we have thought for over the years.

  137. Mcc employee Says:

    @takethepowerback I agree with unhappy we need to help the children of the UK FIRST when we get this right then we can think about the wider children of the world!! By making children centres private and sure start we are taking away the right to a good start in life for all 0-5yrs children!! There are some good private provider but you could count them on 1 hand!!!!! We should be focusing more on the young because these are our future. The way this is going there will be no future for the young.

    @ Louise I have worked for MCC for 24yrs I wish I had the time for breafast, personal calls and surfing the internet!!! I do agree to some comments about sickness but this is down to the council policies and procedures.

  138. takethepowerback Says:

    @mcc employee

    so Cameron and the condems need to save money - their answer: hit the poorest, the hardest. So you are suggesting the same then? Hit the poorest people in the world by denying them aid? You dont see the pattern here?Just how exactly do we help the UK kids first? When do we decide they've had enough money then help others overseas? Please explain. The reason i posted was because of this ridiculous suggestion of stopping aid. What about slashing the defense budget instead? We'd save a fortune if we didnt fight in oil wars and the money could be used for the greater good, both here and elsewhere.

  139. Aaron H Says:

    I think Louise's comments have been misinterpreted by some posters on here - I am pretty sure it is a defence of people who work hard for MCC, and a comment on those that don't.

    As an MCC employee I am no stranger to slogging my guts out for something, only to have it completely undermined by a difficult member of staff who takes the p*ss, does nothing and plays the mental health / bullying / extended sick leave (delete as appropriate) card when things get tough.

    It is a structural fault within MCC, and within employment law in general, that allows people to get away with this. The unions are also sometimes less than helpful in disciplinary cases involving capacity or dismissal, as they do, in my eyes, sometimes attempt to defend the indefensible.

    I also second the thoughts around M People - it might get given the kudos the council wants it to get if every piece of advice they gave you didn't completely contradict that of personnel, or indeed of another employee within M People. It is a truly shambolic attempt at putting a better redeployment procedure in place.

    And what is the capacity of M People to deal with the large number of people going in? Not enough staff to process the applications, so there must be some kind of automated procedure for matching names to jobs: enjoy the lottery once it begins.

  140. Val Edwards Says:

    please reconsider closing the welfare rights service.They serve the most vulnerable in Manchester and the numbers will increase tenfold with the recession. This service income generates - all money rightfully won for residents is ploughed back into the manchester economy. No new central gov money for a new legal/debt service will appear for two years. Do cllrs have the expertise and time to advise these people themselves.please think again

  141. Mcc Employee Says:

    @takethepowerback The condems are hotting the poorest the hardest in our country, what you don't see is how these families are living as i do though my job everyday. We will become a third world country who needs all the help it can get!!!!! Let the rich people of the porest in the world help there own and leave us to sort out our poorest. Labour took 600.000 families out of poverty the condems are putting these and many more into poverty. I always gave to red nose day and many other to help the children. I for 1 will not be able to do this my guess is there will be many more people like me were charity will start at home in the future!!!!!!!!!!!

  142. Hummingbird Says:

    Thanks Louise. I thought I was the only one who felt this way. I agree with every statement you have made.

  143. not happy Says:

    takethepowerback i am unsure why or how we have got on the subject of children in third world countries as i am only concerned about my children. Manchester has enough problems of its own right now!

  144. for the kids Says:

    Private It is literally unbelievable that executive members of Children's Services such as Sheila Newman are prepared to write in to the South Manchester Reporter to assure parents that Manchester City Council have no intention of privatising daycare, whilst the Council website states clearly, and publicly, not only that privatisation of daycare has already happened in Manchester, but that they're planning more of it. Have these people actually READ their own business plan?

    Services are due to be delivered from the Sure Start room in Broom Avenue by a large and aggressive “social business”, the Big Life Company, and their own Aisha Child Care ltd. A social business is a private company and is profit-making, yet gets tax breaks and grants from government as long as it does some ‘good’. It removes services from the public sector. The company can go bust. Money is spent on creating a new layer of managers and consultants to set up and market the new service ‘brand’ to potential customers. Large social businesses cherry-pick services they want to run – unlike the public sector or small voluntary sector groups. Their boardrooms are a long way removed from the streets and from democratic control. The privatisation of public services via social businesses is already causing serious problems for the NHS, state schools and, increasingly, early years education.

    There's been much confusion about whether, as a "social business", the Big Life Company are really the private sector as such. A lot of the confusion has been fostered by Sure Start and Big Life representatives who promote the misunderstanding that Big Life are a non-profit organisation. This is not the case:

    “We're for loads of profit"
    Nigel Kershaw, head of Big Invest and founding member of the Big Life Company.

    “Social businesses can hold proudly onto the principle that they can take an incredible level of pride in making profit. So, welcome to the world of the social business.”
    Andy Peers, Regional Sales Manager, Big Life (2000).

    Sure Start Levenshulme stands for the privatisation of public services, plain and simple, and let no-one tell you otherwise.




    Private sector involvement at down the road at Burnage Children's Centre has been a disaster for children. Last year, Ofsted took enforcement action against the private day-care provider which operates out of the centre, saying: “nappies are changed on torn mats with foam exposing, feeds are left in bags on top of a radiator and the fridge is dirty and smells of sour milk. Babies are provided with some manufactured toys, which they hardly access and are left to crawl around aimlessly. Children do not benefit from a consistent staff team, who know the children well to meet their individual needs.” We cannot let Broom Avenue Children's Centre go the same way.

    Read the full OFSTED report here.
    sector involvement at down the road at Burnage Children's Centre has been a disaster for children. Last year, Ofsted took enforcement action against the private day-care provider which operates out of the centre, saying: “nappies are changed on torn mats with foam exposing, feeds are left in bags on top of a radiator and the fridge is dirty and smells of sour milk. Babies are provided with some manufactured toys, which they hardly access and are left to crawl around aimlessly. Children do not benefit from a consistent staff team, who know the children well to meet their individual needs.” We cannot let Broom Avenue Children's Centre go the same way. I have copied and pasted it looks like they already had the private providers sir richard surley your staff should know the truth not under hand lies
    Sure Start's "consultation" process:

    Levenshulme has not been consulted on these plans. This is understandable since any real consultation would result in local people getting together and trying to scrap these disgraceful plans. Instead the City Council have surrounded the whole process with half-truths, evasions and outright lies in order to attract the minimum attention whilst they smash up our kids' services.

    Both Pam Tideswell (the Head of Sure Start Manchester) and Lorraine Butler (Sure Start District Commissioning Manager) have confirmed that the option of using Broom Avenue Children's Centre as the hub of Sure Start Levenshulme was never up for discussion. Likewise any input by parents or the wider community into the building plans themselves was never an option. Lorraine Butler has even questioned whether the word "consultation" is accurate for the Council's process in her email correspondence with us:

  145. Doodles Mum Says:

    Reading the comments, we all have valid points for our own reasons!!! PLEASE do not just contribute to this blogg, take a look where your councillor surgey is and visit them personnally tell them face to face and ask them what are they going to do to help us, afterall the Manchester Voters put them there! Manchester Stand up!! Help us! Come and join us on Saturday at 1.30pm at the Town Hall.

  146. Louise Says:

    @Araon H and @hummingbird, thank you for supporting my comments, I have nothing but respect for the fantastic work and colleagues I've had the priviledge of working with at MCC. They embody all the best in public service, and thankfully they're the majority. I stand by my other opinion though, in that far too many staff contribute bugger all and make life harder for those that do. It's not the fault of HR policies, we have personal responsibilities to our employer,
    manchester residents and
    and team mates not to take the proverbial. Set your own bar high, don't wait for a line manager or HR bod to set it for you. Our employment rights were hard fought for but that makes it even more important in my view to respect them and the battles that won them. I do read the Daily Mail and the Guardian, I find it gives me a balanced view of all sides. Good luck to everyone in Surestart and Manchester Advice, you do great work and I hope you are successful at challenging what's happening to you.

  147. Mystic Megan Says:

    @Aaron H
    who said "As an MCC employee I am no stranger to slogging my guts out for something, only to have it completely undermined by a difficult member of staff who takes the p*ss, does nothing and plays the mental health / bullying / extended sick leave (delete as appropriate) card when things get tough."

    Let's be clear... some workers ARE subject to excessively high workloads and excessive performance expectations from some managers who have their own kudos and career prospects as a priority, not the people they manage.

    Some managers ARE bullys and on the whole they get away with it, because MOST workers are loyal and professional and don't want to make a fuss because it looks like their personal failure, and they're often too scared to admit they're crumbling under excessive stress to their managers. UNTIL the stress and anxiety gets the better of some workers, then they have no alternative but to seek medical help, and then to go off work sick to 'recover'. The management MUST DENY any such problem, else they admit liability, they'd have to do something about it, and that is just more work and not in their personal career interests, blatantly so.

    I have quite a bit of experience of Occupational Health and USUALLY despite reports from advisors and doctors to management for individual risk assessments, rarely are these manadatory instructions carried through. So I am a bit fed up of statements suggesting that work stress and related sickness is invariably a fraud. In my opinion, employers get away with murder when it comes to work pressure, and HR know that if the situation was examined objectively then they'd not stand a chance in any tribunal for example because they have failed to apply proper health and safety regimes and procedures, and contributed to, if not actually caused, a person's mental ill health situation. Say nowt.

    The problem often lies in a 'one size fits all' institutional practice. There is no flexibility for individual capability, and that can be influenced by employee age, health, training and experience, and personal individual factors. We are not all the same and on average no one wants to 'take the p*ss' with their employer, but my feeling is that more often than not it is the managers who are doing so... but invariably it is the capability of the front line worker that is brought into question, and not their manager's capability to manage effectively without stressing out his/her workforce, or particular individuals (without bullying).

    I look at my crystal ball and suggest that come 'Transformation' that 'more for less' will mean more work, more individual pressure and stress on many fewer workers earning less pay, and severe management and performance supervision to achieve unrealistic efficiency targets and magic achievement numbers, which managers and service heads will use to keep Executive Members happy in their regular performance reports. At the same time as MCC will apply ever more onerous sickness monitoring and disciplinary pressures on staff who can't cope to discourage sickness absence, which for some will just exacerbate their stress and result in inevitable longer term illness in the future. Hello capability / disciplinary procedures...

  148. astonished non-shirker Says:

    @lazygoodfornothingunion member, re your casual acceptance "there are shirkers in every organisation" I'm amazed that you obviously think thats ok. I agree that Louise could have been more diplomatic but I share her sentiments. She clearly has a strong traditonal work ethic and abhors the lack of it in others. Those of us lucky enough to have a good job and benefits should work hard and not shirk. I'm sure many in the council are good workers, I've always had decent service, but if there are lazy ones then they should buck their ideas up and support their hard working colleagues. The one thing "shirkers" are quick enough to do is collect their paycheck.

  149. Aaron H Says:

    Megan:

    Read my comments carefully. I am advocating for all staff to be made more accountable for their actions, and in no way have I suggested that people who are genuinely ill are 'frauds'.

    Instead, look at the people who play the system and cry wolf, pretending to be ill - those are the people who are making life difficult for those with genuine ailments / problems. My comments weren't aimed at frontline staff, and not managers - I've managed / been managed by people who took the p*ss equally.

    Like you, I also fully anticipate more capacity / disciplinary procedures as people are expected to move around the organisation and fulfill different roles. Unfortunately, as an organisation and as a work culture in general, MCC just doesn't have the people who are of the mindset that this is possible. Some directorates do, others certainly don't. It would certainly be nice to talk about workforce capability, or people not taking the mickey out of their employees, without being labelled a cold-hearted conservative enthusiast. I'm neither of those, but unless things change, there will always be people getting away with as much as they possibly can. If things don't change, expect the brightest to leave, because people who get frustrated do, and that's why you end up with some of the incompetent managers / staff that you have mentioned in your own post.

    It will get messy before it gets better!

  150. Nick Says:

    http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2011/02/ken-livingstone-progressive#reader-comments

    cuts are illegal undemocratic and should be challenged like Goves were- to hishumiliation

  151. pam Says:

    are you going to join together with the surestart like you did with manchester /morrisons or sell them lock stock and barrel sir richard if you have a share at least parents like me wouldnt feel threatened by private providers making big chargea and big changes

  152. worried Says:

    Can you explain why myself and my colleagues were quite clearly given the options at the Town hall on 14th and 15 th february by our senior managers, one choice being able to opt into Mpeople. As one of the senior managers said " go into M people with your eyes wide open" obviously many of us wanting to transfer our skills were happy to be flexible etc etc, wanting to stay working with the council now there has been a sudden halt on applications to M people as the issue of TUPE is being explored, so basically we were not given the correct information and are shocked to hear Mpeople may not be a choice for many of us and we will be needed as part of the package to transfer, this is a disgrace and I urge my colleagues to fight for our future, this is a distressing time for us and now more worries, there is little clarification from our managers and we are left fighting for our own jobs and security, even some colleagues line managers refusing to sign the opt in forms, this is an urgent matter for us and I urge you to check where your M people application is up to and lets try to resolve this, surely it is not our fault if our leaders have not done their homework with the figures, they cannot go back on their words. If you do not want to TUPE over you must act now.

  153. mcc employee Says:

    May I ask how long those of us who have expressed interest in VS/VER (before 11th Feb) are going to have to wait before being given a decision? We were led to believe that by expressing interest early, we would be given an early decision. Not knowing what our futures hold is adding increased stress to an already stressful job and affecting the moral of everyone on our team - even the ones who have no wish to leave.

  154. Council Worker Says:

    Yes we are still waiting a response on VS/VER and isn't the constant delays in waiting for "Our application to be considered" actually costing the council more and more money?

  155. Aaron H Says:

    The internal communication regarding VS / VER has been appalling considering what a significant decision it is for most MCC employees.

    A shame that we can't get our own house in order and look after staff with dignity.

  156. childrens services employee Says:

    I too am still waiting on a response to my application for VS ! As we are being put out to tender, you would have thought we would have had a speedy response - but no. We are still waiting. It is unfair to keep people hanging on like this. People have decisions to make regarding their future. Can we have a little respect for a workforce that despite everything is still turning up for work. I am amazed that sickness levels haven't gone through the roof - or are people frightned to take time off in case it goes against them?. M People isn't really an option as you can only apply until we reach "minimum staffing levels". Within children's centres are we not already at minimum staffing levels, and if not by the time staff get VS/VER, then there wont be any further availability for M People. This is just a mess that has been handled very badly. It feels as though the goalposts are being moved all the time and promises that were made - broken. This council is in a sorry state.

  157. mcc employee Says:

    In response to C S E last comment,I totally agree with what you said, I have tried to contact unions to clarify the V.S and V.E.R situation. I applied for the V.S. in January and as yet heard Nothing. I would like to ask anyone about the managers decision after some one has applied for V.S. or V.E.R. Does the final decision about being accepted for the above lie with your manager?? Can this decision stop you from leaving MCC with the V.S. / V.E.R. Any information would be gratefully accepted due to the FACT that no one from personnel services is able to give me a direct answer. Also does anyone know when the next lot of people that applied for the above will be told when they can leave. thank you

  158. Disgusted Says:

    in response to MCC employee i have heard the next lot of people are going to leave on the 18th March! how true this i dont know as like you said noone is telling us anything and it should not be up to your manager!!!! or else what is the point of it being voluntary some have already gone with 12 weeks extra up front that should be the same for everyone who wants to go it is about time we were told the truth once and for all!!!!!!

  159. Aaron H Says:

    It would also be interesting to hear why some people are being given 12 weeks in advance, whereas others are getting their notices and being given less than a week to live with no additional perks.

    I would like to know the criteria that is being used to determine who gets what regarding VS and what the negotiating system entails, but given all the cloak and dagger stuff going on at the moment there's more chance of pigs flying past the office window.

  160. Council Worker Says:

    From what I've been hearing it seems to be managers and levels above who are being awarded the VS/VER the earliest. I know of at least 3 managers who have gone/going already and none of the low paid workers actually been given anything yet. Seems to be looking after senior staff first as usual

  161. 1350 Says:

    Your head of service should be asked about the implications of your leaving.
    This doesn't remove the 'voluntary' part of the process.
    There are some posts within MCC that could not be replaced without external recruitment (solicitors etc) which would defeat the point of letting the people in those posts leave.
    I unfortunately fear that the staff leaving through VS/VER won't be the worst thing to happen to MCC over the next few months, service re-designs must naturally follow.

  162. in limbo Says:

    I have applied for vs also but haven't heard a thing it's the not knowing and the uncertainty that I am concerned about I was also considering the M people pathway but I was told by a colleague that they were knocked back this was after her manager's approval does anybody have any solutions to our dilemma as I probably speak for quite a number of people that our futures are looking like being tuped over how as managers can we guide staff and keep up moral if we don't know what is going on.

  163. ex mcc employee Says:

    I have heard that once the TUPE process starts for all the nursery staff they cant then go to M people and the council want a smooth transition from public to private COME ON !! why the bloody hell should the staff who you have messed about put up with that sorry we need you for now to pass the service over as a going concern then tough once tuped then new owners can do what they like . So how come the council have spouted equality for years you are treating your staff equal to something you would fetch in off your shoe . I say its a wonder your not all off on the sick with stress I know many of you havefamilies and homes and have a life at right at this moment i wouldnt like to be under the stress you lot are

  164. ex mcc employee Says:

    sir richard has the descision already been made regarding nurseries i thought it was 9th march it was ratified so why is this ALREADY showing on one of the council nurseries
    PRIVATELY OWNED how long has a public nursery been privately owned



    Owner: Early Years and Play

    Local Authority / Social Services: Manchester City Council

    Number of other staff: 16

    Service Offered: Day Nursery (Privately Owned), Open all year

    Total Places for Children: 50

    Age Range: from 0 years to 5 years

    Opening Days: Mon-Fri

    Opening Hours: 0730-1730


    and this



    Person in charge: Ms Christine Fisher

    Local Authority / Social Services: Manchester City Council

    Number of other staff: 7

    Service Offered: Day Nursery (Privately Owned), Open all year

    Total Places for Children: 26

    Age Range: from 0 years to 5 years

    Opening Days: Mon-Fri

    Opening Hours: 0800-1800

    When Closed: BH & 2 wks Xmas

    Fees Guide: £126.00 full week, £29.00 per day, £17.00 half day


  165. lucky or unlucky? Says:

    I received my letter on thursday morning offering vs and was given a deadline to respond WITHIN 2 WORKING DAYS of receipt of the letter making my choice still unimformed to the councils plans, also feeling guilty about leaving children and familys i have known for years being keyperson to several siblings in some familys, my manager was not consulted in any way on the inpact to the centre, i have 5 weeks before i leave and have no option due to the silence of higher management, i feel no respect has been given to a workforce who has served the council well, we are all just an employee no, I wish good luck to all still in limbo and hope your choices turn out to be best for yourselves and your families.

 

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