Not surprisingly, since coming back into the office last week most of my time has been spent on the final stages of preparing the Council's budget in the light of a very poor but not unexpected provisional grant settlement from government. That work is still far from complete and I will be returning to this subject either later this week or early next. In the meantime I want to talk about this morning's meeting of the Manchester Partnership Board.
As always there are a number of substantial items on the agenda including the city's quarterly performance report which given the overall economic climate is mixed reading but probably a bit better than could be expected. The Bishop of Manchester gives a verbal update on the work of the Greater Manchester Poverty Commission which he has been chairing and is due to report its findings next Tuesday. The Bishop represents faith communities on the board as chair of the Greater Manchester Multi-Faith Group. This is Bishop Nigel's last board meeting as he is now retiring and he will be a tough act to follow, and not just as a partnership board member. It's also Evelyn Asante-Mensah's last meeting. Evelyn, as Chair of Manchester PCT, represents the Health sector on the board, but the PCT is being abolished from the end of March leaving us with no obvious route for a replacement who can represent Health city-wide. Similarly we have lost Councillor Paul Murphy as a member. Paul represented the Police Authority, also abolished. This is particularly relevant because another item on the agenda is a refresh of the Manchester Community Strategy. The current strategy, now going into its last three years, is really about how all of us can contribute to making Manchester a better place. Partnership is at the heart of how we deliver that strategy but as a result of changes forced upon us, we are going to have to re-cast how we bring partners together to work together in pursuit of those shared objectives.
I better mention at least one other item on the agenda, another refresh, in this case of Manchester A Certain Future, our stakeholder climate change strategy. The update has considerably more on adaptation than the original but continues to challenge us all to address one of the most fundamental issues facing the world today.