Or Downtown Manchester to be precise. Started the day at RBS's Deansgate offices this morning, not to protest at their Chief Executive's bonus though I'm very firmly in the camp that nobody actually " earns " that much, but to speak at a business breakfast organised by Downtown Manchester to launch their business survey. Passed on breakfast again as I'd long since had my daily porridge and honey, but was happy to support an event and an organisation that has a slightly left field approach to engaging with business. Also, for absence of doubt, happy to support RBS as one of the biggest employers in the city.

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Carbon Literacy

Not even an attempt at any catch in today's heading. Got very energised yesterday evening at a meeting of the Environmental Advisory Panel ( EAP ). Meetings of the panel are more likely to be described as worthy and perhaps a little earnest rather than exciting, and Carbon Literacy doesn't exactly sound like a theme to set the pulse racing. Let me go back to Manchester's Climate Change Action Plan, Manchester - A Certain Future. The plan is described rightly as a stakeholder plan, because a whole range of individuals and groups were involved in writing it. That includes groups engaged in the EAP who continue to be involved in the delivery of the plan. One of the commitments in A Certain Future was that every Manchester resident should have an entitlement to a day's Carbon literacy training. A couple of members of the panel, Dave Coleman and Phil Korbel have, through a social enterprise company, done some work on this and last night Dave gave a report on the progress they have made.

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We have an all-party Members Review Panel that meets regularly to scrutinise progress on the refurbishment of the Town Hall Extension and Central Library, as well as looking at the changes in working practices being trialled at 1st Street in preparation for the return to the Town Hall, although the changes are already bringing us significant benefits in improved efficiency and effectiveness.

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Fire and Rain

Started the day at Sunlight House for a business breakfast organised by Insider Magazine. Didn't have what would have been a second breakfast and in any case was there to talk and answer questions about the Manchester Family ie the arrangements we have in Greater Manchester to both formally and informally support sustainable economic growth in the city-region. Arrived there about 7.45am and left just after 9am so missed the deluge that descended on the city sometime in between but still not a lot of sunshine on the walk up to the Town Hall. Had the first Executive Committee of the new calendar year this morning with surprisingly little debate about some very substantial items on the agenda.

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Soft Landings

A wretched comment on the last post from Scrooge's mate Bob, referring to most people being back in work on January 3rd. For the record I didn't come back into the office until January 4th, though with the wonders of modern technology much of my " paper " work can now be done from pretty much anywhere in the world. However the requirements of public service meant that many Council staff were working throughout the Christmas and New Year period including on Christmas Day, and the same is true for many other parts of the public sector. I don't think there is any thing like enough appreciation of the commitment of many of our staff, and I'd like to say thank you to all of our staff working when the rest of us were enjoying our Christmas pud.

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New Ideas

First blog of 2012 so Happy New Year! 2011 was a pretty grim year and there is nothing to suggest that 2012 will be any easier, but Manchester (and its Council) came out of 2011 in far better shape than anyone might have expected and that's the task for the coming year - to do our best to ensure that Manchester and its people thrive, whatever is thrown at us. Of course, building a thriving city does need some long-term thinking and some innovative thinking.

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