Executive and Council, the last for this year

Today is the last full Council Meeting of the current municipal year, but, unusually, it was preceded by a special meeting of the Council Executive. Most sensitive item on the agenda is the future of Manchester Care, a Council created organisation which provides residential and home care for elderly people. The biggest priority is of course to look after the interests of service users and we agree a new partnership arrangement for the future, which should do just that.

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Inside Innovation

Today is ten hours locked in Urbis working with a diverse group of people working on how we make Manchester more innovative.

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Good Health

Great news today with an announcement by Heath Secretary Alan Johnson that we are to get a National Biomedical Research Centre in Manchester - this will drive the development, testing and uptake of new and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat ill-health.

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Catching Up

I promised to catch up with you on Saturday's conference organised by the Manchester Partnership, so here goes. This was the fourth conference of its kind and the theme this year was "2015 - Manchester's Journey". It's about what we need to do to achieve our shared vision for Manchester by 2015 and our recognition that we will only get where we want to be by everybody pulling together!

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Three out of four

Today there are three things to report - and a fourth to come, I promise.

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Manchester's Journey

One of my responsibilities as Leader of the City Council is to chair the Manchester Partnership, and today we are putting the finishing touches to Saturday’s free fun family event "2015 Manchester's Journey".

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Michael Todd

We are all stunned at the tragic news of Mike Todd's death. I do not wish to and will not add to the speculation about the causes of this awful tragedy but rather pay my respects and those of the City Council to a man who served us well, transforming Greater Manchester Police since he arrived in 2002 to a force to be reckoned with, delivering neighbourhood policing and reducing crime. He led with energy and enthusiasm and he led by example. He will be sorely missed by his family and his colleagues and my thoughts are with them as we mourn his passing. The Council's Executive Committee honoured Mike this morning with a minute’s silence, a small token for an enormous loss.

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To London and beyond

A morning on the Manchester Conference and then progress on academies before taking the train to London to join Wigan Council leader Peter Smith for a discussion with Hazel Blears at the Department for Communities and Local Government Offices on the subject of Manchester’s Multi Area Agreement, a plan to improve the economic performance of the city region and standards for everyone who lives here. We've put together 12 key proposals to build skills of local people, raise employment levels and improve our economy, and we're ready to start negotiations with Government. Regular readers are probably fed up of seeing this but the ten councils in the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities are in a unique position nationally to make effective progress because of the high levels of co-operation in our conurbation to work together to improve the city region.

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Our workforce, your services

Firstly, a breakfast seminar at Cushman and Wakefield to explore global economic trends and the property market in the UK, and Manchester in particular. Then a meeting at Urbis to discuss future strategy - exhibitions, events, income raising and everything else - with its Chief Executive Vaughan Allen. In the afternoon I attend a ceremony to present awards recognising excellence among staff in the City Council Chief Executive's department. These are workers who have been nominated by colleagues for doing exactly what it says on the tin - achieving excellence in the way they deliver services that improve lives for everyone in the city. It's not just for frontline staff: one of the recipients helps us keep our computers going, a back-office function is vital in a large organisation. Others are working directly in the community, liaising with residents on a range of issues tackling everything including improving health and unemployment. I am confident that year on year our employees can look at what they've done and see the difference they have made to the quality of life for Manchester's citizens, and these awards are important in recognising that.

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The delightful council tax quandary

Budget Council today where we decide on the level of Council Tax and what we need to spend it on. In the process we've uncovered a delightful statistical problem. Does Manchester now, after nine years of successfully restricting the rise in council tax to be at or below inflation, have the second or fourth lowest average Council tax bills in the country?

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