Looking after our neighbourhoods

A day in the office catching up on details of how we run the city council.

There are a multiplicity of services and we have clear structures in place to make sure we know who is looking after children's services, who is looking after neighbourhood services and who is looking after finance, for instance. But amidst all that, who is it looking after Clayton? Or Wythenshawe? Or Moston?

We know it's not enough to make our services efficient - they have to be co-ordinated at local level too. It makes things so much better if everything about a place is improved, rather than just the street lighting, or just the school or just the library.

In Manchester called we try to do this through ward co-ordination, which involves ward Councillors, supported by a nominated senior officer, the ward co-ordinator, and a ward support officer, meeting regularly with the managers responsible for services in their ward and in most wards with community members, to plan services for the ward and hold officers accountable for delivery. You might have read about their work in the local ward newsletters that are delivered to your doors twice a year? Working at neighbourhood level is at the heart of what the Council does and next year we intend to strengthen ward co-ordination to make it more effective.

I also have a meeting about latest developments in the Oxford Road corridor, getting together with the Universities and the Hospital to maximise benefits from all the improvements we are making in this crucial area just south of the city centre.

Followed by.... another meeting about another organisational review.... this one about how we communicate. We've just had presentations from Manchester Airport about their marketing techniques and we are mid-way through a work programme examining what we do now, and what we could do better.  Communication is obviously vital to us all, though the bottom line is that it is never a substitute for good services. We know more and more people are using the web, so we need to see how we communicate digitally and how that can be improved.

In the run-up to Christmas, it's also the time to chat and I end the day with a beer on the Christmas market with one of our local journalists to catch up on future city developments.

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