Manchester City Council

Let's Work Together

The dust is settling over last week's elections and time for a little reflection.

If you look at the history of this great city one of the major reasons it was so successful in the nineteenth century was because of its openness. Openness to ideas and to people wherever they came from. 

Manchester is becoming great again. Just today a survey in the Economist places Manchester in the World's top fifty liveable cities. The renaissance of Manchester in the twenty first century is based on those same values of openness, of inclusiveness, of live and let live. Not only is there no place for racism and intolerance in this city we all need to understand that if we fail to challenge those who want to introduce hatred and division into our midst, our city will be damaged for all our citizens.

Today is our second Executive Members/ Strategic Management team away day (Cathedral Visitor Centre this time although our strategy will not depend simply on the power of prayer) looking at next year's and the two subsequent years' budgets. Financially life is going to get a lot tougher for public services over the coming years and if we don't plan thoroughly that will damage our citizens too. I don't mean for that to happen!

There are 17 responses to “Let's Work Together”

  1. J Jones Says:

    I’m afraid that’s the paradox of living in a free society.

    We love and cherish our freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom to chose those that govern and represent us.

    Unfortunately that means we have to allow political parties of all persuasions, even if their views go against everything that most decent human beings hold dear. It also means we have to allow universal franchise, which means that the bigoted minority also get their say at the polls.

    I sincerely hope that the election of the poisonous Nick Griffin to the European Parliament is a blip caused by voter apathy and low turnout brought about by the recent national expenses scandal.

  2. ABU Says:

    I am only playing devils advocate here and by no means support the BNP. I also realise they have been elected to the NW and not just Manchester.
    However, is this not Democracy at work? Are the BNP not simply expressing the views of many white working-class communities who feel ignored?

    Politicians, both locally and nationally, are being very quick to point the finger at the BNP for spreading hate and are expressing disgust at their election success in the NW. But their message would simply not be relevant if other political parties were a viable option. I have no doubt that if all parties were doing their job properly the BNP would not even be on most peoples radar. You say ‘if we fail to challenge those who want to introduce hatred and division into our midst, our city will be damaged for all our citizens’ which I completely agree with. I think your political challenges, however, should be made much closer to home. The more we challenge the BNP the more of a platform they are given. Politics is broken and its high profile people such as yourself that have to fix it. If you (we) don’t, you can sling all the mud you like at the BNP- it won’t stick and our City really will be damaged, irreparably.

  3. sue denim Says:

    I agree with the two comments made above. However research shows a trend of the population of Manchester is diverse and will continue yet the Political Candidates offered to Mancunians above Councillor level does not reflect this. The population of Manchester has changed yet the workforce of Manchester CC and other public sector bodies above School Assistants, Cleaning and Catering level posts does not reflect this. The population of Manchester is diverse yet the resources and services offered to the public is virtually a one model to suit all. We have some of the most deprived wards in the entire UK here in Manchester - yet the Education, Housing, Employment and Health services provided is woefully inadequate to cope or meet desired targets.

    The governments Decent Homes Standard 2010 will not be met by Manchester CC. Agenda 2010 a Manchester CC 10 year plan of action to improve race equality this initiative also will not be met by Manchester CC and the list goes on.

    It’s a shame that posts above Grade 8 which are advertised by Manchester CC are not filled with candidates willing to relocate and live in Manchester in order to kill two birds with one stone of improving on Manchester’s average household income figures whilst also retaining some wealth and revenue that potentially Manchester CC employees spend locally within Manchester’s economy which benefit’s us all.

    To reduce the longterm costs of translaters and signers etc Manchester CC should take a leaf out of the private sectors book and increasingly recruit more from the Communities and the diverse population which Manchester proudly offers again killing two birds.

    As for unfilled posts that have been advertised by Manchester CC in the Jobs Update they should either be linked to automatically Job Centre Plus - New Deal schemes for people unemployed six months to fill or re-advertised internally ringfenced for existing Manchester CC staff with full assurance that full training and support required will be provided to Candidates to reduce another situation of Manchester CC employees working in same service area and role for five years plus who are wishing to progress within the organisation but cannot access training linked to other roles outside their existing service area as not applicable to their specific job role (and reduce the chicken and egg scenario many face) however they do hold transferable skills to offer. The latter would also create movement within workforce and create opportunities for others also to benefit from.

    As for unused Manchester Council owned buildings adverts with Voluntary Action Manchester, Manchester Council for Community Relations, Community Network for Manchester, MMU, 1824 Manchester University, NHS Manchester, BBC Manchester, Cascade, Tenants News, ALL FM, MEN & Metro papers to welcome applications from groups and individuals to manage rooms or buildings for a fixed term period which is funded by Manchester CC Community fund, National Lottery Fund, Arts Council, British Heritage, GMP Community grants, BT Community, Lloyds TSB Community grants, various European and Government Community Grants to meet the start up and running costs. A new unit at Manchester CC should be set up within the Chief Executives Dept in order to manage the scheme in a similar vain that Private Sector Housing Manages and provides support to Private Landlords and so forth.

  4. Mrs H Says:

    No am I a BNP voter but politicians both local and national must realise they have played a big part in the elction of Nick Griffin to the North West. The elecorate do not trust politicians and I don't know whether Griffin was elected on the back of the expenses fiasco or whether they are well and truly cheesed off with the state of politics today. I do beleive that Councillors also must start to listen or I can see the possibility of the BNP being elected to local councils in this area too.

  5. Ali Says:

    A couple of questions on the budget discussions:

    * How are you measuring the projected benefits of budget spend to the people of Manchester? Is it purely in economic terms, or are you also assessing the social and environmental impacts and their contribution to people's overall well-being?

    * Given the urgent need to make substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, what proportion of the next 3 years' budgets are you looking to dedicate to climate change mitigation measures?

  6. sue denim Says:

    where is my comment from 9/6/09 ?. Persons with comments on 10/6/09 have had theirs posted !.

  7. J Doherty Says:

    The reality is some people voted BNP. That is their right. They may not have rascist motives. We need to think why they are so disillusioned with the main stream

  8. Dave Says:

    What I would be worried about is the committment that a change of government has made to a 10% cut in all goverment departments including the amount given to local authorities by central government. How that is a worring thought for Manchester.

  9. Geoff Little - Deputy Chief Executive Says:

    Manchester values and celebrates the breadth and diversity of the city, and tackling inequality of outcomes, disadvantage and discrimination continues to be a key priority for the City Council, both in it’s role as a service provider and a large employer.

    In the last 5 years Black and Minority Ethnic representation with the Manchester City Council workforce has risen from 10.7% to 14.2%, and we continue to strive to meet our target of 17.8% by 2010 through a range of recruitment and development strategies to support the employment of Manchester residents into our workforce and to ensure that our employees are representative of the communities they serve.

    For example; working with Job Centre Plus to match Manchester City Council entry level roles to clients skills, hosting annual jobs fairs and attending at community events, including providing employability briefings to residents to help support them to be successful in their search for employment. The City Council also runs an employment scheme for long term unemployed Manchester residents that encompasses both pre- and post- employment support and training. This programme has been successful in both the recruitment and retention of long term unemployed residents and subsequently increasing diversity in the City Council. It is targeted at those groups, which are under-represented in the City Council and in employment in general in Manchester.

    The Agenda 2010 Partnership is equally committed to improving race equality outcomes in Manchester, closing the gap between black and minority ethnic (BME) communities and other communities in Manchester; particularly in key areas such as education, employment, crime and disorder and health. There have been particular successes in relation to education, where exclusion rates for young Black males in schools has decreased and where the attainment levels across BME groups has increased consistently.

    Targets to reduce the number of permanent pupil exclusions for black Caribbean pupils alone, have reduced from 12 in 2006/07 to 7 in 2007/08 and for dual heritage (white/black Caribbean) has reduced from 11 in 2006/07 to 7 in 2007/08. This is against a backdrop of rising permanent exclusions locally and nationally. Furthermore, attainment levels for BME groups have now improved to such an extent that they are at, or above, the Manchester average. The Black Somali group in particular have seen exceptional rises, 19.8% in 2006/07 alone, this has substantially reduced the gap between the group’s average and that of Manchester overall.

  10. Bernard Priest, Manchester City Council Executive Says:

    Ali (10.6.09) poses a key question on the way in which the Council's budget is put together.
    Our overall commitment to the people of Manchester is set out in the Council's Community Strategy, which can be viewed on the website. The Community Strategy describes the impact we wish to have, and when we set the budget each year the extent to which that impact can be strengthened is our key concern. We want the city to be the most attractive place to live, to work and to invest in, and we seek to reduce the effects of poverty and deprivation within our communities. We measure the benefits of budget spend essentially in those same terms.
    Obviously we have to keep spending within our means. It wouldn't help anyone if the Council were to overspend, and we have made a commitment to keep Council Tax levels low in the city. We have worked very hard in recent years to reduce waste and to increase efficiency, and our council tax levels have been kept low without any cuts in services to local people.
    We are in challenging times so far as the world economy is concerned, but as Richard Leese has said many times, we must plan ahead to maintain services to Manchester people despite any cuts in funding which may come along in the future. I'm reasonably confident that we can manage that by driving through greater levels of efficiency in the way we operate.
    As Dave (12.6.09) says, any reduction in funding is worrying for Manchester, but we won't be burying our head in the sand. We aim to be ready for a reduction in funding if it comes, to continue to focus on the needs and aspirations of Mancunians.

  11. Hebble Says:

    Councillor Priest is right, the needs of the people of Manchester must continue to be met/attempted to be met, despite the huge problems with the economy. I think that a private, free of charge, city centre car park for exclusively for councillors would best meet the needs of the population of Manchester.

  12. Bernard Priest Says:

    Nice one Hebble!
    Not sure many Mancunians would agree with you though, which is why I recommended that the proposal shouldn't be approved.

  13. The Hip Hopapotamus Says:

    What????? Somebody has actually suggested this stupid idea previously??? I think you would be hard pushed to find any non-councillor who would support this plan. Whoever suggested this self-serving lunacy should tender their resignation immediately as they are obviously very far removed from reality.

  14. Tim McMahon Says:

    Blame low voter turnout. There is an apathy amongst us, one which has corroded our sense of duty and trust in democracy to deliver.
    Why is it exactly that the LAA prescribes a local electoral turnout increase over 3 years of just 0.05% to 28.4%. It seems awfully low.

    MCC informed me that: "The target has been set against a backdrop of national decline of voting (recently quoted in The Guardian Tuesday April 23rd 2008 a predicted decline to 25%). The rationale is to maintain at least this turnout during this national period of decline. If nationally rates improve we will revise our target."

    This seems to me to be the response of a council not prepared to take a stand and actively encourage a culture of belonging or of participation. A council happy to accept that taking part in democracy isn't important.

    Clearly it is important as has just been demonstrated. I suggest a revision of the target, please. After all, local elections affect how we live our lives and what's more important than that?

  15. Ali Says:

    Bernard (16/06/2009), thanks for responding to the first point in my post of 10/06/2009. I'd also be interested to hear your (or Richard's) response to my second question:

    Given the urgent need to make substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, what proportion of the next 3 years' budgets are you looking to dedicate to climate change mitigation measures?

  16. Jim Says:

    I too agree we need to do something about the climate in and around Manchester and in the UK as a whole. To do something as always would require captail investment in appropriate modern technical equipment. How to pay for what would in the short term cost large outlays of money. We could'nt ask central government for a investament from the tax payer. To pay for this in the city and surrounding area we should therefore look at a levy of £50 extra on all Council Tax bills in the Greater Manchester area. If we require as there seems to be a large vocal support for stopping climate change. So lets bite the bullet and put our money into aiding the climate. If we want change lets pay for it and stop expecting others to pay for it.

  17. Richard Leese Says:

    Tried posting a response to Ali earlier but entry appears to have disappeared into the ether probably causing yet more damage to the ozone layer. There is currently a dedicated budget of £1m related to the call to action and although not decided yet there almost certainly will be budgetary provision made to support the climate change action plan when it is finalised later in the year but that is only likely to represent a small proportion of what we spend on climate change.For example one of the objectives for the refurbishment of the Town Hall extension and Central Library is to reduce its carbon footprint and the that will probably absorb several of the millions of the construction costs and this would be equally true for a large amount of our capital programme. It is probably possible and even desirable to disaggregate all these amounts but it would be time consuming and it wouldn't be either me or Bernard doing it.



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