Pump up the Parish

The City Council's Constitution and Nomination Committee this morning – No, don't log off yet as, for the first time ever, it was actually quite interesting.

One item we spent very little time discussing was a requirement from Central Government to have yet another Council governance review with a fantastic choice of two Whitehall imposed models. You'd think they had more than enough to do sorting out their own governance arrangements without making us waste time and money on something which clearly is not on the agenda of very many Manchester citizens. The item of some interest was about Parish Councils and should we or should we not have anymore (there is one in the city, Ringway Parish, but it has not been functioning for years). I'm all for anything that gets communities more involved in how their neighbourhoods are run but remain to be convinced that another elected body with very limited powers, but an apparently unlimited ability to add a levy to your Council Tax bills is the best way of doing it.

Later I meet Richard Layard from the London School of Economics and Ian Johnson and Bethia McNeil, from the Young Foundation, to discuss the pathfinder work we are doing in the city on developing guaranteed apprenticeship schemes - getting young people into skilled work - far more useful than navel gazing about different structures for running the Council.

Then I'm off back to Crumpsall for our Crumpsall and Blackley Village Ward Service Co-ordination Group, something that does make a real difference to local neighbourhoods but something we need to get far better at informing local residents about, and far better at involving people who live and work in the ward in.

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