Manchester City Council

Not really there

Spent a couple of days earlier in the week in Brighton, but not at the Labour Party Conference. The principle purpose in being there was to promote and to lobby for Manchester. Took part in six fringe meetings, two on high speed rail, one on transport more generally, one on the importance of cities, one on ‘is public service reform dead in a tight financial climate’, and the most exciting of all ‘Generating investment for a sustainable economy’.

Behind the scenes it is a very convenient way of having a lot of short meetings with Ministers and their advisers and that was an opportunity I used to the full to talk about key issues for the city in the period before the general election. As for the conference itself, I would have probably seen more of it if I had stayed at home and watched TV, although I did make sure I saw (on TV in Brighton) major highlights like Gordon Brown's speech.

After a clear the paperwork and e-mails day in the office yesterday, I was delighted in the evening to be able to launch the Manchester Food and Drink Festival now going into its 12th gluttonous year.

Today it's back to the meeting treadmill, communications strategy and cross-town bus strategy being just a couple of this morning's highspots. This afternoon I'm off to Wigan for the Regional Leaders' Board where transport, the partial review of the regional spatial strategy, high speed rail (again), and the new regional strategy are likely to be the hot issues. An advice surgery in Blackley Village tomorrow morning, and then I can, if not look forward to, anticipate another major conference only this time in Manchester.

There are 10 responses to “Not really there”

  1. ABU Says:

    Hi Richard,
    I'd really enjoy a blog entry on the mayoral 'consultation' that has taken place. We've heard your views before but since the result was announced.
    I'm not normally of a suspicious or cynical disposition but 200,000 households sent a leaflet?? I have 14 people in my office with a 100% 'no leaflet' rate. Please alay my suspicious fears....

  2. frank clements Says:

    I cannot find anything on who is on the executive of our city region & their political stance

  3. ILJR Says:

    Yes, I too would like to see a discussion on the mayoral consultation. On asking around, I don't actually personally know anyone who received one of these leaflets. Yes, we could vote on the internet, but not everyone uses it, and of those who do, you would have to be searching specifically on the MCC Council website to find it - it's not the same as the issue being brought to your attention via a direct mailing. Also, I would have thought that the wording of the proposals should have been neutral, whereas it was very loaded against having a mayor - saying that it would be more expensive. If the cons of this choice were stated, so should the cons of the alternative choice.

  4. bicolouredpythonrocksnake Says:

    You might get to have your say yet, ABU...

  5. Chris Chorley Says:

    Took me all of 30 seconds Frank:

  6. Chris Chorley Says:

    Ah 'City Region' - had a look and true, it's difficult.

    My smarty pants apologies..

  7. Tbar Says:

    oooooooooo 14 missing leaflets, call the leaflet police, tut

  8. Richard Leese Says:

    Think I'm going to have to disappoint you ABU. What the consultation really showed is that governance options generate virtually no interest at all. People aren't really bothered what form their Council takes but they are interested in what we do, how we do it, and how much it costs.

  9. ABU Says:

    ''Think I'm going to have to disappoint you ABU. What the consultation really showed is that governance options generate virtually no interest at all. People aren't really bothered what form their Council takes but they are interested in what we do, how we do it, and how much it costs''

    Thanks for the reply Richard. It does not, however, answer my question. I asked about the distribution of the 200,000 leaflets? I have asked roughly 40 people, across a range of wards in the city, with only 3 (THREE!) having recieved a leaflet. Of course the consulation will have showed 'little interest' if no one knew about it. My concern is that this was a consultation in the loosest sense of the term and the real views of the people of Manchester are being ignored.
    I simply want more info on when they were distributed, how they were distributed and by whom?

  10. Sara Tomkins - Manchester City Council Says:

    In response to ABU:
    More than 213,000 leaflets were issued by a distribution company to households across Manchester. Leaflets were also placed in public buildings such as libraries. Leaflets were just one form of communication we used to inform our residents of this consultation.

    Other local authorities have alerted people by posting a notice in local press alone. However, Manchester did this as well as several Press Releases, leaflets to households and libraries etc and the website featured it predominantly on the front page. We also wrote to businesses, other public sector bodies, trade unions, charities and organisations, community groups, utilised ward coordinators communicated through their contacts e.g. residents associations. The consultation was discussed in local newspapers, the Manchester Evening News on several occasions, featured on television via regional news as well as Manchester news websites.

    Legal restriction makes us unable to use the full electoral register and send a leaflet directly mailed to named individuals so we did our best to communicate this as widely as possible by the door drop and other ways.

    The result we received (over 5,000) was double the responses we got in 2001 to a similar exercise and despite the very strong awareness of the TIF/ congestion charge consultation last summer only 12,320 responded to that reiterating my point that very few people express their views on issues of any sort let alone the rather dry governance options topic.

    If you compare Manchester to other UK cities it is interesting to see that the response to this consultation has been low everywhere, for instant Leeds had the next highest response after Manchester but that was only 719, Newcastle only had 16 responses! Of course, I am still frustrated with the lack of response and appreciate that not every single household will have received a leaflet or remembered receiving it and acting upon it but I feel we did a pretty good job of communicating it and getting a view on this subject. ABU you can find out more detail on the consultation, see the geographical spread of responses and the detail ward by ward results if you visit the full report at



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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