Manchester City Council

Listen and Learn

Occasionally contributors to this blog have suggested that the Council and/or myself are immune to criticism and are not sufficiently self-critical. It's an argument that's a bit difficult to sustain given what is published here.

However, a report going to next week's Executive Committee demonstrates publicly how the City Council actively seeks comment, including negative comment on what we do, and uses that to improve our performance. Here is an extract from the report, Customer Service Strategy. " Work to date has been informed by a survey of 9,000 people including residents, employees, Council staff, councillors, senior managers, and our partners in the private, voluntary and public sectors. This work has indicated that customers found the quality of service they receive varies when making contact by telephone, which is the most popular method, and some had to make several attempts to get through. Some customers found that they had to do a lot of progress checking and chasing themselves, which they found frustrating. The least satisfaction was with complaint handling where only a third of customers felt their complaint was handled quickly or that they were kept informed ".

No punches pulled there! The report, which will be available to download from tomorrow, then, as you would expect, goes on to say what we propose to do about it. The point though is this. The report demonstrates the Council putting one of our core values into practice, that of being responsive and accountable.

Make a comment

There are 10 responses to “Listen and Learn”

  1. Dan Says:

    Your blog is often admirable in sharing activities you undertake on behalf of constituents - a step in the right direction towards truly open governance.

    A comment tomorrow on the council's £420k overspend to Marketing Manchester would go far to bolster this step.

    An administrative error, yes, but a serious one. What will be done to ensure it is not repeated in this, and other scenarios? What impact will it have? Around 420 equivalent households have paid their annual council tax for this blunder - painful to consider.

  2. Ian Says:

    I have heard from Liberal members that the Labour group are not going to try and recover the mistaken £420,000 now if i fail to pay my council tax will you forgive me? I think not. So start understanding its not your money to give away its ours.

  3. bicolouredpythonrocksnake Says:

    Marketing Manchester say they only received what they were supposed to and that the MEN article was wrong. Of course, they would say that. What's extraordinary about this story is not so much the payment itself - I'm sure Marketing Manchester bring far more money than that into the city - but Councillor Battle's remark that there was no point chasing 'a few thousand pounds' - which goes a long way to explaining how it is that every British newborn is saddled with a notional share of the national debt amounting to over twenty thousand pounds.

  4. Dave Says:

    The silence from the powers that be is stunning?

  5. Richard Leese Says:

    Marketting Manchester ( MM )currently provides very good value for money. In financial year 2009/10, the total AGMA contribution of £433,000 has to be set against a total MM budget of £6.2m . Over the years this has made a major contribution to growing the tourism economy of the city so that it is now worth £5.5billion per annum and employs 77,000 people. The recession has of course had an impact on tourism, conferences and leisure and looking ahead we are going to have to work even harder to maintain and grow our position. In considering the historic misapportionment of the contributions of each individual AGMA authority to MM, we need to take a view on what the future impact would be of attempting to claw back overpayments. Firstly it may not be possible to do it at all. Secondly it would certainly sour relationships between Manchester and the other 9 AGMA authorities and good relationships are an essential part of growing our economy. Thirdly, a successful clawback would almost certainly see significantly reduced contributions to MM in the future, undermining our own economic potential. A short-term gain for the Council's budget would almost certainly turn into a long-term loss for both the City and the Council.

  6. William Says:

    My God that takes the biscuit
    'Firstly it may not be possible to do it at all' Have you tried to claim the money back.
    Secondly it would certainly sour relationships between Manchester and the other 9 AGMA authorities. Why should I care now you get on with the other boroughs your supposed to stand up for Manchester While should I allow you to let the other boroughs gett away with this under payment.
    Thirdly, a successful clawback would almost certainly see significantly reduced contributions to MM in the future. Why would that happen again just run it past me again.

    I think the whole three answers are a failure of you understanding what real people feel I work hard to earn my money to pay your Tax and yet you waste it will mad abandon shame on you.

  7. Dan Packwood Says:


    An honest and appreciated response. Of course it would be unreasonable to request repayment of the overspend, your comments noted I agree with whole-heartedly. It would be comforting, however, to know as I mentioned in my first post, what measures are to be put in place to ensure this error is not repeated again in this and other similar funding apportionments. The establishment of the Manchester City Region surely increases the risk of such errors ocurring with greater (and hopefully more effective) centralised initiatives and therefore requires adequate checking and control mechanisms in place?

    PS - a comment box of a larger size would make it easier to respond!

  8. Ian Says:

    Reference 7

    'Of course it would be unreasonable to request repayment of the overspend, your comments noted I agree with whole-heartedly'

    Once again why is it okey to let this slide I would love to know what Tax payers of Manchester think of this waste of their hard earned money. Now easy it seems you and Richard can spend £400,000 of tax payers money. Please explain how it is easy to spend this.

  9. Brian Says:

    Maybe you could explain why we are being forced in Manchester next year in to making cuts in front line services and staffing levels and yet your collegues can waste money and expect to get away with it. If you were running a private company like this you'd be shown the door. I wonder just how loud the leaders of Trafford and Rochdale and Bury Councils are laughing.

  10. Toebar Says:

    Come on the overspend must have been approved !!!



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

Recent posts