A mixed day starting with a CityCo Board meeting where the major item was a presentation on how the City Council is going to manage public realm in the city centre in the future and ending with a reception at the Band on the Wall where one of our partner organisations, Mace, are celebrating twenty years of being in the city.
In between I meet the secretary of one of Crumpsall's thriving resident associations, respond to a survey on community cohesion in Manchester, and have a discussion about the future of government offices in the regions. Lunchtime is spent at First Street, our new temporary office whilst the Town Hall extension and Central Library are refurbished. No lunch I'm afraid but a meeting of the cross-party steering group overseeing this mammoth project. It's not just a building project but a complete redesign for how the Council works for its residents and First Street is very much a test bed for these new ideas.
From a resident's point of view, the heart of the operation is the Customer Services Centre on the ground floor, which aims to offer a one-stop service for enquiries and problems. Not surprisingly for a new way of working in a new location there have been teething problems, indeed there still are some, but waiting times have vastly reduced from those experienced at the Town Hall extension, and the service is provided in a vastly improved environment.
There is of course a big building job as well and there will be several days in July when residents will be able to view and comment on plans for the Town Hall Extension and Central Library, and a few days later view and comment on the competition short-list for the refurbishment of St.Peter's Square and the Peace Gardens. The objectives are simple, ensure these buildings and squares, an immensely important part of our heritage, can be enjoyed by future generations, and that we, the Council, deliver top class and cost-effective services from them.