Manchester City Council

Your City Needs You

Executive Members Group (EMG) is first this morning. The first hour is Councillors only and the major item of discussion is how the Council should respond to the cuts that are now just around the corner.

We are framing our response around three priority areas, Jobs (creating them and getting Manchester people into them), Education and Skills, and Housing (ensuring an adequate supply and range). At 10.00 a.m. senior officers join us and we have a wide ranging discussion about volunteering and particularly about how we support and recognise the thousands of Mancunions (hope I've spelt it correctly this time Val) who help make their own neighbourhoods better, running 'Friends of' groups, scouts and guides, football teams, residents associations, charity quizzes and a whole host of other things.

At lunchtime EMG's economy sub-group meets. The priority over the past eighteen months has been responding to the recession. Going forward the major emphasis will be on how we grow Manchester's economy sustainably and create the jobs referred to above. After that I meet staff from our very successful Building Schools for the Future/Academies team to look at the designs for the new Creative and Media Academy, which when completed will mean every high school in Manchester will have been either rebuilt or refurbished (or a combination of those) to provide a first class learning environment for our young people, helping them acquire the skills, knowledge, and attitude required to contribute to and benefit from an economically thriving city.

There are 7 responses to “Your City Needs You”

  1. Mr X Says:

    Mancunians - or am I missing something?

  2. Val Says:

    "Mancunions (hope I've spelt it correctly this time Val)..."

    No, you haven't.

  3. franky Says:

    Does this mean there are not going to be any cuts in services then?

  4. REDSTEVE57 Says:

    Surely the City Council are making savings and not implementing cuts!!!

  5. Dave Says:

    For any business to recieve 25% less in its budget will cause some cuts in services there is no way that it can not happen. To me the Council has over the past few years become a leaner business with staff working harder and doing more for less. . But for Manchester people to expect the same standard of services they once got with central government cutting the cities budget by up to 25% can not happen in the real world. If you want someone to blame look no further than the people who caused the downturn in the first place. This time it was'nt Richard or the council.

  6. Dave Bishop Says:

    As chair of a local Friends Group for the last 5 years I have to tell you that I, and my fellow volunteers, are often frustrated by the fact that we feel that we are expected to follow the Council's 'line' on park management and are ignored if we stray 'off message'. If national and local government are going to need to rely more heavily on volunteers, in the future, then we are going to need to feel that we are more equal partners and that we have a a voice.
    As volunteers we, give our labour for free by definition. We do this because we wish to achieve certain objectives - working towards those objectives, and hopefully achieving them, is our reward. If it appears that there is absolutely no hope of achieving our objectives, there's not much point in volunteering - is there?

  7. Latecomer Says:

    The council's wish to recognise volunteers is very welcome. However if the aim is to encourage wider active citizenship you may need to think deeper. Active citizenship has its own rewards in terms of what it brings to personal fulfilment, family and community. Often the motivation is based on a healthy scepticism about the role of government i.e. that state or local authority assumes too much responsibility, oversells it's capacity or fails to listen the needs of the community. Very few volunteers seek local authority approval or would welcome expenditure on what is described as “voluntary sector infrastructure” which is simply an extension of the local authority bureaucracy which drives those who are anxious to improve their communities to despair. The local authority needs to proceed with care and in consultation. Big Society is about investing in the capacity of communities to self organise and take control. It is not about patronising volunteers, many would rather that recognition comes with investment and trust in the enterprise & energy that lies untapped in our communities. Building lasting capabilities in communities that can be passed on to future generations. The council already has excellent ward coordination & community engagement strategies upon which it could build and there are some excellent examples of citizens working to improve their environment. However within the Town Hall bureaucracy “Big Local Government” still rules.



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

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