Two longish board meetings today. In the morning it's CityCo, the City Centre Management Company.
Management of the city centre is even more important than ever in the current economic climate as it has the biggest concentration of jobs in the conurbation and the biggest potential for growth. The first item on the agenda is about a neighbourhood management pilot that is currently underway in the Northern Quarter/Piccadilly part of the city centre. The essence of the pilot is very simple, to get Council staff (wardens, street cleaners, grass cutters, licensing staff etc.) and the police (PCSOs and Neighbourhood Officers) to work as one team. There are a whole range of operational issues to be resolved not least communications when each service is currently on a different radio network but the issues are being resolved and independent inspection of the area shows marked improvement. Of course this sort of approach doesn't just apply to the City Centre and Neighbourhood Management approaches involving the totality of public services are currently being trialled in Cheetham. There are lessons to be learnt but this should lead rapidly to similar joined up working being rolled out across the city.
A quick pause for breath and then a shivery walk to First Street for the Corridor Board. First item is a presentation on the Beacon Project, one of six national pilots looking at better public engagement between Universities and the areas they are located in. So far (the work isn't finished yet) there have been a large number of projects putting our two universities together with people from the surrounding wards of Ardwick, Longsight, Rusholme, Hulme and Moss Side. Again there has been an independent evaluation which shows that better public engagement is win-win, improving life and life chances for local residents and improving performance of the academic world. The trick is going to be to keep this going after the pilot funding goes away.