Manchester City Council

Present Tense, Future Perfect

A typically varied day yesterday. First meeting was to be taken through files itemising 590 different Council buildings ranging from the Town Hall to park huts. One of the ways we are looking to protect front line services is by minimising building costs and this work has identified how we can save £3.5m by rationalising building use. It also starts to look at what we can do to ensure we don't have empty, boarded up buildings blighting local neighbourhoods.

Then I go to the Manchester International Festival launch at MoSI. One of our budget objectives is to maintain economic growth in the city and the MIF is a flagship element in that. For every pound the Council puts in it generates at least two, and the economic value is more than six times the total cost. In a global economy it presents to the world a picture of a modern and inventive city. It's also a great programme with around a third of the events free, so it's also a chance to have some fun.

The day stays on an economic theme with a meeting between the Shadow LEP ( local enterprise partnership which loses its shadow from April 1st ) and Minister of State in BIS, Mark Prisk. It's a positive meeting where the Manchester partners set out what we believe government can do to help us promote sustainable growth in the Manchester city-region.

Then it's off to Belthorne Avenue Childrens Centre to meet parents and discuss the changes we are making to Sure Start as a result of government cuts, particularly cuts to the Early Intervention Grant which funds Sure Start amongst other things. It's a lively meeting and I take away a number of things to do ( which I have done ). There is an obvious connection between Sure Start and early years work with the economic development agenda. The latter is about making sure that our young people have a future they can look forward to, the former is about ensuring that they have the best start in preparing for that future.

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There are 8 responses to “Present Tense, Future Perfect”

  1. JAMES Says:

    "One of the ways we are looking to protect front line services is by minimising building costs and this work has identified how we can save £3.5m by rationalising building use. It also starts to look at what we can do to ensure we don't have empty, boarded up buildings blighting local neighbourhoods.".

    I totally agree with this comment sooo many empty derelict housing and buildings remain in thic City and MUST be brought up to Date.

    What an excellent idea.

  2. disappointed Says:

    i would like to know if at this lively meeting at Belthorne children's centre, did you inform the parents that 7 members of there staff team are being made redundant in april. and they have not been informed who is replacing them. i would also like to know why you are now looking to protect front line services when you have already agreed to disestablish MCC front line services that helps to safe guard the people of manchester. young or old!!

  3. Michelle F (Lucas' mum) Says:

    I just want to thank you Sir Richard for attending Belthorne Childrens Centre. As you witnessed, we had a big turn out and there were lots of different questions and comments by numerous members of the community. This meeting showed me that there are so many people of our community who are concerned about the number off staff who are supposed to be leaving having taking voluntary redundany.

    As you are aware, these staff offer a vital service to our children and they have many, many years of experience. So i really do hope that whoever has took the decision to advertise for Temp childcare workers has realised that this is a huge mistake. I trust that you as leader of the council that you are true to your word and have rectified this.

    I feel that this meeting was a positive one and you have given me hope as a parent and caring member of the community that we will at least be able to keep hold of our very important staff for a little while longer. I sincerely belive that to provide 'GOOD QUALITY OF CARE' these staff need to be able to continue to deliver an excellent service to our children for as long as it is possible.

  4. Too scared to tell you who I am Says:

    My ordinary day - met with an inspirational teacher working in most challenging school who was battling with government changes, he needed help, good meeting and he's planning to share his current good practice, the problems and the potential solutions with colleagues city wide at a twilight workshop - result. Attended team meeting - now not going to be disestablished at the end of next week could now be as late as June and we mustn't mention anything about the compulsory redundancy (at last weeks meeting) and if any one is asked it will be denied - two of my colleagues(both women) had wept after last week and put in their VS. I asked what do we say to schools? you carry on as normal - back to the office, met colleague who leaving today - she's outstanding and it is tragic loss to the city that she is going - she has done amazing things to improve outcomes for young people - we both wept at the fact that she won't be able to continue to see her work through and then back to work on m people baseline(took day's holiday this week to do my "demonstrating the values" booklet. Colleague told me how this wasn't even referred to in her interview. Spent 5 hours on this but ever the optimist will finish it). Next meeting with colleague who told me he had he would be interviewed within the next 2 weeks - a complete redesign of service that we didn't even know is happening - we are clearly not in the loop - need to finish m people baseline and get it in - transparent as a brick wall - next meeting in afternoon with another curriculum leader - just had Ofsted and was exhausted - he was going to lead on an improving learning project working with employers to support progression to level 3 apprenticeships but feeling so tired - we talked through the project and he asked that I support him as it is really important we do this - said I would and that hopefully will be here to do so til June - looked how he could maximise resource and bring in expertise using his project funding - asked him to sleep on it and get back to me on Monday - need to get this sorted before year end - want the money to go where it is need - to help our young people move into the jobs that will be there particularly in the ICT media sector(skills shortage) Beautiful day sun is shining, back home a few more emails and then Friday night and back to searching the job ads, its bleak out there.
    So Richard here's how we carry on doing what is needed whilst being bullied and not consulted on how things could be done better whilst losing the very people who can do what is needed to help our young people - shed a tear and then got on with trying to find a way to carry on doing what I came into education for - improving things for young people

  5. JAOD Says:

    My grandson attends a Surestart centre 3 days a week. He has a good positive attachment with his carers and he is developing skills and knowledge due to a very caring, safe and stimulating environment as well as having wonderful parents. The staff are well trained, they are professional and essential to the very young children in our city. Manchester has a tremendous approach to economic growth, but what does that mean if we don't invest in our little ones, they are Manchester's future. Don't take away what works well.

  6. common sense isnt that common Says:

    I can never understand the logic in moving staff out of a building to another, and then replacing them with other Council staff. How does that save money? It just causes unnecessary expense, damages staff morale and doesn't seem to serve any useful purpose

  7. Terry Says:

    500 council buildings. And yet you squander money by renting various buildings such as Universal Square, Hexagon Tower and First Street, at unacceptably high rents. Move staff around as if you were playing a game of chess. Mens Direct Access Hostel - closed, emptied, staff moved in to use as office space (with all the associated costs of I.T., phones, desks, removal, storage etc.) then within months they are moved out and the place is closed and flattened (a building that was purpose built in the 1980's). It is now left in the hopes that, in a depressed market, someone will develop the site. The team that is responsible for property management and use, should be sacked. You should be held to account to the Council Tax payers of Manchester for the true costs of your mismanagement of the public finances.

  8. RTS Says:

    Terry - The privately owned properties MCC do occupy is good value and usually accommodate area focussed teams (i.e. North Manchester regeneration at Hexagon, the Miles Platting Adult Education Centre at Victoria Mill). However as part of the cost cutting and decreasing staff numbers, MCC is indeed able to terminate several commitments at leased-in buildings and downsize to MCC owned ones. Are you seriously suggesting that MCC should be able to accommodate all it's staff within it's own properties? The capital costs associated with building an Estate capable of accommodating all MCC staff would be tens of millions, not including the ongoing running & maintenance costs.

    In the case of the Downing St hostel, the costs of reconfiguring IT and moving desks/equipment would have only been a few thousand. Very little cost for several months of accommodation vs. say Universal Sq where rent must be factored into the equation. Also saves MCC paying the revenue costs of keeping the building secure (the locals robbed all the lead as soon as that team moved out, mind you they were caught shortly afterwards). That building as you say was purpose built as a hostel, configured into bedrooms. Feasibility was undertaken as to whether the dividing walls could be removed to form office accommodation, however this was exhorbitantly expensive. This site (on a very busy gateway to the city) should gain a significant capital receipt for the people of Manchester once the property market picks up again.



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

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