Manchester City Council

Under the Weather

Suffering from a lingering cold compounded by the relatively mild and sunny weather which has turned the Town Hall into a hot house. One of the ( many ) problems we have to solve is how to introduce an affordable and effective, low carbon heating system into a grade one listed Victorian pile.

Ventilation is relatively easy - I open the window, although with Princess Street right outside that can be more than a little noisy. The heating system in my office is hot air ( very appropriate for a politician you may think ) but the whole Town Hall system has two settings - on and off - and when its been off it takes about a week to heat up. Turning it off for the summer is determined by the long range weather forecast which is always wrong as turning it off is always followed by a cold snap ( the converse is true when we turn it on ).

Spend the day sweltering over endless sets of papers so a bit of blogging is light relief. First exciting set of papers is Budget Performance Group Corporate Core hotly followed by Budget Performance Group Cross-cutting, which includes budget delivery plans for corporate property and the Manchester Investment Fund. Then its a slight detour to read the draft Corporate Property Policy Voluntary and Community Sector and a slightly longer detour to a paper on Primary School places. Detour over as I sail through EMG Economy sub-group papers, followed by the Regional Transition Board. There have been slight interludes for interruptions - I tend to get a lot but today has been fairly quiet - checking e-mails and dealing with constituents case-work. I'm now, well I would be if I wasn't doing this, happily engaged with Friday's AGMA Executive papers, and when those are done I'll start on the Shadow Combined Authority papers before returning to two enormous files covering plans for five hundred and ninety of our buildings.

I enjoyed yesterday's visits to Ashbury Meadow and Clayton Sure Start centres a lot more even though they were equally hard work!

There are 14 responses to “Under the Weather”

  1. Val Stevens Says:

    I think that you need a holiday. France is very nice at this time of year and it is national cheese day on Saturday. Elections are looming so perhaps not.

  2. OnTheLighterNote Says:

    Turning heater off for the summer... Is there an issue here? I hope not- turn off the heating system- it's part of the cuts- if there is a cold snap, try a few more layers of clothing- let's not only think and talk green, let's act green...if we don't pass on doing it!

  3. Comfortisveryveryimportant Says:

    I'm impressed with the link to the last blog - "protect front line services by minimising building costs" to "I've got a cold, must buy a new heating system for the town hall".

    I think we can all agree that councillors being comfy should be the main priority.

  4. Hmmm Says:

    So is they ask you any awkward questions at Clayton and Ashbury Meadow then?

  5. Layla Says:

    I think that the Leader was attempting a bit of lighthearted banter, and wasn't seriously suggesting that a new heating for the Town Hall is top of MCC's list of priorities at the moment - at least I hope not! On a completely unrelated note, really great to see the article in the MEN today about the new eco homes.

  6. RF Says:

    Be thankful you can open a window... In some of the Council's hermetically-sealed sardine cans that pass for offices, that'd be a luxury indeed.

  7. Star gazer Says:

    Empathy and compassion are lacking from your blog - you need to be more real. Is it any wonder the responses are dwindling. I acutally count them ! Also didn't like the press release to the MEN last week about top brass leaving- you forgot to mention the bucket loads of cash they will receive for leaving and you still have a lot of Senior Managers on rather large salaries doing relatively little or nothing and they are clinging on for dear life. That's who you need to show the door to and protect front line services. I am sure this will spark a lively debate.

  8. Picking fruit Says:

    (Star Gazer) I could not agree more. I myself took VS because I was sick to death of the situation. I have watched my own hard working colleagues crying, having to leave the building for a minute all on a regular basis because these overpaid managers do not understand what it is like to actually do some work. Meetings, targets, ways of working etc etc have all become far far too much the main priority. This in turn has SLOWED down productivety. This is al being ''managed'' by one of the many rollover managers wgo IS on thirty five six sevem eight grand a year, and there are a few of them. Rather than improve and make a difference, these people are just going about everyday, coming and going. Relaxed, apart from obviously asking the impossible from staff. I understand these orders come from above but that in itself is the problem. So back to the begining. I have now cycled away for the last time. I could not face it any longer. Ive watched good hardworking people break down recently. The VS was the last straw and get out chance for many. Yes, it is now uncertain for many of us but it is better than an increasingly overstretched section which now has staff dropping like flies. MCC has now changed forever due to these cuts. Morale,staff etc etc. It certainly wont change for the better if these same managers remain or actually make a difference.

  9. mancabouttown Says:

    I used to work in Children's Services and was stationed in Overseas House for a couple of years. I left last year and it saddens me to read the comments of hard-working staff who remained loyal to MCC & get no recognition for their efforts, some of the staff worked above the mandatory 35 hours. I was one. Why & what for I hear you say, because they believe in doing the best they can, many of the staff knew a great deal more than the overpaid Managers who are inept and clueless when it comes to the 'real' work being done. If, you, Sir Richard take moments to read the comments being posted, you have the authority to make a real difference to the staff per se by holding the performance of Manager's to account, many of whom delegate stressful tasks to their team and are out of their depth, lack man-management skills. The general consensus of staff who continue to work there is that the people that are making the difference are being pushed out and placed under intolerable stress. I say this becuase I too left a role I enjoyed. This is a world away from the mantra of 'People. Pride. Place' rhetoric that appears to be a vacuous jargon. C

  10. Realist Says:

    @ Picking Fruit
    Name names of these managers.
    As a resident I want the Council to improve not for all the committed staff to leave and the useless to remain.

  11. Steve Says:

    Name names?
    Why? Bescause as a resident you are best placed to decide which members of staff are competent?
    If you are able to judge competency based on names given to you by disenfranchised workers hiding behind pseudonyms then well done.
    It is easy to simply say, cut managers pay etc but it isn't a constructive suggestion.
    Again, beofre the stampede starts, no, I am not a manger for MCC, no I am not Sir Richard, no I am not Sir Howard etc etc etc.

  12. Aaron H Says:

    Picking Fruit

    Fair comment about the incompetency of managers: the same also goes for frontline staff. I have been both, and have significant experience of the good and the bad.

    MCC has changed as a result of this, and there has been lots of disgruntlement from many (myself included).

    However, you can't get fixated on the past forever - those of us who have left have got to get on with doing the best with what we have. What continues to hearten me is that many people continue to work hard in spite of those who are not competent or hard working (or both).

    There are plenty of good people left.

  13. Moaning Says:

    "some of the staff worked above the mandatory 35 hours" doesn't really impress - i know someone who took the VS, got a job in the private sector immediately and is earning slightly less for 40hours a week, which in reality has turned out to be more like 45 hours a week. She's not complaining, she's getting on with it, making a good impression, and will likely go on to better things, even if the current job is just a stop gap.

    And regarding the heating, a new heating system for town hall would likely save the council money as the current one is likely very efficient.

    I do agree however that MCC has far too much bueaucracy and pen pushing going on.

  14. JS Says:

    @ Steve, ha ha ha ha ha ha - the idea of Sir Howard reading the blog and commenting under a pseudonym really made me chuckle. And agree with comment generally



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

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