Manchester City Council

A Manchester Model?

MPs from the Communities and Local Government Select Committee are in Manchester for a couple of days to look at economic development and regeneration. They were in Rochdale and Ancoats yesterday, and go to Hulme today.

In between they hold a hearing in the Town Hall where members of the Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership respond to questions and put forward proposals around what government policy should be in this area. I don't think we have anything particularly new to say other than that in Manchester with the newly formed Greater Manchester Combined Authority we do have an accountable body operating at the scale of the functional economic area to which government could and should be devolving far more responsibility. We also make the point that it is a model that is replicable elsewhere, but does require local authorities to take a lead, to think long term, and to be prepared to work on a consensus basis across party political boundaries. We also need government to think and act long term, by which I mean ten years ahead minimum. At the moment programmes change every time there is a change of minister never mind a change of government. The decline of our old industrial areas was over decades and to get economic growth tied to local benefit can only be successfully done by how healthy communities grow over time. Programmes also have to be concerned with both people and place, and the centralisation of business support and skills funding we have seen over the last few months militates against both of those.

Can Manchester deliver. Buried in a report published today by the Centre for Cities and the Institute for Government was a table that showed that for the ten years pre-recession Manchester had achieved private sector job growth of over 12%, only exceeded in percentage though not actual job terms by Newcastle amongst our large cities, with some cities like Birmingham actually having a decline in private sector jobs over the same period. As we come out of recession we need to return to that sort of job growth, and need all the levers available to not only achieve that but also to maximise the extent to which local people, local families benefit.

You can find support on looking for jobs on our Helping Hands pages. This link will direct you to help and advice whatever your age, skills or experience.

There are 11 responses to “A Manchester Model?”

  1. hummingbird Says:

    Only exceeded by Newcastle? Newcastle is known to be heavily reliant on public sector employment. With job cuts in the public sector it is a well known fact that Tyneside will suffer the most in terms of unemployment. Not a convincing argument I'm afraid.

  2. Richard Leese Says:

    Newcastle's private sector growth was also from a much lower base which put together with their still much higher public sector dependency strengthens the evidence for what was achieved in this city pre-recession

  3. People Pride 'n Plaice Says:

    “You can find support on looking for jobs on our Helping Hands pages. This link will direct you to help and advice whatever your age, skills or experience.”

    Sir Richard, the above quote is priceless, it really is, especially in the context of the blog entry!

    Manchester was hit hard by Tory Cuts, there is no arguing with that, the scale was savage by any standard.

    How did the council react, answer - very badly. It attacked its own workforce and attacked the population. Yourself and Sir Howard still sit a top your well paid posts though, unlike many others in your attempt to save money and savage the populace.

    Staff were urged to consider VER or VS, the bulk of whom without even knowing any future structuring, the VS was capped at 10 years - to save money. Some people, who hadn’t seen any structures were denied VER or VS - on the grounds of skill sets and experience (please see the quote above) many of those then failed to get their posts under restructure, some of those were ‘encouraged’ to apply for higher paid posts! Money saving? Those who ‘failed’ - see quote above, are now on protected earning -saving money?

    Now the crunch though, this ‘top down’ restructure has yet again, surprise surprise, resulted in some eye watering pay rises for some now even more senior managers! And the money saving? Oh yes, silly me, its everyone else who suffers - the lower paid staff and the populace.

    “You can find support on looking for jobs on our Helping Hands pages. This link will direct you to help and advice whatever your age, skills or experience.”

    Anyone care to bet if this post gets through the censor?

    People pride and place? it smells a bit fishy to me.

  4. Nowt New, Then... Says:

    Sir Richard, you said "As we come out of recession we need to return to that sort of job growth, and need all the levers available to not only achieve that but also to maximise the extent to which local people, local families benefit."

    I agree with you entirely, it's a 'no brainer'. With particular reference to jobs in the City Council, how many of your more senior officers for example live in Manchester City? Commuting into Manchester to do a job of work and learning from Members and residents what needs to be done partially because you have no actual eperience of living here is one thing. Actually living in Manchester, paying one's Council taxes to Manchester, and being a true resident stakeholder using City Council services and facilities yourself, to my mind is another. In my time working for MCC over many years I never knew a manager who lived in the City, maybe because they could afford to live or move elsewhere? In fact, there seems to be some snobbery value to live outside of Manchester. As a one time resident of East Manchester, it didn't sit well with the bosses... it wasn't a selling point to a promotion for sure. Now, a nice Cheshire postcoded area, much more credible!

    What is the message that sends out to residents, Members, and to businesses you encourage to come or stay here and to recruit locally? Of course, there is always the argument that you need to recruit from a wider area geographically when it comes to employing particular talent and/or skills you need in some roles, but why then do so very many choose to live elsewhere than in Manchester once incumbant in post and moving home? Why don't they want to live in the City? There is a whiff of 'do as I say, not as I do' - ism, if you don't mind me saying.

    I know it's difficult to dictate where employees live, but when employing at a senior level rewarded with a handsome salary paid for out of Council funds, maybe there ought to be a 'condition' that comes with an appointment that also demonstrates his/her commitment to the City, other than just gaining a very generous salary from the Council 'thank you very much', by also being a resident?

    Yeah, I know it's just fantasy land, but I'd still be interested to know why so many [senior] employees don't want to live in Manchester? Maybe you ought to ask them! But would you get an honest answer? No, most likely... Ah, well... Onwards and sideways!

    (Btw, Sir Richard, Manchester City Council IS doing a great job! I'm not criticising the Council! I'm sure that YOU would like to see more of your 'senior officers' living IN the City, just as Members do who know first hand what 'it's like'. I just get a bit pee-ed off when those who dictate to others what they need, and what they're getting, do not actually have to 'live' with the consequences of their decisions because their real personal experience is of another place and another Council. If they're so proud of this City, come and live here!)

  5. anon Says:

    I hope the Council will nto encourage this growth by moving more of its services to hulme. Since I have worked here, there have been numerous muggings and attacks on staff which the police and the council have not been particularly supportive of. One woman who was attacked was advised by a senior manager not to use her phone outside the office and to always be vigilant when outside of the building. I do not think you will be able to encourage business growth until the authorities and the council start doing their jobs and making Hulme feel like a safer place to work, and you could start that but better supporting the Council staff who work there. I live in the city centre and feel safer on a saturday night there than I normally do in Hulme.

    Also on a completely unrelated note, whilst in fallowfield at the weekend, I was disgusted to see the state that it had been left in by those attending the Parkland Festival in Platt Fields Park. How ironic that despite the Council recently encouraging the celebration of the park's centenary, it has now allowed the park and the surrounding area to become a sea of alcohol bottles, other rubbish and vomit. I hope both the park and Fallowfield have been tidied up by the hosts of this event, I do not want to hear that my Council Tax has been spent on cleaning up a giant student party and trying to repair what was a very pretty park.

  6. Manchester Man Says:

    I'm a Council employee writing in my lunchtime.
    I really appreciate the effort made by the City Council to protect Coumcil employees from the worst effects of the cuts.
    The Council has offered an attractive severance and early retirement package. Where jobs have disappeared the Council is offering willing workers the opportunity to get training and move into a new job with their salary protected for 3 years.
    What more could anyone ask for? Manchester is an excellent employer. Thank you Sir Richard and your team.

  7. Big 'un Says:

    Sorry but what a very narrow minded view, trying to dictate where people live, how very ''New Order'' what about the people like myself born in Manchester, raised in Manchester but wanted to live nearer the countryside but perhaps you are right!! silly me for wanting to live as I like, I may live outside Manchester but I work here because I love my home City and want to help the people of Manchester , where's the crime in that ?, sorry to rant a bit but santamoniuos commets like that really get my goat, and he does'nt like it

  8. Ian Says:

    anon Says:

    Strange that I have lived in Hulme for 15 years never been attacked and have never felt threatended. Hulme has got much better over the last decade or so. It is an inner city area after all.

  9. Anon Says:

    As an ordinary resident of Manchester I find the Leader's blog very interesting and informative. What I don't appreciate are the actions of aggrieved MCC employees clogging up the responses with their own personal grievances, particularly as in most cases the postings have, at best, only the most tenuous link to the subject of the initial blog posting.

    Yes the cuts to local authorities' budgets are a serious matter, the scale of the cuts and the regressive way in which they have been applied by central government is appalling and merits discussion; the impact on employees is unfortunate. But there is a time and a place for airing these grievances – to see this blog being continually exploited by those people with the effect of marginalising other more relevant contributions is becoming increasingly irritating and only reduces the sympathy I might have for affected staff.
    As to the subject of the blog, I would like to remind the Council that one of the best ways to encourage private investment into post industrial areas is to insist on only the very best urban design and architecture in both public AND private sector led developments. There appears to be a culture of being overly pragmatic when it comes to new development in inner city areas and that almost ‘anything goes’ which in turn encourages developers to propose substandard schemes which would not get a look-in in other local authority areas.
    Manchester seems afflicted by a real lack of vision and a lack of consistency. Drive up Ashton Old Road for instance and you are confronted with the full gamut of the good, the bad and the atrocious. Why was the successful and distinctive urban design code used in Hulme not developed and used as a template throughout the city? Why do we not have a London-style design guide that challenges developers to develop to strict space and amenity standards that support sustainable communities and quality of life? Why are people who move into these new developments and who aren’t lucky enough to live near to a long established traditional high street like Chorlton compelled to shop and socialise in whatever oversized supermarket has been dumped on their community in the name of regeneration? Why so few viable locations for local people to start their own businesses within their local communities? Why is there so little social infrastructure (beyond the excellent progress made in schooling) or room for expressions of local culture in these new communities? Why do so many new housing estates lack distinction and character and offer a poor street scene? Why are we still building at low densities in highly accessible and potentially high-demand locations? Why are we still only building the small, buy-to-let style units at the higher densities? Where is the concern for quality of life? Until there is a better understanding of some of the key factors that are important to attracting people and investment for the long term beyond the bare necessity of providing four walls and a roof and this highly zoned approach to planning, the regeneration of the inner city will continue to be stymied and will be second choice to the far flung suburbs.
    This is where the Council and its partners need to provide real leadership and vision and co-ordination across local authority boundaries with proper, robust and challenging plans put in place. We need a continuing emphasis on quality outcomes rather than sterile outputs and expediency alone. I also hope the CLG recognise the value of strong, accountable and empowered local democratic structures that reflect the economic, social and cultural ties that exist within Greater Manchester. They need provide the city with the necessary administrative and fiscal tools to properly shape its own destiny - rather than the centralising and undermining of local democracy under a cloak of “localism” which seems to be its modus operandi so far.

  10. salford Says:

    ANON... talk about clogging up the blog response!

  11. nodrog56 Says:

    I feel I must comment on Anon's remarks about blog clogging by aggrieved employees. Having finally given up all hope of getting "the best offer at this time," VER following my failed appeal meeting on Friday I have looked in vain to find somewhere I could air my frustration and annoyance at being denied this opportunity.

    When rustling up interest for this budget balancing initiative our employers were happy to make veiled comments regarding the threat to public sector pensions and retirement age as well as adding that so far, (so far) they have managed to avoid going for compulsory redundancies. They were also keen to big up what a good offer it was and that any possible future offer would not be as generous. Is it any wonder people feel aggrieved when told they cannot be "let go"? This leaves the unsuccessful candidate in a situation where they will likely have to work until they are 66, pay more for their pension and get less benefit as well as being around for whatever further drastic measures that may need to be taken to balance the books. Add to that the fact that my wage goes down by approx £2 grand next May following the recent job evaluation and I reckon I have every reason to be a tad miffed.

    Anyway Anon, thank you for giving me the tenuous link I needed to get this off my chest. I might have let it ly if you hadn't used "unfortunate," and "sympathy," in your contribution. In future I'll save such comments for a more appropriate forum such as the staff consultation/survey, which began yesterday, but I have yet to get sight of.



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