Not the hardest of our values to explain but the hardest to live, and values are something you have to live. The Council worker can't just put them on as they clock on and take them off when they go home, they've either got them or they haven't, and if they haven't they should be working for someone else.

And if it's hard for the Council it's even harder for many of our public sector partners, many working in organisational divisions that bear no relationship to real places. Why so hard? After all, Manchester City Council exists for only one reason, and that reason is Manchester. No place, no Council. Everybody lives in a place, the city, their neighbourhood. Everybody delivering services delivers those services in a place.

The importance of place in our values was brought home to me a dozen years ago in a discussion that took place in one of our Scrutiny Committees. The discussion was about homeless families and in particular homeless families that presented other problems. The concern raised by a resident was about the damage that could be done to neighbourhoods if " problem " families were indiscriminately and repeatedly housed in the same communities without adequate support not only for the families but for the neighbourhoods themselves. The fundamental problem we faced was the inter-relationship between two Council departments, Housing and Social Services, one very place-oriented ( but not so good with people ), the other almost location blind.

That's the problem other agencies face. The NHS see the world in terms of sick people. The police, although they have made great progress in neighbourhood policing, see the world in terms of criminal and anti-social behaviour. Job Centre+ see the world in terms of unemployed people. They don't see the whole person, they don't see the rest of the family, they don't see the neighbourhoods and communities their customers come from. Improving life for Manchester residents requires us to see and act on the whole picture and the work we are doing in the Whole Place Community Budget Pilot is helping us to do that . We need to relate not just to individuals but to their families, their communities, and that means not only the Council, but the whole of public service has to put Place at the heart of what they do. Neighbourhood policing is a very positive step in the right direction, as is the involvement of Hospital trusts in community health. The Councils establishment of Neighbourhood Delivery Teams is a massive step forward, but there is a lot to do to get all of the work we do focussed as much on place as it is on some of the individuals that live there, and the specific issues that arise there.

Make a comment

There are 2 responses to “Place”

  1. censorship Says:

    anything that could be read as negative (to any degree) is not included - hence these posts are pointless. Thanks moderators for makign this blog pointless, as without two way conversations; well - they are not conversations. Assuming this will not be put up anyway!

  2. Disgruntled Manc. Says:

    It seems that living in Manchester is like living in a fascist state these days.