Manchester City Council


I normally find myself playing catch-up on the blog, but just for a change I'm ahead of time as I'm going to talk about tomorrow. Full Council meets tomorrow. After almost three years of exile in the Great Hall tomorrow's meeting will be the first in the Council Chamber since December 2010 as the refurbishment of the Town Hall extension draws to a close.

The magnificent former Rates Hall and the Customer Service Centre on the ground floor have been open since July and most of the office accommodation is now complete and occupied. Apart from providing a far better working environment and a far greener one, the Town Hall extension will also accommodate 50% more staff allowing the Council to vacate leased office space elsewhere but also to share space with key public sector partners including health, Job Centre+, and the police. Yes, from the new year, the Town Hall will once again house a police station.

The Council Chamber itself has changed little given its listed building status. However the AV systems have been radically improved with wi-fi, improved sound and a built-in projection system. All of this will be used at Council meetings but they only happen once every eight weeks and the principal purpose for the enhancements is to help the Council make some money by renting out the space for conferences and other meetings. There will be one enhancement that is very much about open and transparent democracy which is that citizens can now take advantage of live streaming of the meetings. They are of course still welcome to sit in the visitors gallery but Mancunians can now enjoy watching Council meetings on their PC, laptop, tablet or mobile phone wherever they are in the world.

Council meetings now always start with a topical presentation. Tomorrow's is on HS2 and for those who are interested in the facts it should be well worth watching.

Sorry, we had technical problems during the filming meaning some of the meeting was not recorded.  View an edited version of the Council meeting.

Download the HS2 presentation.

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

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