Manchester City Council

A Trauma Aware City

8th October 2019

I’m writing this from Toronto, (well actually next door Mississauga, Canada’s 6th largest city), where I have been speaking at their 4th annual Intelligent Cities Summit, first in a panel on bridging the digital divide, then giving a key note on the theme of cross-city collaboration. It should go without saying that as Brexit looms unwelcomely close it becomes ever more important for Manchester to demonstrate that it is an international city open to working with the world and Canadian cities like Toronto and Montreal are great places to have as friends. 

This is also a great opportunity to catch up on a lot of work. I’m only here for two nights so have stayed on UK time, getting in a four hour stint before breakfast. Sadly being here meant I wasn’t at yesterday’s special meeting of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority but I’m delighted that it took the decision to move to the penultimate stage of considering a move to bus franchising, the public consultation, starting next week and continuing to January 8th.

However the heading on this post refers to last week’s meeting of the full Council.

After being entertained by the Mental Health Choir, the ordinary meeting began as it often does with a couple of presentations. One introduced us to BooBee the emblem of a really important Breast Cancer prevention campaign. The other brought to our attention the work that has been going on in Harpurhey based on an understanding of adverse childhood experiences (ACE).

The principles behind this are that out of a list of around 15 things, if we experience four or more of them as a child, we are likely to have negative impacts growing up and into adulthood. When this manifests itself in, for example, bad behaviour at school, knowledge of these causes is far likelier to lead to interventions with positive outcomes for the individual involved. A very graphic demonstration of this came from Harpur Mount primary school which adopting an ACE way of working has seen a massive reduction in exclusions, but the trauma aware approach can apply in every aspect of neighbourhood management and support.

The pilot in Harpurhey involved pretty much every public service and a whole range of voluntary and community organisations. As well as this multi-agency working, the ACE pilot was a real demonstration of the strengths based Our Manchester approach. The presentation is still available to view on the Council website and is well worth the time. The pilot has been so successful it is now being rolled out across the city. Our objective, to be the country’s first trauma aware city.

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

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