Delivering the Our Manchester Strategy
- Meeting of Communities and Equalities Scrutiny Committee, Thursday, 18th July, 2019 2.00 pm (Item 27.)
Report of the Deputy Leader
The report provides an overview of work undertaken and progress towards the delivery of the Council’s priorities as set out in the Our Manchester Strategy for those areas within the Deputy Leader’s Portfolio.
The Committee received reports of the Deputy Leaders Councillor N Murphy and Councillor S Murphy and the Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure. The reports provided an overview of work undertaken and progress towards the delivery of the Council’s priorities as set out in the Our Manchester strategy for those areas within their respective portfolios.
The main points and themes within Deputy Leader Councillor N Murphy’s report included progress and outcomes in relation to:
- Anti-social behaviour;
- Ensuring that high quality jobs were being created in the city and were available to local people; and
- Implementation of the Good Employment Charter.
The main points and themes within Deputy Leader Councillor S Murphy’s report included progress and outcomes in relation to:
- The Our Manchester Strategy;
- Social inclusion;
- The Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS);
- Homelessness and rough sleeping;
- International work; and
- The Local Government Association (LGA).
The main points and themes within the Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure’s report included progress and outcomes in relation to:
- Widening access and participation in libraries, culture and parks;
- The Youth Offer; and
- Manchester schools, which was within the Executive Member’s portfolio until May 2019.
Members asked a range of questions of the Executive Members. Those which related to the Committee’s remit included:
- Whether the Council consulted with relevant groups to ensure that parks met the needs of older people;
- How leisure services could be made accessible to working people on low incomes;
- How local history projects could be used to engage with older people;
- Request for more information on the expansion of the Anti-Social Behaviour Team; and
- To suggest that the Committee receive a report on the impact that the Our Manchester Strategy was having on local communities, including levels of engagement and whether things were being done differently.
The Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure informed Members that a wide-scale consultation had been carried out when the Parks Strategy was developed two years ago. He reported that the membership of the ‘Friends of’ parks groups tended to be older and that work was taking place to try to make them more representative of park users. He advised Members that bespoke plans were now being developed for individual parks, in consultation with a range of people, and that this included work to make the parks accessible for all residents. He informed Members about local history projects taking place in libraries and he also reported that a Love Exploring app had been developed which could currently be used in seven Manchester parks to learn more about the park, including its history.
The Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure informed the Committee about the work taking place to widen access to and participation in leisure and cultural activities, which involved identifying and addressing the barriers that different people faced. He also informed Members that all Manchester residents were entitled to a 30% discount at Council leisure facilities, through the Mcr Active card scheme, and that free swimming was now offered to under-17s throughout the year; however, there was a challenge in communicating what was on offer to local communities. He informed Members that, following the trialling of the Mcr Active website, a company had been procured to develop a platform that residents could use to find out about local leisure activities.
The Deputy Leader Councillor N Murphy reported that the Anti-Social Behaviour Team had previously been reduced due to austerity measures but that, due to the level of demand and following a Council Motion, funding had been identified to double the size of the team, which included additional staff for out of hours support and support in the community; however, he advised that the staffing level was still below what it had been before the cuts.
The Deputy Leader Councillor S Murphy welcomed the suggestion that the Committee look at the impact of the Our Manchester Strategy. She reported that some of the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) groups which had received funding through the Our Manchester VCS Fund were undertaking projects based within communities and she suggested that some of these groups be invited to the Committee’s September meeting for the item on the Our Manchester VCS Fund to talk about what they had done. The Chair supported this suggestion.
In response to a question about the declaration of a Climate Emergency, which was passed at the Full Council meeting on 10 July 2019, the Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure outlined how actions to address this were already been taken in relation to culture and events. He reported that this included energy efficient cultural venues and events, including ensuring that all Council-led events had a zero carbon footprint and were sustainable. He advised the Committee that the next step was to share this best practice with those running community events.
1. To receive a report on the impact that the Our Manchester Strategy is having on local communities, including levels of engagement and whether things are being done differently.
2. To invite some of the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) groups which have received funding through the Our Manchester VCS Fund for community-based projects to the Committee’s September meeting to talk about what they have done.