The key was to ensure that all residents benefited from the growth, said Joanne Roney, chief executive of Manchester City Council.
Manchester’s success over the past few years has been built on a strong, long-term foundation of ambition, innovation, a people-driven strategy and a determination to be among the elite of world-class cities in the world. 2025. This vision is shared by the council and the whole city.
Like all councils, we have taken on the impact of the pandemic and a decade of local government austerity. We also had to deal with our healing from a major terrorist attack on the city in 2017. The civic leadership and resilience of our residents was a guiding light during those turbulent few years.
In 2021, we saw a transition to a new council leader, Bev Craig (Lab), with a vision to create a world-class city that is more equal and where all of our residents share in the city’s success. A place where inclusivity is at the heart of everything we do, and the zero carbon agenda is at the forefront of our place building and future growth.
Manchester was recently named the best city in England by Time Out magazine and the council was one of the few local authorities to feature in the Sunday Times 100 Best Businesses.
How did we get there ? Our direction of travel has been a relentless drive to implement the Our Manchester strategy and clear long-term priorities for the city.
Manchester has a rapidly growing and incredibly diverse population, fueled by investment and the thousands of jobs that have been created. We act globally to attract businesses, jobs and people to the city. Our challenge, like many cities, is to develop a more inclusive economy that benefits all of our residents.
We have also developed the Our Manchester behaviors with our partners in order to have a common approach to implementing the strategy:
- proud and passionate about the city
- take the time to listen and understand
- own and try new things
- work together and trust each other
- we show that we appreciate our differences and treat people fairly.
Our growth presents another major challenge to building the necessary and affordable housing to meet demand. We recently launched an ambitious new housing strategy that will deliver 36,000 new homes by 2032, 10,000 of which will be genuinely affordable for Manchester residents.
We have also launched a new housing company, This City, which will allow us to build 500 homes a year on communal land. At the same time, we announced the Manchester Living Rent – a level of rent that ensures residents on Housing Benefit can access the homes they need. We will make at least 20% of the homes we build available at this rent level, while working with partners to do the same.
People at the heart of investment
Ensuring the rapid recovery of the city’s economy was a crucial part of planning our response to the pandemic. The council has a £450million investment program over the next three years, ranging from landmark developments to major housing initiatives for low-carbon refurbishment and affordable new homes.
We released a clear plan to build back fairer, putting people’s health first to reduce health inequalities in the city
People had to be at the heart of this investment. Being able to confirm delivery of the new North Manchester Health Campus is a good example of the kind of transformational development we had in mind. The project will improve health outcomes for some of the city’s most disadvantaged communities. Professor Michael Marmot is working with us and we have published a clear plan to build back fairer, putting people’s health first to reduce health inequalities in the city.
The additional investment comes on top of a series of major developments currently underway in the city. The Victoria North scheme which will provide 15,000 homes over 15 years, The Factory arts centre, Airport City, NOMA and Mayfield Park – the city center’s first major park in decades – have together created social infrastructure investments of more than £150m and over 45,000 jobs. Sustainability, low-carbon construction and new thinking about place-making are key elements of our development approach.
To support Manchester residents in the jobs created, £72million has been committed over two years to help residents gain skills, continue their education and reduce unemployment. A total of 4,500 residents are now in work clubs, 2,000 have received mobile data support and thousands of laptops have been distributed to help bridge the digital divide. A new university campus has been built in a stunning design with a focus on digital creativity and innovation.
Children’s Services Improvement Journey
We know that young people have been disproportionately affected by covid-19 and so they are an important part of our post-pandemic vision. We launched the Our Year 2022 campaign which aims to provide a year of opportunities and experiences for our young people, such as the youth festival and performances which brought together 2,000 young people in Piccadilly Gardens on Manchester Day. We estimate that over 25,000 young people have already taken part in an event or activity as part of Our Year. Our goal is to put the young people of the city on the path to success after two years of absence.
This award is a testament to the thousands of council employees who are committed to public service and wholeheartedly believe in our great city with pride and passion.
This campaign is an important step on our journey to becoming a UNICEF Child Friendly City.
Within the council, our Department of Children’s Services has been on its own journey of improvement, achieving a high rating from Ofsted earlier this year. We have invested in our early support and prevention programs – 83% of families with children in need who received services experienced changes that did not require statutory intervention one year later.
Referrals to children’s services have been safely reduced from over 13,000 in 2017-18 to 7,500 in 2020-21. Our numbers of children in care and children in need have declined over the past 12 months at a time of heavy pressure for councils across the country.
The council also provided integrated care, leading the Manchester Integrated Health and Care Partnership Council which led integration in the city. Our local care organization improves health and social care outcomes for our residents through strong neighborhood models that have brought together adult social care and NHS community health services as one integrated team with a common purpose around people’s needs.
It is an honor to be named LGC Board of the Year. But of course, cities are not built on a single individual. Cities are made of people and most importantly, receiving this award is a testament to the thousands of council employees who are committed to public service and wholeheartedly believe in our great city with pride and passion. This award is for them, our elected members, and our partners who support us in delivering the best we can for everyone who lives here, works here, or just visits. I can’t thank them all enough for all they do.
Joanne Roney, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council