Establishing Neighbourhood Services Offices

This relatively short chapter documents the process of setting up offices to allow Manchester City Council services to be delivered at a local level, which was a priority of the Left administration that came to power in 1984, as explained in chapter 6. The initial target of 50 Neighbourhood Services offices was not achievable, because of the high capital cost of the desired new buildings and the number had to be scaled down. Once the first new buildings were complete, it was the staffing, and more to the point the negotiations with the trade union, that delayed opening by many months. When the first set of offices were finally opened in 1989, it took a year or so for ways of working to settle down smoothly, by which time there was a change of political priority for the overall plan.
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The Initial Plan
Recruitment and Training of Staff
Unions Delayed Opening
Finally Opening the Offices
Change of Political Priorities
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Editor’s Comments

The sub-headings were not in the original. There have been minor typographical and layout changes. I expanded the title of the chapter from just Neighbourhood Services. I took 2 bits of text out of the body and into footnotes.

Footnotes

[1] 17 in the north of the city, 18 in the south, 14 in the central area and a separate one for the city centre.

[2] Frances Done later became Chief Executive of Rochdale Council, where, by coincidence, John Shiers was also employed. So some of the lessons of Manchester’s approach were used in Rochdale’s service, including the establishment of an information and advice centre.

[3] The re-structuring of departments resulted in a reduction of posts and, since there was a ‘no redundancy’ policy, the staff without substantive posts in the new structures were designated as ‘at risk’, and had to be considered for any vacant posts arising anywhere in the Council, before those posts could be advertised externally.

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