The induction’s over. It’s been quite a heavy week as the routine starts to kick in.
Labour Away Day – Saturday
Political parties are strange things. People have different motivations. Whether to rule or to represent, how to shape our local places, climbing up the ladder to get a better job.
So, we’re a disparate group when we come together and even if an ‘Away Day’ feels a bit incongruous, it’s not without its merit.
We have 41 Labour Councillors out of 63. Ten of these councillors are on ‘the Executive’. That means a lot of Councillors aren’t. This is not a problem if the Executive value and use their fellow councillors. Hopefully, there’s churn in responsibilities too. We can remain cohesive. It just mustn’t be taken for granted.
It’s an interesting time to be Labour. It was remarked upon that we were all to the ‘left’ of Keir Starmer. He’s picked his team and they’re sticking to a script. I rather like that he’s holding back on commitments, but wish he’d learn some economics, beyond Milton Friedman, Thatcher’s mentor.
Prepping for Planning – Monday
I quite enjoy my monthly tour of Trafford in preparation for planning on Thursday. This time I took in Davyhulme, Timperley, Sale, Old Trafford and Hale. Then it’s putting some notes together and sending off some queries to planning officers.
All Day School Governor Commitment – Tuesday
I’m school governor at two schools but withdrawing from both. With Planning Committee and a new role with Manchester Foundation Trust, I’m just finding it impossible to juggle the time. It’s primarily evenings but today included a meeting with the Academy Trust. I love both my schools but you’ve got to manage your time. The evening was in a sense a normal governors’ meeting but it was the last governors’ meeting to be attended by Judith Stott. Judith has been Headteacher there for 28 years. That’s a big wrench. I’ve valued working with her. She always puts the children first.
Hospital Trust Meeting – Wednesday
I was warned this was a demanding role but took it anyway. I’ve joined the governing body attached to Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT)as the council’s nominee. Just to put this in context – MFT is the largest employer in Greater Manchester with 28,000 staff.
The Chief Executive updated us on strike action and presented the annual account which will be made public once it’s been formally listed in Parliament.
Much of it was similar to a council committee meeting. We had a presentation from the auditors who happened to be the same as Trafford Council’s auditors, and there were quite a few familiar faces in the room.
Greater Manchester’s health organisation is undergoing quite an upheaval with the new integrated care partnership (ICP). Priorities are tackling inequalities. We’ve got to make it real. I wasn’t happy with inequalities of provision within Trafford during Covid. Actually, I was incredibly angry about it at the time and that will be a test for me.
Evening Meeting of Scrutiny – I only watched this online but it was important viewing. Scrutiny was looking at the seven-year review of the Amey contract. I am of the view that there’s still enormous room for improvement, essentially in bringing Trafford back to a borough that looks and feels loved. We’ll know more when the review is actually tabled for approval rather than just a PowerPoint.
Planning Committee – Thursday
Quite a heavy meeting but we got through it. I’m happy we made the correct decisions. They won’t necessarily be the popular decisions but we have to apply the guidance unless there’s a compelling reason not to.
Focus on the Allotment – Friday/Sat/Sunday
That’s quite a build-up for our allotment site and with all the council induction and then having covid – our plot wasn’t at its best. So quite a bit of graft was required to make it presentable. I love our plot anyway. Some nice feedback on Sunday morning too from visitors.