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Focus on people making a difference and empower them to do even more

Focus on people making a difference and empower them to do even more

🕔09.Dec 2014

Alex Burrows looks at the positives in the report and the pride and passion felt across the city. He pleads with local politicians to stop party political point scoring and focus on the real issues, including skills and deprivation. 

Birmingham is a great city. The second largest in the UK and it has the potential to be an economic powerhouse alongside London. High Speed 2 will provide another very important catalyst for its renewal…

The council has a proud past and can be proud of some significant achievements over recent years, for example, the physical regeneration of the city centre. Some services are working well. For example, Youth Offending Teams have played a role in successfully cutting gang crime and some major businesses have told us they find Birmingham City Council to be a good partner, the Local Enterprise Partnership is strong and the city is a good place to do business. There are other examples of the council’s strengths that are highlighted elsewhere in this report. What stands out is the pride and passion in Birmingham, both for the city and the council, which we heard from virtually everyone who we spoke to.

This is how the Kerslake Review opens.  Let’s remember this context but let’s face it, today and tomorrow and probably for a few more days after, the usual people will be lining up to kick Birmingham, the Council, the people, the region and so on.  I have already seen certain local politicians use today’s publication of the Kerslake Review to start the party political point scoring.

Thanks.  As a Birmingham resident, council tax payer and private sector worker, why do I want to see this Review just being used as another rod to beat people with?  This is OUR city, we want things to improve, all Brummies want to see improvements.  And I am sure that the vast majority of us believe that the Council officers and members genuinely believe in making our city better as well.  There are many people around Birmingham who are making a difference, within the Council and outside of it.  This is a city that does evoke pride and passion.  Perhaps we could focus on what they are doing and how they can be empowered to do even more?

How is it going to help by just using it to lambast current processes and plans?  Everyone recognises that changes are needed.  Kerslake references the major governance changes on their way with the potential Combined Authority.  Super.  Let’s start talking about how our communities can engage with how our city is governed in order to effect real change and improvement.

If some local politicians feel the need to blast the current Leader rather than prioritising how to support the current administration in a collaborative, consensual way to actually prioritise helping the people who need help, then what does that say?

Yes there are major issues in Birmingham with deprivation and skills, let’s remember that these are the issues that matter and that need addressing.  We are a city that could go places, we have big ambitions to improve in all aspects – so let’s make it as likely as possible that we succeed, that we all succeed, every single Brummie.

Alex Burrows is a transport and mobility expert specialising in policy, strategy, stakeholder engagement, technology and innovation. He can usually be found blogging at Thoughts, Life, Politics.

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