Steady State Manchester and the People’s Plan for Greater Manchester

photo from an earlier SSM meeting

photo from an earlier SSM meeting

A meeting of SSM members was held on June 27th to consider the proposed process of developing the People’s Plan for Greater Manchester. David Fernández Arias gave an introduction to the rationale and purpose of the People’s Plan. In the face of the undemocratic DevoManc and the associated Combined Authority’s Strategy for Greater Manchester ( a group is planning to develop a People’s Plan, to present to candidates for the mayoral election. The key objectives of the People’s Plan and its development include:

  1. Input: Civil society and citizens are to be helped to have a meaningful say in the Devolution strategy
  2. (ii) Output: To be able to find constructive improvements of the greater Manchester Strategy that will benefit all.

The timetable outlined was as follows:

Now: crowdsourcing of resources

Involvement of individuals already from universities; voluntary and community social enterprises; campaigning groups; businesses; local councils

July-August ’16: Continue crowdsourcing.

Work up social media. Make people aware of what is going on.

Sept-October ’16: Primary input phase.

  1. Online – trade off to be made between something quick (e.g. Survey Monkey questions) and opportunities for greater contributions to be made. Process depends on available people with theory and practice experience.
  2. People’s Plan events across the 10 areas of Greater Manchester
  3. Themed events across Greater Manchester
  4. Feeder events – how existing civil society groups might include People’s Planning into their normal core activities and feed data into the planning process.
  5. Trade Unions and professional associations
  6. In-workplace opportunities for People’s Plan discussions.

November-December ’16: data processing and summarising.

Anticipated to be a mixture of Greater Manchester Strategy strategic themes and others to emerge.

January ’17: Communications

What can the People’s Plan deliver?

May ’17 Election of Mayor for Greater Manchester

Candidates to be presented with People’s Plan and asked to address it in their election campaigns.

Working Groups

  • So far there are working groups :
  • Question design for online survey
  • Data processing
  • People’s Plan events and organisational logistics
  • Connecting, networking, liaison re. feeder events

In the future working groups to be formed:

  • Fundraising
  • Others as required

Offers of help with working groups to David Fernández Arias via us: click to email us

Points raised by SSM on the process

  1. Overall support was given for the development of a People’s Plan and some offers of involvement were made: further information was needed before other SSM members could commit to active involvement in the process.
  2. It would be useful if there were greater transparency about who was involved already, representing what groups
  3. A statement of principles or values, giving an overall sense of direction for the People’s Plan would be useful form the start, framing a clear statement of invitation to groups and citizens to be involved.
  4. It would be useful to have explicit mention of culture (alongside social environmental, economic and democratic dimensions) to the plan. Culture is important both in terms of how the norms and ways we live are represented and how society is reproduced through this representation, and as a useful process of engagement for input to the People’s Plan.
  5. SSM could perhaps offer a critique of the Greater Manchester Strategy
  6. Governance: it would be useful to include a stage of endorsement of the Plan – either in its entirety or endorsement of parts of the Plan.
  7. SSM could probably mount some Feed sessions providing input into the Plan.
  8. More engaging forms of democracy could be an integral part of the plan – and the online resources available could be used for citizen engagement.
  9. It will be important that processes of involvement are engaging and varied, relevant to particular groups or areas in order to get a diversity of ideas.
  10. It was noted that Greater Manchester does not provide a meaningful source of identity for most citizens even if it does for politicians.
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