City of Dreams I'm a street sweeper in your city of dreams Yeah, I'm a street sweeper in your city of dreams Sweepin up the paper cups between the limousines Street sweeper in your city of dreams Thousands of windows, I'm scared of what I see Thousands of windows, I'm so scared of what I see People wired up to telephones, plugged into tv screens Thousands of windows, I'm so scared of what I see Lookin at the sky above, higher than these neon names I'm lookin at the sky above, higher than these neon names You can't buy and sell the clouds, they aint among the commodities we trade Lookin at the sky above, higher than these neon names I'm waitin for the city of god Yeah, I'm waitin for the city of god When what is will be what was Waitin for the city of god I'm a street sweeper in your city of dreams Yeah, I'm a street sweeper in your city of dreams Sweepin up the paper cups between the limousines Street sweeper in your city of dreams … [Read more...]

Patient Opinions on NHS Services in Leeds

Patient Opinion is an excellent resource that is used to share feedback and experiences of NHS services in Leeds. Perhaps if more of us used it then NHS managers might have to take a little more notice. How about a campaign to encourage the use of Patient Opinion in Leeds? … [Read more...]

Making Progress Through Austerity

There can be little doubt that these are relatively tough times in the UK, and the minds of many are focussed on how best to make progress when it feels like everything is being cut. But most of those who are thinking about it are the professionals, who control budgets for the delivery of services or front-line service providers trying to figure out how to stop things getting dangerous as they are stretched further and further.  The assumption is that the job remains to be done, that they are the ones to do it, and they need to figure what they are going to do to make the best adjustments that they can. But supposing they took a different tack?  Suppose they invited citizens in to explore the challenges that they face and how they might be met, how ordinary citizens might be able to use their resources, time, knowledge, skills and sometimes perhaps cash, to help? So, for example, we might invite citizens to explore issues around poverty in an area, and what they might be able to do about it.  And we might end up with something like Disrupting Poverty in Leeds ask people to think about what they can do about empty properties in Leeds and end up with something  like Empty Homes ask residents to explore how … [Read more...]

Jane Jacobs on Neighbourhoods in Action Pay attention to what local people want?  Now THERE is an idea. … [Read more...]

Inward Investment – What’s the problem?

Inward investment - the short cut to a prosperous and fair city where all of our communities can flourish? But, what exactly is it? It is the process where an investor believes that this is the best place to put their money to get a secure and sufficient return.  They may invest by setting up a factory or, more likely these days, an office or call centre.  And most cities employ specialist teams to attract inward investment - to present the best case for their city or region as an investment proposition. But it can go further than this. We may be able to offer specific incentives to investors to bring their money and their jobs to our city.  We may provide them with low or no-cost infrastructure, or other benefits such as an enterprise zone where they may enjoy high speed broadband, simplified planning requirements  and reduced business rates. So inward investment becomes a highly competitive, and sometimes very expensive process to get those scarce investors to being their money to our city.  Inward investment teams are under pressure to deliver, and the dynamic gets interesting as sassy 'investors' play country off against country, region against region, city against city and even neighbourhood against … [Read more...]

Shaking Up Education in Leeds

I trained as a teacher in Leeds back in the 1980s.  And ever since there has been nothing but 'shake-ups in education'.  Nine years as a School Governor in the city was characterised by a succession of initiatives, mostly from Whitehall, to be dealt with. But inspite of all of this change, very little real progress.  You don't believe that rise in examination results every year for the last 29 do you? So what happens when you float a radical idea related to education in the city?  A senior public sector manager snorts loudly and says 'That'll never happen'. Nice.  Way to go.  Innovation Central.  Thank you! The idea?  Not a manifesto.  Not even a proposal.  Just an idea.... What if every school in the city carried the same proportion of pupils from poor homes?  Instead of some schools having no 'poor kids' and others having a majority, why not find ways to ensure that every school has a very similar profile of wealth in its population? What might the impact be on the quality of education right across the city? Or how about this? Why not take the money that we currently spend on inward investment and tourism in the city and instead use it to reduce class sizes across Leeds?  We might then attract … [Read more...]

Lies – Beautiful Work from Simon on the Streets I have been lucky enough to know Simon on the Streets for a while now.  They have an incredible philosophy. Support them any way that you can. … [Read more...]

West Leeds Debt Forum Meeting

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Disrupting Poverty in Leeds

We have been running a project called ‘Disrupting Poverty in Leeds’ for the last few months.  We have already held two large workshops where we aim to bring together the public, private and third sector to see how we can work together to disrupt poverty in the city. I would be delighted if you could help us by doing one or more of: Joining us on April 27th at Leeds University to plan how to Turn the Curve on Poverty in Leeds - Getting in touch to offer us any help or support (stationery, expertise, funding, energy…) Popping onto facebook page and giving us a like - Spreading the word wherever you, social media, pigeon post Many thanks in anticipation of your help.... … [Read more...]

Results Factory Slides

Here is the slide show that friends at Logistik helped to put together based to a large degree on the work of Mark Friedman on Results Based Accountability... … [Read more...]


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