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Ways of working - Additional information


Our leadership must be more reflective of the diversity of Greater Manchester, with our leaders inspiring young people to see themselves leading Greater Manchester in the future.

Only through genuine partnership working where we can redress power imbalances, respectfully challenge each other when needed, and come together to achieve our shared ambitions, with communities, businesses or the VCSE sector leading on behalf of the system when it is best placed to do this. We will develop our approaches to sharing learning and embedding good practice, enabling improvements and exemplars which are often present in pockets within the Greater Manchester system to become embedded as our systemwide operating models.

Our political and organisational leadership will prioritize equity and the tackling of inequality. It will be responsible for ensuring standards are met and outcomes achieved. We will lead by example, achieving national frameworks and accreditations, and influence others through our powers, practices and place-shaping.

Greater Manchester’s anchor institutions, should take a leading role in shaping and enabling the future of our city-region. Through greater collaboration these organisations can exert a more measurable impact on the Greater Manchester economy and place an enhanced role in tackling inequalities.

For us, anchor institutions could come from any sector, but play a significant and recognised role in a locality by making a strategic contribution to that place. They will have strong ties to a single geographic area or community, tend to be ‘large’ in terms of their influence in that area, and take the anchor role for statutory, charitable, philanthropic or non-profit making motivations.

Our flagship civic university agreement demonstrates how we come together as a city-region to meet our shared and collective priorities. The pledges made for collective action by our five universities to deliver on priority areas of education and skills; reducing inequalities; jobs and growth; the digital economy; net zero; and the creative and cultural economy, shows the true value of our collaborative approaches and how we will together drive change in the things important to the future development of our city-region.


In order to deliver the 5-year Environment Plan, integral to the overall success of this Strategy, shifts in behaviour will be necessary. These will include:

  • Supporting innovation in green technology
  • Taking new approaches to finance and funding of climate interventions
  • Building on existing partnerships between the public, private and voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations
  • Showing leadership on the climate crisis
  • Engaging and educating residents, communities and businesses on their role and actions that they can take
  • Upskilling our workforce
  • Expanding low carbon transport options
  • Understanding that it is often the lthe most vulnerable and deprived communities who are experiencing the worst impacts of climate change and often have the least capacity to adapt and respond

To do this, we have established a mission-oriented approach to tackling our environmental challenges. We have established the UK’s first city region Clean Growth Mission for carbon neutral living within the Greater Manchester economy by 2038, driving innovation, the creation of new technologies, and improved resource efficiency. With the support of Green Growth GM, our Green Growth Pledges are a range of actions - from simple first steps to wholesale changes - that will reduce environmental impact and help an organisation grow at the same time. The Green Growth Pledge is a message to the people of Greater Manchester that we are taking action to become a clean and green city-region.

This Mission based approach is proving fruitful. At the 2020 Green Summit, GM launched several ambitious programmes to revolutionise energy networks across the city-region:

  • The proposals to create a Greater Manchester local energy market will see Greater Manchester’s 10 boroughs draw up detailed plans to increase energy efficiency and pave the way for new technologies and low-carbon infrastructure. By generating more energy locally and storing it, within a decentralised system, Greater Manchester will be able to improve the efficiency of local systems, bringing supply closer to demand.
  • Over the last year, our Local Authorities have undertaken energy surveys of the majority of our 2,700 buildings to initiate a retrofit programme. The public sector is aiming to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings to help stimulate the local market and give confidence to our local construction firms to invest in growth – particularly in these uncertain economic times.
  • We have generated a pipeline of 24.5MW renewable energy projects, including several large PV schemes on Local Authority land, funded by £17.5m EU funds.


Our Equality Goals – A Greater Manchester where:

  • People are welcomed, feel safe, not subjected to discrimination, prejudice, micro-aggressions or hate crime, in the workplace, in schools or in public places.
  • Communities are understood, with data and intelligence on access, experience and outcomes efficiently collected, collated, analysed and presented, enabling inequality to be effectively identified and tackled.
  • We lead by example, achieving national frameworks and accreditations, and influence others through our powers, practices and place-shaping.
  • Our leaders and workforce, in civic and public, private and voluntary sectors, are diverse and inclusive, reflective of Greater Manchester’s communities and culturally competent.
  • Leaders prioritise equity, and are responsible for ensuring standards are met and outcomes achieved.
  • There is good employment, with fair and equitable recruitment, retention and experience (including pay).
  • Wellbeing is valued, enabled by equitable public services and inclusive economic opportunities.
  • People are engaged in the policies and services developed to support them, with their insight heard and valued alongside data and intelligence.
  • Our communities are strong and resilient, where people support each other and work together to improve where they live.
  • People are valued for their individual strengths, identities, beliefs and aspirations.
  • Diversity, identity and inclusion are celebrated throughout the year.

Involving stakeholders

Greater Manchester has established a range of equalities panels and other networks to engage with diverse communities. The seven Greater Manchester Equalities Panels help tackle the structural and organisational prejudice and discrimination that causes inequality and injustice in society, through the advancement of equity and fairness in decisions, policies and services across all sectors and communities. The seven panels – Race Equality Panel, Disabled People’s Panel, Faith and Belief Advisory Panel, LGBTQ+ Panel, Women and Girls Panel, Youth Combined Authority, and Older People’s Panel (to be established shortly). In addition to focusing on specific issues, they work together to ensure intersectionality is considered.

The Panels:

  • Champion Greater Manchester’s cultural heritage and history of community inclusion and social justice.
  • Advise the Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Greater Manchester Lead for Ageing and Equalities of the challenges and opportunities faced by people linked to their identity.
  • Constructively challenge political and system leaders to tackle prejudice and discrimination within their organisations and structures.
  • Proactively support the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and its public, private and voluntary sector partners to develop effective solutions that tackle inequality and increase equity.


  • providing insight into our diverse communities, enabling political leaders and public bodies to listen and engage with people in a more targeted and appropriate way.
  • communicating messages to their communities as trusted sources.
  • designing more effective policies with public bodies, improving outcomes for individuals, reducing inequality and preventing expenditure in other parts of the system.
  • facilitating positive collaboration between communities and public services, supporting an asset-based approach, highlighting new opportunities and challenges.

Furthermore, Individual districts also have equalities’ networks, standing inequalities boards, forums and structures to engage with diverse communities. Delivery of this strategy will be informed through ongoing dialogue with these Panels, networks and forums.

We are adopting a “names not numbers” approach as we seek to improve the lives of our residents, involving them in decisions that are important to them.

We will ensure our approaches to engagement are fair, measured and proportionate, making best use of our assets and resources, and ensuring that communities identify and are involved in things that are relevant to them.

We will lead by example. We need a diverse range of people in positions making decisions. For example, this means better pathways to representation in elected office and positions of power for people from diverse communities and in marginalised groups who feel ‘locked out’ of politics. We will commit to the creation of new networks or taskforces to support and inform our work as part of the implementation of this Strategy, where it is apparent this would add value to the current structures.

Effective communication

Systemically we recognise that communication needs to understand the emotion and intention behind the information being conveyed. Our aim is to use effective communication to build trust, prevent or resolve problems provide clarity and direction, increase engagement and create better relationships. Through this way of working, we will improve the productivity of our relationships and promote our Greater Manchester ‘one team’ approach.

Progressive procurement and social value

If a greater proportion of public spend was based in Greater Manchester, we could ensure that more public money stays in the local economy and can benefit local people.

The pandemic showed us the importance of local provision in developing resilience. We understand the increasing importance of local supply chains for social, economic and environmental outcomes. We could achieve far greater impacts if all procurement in Greater Manchester could help us tackle inequality, and to be responsive to the climate emergency.

October 2020 saw the publication of a new framework of priorities for social value at the GMCA website. This framework can be used across all sectors to guide our actions on six priorities:

  • Good employment
  • Clean Air
  • Employment and Skills
  • Strong Local Communities
  • Green Organisations
  • Local Supply Chains

Employing robust quantitative and qualitative evidence-based approaches

Collectively we will commit to the intelligent application of our evidence base, drawing on data and insight at the earliest possible stages of programme or policy design. While recognising the limitations of locally generated intelligence, we commit to its development and use in the knowledge that it can provide a richness and a more nuanced understanding of the actual lived experience of our residents, often masked by averages and official data sources.

Building on the work of the Independent Inequalities Commission and the Build Back Fairer report, we will use data and insight to better understand and act on systemic and structural intersecting and interacting inequalities and to understand the common drivers of these inequalities and the lever that might prove effective in responding to them.

The progress measures and targets aligned to the collective actions in this Strategy encompass a range of data sources, metrics and insight evidence, and include a focus on understanding the effectiveness and added value of our ways of working. Additionally, monitoring of place and demographic inequalities is prioritised through the use of neighbourhood floor targets and monitoring of variance by population group; this will enable the development of collective and targeted responses to reduce identified inequalities across Greater Manchester places and communities.


Using tools such as the Greater Manchester Employment Charter, we will drive up employment standards across all sectors, for the benefit of both the employed and their employers.

Public sector organisations will seek to go beyond the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty. We will commit to the collation and analysis of timely and accurate workforce data, evidencing the make-up of our workforces, including managerial and leadership positions, to enable positive steps to be taken to increase diversity and eliminate discrimination.

Private and VCSE employers should go beyond the Equality Act 2010, recognising the benefits to be attained from a diverse and inclusive workforce, that is more innovative to meet customer needs and productive by maximizing the skills available. It can drive business profitability and employee well-being thereby attracting and retaining talent.


Greater Manchester’s long history of innovation will be furthered through the delivery of this Strategy, with an understanding and development of the different elements that characterize innovation – discovery, invention, development and adoption. Embedding innovation as a way of working will support investment in and realisation of innovation opportunities.

Innovation is a key pillar of the city-region’s Economic Vision, the plan to deliver a fairer, greener and more productive Greater Manchester economy beyond the pandemic. It will leverage and accelerate the success of Greater Manchester’s existing research and development hubs in global frontier sectors, including advanced materials and manufacturing, health innovation, digital and creative, and clean growth.

Existing technologies and business models are insufficient to get us to carbon neutral. We need to rethink how we operate across all sectors. We are working with our private and academic partners to launch an Energy Innovation Agency for the city-region, with the aim of accelerating the testing and deployment of new technologies and processes at scale.

Fostering innovation by engaging with best digital practice to find better solutions to local problems will be critical in enabling innovative public services. In driving this forward we will make best use of data to inform better decision making and develop more accurate and person-centered public services. Consulting and engaging with citizens to increase understanding and build public trust.

The creation of a social innovation network would connect, lift up, and amplify new solutions to big social challenges, whether they are from our local communities or our global peers. Learning from this network of innovative people, places and practices will inform the strategy and leadership of the next evolution of place based transformation across Greater Manchester.

Always working with the future in mind

Throughout our work we will think about its impacts in the longer term and not just the here and now.

The Covid pandemic has shown us the need to build our resilience to survive and thrive, regardless of the challenge. The capacity of Greater Manchester’s people and places to respond to shocks will be developed through the Greater Manchester Resilience Strategy. This capacity to navigate shocks and to maintain confidence in the city-region is also dependent upon recognising and addressing chronic stresses such as poverty or ageing infrastructure that weaken its fabric and can undermine attempts to respond to crises and to create a stronger future in their aftermath.

Understanding the impact of our decisions

The GMCA decision support tool, developed in collaboration with the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation at the University of Manchester, enables a high-level assessment of possible impacts arising from any proposition, the outputs from which are provided to decision makers to understand the possible wider co-benefits of taking forward the proposal or seeking changes where it is deemed impacts arising could be mitigated. Where the screening process determines a more detailed assessment is required, an equalities impact assessment proforma and carbon assessment element are embedded within the document and can be used to support the overall assessment, and the information made available to the GMCA for decision making.

Embedding the Greater Manchester Model of unified services

On all of the specific challenges we face, we will start by working with people and communities, mobilise action networks from all parts of Greater Manchester society, and work to the “names-not-numbers” philosophy that has guided GM’s success on homelessness.

The challenge of changing the way public services are traditionally organised is multiplied by the fact that different services operate on different geographical footprints, and with different funding models, different measures of success and all take account of need and place in different ways. As a result, services do not always tap into the energy, knowledge and capacity that exists on the ground, too often leaving people feeling ‘done to’ rather than empowered to shape their own lives or to improve things in their local areas.

Greater Manchester has been leading the way in a reform programme for services for people that can address these problems. This approach is already visible in some areas and was accelerated across the city-region during the need for rapid collaborative responses to the pandemic. Now is the time to push on even further and move the approach from the margins to the mainstream. We will embed the Greater Manchester Model as a key enabler of achieving many of the ambitions set out in this Strategy. We will adopt the principle of ‘universal basic services’ as a key pillar of a more equal society, helping everyone to live a decent life and to contribute to the economy and society.

We will take an approach using the principle of proportionate universalism (the resourcing and delivering of universal services at a scale and intensity that is proportionate to the degree of need), recognising that some people and some communities may need targeted, stepped up or more intensive services. We will strive to secure help for people and communities based on what a good life looks like for them, taking into account individual contexts rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Our model is rooted in our long-held reform principles. These recognise that each partner or sector holds the key to another’s objectives, and that our objectives cannot be fully realised without a fundamental shift in the thinking, culture, policies and structures that underpin the current system.

The unified services model sets out six interrelated key features which need to be in place for us to achieve these ambitions:

  • Geographic alignment
  • Leadership and accountability
  • One Workforce
  • Shared financial resource
  • Programmes, policy and delivery
  • Tackling barriers and delivering on devolution

We know that we need to move from principles to practice and it is having all six key features in place that will help us realise this, starting with their application in 10 pathfinder deprived communities, alongside piloting an income guarantee in one or more.

Our learning and experiences during Covid have also reinforced the need to double up our efforts to achieve these ambitions given the difference they are likely to make to people and communities. We have developed a significant amount of learning during this time, not least around what it takes to galvanise a community level response around a common cause. Indeed, we know that our ambitions are possible because we experienced the realisation of many elements almost overnight during a time of crisis. Our challenge will be to build upon this learning and sustainably implement these transformational changes across Greater Manchester.

Investing in the role played by the VCSE sector

The VCSE response to the emergency caused by the pandemic across Greater Manchester has been incredible in its strength, its depth and the speed at which it was been mobilised. VCSE organisations of all sizes, as well as community volunteers, have offered and continue to provide their support, and are integrating with emergency support structures at this time.

The GM VCSE Accord, signed in September 2021, sets out a shared vision for a thriving VCSE sector in Greater Manchester that works collaboratively with the GM Integrated Care System and the GMCA. The Accord delivers on our commitment to different models and modes of investment to enable the VCSE as an equal partner in the design and delivery of GMS implementation.

The VCSE Accord agreement will enable GMCA and the GM Integrated Care System to work collaboratively with the sector, via the GM VCSE Leadership Group. The purpose of this Accord is to further develop how we work together to improve outcomes for Greater Manchester’s communities and citizens.

Our shared vision is for a thriving VCSE sector in Greater Manchester that works collaboratively and productively with the GM Integrated Care System, the GM Combined Authority, its constituent local authority members and statutory partners. This vision is based in our shared values, will be supported by a sustainable infrastructure and have strong leadership. We will operate on the basis of mutual trust, respect and transparency.

We will acknowledge the value to communities of place, identity and experience, and understand the role of local people in leading, shaping and connecting organisations to create a functioning ‘ecosystem’ of activity. We want decisions taken and issue addressed as close to communities as possible, coming together at a Greater Manchester level where there is a demonstrable benefit of doing so.

Through the VCSE Accord, we have set out shared commitments for 2021 – 2026, whose success will rely on their recognition, adoption and action at a locality and neighbourhood level. All commitments will be achieved in partnership and equitable involvement from all 10 districts of Greater Manchester. We will develop a strategic and joined up approach to funding and commissioning of VCSE activities. This includes an investment approach based on long-term, core funding to support strategic VCSE capacity and infrastructure.

Greater Manchester’s Digital Blueprint

Recent Government (Department for Culture, Media & Sport) research indicates that UK’s digital sector is growing nearly six times faster than the mainstream economy. Greater Manchester is gaining an international reputation for growing “unicorn” start-ups (valued at over $1 billion); as a base for global brands such as the BBC and GCHQ; for public sector innovation; and internationally significant digital research. We want to enhance this success and our Digital Blueprint sets out the approach to meet our ambitions to be top 5 European digital city region by focussing on the following priorities:

  • empowering people
  • enabling innovative public services
  • digitally enabling all businesses
  • creating and scaling digital businesses
  • being a global digital influencer

These are underpinned by a focus on inclusive growth of digital talent and extending our world class smart and digital infrastructure and connectivity. Initiatives such as SMART ticketing to digitally-enable existing and future mobility around Greater Manchester; the next phase of the GM Full Fibre network; launching further cyber and AI initiatives; data acceleration to better support families and individuals; the annual and growing “Digitober” festival; and carbon emission monitoring as part of the building retrofit work will develop at pace as part of the delivery of this Strategy.

For Greater Manchester to achieve its ambitions we will continue to follow a “whole digital ecosystem” approach that shaped and underpins the Blueprint model. Collaboration is at the heart of this approach and we will further support and enable private, academic and not-for-profit sector work and identify where there are gaps and initiatives needed at a pan-GM level and taking creative approaches to resourcing them. Having re-organised our governance and engagement mechanisms, groups like the GM Cyber Advisors, Digital Inclusion Action Network and GM Digital Strategic Advisors are driving this. We will ensure that digital is connected across the work of GMCA and partners, driving better delivery of public sector transformation by maximizing opportunities and resources, enabling joint working on opportunities and ensuring that gaps are rectified, and throughout maximizing the impact of our collective actions.

GMCA Decision Support Tool

The GMCA decision support tool, developed in collaboration with the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation at the University of Manchester, enables a high-level assessment of possible impacts arising from any proposition, the outputs from which are provided to decision makers to understand the possible wider co-benefits of taking forward the proposal or seeking changes where it is deemed impacts arising could be mitigated. Where the screening process determines a more detailed assessment is required, an equalities impact assessment proforma and carbon assessment element are embedded within the document and can be used to support the overall assessment, and the information made available to the GMCA for decision making.