Greater Manchester Combined Authority, or GMCA, was set up in 2011 to `co-ordinate' economic development, regeneration and transport for Salford and the nine other local authorities in Greater Manchester. It covers things like Transport for Greater Manchester and the councils' research arm Commission for the New Economy…
…It's also the organisation that is driving through huge cuts in social services, `re-designing' things like Early Years, Troubled Families and Health and Social Care, to cut across council boundaries to `save money'… "We are ideally placed to rise to the challenge of developing new service delivery models that respond to the current fiscal challenges and rising demand", stated a recent GMCA document.
However, when it comes to saving money on its own doorstep, GMCA seems to have lost the key. New accounts for GMCA produced this month, and signed off by Salford Mayor Ian Stewart, show that 71 staff earned over £50,000 (a rise of four over the previous year), including five Fat Cats trousering over £100,000.
In the last year, nobody earning over £20,000 has had their job axed, but 17 low paid jobs, paying under £20,000, have been lost.
GMCA is not to be confused with AGMA – the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities – which, confusingly, acts "as the voice of the ten local authorities of Greater Manchester but as part of a much stronger partnership with GMCA".
AGMA does things like dish out grants and get involved with ecology, geology and archaeology across what it calls the `city region'. AGMA states that it doesn't employ any staff but accounts show that local authorities pay up for three staff earning between £60,000 and £64,999. A note adds that the figure only includes staff who work 100% of their time for AGMA – but doesn't mention how much consultants and those who don't `work 100% of the time for AGMA' get paid.
In the previous year (2011-12), someone working for AGMA earning between £60,000 and £80,000 walked away with an exit package of £69,373!
Both these organisations, AGMA and GMCA, are leading the drive to integrate Salford into the `city region' and merge local services into Greater Manchester-wide monoliths. It's all about rising to `fiscal challenges' they state, while some staff trouser huge salaries for their efforts…