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John RodgersI have lived in the Healey ward for over 30 years and having served in the Army as a professional soldier I am active in the ex-services community. I am lucky to have a great family with new additions being added all the time. It would be great if they could get their first choice of school which is most important, if not why not?

I have worked in local government for over 30 years' with most of that time in housing, working with local communities, supporting and enabling them to get involved in matters they are concerned about. This often involves being an advocate too. I have set-up, supported and trained many voluntary groups. I have set-up multi agency groups that work for the benefit of local people. The most recent multi agency group represents three wards in Greater Manchester and includes local councillors, council officers, Greater Manchester Police and representatives from other agencies as well as local people.

It is clear to me that the role of a local councillor is to represent the community in the council, not the council in the community. Every councillor should work hard to involve the people they represent in decision making. It's vital to ensure local communities are involved in matters that affect them and they should also ensure that any consultation is ethical, by that I mean that it helps to shape and decide decisions and not just be a tick box exercise.

I want to see a modern local government that spends time actually making a difference to local people rather than spending lots of our money of red tape and lots of meaningless meetings. We need local politicians to spend their time making a difference rather than spending all their energy falling out with each other and I'm sure you do too.