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Paper 1 - 24 July 1998 Meeting 

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Gosport Borough Council on Friday 29 May 1998 at 10.00 am.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor Mrs P Baker

Councillor J Evans

Miss K Sporle (Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor D Clark

Miss J Hunter (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor K House (Chair)

Councillor Mrs M Kyrle

Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive and Honorary Secretary)

Mrs E Hill (Committee Officer)

Fareham

Councillor R Price

Councillor M Prior

Councillor J Hamilton

Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor P EdgarCouncillor M Yeates

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor A Collett

Councillor W Blackett

Councillor W Wheeler

Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)

Mr P Bell (Asst. County Planning Officer)

Mr J Pittam (County Treasurer)

Hart

Councillor R Jones

Mr G R Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor R Bellinger

Councillor K Moss

Mr R Smith (Chief Executive)

New Forest

Councillor J Coles

Councillor Mrs M Robinson

Portsmouth

Councillor J Patey

Councillor S Rapson M.P.

Mr B Smith (Director Corporate Services)

Rushmoor

Councillor M Roberts

Councillor Mrs T Stratton

Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor B Palmer

Mr A Jones (Chief Executive)

Mr D Hill (Local Agenda 21 Co-ordinator)

Winchester

Councillor D Atwell

Councillor J Steel

Mrs S Bowden (Chief Financial Officer)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs J Pittfield

Mrs S Hudson (Director)

Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils

Mrs B Lawson

Also in attendance Mr N Goulder (Policy Officer), Ms L Robinson (Government Office for the South East), Councillor Mrs A Holland and Mr A Breakwell (Dorset Councils Association), Mr I Barrett (Earthworks), and Mr J Bishop (BDOL Partnership).

25.98 APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN

There were two nominations for the role of Chairman for the year 1998/99, Councillor W Blackett (Hampshire) and Councillor K House (Eastleigh).

RESOLVED -

That Councillor K House be elected as Chairman for the year 1998/99.

26.98 APPOINTMENT OF VICE-CHAIRMAN

There was one nomination for the role of Vice-Chairman for the year 1998/99, Councillor B Palmer (Test Valley).

RESOLVED -

That Councillor B Palmer (Test Valley) be elected as Vice-Chairman for the year 1998/99.

27.98 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Gibson (Portsmouth), Councillor P Hutcheson (Hart), Councillor F Emery-Wallis (Hampshire), Councillor R Price (Fareham), Councillors M Morgan-Hughes, R Malligus, H Rees and Mr F Hetherington (Isle of Wight), Mr D Cowan (Winchester), Mr O'Reilly (Hampshire Police) and Mrs H Horton (Community Action Hampshire).

28.98 MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 27 MARCH 1998

The minutes of the meeting held on 27 March 1998 were agreed as a correct record.

29.98 A PRESENTATION ON LOCAL AGENDA 21

Alan Jones (Test Valley) began the presentation which provided an overview of progress across Hampshire on Local Agenda 21 and sustainable development. An audit had been undertaken on behalf of all but one of the Hampshire authorities to discover what progress had been made towards developing strategies based around the three key issues of Local Agenda 21 - Environment, Economics and Prosperity, and Health and Social Exclusion.

Mr Jones provided a brief background to Local Agenda 21, explaining that two groups had been set up to deal with the issues. The Officer Group comprised the Environmental Co-ordinator from each authority (now known as Local Agenda 21 Co-ordinators). Mr Jones suggested that the Member Group (which had not met as yet) be disbanded in favour of discussing the Agenda at full Association meetings. He felt that it was vital to ensure all Members were kept fully up to speed on this subject, particularly due to the Agenda's all-embracing scope.

Jeff Bishop (Director, BDOL Partnership) provided more detailed information on the Local Agenda 21 audit. He explained that although Hampshire as a whole had advanced more quickly than many other areas, the wide range between each authority's progress was still significant. He pointed out that there were now three main levels of action on which authorities should focus: projects, activities and initiatives; implementing programmes into strategies;, and 'making it mainstream' ie taking truly corporate action.

Four key issues could be drawn out of the audit, which would need to be resolved in order for the Agenda to move forward successfully.

(i) There was a need to move beyond environment - to include the full social and economic dimensions of sustainability;

(ii) There was a need to make it mainstream - allowing shifts in corporate culture as well as project work to enable each authority to develop proactively;

(iii) A coherent approach to local democracy should be adopted in relation to sustainable development, and

(iv) An integrated, coherent and corporate action plan should be put in place to enable authorities to dramatically increase the effectiveness of existing resources.

"Opportunities for Change" - The Association's Response to the Government Consultation on the New National Sustainable Development Strategy.

Alan Jones introduced this paper which provided a copy of the Associations'

response, drafted by the Local Agenda 21 Co-ordinators.

During the discussion the following points were raised -

(i) Several Councillors expressed concern that the Energy Efficiency Bill was currently being blocked, and it was agreed that the Association should write to the relevant MP and Opposition Leader in order to apply pressure to move it forward,

(ii) Councillor Atwell (Winchester) suggested that section 6.6 in the report should be amended so that the definition of 'healthy homes' be widened to include access for the disabled as a fundamental point,

(iii) Councillor Rapson M.P. mentioned that Portsmouth had implemented a housing scheme which may be helpful to other member authorities in their efforts to promote Good Practice - and it was suggested that authorities should share information on any other relevant schemes,

(iv) It was also agreed that the Hampshire Farming Study should be referred to in sections 6.12 and 6.13 of the report.

RESOLVED -

(1) That Alan Jones and Jeff Bishop be thanked for their presentation; and

(2) That the response to the Government's consultation be approved, with the addition of the points raised during the discussion.

30.98 CONSULTATION BY THE SOUTH EAST REGIONAL FORUM ON THE STRUCTURE OF A SOUTH EAST REGIONAL CHAMBER

Chris Tapp (Honorary Secretary) introduced the report and an additional paper which suggested guidelines for responding to SERF on the issue of a South East Regional Chamber. Those guidelines had been the subject of consultation with Chief Executives and reflected support for the main elements of the SERF proposal.

The Chair noted that productive discussions were being held at South East Regional Forum (SERF) meetings with the Local Government Minister. Councillor Roberts (Rushmoor) expressed his concern that the South East was currently behind other regions on this issue, which was worrying as the start date of the RDA was planned for 1 April 1999. The Chair, however, felt that organisations like the Association and SERF would enable the South East to "catch up" in time.

Councillor Collett (Hampshire) suggested that a multi-stage approach was needed. He felt that control had shifted away from local government over the years and there were now opportunities to regain some of those powers. The Chair felt encouraged that Councils were working together to secure a united strategy in spite of having different long-term goals.

RESOLVED -

That the guidelines for responses be agreed and commended to member authorities.

31.98 GOVERNMENT CONSULTATIONS ON MODERNISING LOCAL

GOVERNMENT

Local Government Finance

The Policy Officer introduced the paper, prepared by the Chief Financial Officer's Association which outlined the joint response from local authorities to the Government's three consultation papers. He explained that the main thrust of the approach had been based on key issues on which all member authorities agreed.

Councillor Roberts (Rushmoor) felt that more discussion would be needed once the major spending review was published, in order to clarify where control lay between central/local government.

It was agreed that the Association's response with regard to business rates should be "toughened up". It was also agreed to add to the response the Association's suggestion that Councils be given discretion when setting Council Taxon second homes, and that more flexibility was needed in the Council Tax bands.

RESOLVED -

That the response by the Chief Financial Officers be adopted by the Association as the joint response from the local authorities, with the agreed amendments.

A New Ethical Framework

The Policy Officer introduced a paper of the "ethics" sub-group of the Chief Executives' Group. The Government proposed an ethical framework which the Association was pleased to note broadly met the goals of the Association. The Association's response was built on the extensive agreement between member authorities both before and after re-organisation in 1997. Included in the annexe to the paper were samples of a protocol for member/staff relations and a code of conduct for Councillors and staff when dealing with planning matters which could be used as a basis for each authority's individual strategies.

Mrs Lawson (Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils) pointed out that now Parish and Town Councils were taking on more responsibility, they should not be left out of the process and should also ideally be subject to the same quality standards as district councils.

Members expressed concern at some of the implications of the draft code of practice for dealing with planning matters. The Officers would be revisiting the code when the Government proposals were known.

RESOLVED -

That the response to the Government's consultation paper on a new ethical framework be approved, with the exclusion of paragraph 12 of the response until the issue had been properly discussed both by and with Parish and Town Councils;

32.98 SERPLAN - DRAFT REGIONAL GUIDANCE 2001-2016

Robin Smith (Havant) introduced his paper which included a copy of the Association's flyer which would accompany the SERPLAN consultation document to partner organisations. The paper outlined the Association's preliminary response to the Government's timetable (which required SERPLAN to draft regional guidance for the south east by September 1998). A map was also being prepared to present to the next meeting on 24 July 1998.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the SERPLAN consultation on the regional guidance be noted and further considered at the seminar on 2 June 1998;

(2) That member authorities publicise the SERPLAN consultation and alert partner organisations to the need to respond, using the Association's "guideline" leaflet; and

(3) That the Association's SERPLAN Co-ordination Group prepare a response for the Association to consider at its next meeting.

33.98 APPOINTMENTS TO OUTSIDE BODIES

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Officer which outlined the need for the Association to appoint representatives to some of its outside bodies. The report also provided the Association's approved guidelines for reporting-back procedures, which had been agreed in July 1997. The four bodies to which representatives were required to be appointed were:-

(i) The Committee for Rural Hampshire;

(ii) The Hampshire Under-Eights Advisory Group;

(iii) The Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust;

(iv) The Hampshire Playing Fields Association.

RESOLVED -

(1) That Councillors Mrs S Band (Hart) and J Vernon-Jackson (New Forest) be appointed to the Committee for Rural Hampshire;

(2) That Councillor M Roberts (Rushmoor) be appointed to the Hampshire Under-Eights Advisory Group;

(3) That Councillors D Atwell (Winchester) and D Murray (Fareham) be appointed to the Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust;

(4) That Councillors White (Rushmoor), Moss (Havant), Jessavala (Hart) and Pocock (Winchester) be appointed to the Hampshire Playing Fields Association; and

(5) That the success of the reporting-back arrangements be noted.

34 98 THE ASSOCIATION'S ACTION PLAN AND REVIEW OF WORK SINCE

JUNE 1997

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Officer which provided a summary of the Association's achievements in relation to its Action Plan (which had been adopted in September 1997). The Association had achieved its main goals which included: providing a platform to enable individual authorities to have an influence in regional affairs; assisting members to prepare for, respond to and influence the Government's agenda; and helping to develop a consensus amongst elected members so that a united front could be presented to best represent the interests of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The Policy Officer drew attention to the list of priorities for the future detailed in paragraph 19 of the report, and these were agreed by members. It was suggested that by setting timescales and performance measures the Association could focus more effectively on key issues, and the Policy Officer undertook to discuss the implementation of these measures with Chief Executives.

RESOLVED -

That the Annual Report be published in form of a Newsletter providing information about the Association and its work.

35.98 THE ASSOCIATION'S BUDGET AND SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR 1998/99

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Officer which provided a monitoring report and budget, including subscription values for the upcoming year. He explained that a full financial report for the year 1997/98 would be available in the Autumn.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the budget monitoring report for 1997/98 be noted;

(2) That the budget for 1998/99 be approved; and

(3) That the subscription unit of 2,400 plus VAT be confirmed.

36.98 HAMPSHIRE COUNTY STRUCTURE PLAN (REVIEW)

Peter Robertson (Hampshire) introduced his report which provided the history of the County Council's deliberation on housing figures. A report to the County Planning and Transportation Committee was attached, which included a corporate view on progress, and highlighted the issues yet to be resolved. The Committee had resolved the following: that the figure of 42,000 be adopted as the total number of new dwellings to be provided between 2001 and 2011; that no provision be made for reserve sites; that the priority for development be put upon regeneration and brownfield sites first; and that, with the exception of Major Development Areas, local authorities continue to decide the location of development sites within their own boundaries. There was some disagreement between the County and the two City Councils over the issue of reserve sites, and it was agreed that this and other relevant concerns should be dealt with over the course of the next few weeks, at the District Planning Officer Group and Steering Group upcoming meetings.

RESOLVED -

That the report to the County Council's Planning and Transportation Committee and the Committee's resolutions be noted.

37.98 CRIME AND DISORDER - AN UPDATE

Consideration was given to a paper by Ian Mackintosh (New Forest), which provided an update on the progress of the Government's Crime and Disorder Bill. A seminar had been arranged for 17 June 1998, which would help bring participants up to speed and explore ways of partnership working. The Bill would shortly receive royal assent and it was expected that strategies would need to be put in place by April 1999.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

38.98 HAMPSHIRE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

Consideration was given to a report of the Treasurer to the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority. The report described the costs and impact of the Service and gave details with regard to how it set and financed its budget.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

39.98 THE HAMPSHIRE LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME

Consideration was given to a report of the County Treasurer, which gave an overview of the current local government scheme including recent changes. A summary was also provided of the impact of early retirements, and the current actuarial position.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

40.98 LGA REGIONAL RELATIONSHIPS

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Officer which summarised the latest consultation from the LGA setting out the framework for the relationship between the LGA and regional groupings in future. The Association had been pressing the LGA for a merger of the South East and South Central Electoral Colleges and this was now proposed.

RESOLVED -

That the response to the LGA be noted.

41.98 HAMPSHIRE VOLUNTARY HOUSING SOCIETY

Councillor D Atwell's (Winchester) report provided members with a brief history of the Society to which he had been elected as a member of the Board. Two major highlights for the Society's year were the progression towards a start on the largest ever project of 75 houses at Basingfield; and a successful headquarters move to Winchester earlier this year.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

42.98 MODERNISING LOCAL GOVERNMENT - IMPROVING LOCAL

SERVICES THROUGH BEST VALUE

Consideration was given to a report of the Association's "Best Value" network. The Association's response to the Government's consultation paper was attached. Alan Jones (Test Valley) mentioned the "Best Value" conference to be held on Friday 5 June 1998 to which all members were invited.

RESOLVED -

That the Association's response be noted.

43.98 PROGRAMME OF MEETINGS 1998/99

The Honorary Secretary asked that members note a change in venue for the Association's next meeting on July 24 1998, which would be held at the Isle of Wight

Last update: 13/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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