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Paper 4 - 29 May 1998 Meeting 

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Hampshire County Council on Friday 27 March 1998 at 10.00 am.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor Mrs P Baker

Councillor J Evans

Mr D Pitt (Deputy Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor D Clark

Miss J Hunter (Chief Executive)

Mr S Olivant

Eastleigh

Councillor K House (Chair)

Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive and Honorary Secretary)

Dr C Jackson (Health Policy Co-ordinator)

Mrs E Hill (Committee Officer)

Fareham

Councillor R Price

Councillor Mrs M Chapman

Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor A Hayward

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor A Collett

Councillor W Blackett

Councillor W Wheeler

Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)

Mr P Bell (Assistant County Planning Officer)

Hart

Councillor J Hurst

Mr G R Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Mr R Smith (Chief Executive)

Councillor R Bellinger

Councillor Mrs G Blackett

New Forest

Councillor J Coles

Councillor B Greer

Mr I Mackintosh (Managing Director)

Rushmoor

Councillor G J Woolger

Councillor A Thame

Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor J Morgan

Councillor B Palmer

Mr A Jones

Winchester

Councillor D Atwell

Councillor B Collin

Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

Ms J Adams (Corporate Support Officer)

Isle of Wight Council

Councillor Mrs M Jarman

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs S Allen

Mrs S Hudson (Director)

Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils

Mrs B Lawson

Community Action Hampshire

Ms H Horton

Isle of Wight Rural Community Council

Mrs P Lee

Also in attendance Mr N Goulder, Policy Officer, Mrs P Humphris (Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Health Authority) and Dr G Spencer (Southampton and South West Hampshire Health Authority).

15.98 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor S Cowley and Mr F Hetherington (Isle of Wight), Councillor J Patey and Mr B Partridge (Portsmouth), Councillor Moss (Havant), Councillors Mitchell and Sabine (Winchester), Councillor Mrs M Haselden (Test Valley), Councillors Emery-Wallis and Rice (Hampshire), and Councillor D Mars (Gosport).

16.98 MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 30 JANUARY 1998

The minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 1998 were accepted as a correct record. With regard to minute 3.98, Peter Robertson (Hampshire) reported that arrangements were being made to set a date in June for a Community Safety Seminar.

17.98 A PRESENTATION ON PUBLIC HEALTH

Dr Judy Curson, Director of Public Health at the North and Mid Hampshire Health Authority, began the presentation on the Government's Green Paper on Public Health, "Our Healthier Nation". The paper proposed a new statutory duty for all local authorities to "promote the economic, social and environmental well being of their areas". However it was recognised that most local authorities were already working towards this goal through partnerships in the community.

The Government's Green Paper proposes to improve the health of the population as a whole, but also to focus on reducing inequalities in the community (it had been proven that the poor are ill more often and die sooner than those who are better off).

The Government had set national targets for four priority areas: heart disease and stroke; accidents; cancer; and mental health. Dr Curson ended her presentation by stressing the need for local authorities to focus on long term strategic priorities through strengthening existing partnerships.

Dr Simon Tanner, Consultant in Public Health for the North and Mid Hampshire Health Authority, followed on with a presentation on Primary Care Groups (PCGs). He explained that those involved in PCGs would need to address a number of issues, including responsibility, accountability, and the problems facing the health service. These included the services' reactive culture, and the GP's focus on dealing with day-to-day care of individuals, which did not allow for strategic planning with regard to community health as a whole.

Opportunities existed for PCGs to include nurses/social services and provide a local, focused approach to public health, however this could only be achieved through co-operation with local authorities in order for PCGs to acquire the relevant information to carry out a local needs assessment for each area. In order to move ahead it would be necessary for partners to better understand their respective roles and responsibilities, through secondment/training of staff, and joint input into Health Improvement Programs (HIPs). In closing, Dr Tanner stressed the need for partner organisations to 'get on board' and recognise the importance of Primary Care Groups in the future of Public Health.

DEVELOPING PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN HEALTH AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Chris Tapp (Eastleigh) gave a presentation on the Council perspective in the light of Government's approach to public health, in particular reflecting on the further development of health related partners, the setting up of Primary Care Groups and Health Improvement Programmes.

He explained that Eastleigh's Health Strategy set out to reduce inequalities in health and increase quality of life through partnerships. He stressed the need for local authorities to have an integrated approach to promoting good health in communities, rather than always focussing on ill-health.

Health Improvement Programmes could not work effectively unless Councils were fully involved in the process, which raised the questions of who would be involved, and what the targets would be. In order for PCGs to be successful it would be vital to ensure GP's were tied in to partnerships, and also to genuinely involve communities from the outset. It was also necessary to recognise that a wide range of Council functions would need to be tied into the process in addition to the obvious health-related functions (for example food safety and transport). Councils would need to draw the Health Authorities and other health interests into that work. Mr Tapp concluded by pointing out that all partners would need to be aware of the different ways of working within each of their organisations, and be flexible and open to these differences to enable a positive approach to joint working.

During the discussion that followed, several points were raised, including the issue of resources. There was some concern as to where the funds would come from to implement new Public Health strategies. Penny Humphris, Chief Executive of Portsmouth and South East Hampshire Health Authority, explained that the GP Fund Holding Scheme was due to end in 1999, and these monies would be redistributed nationally to support PCGs - this would at least contribute towards part of the funding problem.

The Chair wondered how Councillors would be involved in PCGs, HIPs and the Public Health process, and it was generally felt that these and many other issues (such as boundary tensions) would need to be resolved in order for the PCGs (which were due to be agreed by the end of July) to function properly.

RESOLVED:-

(1) That each Authority provide the Policy Officer with copies of their responses to the two Public Health papers; and

(2) That Dr Judy Curson, Dr Simon Tanner and Chris Tapp be thanked for their presentations.

18.98 THE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (RDA) AND THE REGIONAL

CHAMBER FOR THE SOUTH EAST

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Officer which provided an update on preparations for a South East RDA and a South East Regional Chamber, the two nominations from the South East Regional Forum (SERF) of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Members to the proposed RDA Board, and the non-local authority nomination. The Chair confirmed that the Association would only endorse currently serving Councillors to the Board.

RESOLVED:-

That the nominations set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the report be endorsed.

19.98 SERPLAN - DRAFT REGIONAL GUIDANCE FOR 2001-2016

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Officer which appended a report by Councillor Mrs Baker (Basingstoke & Deane) of the last SERPLAN meeting held on 5 March, and a summary of Council responses to the SERPLAN pre-consultation draft "Sustainable Development Strategy for the South East". The Policy Officer circulated a supplementary report comprising a list of recommendations from the SERPLAN Co-Ordination Group.

The SERPLAN Co-Ordination Group recommended 12 points to make to SERPLAN, which were presented by Robin Smith (Havant). With regard to these recommendations the following points were raised:

- Councillor Atwell (Winchester) referred to paragraph 15 of the preliminary note to the SERPLAN Co-ordination Group meeting, which raised the question of whether policies which encouraged use of the car should be reviewed. The Chair agreed that this should be looked into.

- Councillor Blackett (Hampshire) pointed out that any planned new development would raise transport issues, and the County Council should perhaps consider more sustainable school transport schemes to service new residential areas.

- Councillor Coles (New Forest) suggested that actual housing need should be taken into account when planning new developments. He felt that currently too much emphasis was being put on building 4-5 bedroom executive homes, when there was a far greater need for smaller houses.

- Councillor Mrs Baker (Basingstoke & Deane) suggested that although unused MoD land may be an option for the placement of new housing sites, factual information was needed to ascertain exactly what was available and where. The Chair agreed with this and suggested that The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Planning Officers Group be asked to consider the position on the Defence Review and other Government landholdings and report to Members at the Seminar scheduled for 2 June.

Several amendments to the recommendations were made, and it was agreed that SERPLAN should be advised that:-

1. The Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities welcomes SERPLAN's launch of consultation on the Draft Regional Strategy.

2. SERPLAN should make definitive proposals on how the Regional Strategy should be implemented, including proposals for a Central Government/Local Government partnership committed to guiding the work of the Regional Development Agency.

3. The main areas for development and the key infrastructure needs to generate economic prosperity within the South East region, especially transportation in terms of road, rail, air and sea port links, should be highlighted IN MAP FORM within the strategy.

4. The proposals for South Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to be designated as priority areas for economic regeneration are supported, and it is noted that the precise boundaries of such areas are a matter for detailed comment by individual authorities.

5. The importance of the long-term vitality of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth should be recognised.

6. The Regional Strategy should take account of the likely implications of a decision for or against Heathrow Terminal 5, and of airport policy for the region.

7. The Regional Strategy should present an overall regional picture, challenging where appropriate historic policy assumptions relating to, for example, the green belt, and ensuring clarity of purpose of such policies, with the prime purpose of promoting sustainable economic prosperity and enhanced quality of life for all within the region.

8. All major public sector land-holdings within the region should be reviewed with a view to bringing forward land for redevelopment in accordance with the Regional Strategy.

9. SERPLAN should commission further research on how best to meet housing need within the region, especially in relation to how national fiscal policies on, for example, green field development, derelict land, housing benefit, and rent a room initiatives, impact upon sustainable development, land-take, and urban renaissance.

10. (a) The issue of housing is secondary to the overall need to ensure that the South East is a major player in the international economy;

(b) nevertheless the importance of meeting housing needs should be fully recognised and requires emphasis if real local need is to be met rather than allocation of crude housing numbers to particular areas. Initiatives on specific types of housing to meet needs (for example: care housing, young persons' housing, affordable housing) and the issue of phasing, are vital in testing existing models to find a sustainable solution.

11. The regional strategy should seek to achieve greater clarity in the control of housing growth to mirror employment needs in a balanced way, spreading the benefits of the economic strongholds throughout the region while maintaining the strength of those strongholds.

12. The importance of London within the South East should be recognised, especially its increasing ability to meet its own housing needs.

13. The Regional Strategy should identify significant areas of countryside of regional importance, in addition to areas designated for national importance (e.g. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

It was further agreed that:

(a) In relation to 3 above the Association should develop a key diagram to express its views

(b) The views of the Association should be communicated to partner organisations within Hampshire with a view to consulting them and gaining their support.

RESOLVED:-

(1) That the SERPLAN Co-ordination Group continue to develop points of agreement across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight whilst participating in the drafting of regional guidance; and

(2) That the revised recommendations be put forward to SERPLAN.

GREEN PAPER: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Consideration was given to a report of the Honorary Secretary with regard to the DETR's consultation paper "Sustainable Development - Opportunities for Change". The paper had been presented at a series of regional consultation meetings, and representatives of the Association had attended the meeting held on March 19. The Government's vision of sustainable development was based on four broad objectives; social progress; protection of the environment; prudent use of natural resources and maintenance of economic growth and employment. The paper was seen as the first step in what was likely to be an on-going debate, so input from member Councils was encouraged at this stage.

RESOLVED:-

(1) That the report back from the GOSE consultation session on the Green Paper be noted; and

(2) That member Councils advise the Policy Officer of their comments on the Green Paper, to facilitate the preparation of an Association response drawing together common threads.

20.98 MODERNISING LOCAL GOVERNMENT - LOCAL DEMOCRACY, COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP AND BETTER VALUE

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Officer summarising the first two of a series of consultation papers published by the Government, which would feed into a White Paper to be published later in the year.

The first paper, entitled "Modernising Local Government - Local Democracy and Community Leadership", provided a useful benchmark listing the many ways in which local authorities were consulting and involving their communities.

Members welcomed the opportunity to put forward ideas and suggestions, and picked up on a few of the questions raised in the paper. There were mixed feelings towards the suggestion that all Councils should hold annual elections; however, members agreed that the low level of turnout on election days was more a result of an "only if it affects me" attitude to voting, rather than Councils' actual electoral systems. It was suggested that polling stations could perhaps be located in places more accessible to the public, such as supermarkets.

The Chair stressed the need for the Association to focus on key issues in order to present an overall response to the paper; however, he agreed that the Association should oppose any suggestions to enforce annual elections on all authorities.

RESOLVED:-

(1) That member authorities submit their individual responses on the paper on local democracy and community leadership to the Policy Officer;

(2) That a response to the Government consultation paper on local democracy and community leadership be drafted, based on the report and taking into account members' comments;

(3) That a response to the Government consultation paper on Best Value be drafted by the Chief Executive's Group, incorporating members' comments and individual authorities' responses; and

(4) That member authorities plan to make a joint response to future consultations.

21.98 MEMBERSHIP OF THE ASSOCIATION

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Officer which gave details of membership subscriptions for 1998/99 which had been decided at the last meeting. Portsmouth had decided to take full membership of the Association, which would provide an extra 4,800 towards the Association's reserves. Hampshire Fire and Rescue were now established as a separate legal entity and as such were entitled to have a right of membership to the Association.

RESOLVED:-

(1) That Portsmouth City Council's decision to become a full member of the Association for 1998/99 be welcomed;

(2) That membership subscriptions for 1998/99 decided at the last meeting, on the basis of 2,400 per unit, be confirmed; and

(3) That the Constitution of the Association be amended to enable the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority to have right of membership of the Association.

22.98 MEETING OF THE LGA TRANSPORT COMMITTEE - 5 FEBRUARY 1998

Consideration was given to a report by Councillor Greer (New Forest), which provided members with a summary of the issues discussed at the last Transport Committee meeting. Those issues included an Integrated Transport Policy, bus services, rapid light transport, airports and the Channel Tunnel rail link.

RESOLVED:-

That Councillor Greer be thanked for his report, which was noted.

23.98 LGA ECONOMIC REGENERATION COMMITTEE - 21 JANUARY 1998

Consideration was given to a report by Councillor Price (Fareham), which provided members with a summary of the issues discussed at the last Regeneration Committee meeting. The meeting had covered a range of regional/regeneration issues including corporate policy, Welfare to Work, structural funds, recent Business Link developments and a draft LGA Policy Statement "A Rural Strategy".

RESOLVED:-

That Councillor Price be thanked for his report, which was noted.

24.98 DATE AND VENUE OF NEXT MEETING

The next meeting would be held on Friday 29 May 1998 at Gosport Borough Council.

Last update: 08/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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