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Paper 6 - 4 June 1999 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Test Valley Borough Council on Friday 26 March 1999 at 10.00 am.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor J Evans

Mr D Snowden (Head of Corporate Services)

East Hampshire

Councillor D Clark

Miss J Hunter (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive and Honorary Secretary)

Miss E Hill (Committee Officer)

Fareham

Councillor R Price

Councillor M Prior

Gosport

Councillor P Edgar

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor W Blackett

Councillor A Collett

Councillor W Wheeler

Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)

Mr T Greenwood (County Planning Officer)

Mr A Seber (County Education Officer)

Mr E Wooldridge (Director of Arts, Countryside and Community)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson

Mr G Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor R Bellinger

Councillor Mrs G Blackett

Mr R Smith (Chief Executive)

Isle of Wight

Councillor M Cunningham

Councillor M Morgan-Huws

Mr A Kaye (Director of Education)

New Forest

Councillor J Coles

Councillor B Greer

Councillor Mrs M Robinson

Mr I Mackintosh (Managing Director)

Portsmouth

Councillor J Patey

Councillor S Rapson MP

Mr B Partridge (Head of Chief Executive's Office)

Rushmoor

Councillor M Roberts

Councillor A Thame

Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor J Morgan

Councillor B Palmer (Vice Chair in the Chair)

Mr A Jones (Chief Executive)

Miss E Gault (Corporate Services Officer)

Winchester

Councillor D Atwell

Councillor J Steel

Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs J Pittfield

Mrs S Hudson (Director)

Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs B Lawson

Isle of Wight Rural Community Council

Councillor R Cooke

Community Action Hampshire

Ms H Horton

Dorset Councils Association

Councillor Mrs S Stone (Purbeck District Council)

Also in attendance Mr J Ransford (Head of Social Affairs, Health and Housing, LGA) Mr N Goulder (Policy Manager) and Mrs D Allen (PA to the Policy Manager).

21.99 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor B Gurden (Basingstoke and Deane), Councillor A Ludlow (East Hampshire), Councillors K House and Mrs M Kyrle (Eastleigh), Mr A Davies (Fareham), Councillor F Emery-Wallis (Hampshire), Mrs P Lee and Mr K Parfitt (Isle of Wight Rural Community Council) and Councillor I Gibson (Portsmouth).

22.99 CHAIRMAN

In the absence of the Chairman, Councillor Palmer (Test Valley) took the Chair.

23.99 MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 29 JANUARY

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 1999 were agreed as a correct record.

24.99 SOCIAL EXCLUSION

Andrew Seber (County Education Officer - Hampshire) introduced the report on Social Exclusion attached to the agenda which provided examples of action currently being taken around the County by 7 member authorities. He also pointed out that the term 'Social Exclusion' was now being changed to 'Social Inclusion'.

John Ransford, Head of Social Affairs, Health and Housing at the Local Government Association (LGA) gave a presentation on the LGA's approach to social exclusion, and the role of local authorities in implementing strategies. He circulated an LGA paper 'promoting social justice and social inclusion' which provided more detail of the role local authorities could play in dealing with issues, particularly with regard to anti-poverty, equal opportunities, regeneration, health, education, training and employment, community safety and transport.

Mr Ransford stressed the importance of the role of local government in acting as the delivery agent for strategies in order to ensure all the population could live in a social justice environment. The LGA's approach would be to develop an enabling role in partnership with all relevant organisations, support local authorities and influence national debate and the Social Exclusion Unit.

Social exclusion was a major problem, with access to services being a key issue. The LGA would be encouraging a holistic approach across all areas in order to combine the efforts of relevant organisations to create a more inclusive society. One of the key roles of local authorities would be to provide insight into local issues by consulting with the public on a regular basis. It was important to recognise the different needs of each area, and the role of local authorities as the driving force behind solutions to issues - establishing a strategy, defining the action and ensuring the action is actually taken in order to achieve a positive result.

The Cabinet Office's Social Exclusion Unit had set up action teams to cover specific projects such as school truancy, the young homeless, poor neighbourhoods, teenage pregnancies, and the needs of 16/18 year-olds. In total 18 action teams had been established; however, he was concerned that local government members were not sufficiently involved.

Local authorities should draw together local plans and strategies, and work across traditional boundaries, ie education/social services and social service/housing. The opportunity would arise later in the year to comment on the Government's Urban and Rural White Papers, which would enable authorities to ensure strategic issues influenced future policy development.

During the discussion the following points were raised:-

- It was important to make Government aware of 'hidden' social exclusion areas in order to secure funding for strategic action. It was suggested that local authorities could use the LGA and Regional Development Agencies ie SEEDA to make representations to Government on their behalf. Councillor Rapson MP (Portsmouth) suggested that MPs should be briefed on pockets of deprivation in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

- Work being done on current initiatives in Hampshire with young people ie youth councils should be brought into social exclusion strategies.

- Once the task groups began their reports with suggested action to be taken, local authorities should move quickly in order to get results out into the communities.

- Housing and other associated council functions would need to be included in the development of strategies.

- The work of voluntary sector organisations should be taken into account, particularly their close links with the public and potential to report on specific local issues.

- Member authorities should not only share information but also co-ordinate their information gathering on specific projects/issues such as rough sleeper head counts.

- It was suggested that a database on social exclusion be set up to draw together all the relevant information in order to make it accessible to member authorities.

- It was important to recognise the concept of relative deprivation with regard to people's perceptions of their own and others economic status, and also to identify local problem areas for priority action.

- Local authorities would have to drive the process forward as part of their community leadership role.

RESOLVED -

(1) That John Ransford be thanked for this presentation;

(2) That the comments raised in the debate be followed up with lead officers; and

(3) That paper 3 be noted.

25.99 SHORTAGE OF NHS DENTISTS

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Manager pointing out the serious shortage of NHS dentists in Hampshire, particularly in rural areas. The problem was particularly severe for the disadvantaged, as patients in some areas found they had to travel significant distances to find a NHS dentist. In some towns, particularly in the Borough of Hart, there were no NHS dentists at all, and in other areas dentists were not taking on new NHS patients.

Concerns were raised for long term oral health, as it was pointed out that many patients waited until they had major problems and then turned to a community dental clinic or emergency hospital clinics. In the absence of significant and effective action by the Government, local authorities were having to come up with their own solutions. Eastleigh Borough Council's approach in helping to find premises for dentists in poorly served areas was producing good results. It was now recommended that member authorities work with relevant local bodies, and representations be made at national level to ensure positive action was taken to relieve the crisis. Consultation with local organisations, including the Winchester and Andover Community Health Council had produced full support for the Association's case.

RESOLVED -

(1) That representations be made to the LGA seeking its support in urging the Government to take further steps to deal with the shortage of NHS dentists; and

(2) That all relevant local bodies, including the Health Authorities, Community Health Councils, and the British Dental Association, be notified of the local authorities' serious concern at the shortage of NHS dentists in many parts of Hampshire.

26.99 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (SEEDA)

Andrew Lloyd (Rushmoor) and Peter Robertson (Hampshire) introduced a joint paper providing an update on developments at SEEDA, details of upcoming workshops and seminars, and a calendar for the preparation of the Regional Economic Strategy. The SEEDA Chairman, Allan Willett CMG, had visited Hampshire in February as part of a tour highlighting partnership areas. A combination of presentations, visits and receptions had provided him with an insight into the issues and challenges facing the Hampshire economy. Mr Willett had emphasised three general priorities:

* sustainable economic growth to raise the south east region into the top ten regions of the world within 10-15 years

* social exclusion to raise living standards of the worse off to the current regional average within 10 years

* conservation of the "green and pleasant land"

and a list of action to be taken specific to Hampshire as follows:

* commitment to supporting a change in Ministry of Defence land release policy to reflect local economic and social needs

* change in regional policy to reduce inter-regional competition for business expansion and ban attempts to lure Hampshire companies to other parts of the UK with grant aid

* the need to make a sound business case for new infrastructure investment (eg Hindhead).

* rejection of rigid lines of demarcation of economic strongholds versus areas for regeneration as proposed by SERPLAN

* support for high added-value knowledge-based companies which invested in research and development of the "wired region".

Consultation had started on the Regional Economic Strategy (RES) with a target date of June for the production of the first draft. Workshops would be held in May to enable the Hampshire Economic Partnership (HEP) to consider the draft Strategy. Mr Lloyd pointed out the importance of ensuring the RES integrated fully with all other regional plans. Of particular concern to local authorities in Hampshire would be the need to:

* involve the Regional Assembly

* recognise the role of elected Members in local delivery

* work with HEP on local consultation

* reflect the broad spread of interest in strategic authorities (eg Hampshire County Council and the Unitary Authorities) for a co-ordinated approach to issues of housing, crime, health, education and the environment as well as economic prosperity

* build on the relationship with other Government Departments such as the Department for Education and Employment, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Home Office etc as well as regionally based organisations such as SERPLAN.

Mr Robertson emphasised that many relevant strategies were already in place. There was no need for the RES to 're-invent the wheel'. The relationship between SEEDA and SERPLAN would be crucial to enable joined-up thinking between partner organisations, and address the real problem issues of the area.

RESOLVED -

That the Association -

(1) support the partnership approach being adopted in response to the consultation process initiated by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA);

(2) express its strong concern that the economic strategy should integrate with other regional plans;

(3) emphasise to SEEDA the need for involvement of Local Authorities in the development of the Strategy and its implementation; and

(4) endorse the Hampshire Economic Partnership (HEP) submission (enclosed separately) which has been prepared in consultation with Local Authorities.

27.99 HAMPSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL CONFERENCE ON LIFELONG LEARNING

Ewart Wooldridge (Director of Arts, Countryside and Community - Hampshire) introduced his paper which reported back on a recent conference for the key stakeholders and partners in lifelong learning. Key issues identified the need for a wide-ranging definition of lifelong learning, the importance of increasing participation across all ages and abilities, meeting the needs of the rapidly increasing retired population and utilising partnership working. The report provided a detailed summary of the stakeholders conference. Mr Wooldridge had been invited to give a fuller presentation at the next meeting of the Association.

A cross-departmental officer group had been set up by the County Council in 1997 to develop new initiatives and respond to Government proposals. The Group had made a comprehensive response to the Government's paper 'The Learning Age', which had subsequently provided the opportunity for local authorities to apply to the DfEE Standards Fund for funding for lifelong learning Development Plans. A response to the County Council's bid for funding was currently awaited.

The County Council was now putting together a draft plan for Hampshire, and it was expected that all local authorities would be involved in its preparation.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted, and the outcomes of the Conference be taken forward by the key partners involved.

28.99 EARLY YEARS DEVELOPMENT AND CHILDCARE PARTNERSHIP AND PLAN 1999-2000

Andrew Seber (Hampshire) introduced a paper of the Director of Social Services providing an update on the Partnership's work over the last six months on addressing the Government's National Childcare Strategy (a summary of the Strategy was attached to the report). An audit of early education and childcare across Hampshire had been carried out with partners in voluntary and private sectors. The Plan had been approved by the Partnership and submitted to the DfEE for the Secretary of State's approval. Decisions on Plans and funding would be announced by the Government in March for implementation in April 1999.

Members expressed their support for the Plan, and it was suggested that schools planned for closure could be used to house Early Learning Centres. Councillor Roberts (Rushmoor) mentioned that Rushmoor Borough Council regarded early learning as a key issue and had therefore carried out a lot of work on the subject which his Council would be happy to share with other member authorities.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

29.99 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND REGIONAL ASSEMBLY AND THE SOUTH EAST REGIONAL FORUM

The Honorary Secretary introduced a tabled report in the absence of the Chair which provided an update on the activities of SEERA since the last Association meeting. A meeting held in January between SEERA and SEEDA had provided the opportunity to open up regular dialogue and establish joint working. In order to maintain strong links already established with South East MEPs and the European Union, SEERA would be sharing an office with SEEDA in Brussels, to establish a clear 'South East England' presence.

One of SEERA's key tasks would be to reduce duplication and overlap between regional structures, and to this end discussions had commenced with SERPLAN in taking forward the future of Regional Planning Guidance; the England Regional Associations including representatives from various regional planning conferences, LGA groups and regional organisations had started work on building links between existing and new regional groupings; and the Local Government Association had brought together Chairs of Regional Chambers/Assemblies to check on progress in other regions and the relationships between the various Chambers, RDAs and Government Offices.

On staffing and accommodation issues, advertising for the post of Chief Executive for SEERA would be run in April and it had been agreed that the Assembly's offices would be based at Guildford in accommodation shared with the Government Office for the South East.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

30.99 HAMPSHIRE COUNTY STRUCTURE PLAN (REVIEW)

Tim Greenwood (Hampshire) introduced an update report on the current position of progress on the Structure Plan (Review). He reported positive news which was welcomed by the Association regarding a recent meeting of the Joint Advisory Panel (JAP) where the following resolution had been agreed:

"That with regard to housing provision the following principles be commended to the relevant committees of the three authorities as appropriate:

(a) the "baseline plus additional figure" approach to housing provision;

(b) that the baseline figure should be 42,000 dwellings for the period 2001-2011;

(c) that up to 10,000 dwellings to be released only in the event of demonstrable requirement, be included as the additional figure for the period 2001-2011 over and above the baseline figure."

The JAP had met again in March to consider outstanding matters and the public consultation procedures. Currently it was hoped that proposals would be published in May for a six-week consultation period.

RESOLVED -

That the current position of progress on the Hampshire County Structure Plan (Review) be noted and welcomed.

31.99 LGA LEISURE AND TOURISM COMMITTEE REGIONAL MEETING, 9 MARCH 1999

Ewart Wooldridge (Hampshire) introduced his report which provided a summary of the proceedings of the first regional meeting held by the LGA Leisure and Tourism Committee for South East England. The purpose of the Committee was to enable a closer connection between the LGA and local authorities at regional level in order to allow it to be more responsive to local issues and concerns. The main issues covered at the meeting included cultural strategies, the agenda/priorities of the Committee, the IT contribution of libraries and the implications of Regional Government.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

32.99 LGA ECONOMIC REGENERATION COMMITTEE, 13 JANUARY 1999

Consideration was given to a report-back by Councillor Price (Fareham) providing a summary of the topics covered at the last meeting of the Committee. Items discussed included Regional Development Agencies, European Issues, Community Enterprise and Credit Unions, and a survey of local authority economic development activity carried out on behalf of the LGA by Cambridge University.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

33.99 LGA TRANSPORT COMMITTEE, 18 FEBRUARY 1999

Consideration was given to a report by Councillor Greer (New Forest) providing a summary of the discussion of the last meeting of the Committee. Topics had included the White Paper, congestion charging and charging at out-of-town shopping centres, rural transport systems, local transport plans, the Trans-European Network, the 1999 European Strategy, Railways and Ports, and the Trans-European Rail Freight Freeway.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

34.99 DATE OF NEXT MEETING

It was noted that the annual meeting would be held on Friday 4 June 1999 at Fareham Borough Council.

35.99 ANY OTHER BUSINESS

The Association expressed its thanks to Councillor Rapson MP (Portsmouth) who would be retiring from local government before the next meeting.

Last update: 11/10/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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