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Paper 2 - 26 March 1999 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Havant Borough Council on Friday 29 January 1999 at 10.00 am.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor J Evans

Councillor Mrs P Baker

Mrs K Sporle (Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor D Clark

Mr E Norman (Acting Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor K House (Chair)

Councillor Mrs M Kyrle

Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive and Honorary Secretary)

Miss E Hill (Committee Officer)

Fareham

Councillor R Price

Councillor M Prior

Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor P Edgar

Councillor K Ward

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor F Emery-Wallis

Councillor W Wheeler

Mr T Butler (Director of Social Services)

Mr T Greenwood (County Planning Officer)

Mr A Hagger (Commissioning Manager, Social Services)

Ms M Swann (Commissioning Manager, Social Services)

Mr D Tarrant (Deputy County Surveyor)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson

Mr G Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor Mrs G Blackett

Mr R Smith (Chief Executive)

Mr B Neilson (Forward Planning Manager)

Isle of Wight

Councillor M Cunningham

Mr B Streets (Honorary Auditor)

New Forest

Councillor Mrs M Robinson

Mr I Mackintosh (Managing Director)

Portsmouth

Councillor J Patey

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

Rushmoor

Councillor M Roberts

Councillor A Thame

Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Mr A Jones (Chief Executive)

Winchester

Councillor I Bidgood

Councillor R Sabine

Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs J Pittfield

Community Action Hampshire

Ms H Horton

Also in attendance Mr N Goulder (Policy Manager) and Mrs D Allen (PA to the Policy Manager).

1.99 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor B Gurden (Basingstoke and Deane), Councillor B Dash (Hampshire), Councillor R Bellinger (Havant), Councillors Mazillius, Morgan-Huws and Rees and Mr B Quoroll (Isle of Wight), Councillor J Coles (New Forest), Councillor B Clements (Poole), Councillors I Gibson and S Rapson MP and Mr N Gurney (Portsmouth), Councillor Mrs S Stone (Purbeck), Councillors J Morgan and B Palmer (Test Valley), Councillors D Atwell and J Steele (Winchester), Mrs S Hudson (HAPTC), and Councillor Mrs B Lawson (IoWAPTC).

2.99 WELCOME

Councillor Mrs G Blackett welcomed members and officers to Havant.

3.99 MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 27 NOVEMBER

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

4.99 QUALITY PROTECTS - PRESENTATION

Terry Butler, Director of Social Services (Hampshire), and Moira Swann, Commissioning Manager (Hampshire) gave a presentation on the Government's Quality Protects initiative.

Quality Protects focussed on services for children and families with the intention of improving the well-being of children for whom the local authority has to take direct responsibility, particularly those in the public care system. The initiative would link closely to other schemes and Papers, and due to the implications for housing, education and leisure facilities, all local authorities would need to work with Unitary and County Council Social Services staff to ensure proper integration of objectives.

Within Hampshire and the Isle of Wight 500 children were 'accommodated' across the four social service authorities. Main elements of the Quality Protects initiative included a three year programme to provide opportunities for all children in care by modernising existing schemes, with the four authorities responsible for devising Management Action Plans which could then be implemented through partnerships with district authorities. The Plans must provide an analysis of the population, a vision for the future, a plan to achieve that vision with specific action/targets, and a position statement regarding current schemes.

Six objectives would have to be met by the Action Plans, as follows:-

- to ensure children are securely attached

- to ensure children are protected

- to provide children with life chances

- to continue to help care leavers in order to avoid isolation

- to properly assess and refer each case based on specific need

- to ensure Best Value practices are met.

A special grant had been made available to support the Quality Protects scheme to enable the three year plan to be carried out, by providing 75m in the first year, increasing to 120m in the second year and 180m in the third. It was expected that Hampshire would receive 1.1m in the first year, increasing to 1.7m in the second, and 2.5m in the third.

During the discussion the following points were raised:-

- the importance of providing assistance to young offenders once they leave care was pointed out, and it was suggested that work would need to be carried out on devising ways to ensure joint working between Social Services and key staff in District Councils to ensure all the relevant practical services were made aware of care leavers in their area;

- Social Services authorities and councillors would need to act as 'corporate parents', providing appropriate housing, educational and leisure facilities to those youngsters who were the responsibility of the local authority;

- although social service authorities would take the lead in implementing the Quality Protects initiative, funds would be allocated as appropriate to other councils' schemes as long as they were working towards the six specific objectives;

- it was suggested that the Association should pull together a Hampshire/Isle of Wight-wide partnership scheme to set priorities and joint goals.

RESOLVED -

That Terry Butler and Moira Swann be thanked for their presentation.

5.99 SERPLAN - DRAFT REGIONAL PLANNING FOR THE SOUTH EAST: CONSULTING THE PUBLIC

Consideration was given to a joint report of the Hampshire County Planning Officer and the Chief Executive of Havant Borough Council regarding the Association's recommended response to the Draft Regional Guidance.

In May 1998 the London and South East Regional Planning Conference (SERPLAN) had published a draft Development Strategy covering the period up to 2016. The Association had supported the general thrust of the Strategy whilst suggesting various changes which would enable smooth translation of the proposed regional framework into structure and local plans. The Strategy had now been finalised and formally placed on deposit, with further comments required by 12 February 1999.

The report included a summary of the Draft Guidance and a copy of the Association's initial response. A Public Examination would begin on 18 May 1999 (running for four weeks) and would deal with the strategic issues of the entire region. Following the Examination, a report would be made to the Secretary of State with a view to producing the revised Planning Guidance by the end of the year.

During the debate the following points were raised:

- Consideration should be given to cross-border issues when looking at transport in the region.

- Accessibility to regional airports would need to be addressed also in terms of public transport.

- Concerns were expressed over the change of name of "Area for Economic Consolidation" to "Area of Economic Pressure", and the local interpretation of its boundaries.

- More emphasis should be put on the importance of supporting issues relating to rail freight.

- Economic regeneration could bring access to Government support, and specific areas could be targeted for capital funding.

- Portsmouth City Council requested it to be noted that it wished to distance itself from recommendation 5(iv).

The report included a list of recommendations, for which it sought the support of the Association. Minor amendments were proposed and agreed by the Association, and are reflected in the resolution below.

RESOLVED:-

That the Panel appointed to examine "A Sustainable Development Strategy for the South East" be advised that the Association:

(i) reaffirms the points raised in its earlier response on the consultation draft document;

(ii) supports the identification of the urban areas of South Hampshire, including the two cities of Portsmouth and Southampton, and the Isle of Wight as Priority Areas for Economic Regeneration;

(iii) supports the inclusion of the South Hampshire Rapid Transit System; the identification of the south coast corridor (Southampton-Folkestone) as a priority corridor for multi-modal transport investment; and the improvement of ferry services to the Isle of Wight; but urges that a clearer recognition be given to the need for early investment in sub-regional and local schemes which are critical parts of the strategic networks;

(iv) considers that the proposed housing distributions 1991-2016 are a reasonable interpretation of the strategy and the needs of the sub regions in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight;

(v) is concerned that the draft Strategy should more closely reflect the needs of the Association's area in relation to the following matters and requests that these should be addressed at the public examination:

(a) that the draft Strategy, both in its form and content, should provide clearer and less ambiguous guidance for development plans, particularly in relation to levels of development and conservation priorities at the sub-regional level (including the Areas of Economic Pressure and Regeneration);

(b) that the significant areas of countryside comprising central Hampshire, the New Forest and the Isle of Wight should be identified and protected as having significance in the Regional context;

(c) that the 'plan, monitor and manage' approach to housing provision should be examined to assess whether it is workable in practice or if there are more appropriate mechanisms for ensuring that plans do not over-commit authorities to development in the short to medium term but are able to respond quickly to changing demands in the medium to long term;

(d) that the important north/south transport corridors through Hampshire for road and rail, passenger and freight and centred on the A3 and M3/A34, should be recognised and identified for improvement, including the resolution of the A3 bottleneck at Hindhead;

(e) that more specific recognition should be given to the role of regional airports, including Eastleigh Airport, in reducing the pressure on the three London Airports;

(f) that more specific recognition should be given to the importance of the long-term vitality of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth; and

(g) that the policy advice for car parking needs to be more explicit to ensure a consistent approach across the Region and should be included within a headline policy in the light of its significance to sustainable transport.

6.99 SERPLAN - MEMBERS' POLICY GROUP MEETING

Consideration was given to a report back from Councillor Mrs Baker (Basingstoke and Deane) regarding the latest SERPLAN Members' Policy Group meeting held on 10 December 1998.

Discussion had been held regarding the importance of representation for district authorities at the forthcoming Public Examination. Chairs and Directors of Planning in member authorities would be written to regarding this issue.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

7.99 LOCAL AGENDA 21 - SUSTAINABILITY COUNTS

Consideration was given to a report of the Environmental Co-ordinators' Group which sought to finalise a joint response to the Government Paper on a set of UK 'headline' indicators of sustainable development.

The list of 13 indicators followed on from the Government's 'Opportunities for Change' Paper to which the Association had prepared a response in May 1998. The purpose of the indicators would be to provide a basic ' executive summary' of the information which would be gained from adopting the complete set of 120 indicators for the UK published in 1996. They would also help to inform policy decision and increase understanding of what sustainable development means.

A detailed list of the 13 indicators was attached to the report, and included economic growth; social investment; employment; health; education and training; housing quality; climate change; air pollution; transport; water quality; wildlife; land use and waste. It was generally felt that these titles had been well chosen to clearly represent the broad aims and key issues of sustainable development.

Members agreed that the indicators concept represented a positive move in the right direction towards achieving the maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment, social progress and effective protection of the environment.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the Association endorses the response to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions that the principle of 'headline' indicators should be broadly welcomed and that Officers prepare a detailed response to the consultation document; and

(2) That all Hampshire local authorities and the Isle of Wight should be encouraged to develop a set of local sustainable development indicators reflecting local priorities as part of their Local Agenda 21 programme.

8.99 LOCAL AGENDA 21 CONFERENCE

Consideration was given to a report by the Policy Manager which provided an update on a Local Agenda 21 (LA21) conference held on 2 December 1998. The emphasis of the conference had been on updating the 120 members and staff who attended regarding the importance of developing partnerships and joint working with other agencies, and ways to modernise local government. A work programme had been devised which would be taken forward by Environmental Co-ordinators along with Chief Executives, and a report would be made to the Association later this year on implementing LA21 in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

9.99 THE CLOSURE OF THE ROYAL HOSPITAL, HASLAR

Malcolm Crocker (Gosport) introduced a report which updated members regarding the current position of the proposed closure of the Royal Hospital, Haslar.

Despite the hospital's success over the years in serving both civilians and military personnel, in December 1998 the Government had announced its recommendation to close the hospital by 2002. Mr Crocker pointed out that not one of the authorities within the Association supported the closure, and all had concerns regarding the loss of 1330 jobs and the ability of other local hospitals to cope with the influx of patients which would result from the closure.

A position statement agreed at a special meeting of Gosport Borough Council was attached to the report, and set out the basis of a business case which was being prepared to save the hospital.

Mr Crocker and Councillor Edgar (Gosport) mentioned the emotional significance of this issue, proven by the 20,000 residents who had turned out for a protest march on 24 January. Members pledged their support for Gosport in taking the business case forward.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities gives its full and unanimous support to the case to retain the Royal Hospital, Haslar as a civilian and military hospital, reflecting both its high level of service provision, and the needs of residents of surrounding authorities; and

(2) That resolution (1) be copied to John Denham (Health Minister), George Robertson (Secretary of State for Defence), the press, and Hampshire and Isle of Wight MPs.

10.99 SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUDGET FOR THE ASSOCIATION FOR 1999/2000

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Manager which provided details of the Association's membership subscription costs for the year 1998/99, and appended a breakdown of the budget for the current year and proposals for 1999/2000.

It was reported that the Association's Hon Auditor, the Isle of Wight Treasurer, had now signed off the first year's accounts. Mr B Streets, the Isle of Wight Auditor, was thanked for his work.

RESOLVED -

That the membership subscriptions be reduced for 1999/2000 so that the subscription unit is 2,250, a reduction of 6%.

11.99 MODERN LOCAL GOVERNMENT

The Policy Manager introduced a report on the 'Modern Local Government' Paper which provided some feedback on the proposals contained in the Paper from member authorities. The Government's objectives for modernising local government and promoting communication with local communities were generally welcomed. However, there was some concern that the proposals may be too prescriptive about the process.

The report provided a summary of responses sent in by member authorities to a recent Local Government Association survey. It was felt that the Government's approach to the initiative had been lacking in some respects, particularly in the context of its comments regarding the 'inefficient' committee system. Members felt the system had important strengths not recognised in the Government consultation. Five of the authorities who had responded to the LGA survey opted for a 'Cabinet with Leader' option if pressed, while others still had reservations about whether this format would have a negative effect on local democracy. The County Council and Havant Borough Council specifically stated that they were not in favour of the 'Cabinet with Leader' option.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the report be noted; and

(2) That the report be revised to note that Hampshire County and Havant Borough Councils did not support the 'Cabinet with Leader' option.

12.99 VOLUNTARY REGIONAL CHAMBER

The Chair gave a verbal update on the latest meeting of the Voluntary Regional Chamber, now renamed the South East England Regional Chamber. He had been elected as the inaugural Chair, and the Chamber's first executive meeting would be held in early February. It was hoped that a Guildford-based office would be set up with staff in place by 1 April 1999. The Chamber's key role would be to scrutinise South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) activity and ensure that it works towards the agenda set by local communities. An economic statement had been agreed as the basis of further work. Local authorities and partners would be updated on a regular basis via newsletters and meeting minutes.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

13.99 SUPPORTING LOCAL BUS SERVICES

David Tarrant Deputy County Surveyor (Hampshire) introduced his report which reviewed the role of the County Council in securing local bus services. He also acknowledged the input of the Isle of Wight in relation to bus services across the Association's area.

Under the Transport Act 1985 County Councils were given a specific role in relation to supporting local bus services, including those services that were considered necessary but not provided commercially. District Councils were also involved in financial support of services, and some had chosen to use their power to support local services. The County's current budget provision was 3,827,000, with the Districts' contributions amounting to 5,170,000 in 1998/99.

The report recommended that a review be undertaken of the policy objectives for public transport and bus services, and of the criteria and decision-making process in the determination of need, to ensure Best Value standards were met.

Some concern was expressed by District Councils over the lack of consultation in the preparation of the review. It was agreed that extensive consultation would now be carried out between the County and Districts in order to maintain good joint working practice.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the report be noted; and

(2) That the Chief Executives' Group review the key issues for local bus services within the guidelines of the working protocol agreed at the meeting held on 27 November 1998.

14.99 HOUSING - SUPPORTING LOCAL PEOPLE

Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Social Services (Hampshire) providing an outline of the Government Consultation Paper 'Supporting People', which addressed funding issues for supported housing.

Current systems for funding were seen as unco-ordinated and over-complex and had led to a number of problems. As a result, the Government now proposed a fundamental overhaul of all funding by setting up a new, unified, cash limited commissioning budget which would be devolved to local authorities, and shared between Housing, Social Services departments and other relevant agencies. The aim would be to give authorities the freedom to fund services in a number of ways, avoiding duplication across agencies and departments. The Government's intention was to devolve the new unified budget to local authorities by 2003.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

15.99 HOUSING ADAPTATIONS IN HAMPSHIRE, A CODE OF PRACTICE

Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Social Services (Hampshire) which addressed a review of the procedure for carrying out adaptations to supported housing across the County. Currently a number of agencies were involved in the process, and due to the complexity of these practical and funding arrangements the system was not providing an adequate level of service for clients. In order to achieve clarity and common standards between agencies, a Code of Practice would need to be agreed which would define each agency's role and set standards for how responsibilities could best be achieved. A number of partners had been involved in drawing up the Code, which would undergo initial extensive consultation, as well as regular reviews and updates to reflect charges in policy and circumstances.

RESOLVED -

That the draft Code of Practice for consultation with all partner agencies be noted.

16.99 STRUCTURE PLAN

Tim Greenwood, County Planning Officer (Hampshire) gave a verbal update on a recent meeting held by the three strategic planning authorities with John Prescott. A meeting of the Joint Advisory Panel would be held on 2 February in order to devise a timetable to move the process forward, as requested by John Prescott.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

17.99 ILG STEERING GROUP

The Association received the minutes of the Improving Local Governance Steering Group held on 20 November 1998. Issues for discussion had included highway management, highways trials, the Crime and Disorder Act and Local Business Partnership schemes.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

18.99 LGA ECONOMIC REGENERATION COMMITTEE

Members received a report back from Councillor Price (Fareham) regarding a meeting of the LGA Economic Regeneration Committee held on 4 November 1998. Items on the agenda had included LGA appointments, representation on KONVER and RETEXT monitoring committees, welfare to work, European funding issues, Regional Development Agencies, Community Enterprise and Regeneration, Training and Enterprise Councils and the draft Airports Policy Statement.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

19.99 LGA TRANSPORT COMMITTEE

Members received a report back from Councillor Greer (New Forest) regarding the latest meeting of the Local Government Association Transport Committee held on 19 November 1998. The Committee had discussed rail freight, the Transport White Paper, detrunking, local transport plans, the Road Traffic Reduction Act and countryside issues.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

20.99 DATE OF NEXT MEETING

It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Friday 26 March 1999 at Test Valley Borough Council.

Last update: 22/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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