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Paper 2 - 29 January 1999 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at East Hampshire District Council on Friday 27 November 1998 at 10.00 am.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor J Evans

Councillor B Gurden

Mrs K Sporle (Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor D Clark

Mr E Norman (Acting Chief Executive)

Mrs D Gardner (Head of Policy)

Mr S Olivant (Head of Planning and Development)

Eastleigh

Councillor K House (Chair)

Mrs E Hill (Committee Officer)

Fareham

Councillor R Price

Councillor M Prior

Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor P Edgar

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor A Collett

Councillor F Emery-Wallis

Councillor A Rice

Councillor W Wheeler

Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)

Mr T Greenwood (County Planning Officer)

Hart

Councillor Mrs S Band

Councillor P Hutcheson

Mr G Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor R Bellinger

Councillor Mrs G Blackett

Mr R Smith (Chief Executive)

Mr J Wrightson (Economic Development Manager)

Isle of Wight

Councillor M Morgan-Huws

Councillor R Mazillius

Councillor H Rees

Mr D Jaggar (Director of Development)

New Forest

Councillor J Coles

Councillor Mrs M Robinson

Councillor Mrs J Vernon-Jackson

Ms L Malcolm (Director of Environmental Services)

Portsmouth

Councillor S Rapson MP

Mr N Gurney (Chief Executive)

Rushmoor

Councillor M Roberts

Councillor A Thame

Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor B Palmer

Councillor J Morgan

Mr N Sacree (Assistant to Chief Executive)

Winchester

Councillor D Atwell

Councillor J Steel

Mr S Whetnall (Chief Solicitor)

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

Community Action Hampshire

Ms C Pattison

Dorset Councils Association

Councillor B Clements (Poole Borough Council and Chairman of Dorset LGA Branch)

Mr J Brooks (Chief Executive, Poole Borough Council)

Also in attendance Mr A Willett (Chairman, South East England Development Agency (SEEDA)), Mr J Alexander (SEEDA), Mr D Saunders (Regional Director, Government Office for the South East), Mr P Lovejoy (Hampshire Training and Enterprise Council), Ms R Rutt (Committee for Rural Hampshire), Mr N Goulder (Policy Manager) and Mrs D Allen (PA to the Policy Manager).

79.98 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mrs Kyrle and Chris Tapp (Eastleigh), Ian Mackintosh (New Forest), Councillor T Ludlow and Mrs J Hunter (East Hampshire), Alan Jones (Test Valley), Councillors I Gibson and J Patey (Portsmouth) and Mrs H Horton (Community Action Hampshire).

80.98 WELCOME

Councillor Clark, Leader of East Hampshire District Council welcomed members and officers to Petersfield. The Chair in turn welcomed David Saunders from the Government Office for the South East, and Councillor Clements and Jim Brooks representing the Dorset Councils Association.

81.98 MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 25 September 1998 were agreed as a correct record.

Matters arising:-

(i) On minute 62.98 Councillor Roberts (Rushmoor) mentioned the importance of rural transport and the role of the County Council in providing bus subsidies.

(ii) Regarding the Modern Local Government White Paper, Councillor Rapson suggested that all Councils provide details of their reactions to the proposals for Member structures raised by the Paper, and it was agreed that this information should be reported to the next meeting.

(iii) On minute 65.98 it was noted that Councillor Madden (Portsmouth) would replace Councillor Hancock as co-opted member to the Board of the Hampshire Economic Partnership.

82.98 KEY DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES FOR THE SUB-REGION COVERED BY THE ASSOCIATION - PRESENTATION

Allan Willett, Chairman of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) gave a presentation on the Agency and the ways in which it would benefit the region. Mr Willett had extensive experience in private business and the Chair told Members he was well placed to enable joint working between the public and private sectors.

Mr Willett welcomed the opportunity the Government had presented to allow the region to take economic development into its own hands. Other parts of the country had already been running as regions and the South East would need to move quickly to carve out its own structure. As a region, the South East would benefit from more representation in Brussels, but would have to compete with European Union regions which had been in existence for many years.

The South East region was a strong one, with an 8m population supported by major cities and a comprehensive motorway network. With the Chunnel, Gatwick and other regional airports, and the major seaports within the region, the South East incorporated many major benefits. Twenty six per cent of Research and Development funds were spent in the South East, and with its 100b economy, the region would rank as the tenth strongest economy in Europe if it was a country.

Alongside the many positive features of the region were also challenges - a high level of deprivation exists along the coast, along with a large number of the workforce lacking skills. Most employment in the region was technical or professional, and as a result there was a lack of lower level jobs available. In order to combat these problems it would be necessary to make the most of existing resources and assets, both in employment opportunities and the people.

One of the most important factors in the creation of a successful region would be to balance the relationship between SEEDA, the Government Office for the South East (GOSE) and the Voluntary Regional Chamber (VRC). It was important to clearly understand the difference between the roles of GOSE and SEEDA, namely that GOSE as a Government body could not be expected to champion the region, or challenge Central Government policies. This would be the job of SEEDA. SEEDA would be a Quango, and the VRC with its membership of local organisations would provide it with democratic credibility and the ability to secure the backing of the region's 8m population. Mr Willett stressed that SEEDA would not try to tell local government how to work - its role was mainly to co-ordinate, lead and add value to what the public/private sectors were already doing.

SEEDA's Executive Directors were being appointed along traditional private sector lines. Each of the main fifteen sectors of industry and commerce would be invited to second (at their own expense) a representative whose role would be to champion their own sector's interests. A task force would also be set up for each sector providing a place for a representative on the advisory board.

The first draft of the Regional Development Strategy would be filed in June 1999, with the final due by October 1999. With this in mind, SEEDA would need to know as soon as possible Hampshire and the Isle of Wight's position, via the Association, so that the issues along with the Regional Economic Strategy could be brought together to ensure that the area's interests would be properly represented.

Mr Willett's vision for the future of the region included three key objectives for SEEDA to achieve:-

(i) to become one of the top ten regions within the next five to ten years;

(ii) to address the deprivation issues and bring income levels up to the average;

(iii) to maintain the countryside as a 'green and pleasant land' by keeping a watchful eye on development of buildings and roads.

During the debate the following points were raised:

- It was suggested that concerns over the slow release of redundant MoD sites and the allocation of new sites for MoD use should be included in the Regional Economic Strategy (RES), particularly as the region's most deprived areas were heavily reliant on the MoD for employment.

- Nick Gurney (Portsmouth) stressed the importance of providing jobs for unskilled workers, and the need to address the social dimension of deprivation, not just infrastructure and employment. Councillor Roberts (Rushmoor) supported this and emphasised the need for good transport links to enable those workers to travel to their jobs.

- With regard to training for the workforce, Mr Willett advised that SEEDA had put a Learning Region Taskforce in place to develop and present a vision for the South East as a learning region for a knowledge-based economy, to form part of the RES.

He went on to explain that although SEEDA could influence infrastructure issues, it could not physically resolve them on its own. It would be looking to the private sector to fund transport issues such as rail links along the coast and to Gatwick. SEEDA could help by promoting finance for regional investment, venture capital funds, innovation centres, etc. David Saunders (GOSE) reminded Members that the draft Regional Planning Guidance was due to be debated during May/June 1999, and this would present another opportunity to put forward the Association's views on infrastructure.

- Councillor Bellinger (Havant) pointed out the need for companies to integrate with communities and Mr Willett confirmed that SEEDA would encourage this approach. He felt that companies should put money back into communities, particularly the major utilities.

- Councillor Clark (East Hampshire) stressed the need for deprivation in rural areas to be recognised as a problem, and that in those areas issues such as social exclusion and accessibility would need to be addressed.

- Christine Pattison (Community Action Hampshire) supported SEEDA's commitment to involving the voluntary sector, and asked that voluntary organisations be taken into account regarding the issue of improving skills in the workforce. Mr Willett suggested that in order to ensure comprehensive involvement from voluntary organisations it may be possible to provide space in SEEDA's office for a representative of the voluntary sector.

- It was noted that there could be some confusion between Chambers of Commerce and Voluntary Regional Chambers. Mr Willett agreed to raise this issue at a national level.

- Councillor Clements (Poole) mentioned the value of cross-boundary working between the South East and South West Agencies, particularly regarding the preparation of a Sub-Regional Strategy.

RESOLVED -

That Mr Willett be thanked for his presentation.

83.98 SUPPORT ARRANGEMENTS

Consideration was given to a report of the Honorary Secretary which provided a summary of discussions held by the Chief Executives' Group regarding the Association's support arrangements.

The support arrangements had initially been set up in 1997, based on the assumption that responsibilities for support would follow the Honorary Secretaryship. These arrangements would end in May 1999, which had led to a review of support in terms of contracts of employment and accommodation for staff, financial support and the Honorary Secretaryship.

The Chief Executives' Group had considered three options for ongoing support:-

(i) That the responsibility for accommodation, financial systems and Honorary Secretary support transfer every two years, with Havant covering the period June 1999 to May 2001;

(ii) That Eastleigh continue to provide accommodation, financial systems and Honorary Secretary support; and

(iii) That Eastleigh continue to provide accommodation and financial systems support, and the role of Honorary Secretary be passed on every two years either to (a) a volunteer Chief Executive or (b) the Chief Executive of the HIOW Chair's Council.

The Group had concluded that option (iii) would be most appropriate and recommended that the Association adopt this approach.

Regarding staff contracts, following an evaluation of salary levels the Policy Officer (whose title would change to Policy Manager) and the Secretary/ Administrator would be moved on to a scale system, with a planned move to the next point of their respective grades on 1 June each year, subject to satisfactory performance.

Some debate on the subject followed; however, it was generally agreed that maintaining existing arrangements regarding financial systems and accommodation would cause the least disruption to Association staff and structure.

RESOLVED -

(1) That Eastleigh's offer to continue to provide accommodation, financial systems and related support for the Association be accepted;

(2) That whenever possible the Association's Honorary Secretary should be the Chief Executive of the Chair's Council;

(3) That, reflecting (1) and (2) above, section 5.11 of the Association's constitution be amended as set out in paragraph 22 of the report; and

(4) That Association staff contracts of employment be revised from 1 December 1998 as set out in paragraphs 24 to 31 of the report.

84.98 SOUTHERN REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Peter Robertson (Hampshire) introduced his report which provided details of arrangements for representation on the Advisory Committee. The report appended the Committee's terms of reference for information.

The Committee had been established in 1996 with five places allocated for local authorities. Originally the places had been divided into three for County Councils and two for District Councils. However, in light of the new structure of authorities in the area, the five places had now been re-assigned with one representative for each Local Government Association area, and the fifth place shared between this Association and Kent, rotating every two years and starting with this Association on 1 April 1999. It was recommended that Councillor Mrs Smith (New Forest), currently serving on the Committee, continue to represent this Association from 1 April 1999.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the arrangements for representation on the Southern Regional Environmental Protection Committee and the appointment of Councillor M F Cartwright by the County Council be noted; and

(2) That Councillor Mrs Smith be appointed as the second Member to represent Hampshire and the Isle of Wight on the Committee.

85.98 CRIME AND DISORDER ACT

Peter Robertson (Hampshire) introduced a joint report of the Chief Executives of Hampshire, Basingstoke & Deane and New Forest which updated members on progress with implementing the Crime and Disorder Act.

The Wessex YOT (Youth Offending Team), covering Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Southampton and Portsmouth, was one of four national pilots for the multi-disciplinary team and the full range of new orders. The temporary YOT would run until April 2000, when it was hoped lessons learnt could be incorporated into permanent YOT's. The purpose of the YOT would be to ensure delivery of all parts of the Act through locally based teams. Methods to be tested in dealing with youth crime included reparation orders, anti-social behaviour and parenting orders, although Mr Robertson stressed that every effort would be made within the community to resolve problems without the use of orders.

Katrine Sporle (Basingstoke & Deane) commented on the appendices to the report which provided an update on each local authority's progress with the Act within its area. The partnerships were working towards coming up with Hampshire-wide protocols to the orders in time for the April 1999 deadline for strategy submissions.

Separate reports were attached which provided details of the progress to date on implementing the Act made by Portsmouth City Council and the Isle of Wight Council.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the reports be noted; and

(2) That an update report be presented to the March meeting of the Association.

86.98 HAMPSHIRE STRUCTURE PLAN REVIEW

Peter Robertson (Hampshire) reported that a meeting was due to be held with John Prescott during the week beginning 30 November and it was hoped this would help to move the process forward.

Attached to the agenda was a copy of the minutes from a meeting held by the District Councils to determine their own position on the Structure Plan Review.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

87.98 SERPLAN

Members noted a report from Councillor Mrs Baker (Basingstoke & Deane) regarding the SERPLAN meeting held on 29 October 1998.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

88.98 IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNANCE STEERING GROUP FOR HAMPSHIRE

Members noted a paper by the Acting Honorary Secretary which reported that the minutes of the Steering Group meeting held on 20 November would be circulated with the agenda for the Association's meeting in January 1999.

Hampshire County Council would be undertaking a review of its Highway Agency arrangements, and the paper recommended that appointments be made to represent the District Councils on the Joint Steering Group set up to carry out the review.

RESOLVED -

That Councillors N Arnell (Test Valley), D Clark (East Hampshire) and K House (Eastleigh) be appointed to represent the District Councils on the proposed joint Steering Group for the Review of highways agency arrangements.

89.98 WORKING PROTOCOL - LEAD OFFICERS

Consideration was given to a joint report of the County Chief Executive and the Honorary Secretary providing details of an operating protocol agreed by the Chief Executives' Group at the request of the Association.

The Group had agreed the following as a statement of protocol:-

(i) HIOWLA is an unincorporated association. As such, the roles, responsibilities and views of its individual members cannot be overridden. Decisions can therefore only be reached by consensus.

(ii) Where there is no consensus there should be a mechanism for formally recording dissenting views and no collective view should be disseminated externally without an adequate 'health warning' where dissent has been expressed.

(iii) The roles of the County Council, the Unitary Councils and the District Councils are different and the differences will be respected. Responsibility may be sole or joint at all tiers of local government.

(iv) Where a tier of authority has the sole responsibility for a service or function a top officer from that type of authority should assume the lead officer role on any work agreed in that area of activity.

(v) Where a tier of authority has the prime responsibility for a service or function a top officer from that type of authority should assume the lead officer role on any work agreed in that area of activity, but in liaison with a top officer from any type of authority concerned.

(vi) Where services are concurrently undertaken - joint lead officers should be established representing the tiers of authority involved.

(vii) Where the issue involved is 'generic' (eg Best Value) - joint lead officer arrangements as between the types of authority on HIOWLA should be agreed.

(viii) All reports commissioned within the HIOWLA work programme should be the subject of full consultation at draft stage between the lead and liaison officers. Draft papers should wherever possible also be considered by the Chief Executives' Group (HIOWLA support) before presentation to the Association.

RESOLVED -

That the working protocol agreed by the Chief Executives' Group be endorsed.

90.98 COMMITTEE FOR RURAL HAMPSHIRE - ANNUAL RURAL ISSUES REPORT

Consideration was given to a joint report and presentation of Councillor Mrs Susan Band (Hart District Council) and Rosalind Rutt (Secretary, Committee for Rural Hampshire). Councillor Mrs Vernon-Jackson (New Forest) and Stephen Olivant (East Hampshire District Council) also took part in the presentation.

The report provided details of a new concept entitled 'Whole Farm Plans', which enabled farmers to take a full review of their activities in order to improve efficiency in ways of working, land use, health and safety and pollution, and to explore the possibility of receiving grant aid.

Mr Olivant reported that as housing policy guidance was currently being redrafted, rural authorities were lobbying to get more affordable housing into rural areas in order to encourage young people to choose rural careers.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

91.98 LGA WASTE AND ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE

Members noted a report from Councillor Mrs Baker (Basingstoke & Deane).

The Committee had agreed four priority work areas:-

(i) the National Waste Strategy

(ii) liaison with the Environment Agency

(iii) Landfill Tax

(iv) marine pollution

These issues would be covered by two task groups, one to work on 'waste management options' and the other to work on liaison with the Environment Agency.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

92.98 VOLUNTARY REGIONAL CHAMBER

The Chair provided Members with a verbal update on the progress of setting up the Voluntary Regional Chamber (VRC). At a recent South East Regional Forum (SERF) conference the composition of a VRC model had been agreed (this would need to be formally approved). Work was also being undertaken on deciding a model for voting rights for local authorities and other organisations. The aim was to hold the VRC's first conference in January and have it up and running from April in line with SEEDA. It was noted that SERF was currently placed as a transitional body for the VRC, and the future of the Forum had yet to be determined.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

93.98 PROGRAMME OF MEETINGS 1999/2000 AND DATE OF NEXT MEETING

Members noted the programme of meetings for 1999/2000, and that the next meeting would be held on Friday 29 January 1999 at Havant Borough Council.

Last update: 21/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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