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Paper 11 - 24 November 2000 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

24 November 2000

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REGIONAL FORUM - REPORT-BACK FROM THE NOVEMBER MEETING

Report by the Honorary Secretary

_________________________________________________________________________

RECOMMENDATIONS

(1) That the protocol for joint working within the South East six counties be approved subject to the views of the County groupings within the southern six counties;

(2) That the report-back from the Local Government Regional Forum be noted; and

(3) That the offer of a senior government briefing on the urban and rural white papers to a future meeting of the Association be taken up.
_________________________________________________________________________

1. The Local Government Regional Forum (LGRF) represents regional groupings of local authorities, promotes a regional perspective on national issues and advises the Local Government Association (LGA).

2. For the purposes of the LGRF the South East Region is permitted two regional groupings:

* the Thames Valley area

* the South East six counties i.e. Hampshire, Isle of Wight, East and West Sussex, Surrey and Kent.

* the six counties local government association representatives are considering how they should work together, (at the instigation of the H/IoW and Surrey Associations). A joint protocol and background briefing is attached at Annex 1. Approval by this Association now will enable the protocol to move forward for consideration by Associations in Kent and Sussex. Surrey LGA will be considering it in the near future.

4. The November meeting of the LGRF:

* considered their method of working and agreed to give political groups adequate consultation on the agenda and prepare an advance work programme

* considered the future of regional planning guidance and agreed to consult the LGA/send a questionnaire round the regions

* raised concerns, already voiced by this Association, about the democratic deficit in Local Learning and Skills Councils

* considered relationships with Government Offices in the Regions

* took part in the review of LGA member structures

* considered the implications of the new rail franchising process.

5. Sir Jeremy Beacham (LGA Chairman) and Brian Briscoe (LGA Chief Executive) attended and reported back on various national issues including:

* the meeting with Ministers on the central/local partnership to consider the flood emergencies. Resources for emergency planning under the ‘Belwyn rules’ will be reviewed. We are invited to make representations.

* The Modernisation Board for the NHS, on which Sir Jeremy sits. We are invited to comment on the NHS Plan, development of the local authority scrutiny role, etc.

* the offer of a senior level Government briefing to regions on the urban and rural white papers - an offer we shall take up if Members wish.

ROBIN SMITH
Honorary Secretary

Date: 3 November 2000
Annex: 1
Contact: Robin Smith 023 9244 6150

ANNEX

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REGIONAL FORUM

PROTOCOL FOR JOINT WORKING IN THE "SIX COUNTIES"

November 2000

Protocol agreed by the South East "Six Counties" Associations

1. Local authorities in the North West, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside etc. are organised on a regional basis and are driving the Local Government Regional Forum (LGRF) agenda. It is important for the South East voice to be heard properly in the Local Government Regional Forum.

2. The Policy staff of the Surrey LGA and Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities will co-ordinate the work of the "six counties" at the Local Government Regional Forum on a day-to-day basis.

3. The Members of the Local Government Regional Forum for the "six counties" will meet - generally well in advance of LGRF meetings - to consider the work of the Policy staff to achieve this, and to influence the agenda.

4. The Policy staff will ensure that all five local authority associations in the "six counties" are consulted about the work of the Local Government Regional Forum and receive regular reports-back from meetings.

Background notes to the Protocol

The LGA would like the county-based associations in the "six counties area" of the South East (Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex and Kent) to work together as a regional grouping for the purposes of the Local Government Regional Forum.

The Local Government Regional Forum:

* represents all the local government regional groupings in England and Wales

* provides a framework for elected members and officers from the regional groupings to meet and determine/promote the regional perspective on national issues which affect local government

* advises the LGA on issues with a specific regional slant

* is owned by the regional groupings acting jointly within the framework of the LGA

* is serviced by regional groupings in turn jointly with the LGA.

Traditionally local government associations have been county-based, but since the birth of "regionalism", local authorities particularly in the north and midlands have been pressing hard to abolish county-based associations and strengthen "regional groupings". Regional LGAs now exist in all UK regions except the South East. The following county-based associations provide a service to their Member authorities in the South East:

Kent Association of Local Authorities (KALA)
East Sussex LGA
West Sussex LGA
Surrey LGA
Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities (HIOW)

In the case of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and Surrey, the groups re-formed following local government reorganisation with permanent offices and staff.

Also in the South-East, we have the Association of Councils in the Thames Valley Region (ACTVaR) which takes in all the authorities in Buckinghamshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire, including seven unitary authorities (Milton Keynes and six Berkshire unitaries). ACTVaR is recognised by the LGA as a regional grouping.

Current Representatives

The "six counties" representatives on the LGRF are as follows:

1. The Chairman of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Association, namely:

Councillor David Gillett (Conservative)
7 Diana Close
EMSWORTH
PO10 7UQ

2. The Chair of the East Sussex Local Government Association

Councillor P Jones (Conservative)
Leasham Grange
Leasham Lane
RYE FOREIGN
TN31 7JE

3. Councillor Richard Bennett (Conservative), currently Vice-Chairman of the Surrey LGA and Leader of the Conservative Group on the Local Government Regional Forum:

3 Cross Road
TADWORTH
KT20 2EJ

4. Councillor Richard Nicholson (Labour) representing the Kent Association:

29 Wildern Road
RAMSGATE
CT11 7RD

5. Councillor Brian Palmer (Liberal Democrat)

6 Richmond Lane
ROMSEY
SO51 7LA

Brian Palmer is standing in as the fifth member since the West Sussex LGA have not nominated anyone.

Last update: 23/11/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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