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Paper 10 - 24 March 2000 Meeting


24 March 2000


Report by the Policy Manager


(1) That the HIOW Chairman be nominated as the representative for this area on the Local Government Regional Forum;

(2) That the Vice-Chairman deputises for the Chairman when necessary;

(3) That HIOW offers to host a meeting of the Local Government Regional Forum in due course, on behalf of the "six counties";

(4) That HIOW proposes to the Associations within the "six counties" that a more inclusive system of representation on the Local Government Regional Forum be arranged; and

(5) That the arrangements for officer liaison within the "six counties" be noted.


The Local Government Regional Forum has now been established to provide a framework for regional groupings to meet and determine regional perspectives on national issues affecting local government. Other regions tend to have regional (rather than county-based) local government associations. In the South-East the LGA recognises ACTVaR as one regional grouping and the "six counties" as another.

1. The Association last September noted a report on the developing relationships between the LGA and regional groupings of local authorities. In the South East region there are two regional groupings:-

The six counties (Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Surrey, East and West Sussex and Kent).

Association of Councils in the Thames Valley Region (ACTVaR) (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire).

2. The six county grouping - set up by HIOW in 1998 following widespread consultation within the "six counties" - operates through regular officer liaison. It has not been deemed necessary to create a member structure for the six counties, partly because of a distinct lack of interest from Kent and East Sussex, and partly because occasional ad hoc liaison has been sufficient.

3. The Local Government Regional Forum (LGRF) has now been established - at the request of other regional groupings - jointly by regional groupings and the LGA. The LGRF terms of reference are to:-

(1) Provide a framework for elected members and officers from regional groupings to meet to determine and promote the regional perspective on national issues affecting local government;

(2) Co-ordinate regional collaboration on policy issues where regions working together will add value;

(3) Provide a Network for sharing best practice advice;

(4) Advise the LGA on issues with a specific regional slant;

(5) Ensure local government's contribution to the regional policy debate is maximised; and

(6) Be owned by the Regional Groupings acting jointly within the framework of the LGA.

4. The Chairman attended a formative meeting in July 1999 to set up this Forum, together with the Surrey LGA Policy Officer. The HIOW Policy Manager attended the shadow meeting of the Forum on 22 February 2000 together with the Chairman of the Surrey LGA. At the meeting the terms of reference for the LGRF as set out above were approved. Meetings of the LGRF will be held twice a year in June and November with the first meeting being at 11.30 am on 6 June in Birmingham. The West Midlands regional grouping will be hosting this meeting. The Chair shall be appointed for a year and the Chairmanship will be rotated around the regions according to a template which has yet to be drawn up. Political groups will be recognised in the template and by means of Vice-Chair/Deputy appointments.

5. Each regional grouping in England and Wales can send up to four representatives (plus a member of staff) to the LGRF. The number four allows for inclusive representation of minority political groups from the regions. ACTVaR will be sending three representatives (one from each of the three main parties). ACTVaR has agreed to give up one of its four places to the six counties. Thus we have five members for the six county area, one for each of its five county-based associations:

Local Authority Associations in the Six Counties

HIOW - Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities
KALA - Kent Association of Local Authorities
SLGA - Surrey Local Government Association
ESLGA - East Sussex Local Government Association
WSLGA - West Sussex Local Government Association

6. Initially it is likely that each association in the six counties will nominate one member from the majority political group. In the longer term, however, the LGA rules for regional groupings will require a spread of political representation to be formulated for the six-counties. It is suggested that HIOW should send its Chairman to the meeting on 6 June, and seek an accord with the six counties to provide for representation of all political groups in the future.

7. Each meeting of the LGRF will consider no more than two or three key issues. A work programme will be drawn up so that plenty of notice can be given and preparation can be made for each meeting.

8. At present the staff of the Surrey LGA and HIOW will be leading the administrative work in support of the LGRF for the six counties. However it is hoped that the Kent and Sussex LGAs will begin to take a more active part in the proceedings, just as it is hoped that Southampton will start to participate in the HIOW proceedings.

Policy Manager

Date: 8 March 2000
Annex: 0
Contact: Nick Goulder - 023 8068 8431, E-mail hiowlang@hants.gov.uk

Last update: 28/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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