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Paper 2 - 24 March 2000 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at New Forest District Council on 28 January 2000 at 10.00 am

Present

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor J Evans

Councillor B Gurden

Mrs K Sporle (Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor Mrs E Cartwright

Mrs J Hunter (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor P Wall

Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive)

Fareham

Councillor H Pritchard

Councillor S Woodward

Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor T Bloodworth

Mr C Bradshaw (Strategic Policy Officer)

Hampshire

Councillor A Collett

Councillor T Thornber

Councillor Alan Rice

Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)

Mr R Lawes (County Planning Department)

Mr M Mossadaq (Social Services Department)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson

Mr G Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor D Gillett

Councillor D West

Mr R Smith (Chief Executive)

Isle of Wight

Councillor Mrs B Lawson

Mr B Quoroll (Chief Executive)

New Forest

Councillor S Hayes

Councillor Mrs M Robinson

Mr R Hodgson (Chief Executive)

Portsmouth

Councillor T Blair

Councillor A Ross

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

Mr R Watt (Social Services Department)

Rushmoor

Councillor A Straker

Councillor G Woolger (Vice-Chairman)

Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor A Jackson

Councillor B Palmer (Chairman)

Mr A Jones (Chief Executive and Hon Secretary of the Association)

Ms E Gault (Policy Officer)

Winchester

Councillor D Atwell

Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

IDeA

A Wilter

G Keen-Haudin

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs J Pittfield

Mrs S Hudson (Director)

Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils

Mrs B Lawson

Community Action Hampshire

C Ellwood

Hampshire Constabulary

Chief Inspector J Ballard

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities

Mr N Goulder (Policy Manager)

Mrs D Allen (Policy Manager's PA)

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors H Rees and M Morgan-Huws (Isle of Wight); Councillors Mrs M Kyrle and K House (Eastleigh); Councillors S Cully and D Wright and Mr M Crocker (Gosport); Councillors Gibson and Patey (Portsmouth); Councillor J Venning (East Hampshire); Councillor W Wheeler (Hampshire); Councillor R Jones (Hart); and Councillor J Steel (Winchester).

1.00 WELCOME

The Chairman welcomed Carole Ellwood of Community Action Hampshire and Chief Inspector Jeff Ballard of Hampshire Constabulary.

Councillor Simon Hayes, Leader of New Forest District Council, welcomed all those present to the meeting.

2.00 COUNCILLOR JOHN MORGAN

The Chairman reported the death of Councillor John Morgan of Test Valley Borough Council. Councillor Morgan was a former Chairman of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Branch of the Association of District Councils, the ADC and the International Union of Local Authorities. He had had a distinguished career in local government.

All those present observed a minute's silence in memory of Councillor Morgan.

3.00 MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 1999 were agreed as a correct record.

Arising from the minutes -

(a) The Policy Manager reported that a replacement would be needed for Councillor John Morgan as a Deputy on SERPLAN. Councillor Tony Jackson nominated Councillor Geoff Woolger. This was agreed.

(b) The Policy Manager reported that Councillor Peter Shoesmith of Hart had offered to stand as a District Council representative on the Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust. This was agreed.

(c) Minute 94.99 (Changes in Farming: Practical Solutions). Councillor Jackson pointed out that Councillor Mrs Band and he had urged all member authorities to see what practical help they could give to their farming communities.

4.00 THE NEW LOCAL GOVERNMENT BILL AND THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME

The Honorary Secretary introduced Gerry Keen-Haudin and Adele Wilter of the Improvement and Development Agency.

Gerry Keen-Haudin gave a presentation on the timetable for, contents of and the implications for local authorities of the Local Government Bill and answered questions from those present.

Members discussed the development of the "Leader with Cabinet" option and the role of Members in the scrutiny process. A "fourth option" was suggested, involving a Leader with a slimmed-down committee system, including scrutiny committees.

On a separate point, the Chief Executives Group was asked to report to a future meeting on the availability of the electoral roll under the Representation of the People Bill. If necessary, representations should be made at this stage to ensure that Members have access to the full electoral register.

Adele Wilter gave a presentation on the Local Government Improvement Programme which local authorities could undertake. She outlined the Review procedure, the costs of undertaking a review and the fact that the process was entirely voluntary. She invited Members and Chief Executives to take part in the Programme, and distributed application forms for those willing to assist in review teams.

David Cowan, Chief Executive of Winchester City Council, gave a presentation on the review procedure from the point of view of a local authority which had been through the process. He felt it had been a worthwhile exercise, and good value for money.

The Chairman thanked Mr Keen-Haudin, Ms Wilter and Mr Cowan for their presentations.

5.00 AUDIT COMMISSION CONSULTATION PAPER - BEST VALUE AUDIT AND INSPECTION FEES (additional agenda item)

Andrew Lloyd, Chief Executive of Rushmoor Borough Council, introduced his report on a consultation paper from the Audit Commission concerning Best Value Audit and Inspection Fees which were due to take effect in April this year. Comments were required by 16 February 2000.

The fees proposed would make a significant impact on the budgets of all local authorities and parish councils who had a duty to undertake the Best Value process. Concern was expressed by all those present at the key points in the report:

the consultation process has commenced extremely late in the current budget round;

there is an extremely short period available for consideration and comment;

the additional fees will, unless the grant abatement continues, impose a substantial extra cost on councils;

the consultation paper suggests a level of inspection which would equate to approximately two full time posts at an average council just for the audit and inspection process;

undue emphasis is being placed on inspection rather than on the provision of finance for improvement in front-line services to the community.

Hart raised additional points which were also agreed:

the excessive inspection work would create pressure on scarce staff resources;

the unfairness of the position for Councils such as Hart which do not receive Revenue Support Grant.

Rushmoor Borough Council was thanked for bringing this matter to the attention of the Association.

RESOLVED -

That the Association makes representations to the Audit Commission, DETR and Local Government Association setting out its concerns about the Audit Commission's consultation paper on the Best Value Audit and Inspection Fees.

6.00 ASYLUM SEEKERS - INTERIM ARRANGEMENTS

Moss Mossadaq of Hampshire County Council Social Services Department introduced a report setting out Government legislation introduced to manage the dispersal of asylum seekers to be implemented in April 2000. The report set out the statutory interim arrangements which required a response from all local authorities.

Rob Watt of Portsmouth City Council Social Services Department gave details of the South Central Consortium covering Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton, the Isle of Wight, Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset which had been established to manage the dispersal of asylum seekers. The consortium had been asked to provide accommodation for about 1000 asylum seekers between December 1999 and March 2000.

The response and availability so far had been poor, particularly from the Ministry of Defence which was unwilling to release property for housing use. It was also felt important to try to locate suitable properties in the independent and private sectors.

It was suggested that the HIOW Strategic Housing Officers' Group be asked to work with the South Central Consortium to enable a coherent and consistent approach to be taken.

RESOLVED -

(1) That all member authorities support the work of the South Central Consortium;

(2) That all member authorities facilitate the dispersal of asylum seekers by identifying the availability of accommodation in their areas;

(3) That local authorities lobby the MoD to release accommodation;

(4) That the South Central Consortium be advised to support other consortia representations on the need for additional resources; and

(5) That a further report be presented during the year.

7.00 EUROPEAN ISSUES

Peter Robertson, Chief Executive of Hampshire County Council, introduced his report which identified regional European issues where the Association might wish to consider whether and how it could influence policy to benefit Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The report highlighted issues such as political representation, Brussels representation, funding opportunities and other specialist topics. It pointed out that SEERA and SEEDA were committed to working together on the issue and the fact that they had set up a Joint Europe Committee (JEC) made up of five members of each. The current JEC membership included Bryan Davies of SEEDA and Councillor Harry Rees from SEERA, both of whom were useful local contacts.

Peter Robertson drew attention to the Community Initiatives such as URBAN and LEADER+ which are of particular relevance to HIOW.

The Chairman felt that twinning links, as well as providing a social role, could be co-ordinated to provide better opportunities for economic development and business links. It was pointed out that the Association had produced a resumé of twinning links.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the Association works through existing channels to make an input to European regional policy development.

(2) That local twinning links are reviewed to see if they can be better co-ordinated into a sub regional framework.

8.00 COMPUTERISED ADDRESS SYSTEMS

Peter Robertson introduced his report which asked for support for the County Council's proposed representations to the Post Office and the Local Government Association regarding its concerns about the loss of village and county names from computerised address systems used by postal and other authorities which rely on the use of post codes.

Suzanne Hudson of HAPTC reported that her Association had written to the Chairman of the Post Office voicing its concerns and had received a reply seeking more details and expressing concern. The HAPTC had also canvassed MPs for support and also asked individual Parish Councils to write to the Post Office.

Basingstoke and Deane drew attention to the fact that legislation gives Local Authorities (not the Post Office) the responsibility for defining addresses. The Post Office is only responsible for defining the post code and the post town.

RESOLVED -

That the County Council representations aimed at strengthening community identity be supported.

9.00 SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUDGET FOR THE ASSOCIATION 2000/2001

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Manager giving the Association's current financial position, and proposing the budget and the level of subscriptions for 2000-2001. It was noted that there would be a reduction in subscriptions for the next financial year.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the budget for 2000/2001 be approved;

(2) That the Association's membership subscription units be reduced to £2,200; and

(3) That the salary of the Personal Assistant be reviewed in recognition of extra duties which have resulted in budget savings, and that the Chief Executives' Group be authorised to agree to a change within budget constraints.

10.00 HAMPSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL STRUCTURE PLAN 1996-2011 (REVIEW): PROPOSED FURTHER MODIFICATIONS - RESPONSE TO CONSULTATION

Roger Lawes of the County Planning Dept introduced a report from the County Planning Officer outlining the current position on the Structure Plan which is expected to be adopted in March.

He reminded the Association that whereas most of the policies in the Review Plan simply extended or refined well established strategic land-use and transportation policies, those dealing with housing established a new, and so far unique approach - the base-line plus addition. This approach will ensure that the opportunities provided by the re-use of previously used land will take priority over the use of new greenfield sites. The Secretary of State for the Environment's endorsement of this approach is significant not just for this plan but for future plans as well.

Mr Lawes was asked about the trigger mechanism for the reserve sites. He explained that the base-line provision would establish an individual district's housing land requirement which would have to be provided within that district. There was no possibility of transfer to another district. The trigger mechanism for the release of the additional sites would be: first, revised regional planning guidance; and second the rate at which "windfall" and other unidentified sites were coming forward for development across the County. Higher densities on committed sites and an increase in the use of previously used land would diminish the need to utilise any reserve greenfield sites. As a result, the monitoring process will now become critical.

Attention was drawn to the need to mobilise the people of Hampshire against the Crow report to protect the reserve sites from development.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

11.00 SOUTH EAST REGIONAL CULTURAL CONSORTIUM

The Policy Manager reported that Councillor Freddie Emery-Wallis, Chairman of Hampshire County Council, had been appointed to the Board of the South East Regional Cultural Consortium.

RESOLVED -

That the appointment of Councillor F A J Emery-Wallis, CBE, DL, FSA to the Board of the South East Regional Cultural Consortium be welcomed.

12.00 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION (LGA) SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND HEALTH EXECUTIVE

Consideration was given to a report of Councillor Maureen Robinson of New Forest DC giving details of the work undertaken by the LGA Social Affairs and Health Executive.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

13.00 HAMPSHIRE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP - PROGRESS REPORT

Councillor Geoff Woolger, Rushmoor Borough Council and Andrew Lloyd, Chairman of the Hampshire Economic Partnership Executive Group presented a report giving details of work undertaken by the Hampshire Economic Partnership. Councillor Woolger reported that two local organisations had bid successfully to set up an Enterprise Hub which would provide a link between SEEDA and key local partners.

RESOLVED -

That the Progress Report on the work undertaken by the Hampshire Economic Partnership be noted.

14.00 THE HAMPSHIRE PLAYING FIELDS ASSOCIATION

Consideration was given to a report-back from Councillor David Curtis of Fareham Borough Council on recent meetings of the HPFA.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

15.00 NEXT MEETING

It was noted that the next meeting of the Association would be held at 10.00 am on Friday 24 March 2000 at Rushmoor Borough Council.

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

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