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Paper 8 - 24 March 2000

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

24 March 2000

SOUTH EAST ENGLAND REGIONAL ASSEMBLY BUSINESS PLAN

Report by the Chief Executive of Basingstoke and Deane and

the Policy Manager (HIOW)

RECOMMENDATION

That the South East England Regional Assembly's Business Plan be welcomed.

SUMMARY

South East England Regional Assembly's first Business Plan sets out its vision for South East England, the role of the Regional Assembly and its Business Plan for 2000/2001. All local authorities in South East England are members of the Regional Assembly. The draft Business Plan is a useful document to form the basis for comment on the Assembly's work.

BACKGROUND

1. The Regional Assembly has drawn up its first full-year Business Plan for consultation. The Plan begins by reviewing progress since the Assembly was inaugurated in January last year and looks to the future in the context of its vision for the South East together with its likely resources. The Plan is divided into four sections:

Policy development

Regional partnerships

Communications

Administration

For each of these an overarching aim is defined, activities are identified and outcomes targeted with dates where appropriate. The vision and role of the Regional Assembly are given at the start of the Business Plan and are copied in the Annex to this report.

2. The Assembly is a new and developing regional partnership. It is still working out how best to make that partnership most effective and how to ensure that the region's voice is most influential. In addition, the context in which the Assembly operates is evolving as the Government's regional agenda develops.

ACHIEVEMENTS TO DATE

3. We have a Regional Assembly which can represent the interests of the South East at the table alongside London, Wales and the English regions. The Regional Assembly's main specific achievements to date have been:

Playing a full part with the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) in developing a regional economic strategy

Working towards a rationalisation of regional planning arrangements

Working with regional partners, through the Joint Economic Committee, towards the creation of an appropriate South East presence in Brussels.

BUSINESS PLAN 2000/2001

4. Key areas of work set out in the Business Plan are:

To join up governance across the various regional strategies for the South East (Regional Economic Strategy, Regional Planning Guidance, Regional Transport Strategy, Sustainable Development Framework, Learning and Skills Guidance, Regional Cultural Strategy, European Programmes)

To continue to work with SEEDA on implementation of the Regional Economic Strategy

To establish the Assembly as the regional planning body for the South East

To lead the preparation of the sustainable development framework.

The last two of these are of particular relevance to today's agenda for the Association. In addition to these major aims, the Regional Assembly's Business Plan begins to map out the work which the Assembly will be carrying out on social inclusion, influencing European policies and programmes in favour of the South East, becoming a more effective partnership of regional stakeholders, establishing the Assembly's profile and communicating in a timely and effective way.

RESOURCES AND BUDGET

5. The Assembly's resources are relatively small at present, being based principally upon subscription income from local authorities (of 2970 per vote), giving total subscription income of 460,000 and a total budget of 522,000. The Regional Assembly has created a planning budget of 150,000 ahead of its formal takeover of regional planning responsibilities from SERPLAN. This budget will enable the Regional Assembly to start preparing the regional transport strategy.

6. The main financial impact of the Assembly and its work, however, will be the levering of UK government office and European regional funds for the South East, and targeting such funds as the Single Regeneration Budget into particular areas of need within the South East in accordance with overall regional strategies. In addition, partner organisations such as the Environment Agency provide significant assistance through the secondment of expertise for particular projects. The Business Plan makes the point that in the field of regional planning, the role of local authority professional groups will be integral to the Assembly's ability to deliver properly informed policy outcomes that can find support across the region.

KATRINE SPORLE
Chief Executive, Basingstoke and Deane

NICK GOULDER
Policy Manager (HIOW)

Date: 13 March 2000
Annex: 1
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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