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Paper 2 - 23 March 2001

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at the Harlington Centre, Fleet on 26 January 2001 at 10.00 am.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor R Donnelly

Councillor B Gurden

Mr G Holdcroft (Deputy Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor Mrs E Cartwright

Mr P Burton (Chief Executive)

Mr S Olivant (Head of Planning and Development)

Eastleigh

Councillor Mrs M Kyrle OBE, JP

Councillor P Wall

Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive)

Fareham

Councillor R Price

Councillor A Mandry

Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor A Collett

Councillor A Rice

Councillor B Wheeler

Councillor M Woodhall

Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)

Mr R Lawes (County Planning Department)

Mr A Hagger (Social Services Department)

Ms R Rutt (County Planning Department)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson

Councillor Mrs S Band

Mr G Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor M Shorten

Mr R Smith (Chief Executive and Honorary Secretary to the Association)

New Forest

Councillor Mrs M Robinson

Mr D Yates (Chief Executive)

Portsmouth

Councillor T Blair

Councillor P Shaddock

Mr B Partridge (Chief Executiveís Department)

Rushmoor

Councillor J Marsh

Councillor G Tucker

Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor A Jackson (Vice-Chairman)

Councillor B Palmer

Mr A Jones (Chief Executive)

Winchester

Councillor J Steel

Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

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

Eastleigh Community Service

Mr K Dufton

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities

Mr N Goulder (Policy Manager)

Mrs D Allen (PA to Policy Manager)

Hampshire Constabulary

Chief Inspector J Ballard

DETR

Ms G Fraser

Local Government Association

Councillor K Wilson

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Learning and Skills Council

Ms H Chadwick

1.01 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Mrs K Sporle (Basingstoke and Deane); Councillor F Cowper (East Hampshire); Councillor K House (Eastleigh); Councillor K Thornber (Hampshire); Councillor D Gillett (Havant); Councillor H Rees (Isle of Wight); Councillor S Hayes (New Forest); Councillor A Mitchell (Winchester); D Jones, LGA; and J Roberts, DETR.

2.01 CHAIRMAN

The Vice-Chairman, Councillor Tony Jackson, took the Chair for the meeting.

3.01 MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2001 were signed as a correct record.

4.01 LEARNING AND SKILLS COUNCIL

Robin Smith introduced Hilary Chadwick, Executive Director of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Learning and Skills Council.

Ms Chadwick outlined the work of the new Learning and Skills Council (LSC) which would come into effect on 1 April 2001. The new body would be a single unitary organisation comprising both national and local structures. It would be responsible for the planning and funding of Further Education colleges, school sixth forms, lifelong learning, adult and community learning, work based learning for young people and local initiatives.

The organisation would be committed to encourage young people to achieve at least level 2 qualifications, maximise the contribution of education and performance to economic performance, raise standards and increase the demand for learning. It would look for opportunities to respond to customers, both learners and employers, to understand their needs, work to influence local planning and collaborate to meet needs and raise standards across the area. The LSC was committed to tracing those people who Ďslip through the netí of post 16 education, to make learning more flexible and attractive and to ensure that learning possibilities were of a high quality. Ms Chadwick stressed that collaboration with local authorities was important.

Concern was raised that the new body would not repeat the mistakes of previous similar organisations. Ms Chadwick stressed that the LSC was not a re-invention of previous bodies and it would be responsible for all streams of funding. She hoped this would make a difference.

Many of those present expressed worries about those people who were not willing to learn or found traditional methods of learning difficult. There were particular problems amongst some 14-16 year olds. Ms Chadwick pointed out that the LSC was keen to address these issues. A broader range of learning styles would be put in place to encourage those people. She also felt it important to raise the esteem of non-academic young people. The promise of initiatives to teach practical skills to young people of 14 and over was welcomed.

The Chairman thanked Hilary Chadwick for her presentation.

5.01 DELIVERING AN URBAN RENAISSANCE: THE URBAN WHITE PAPER

Robin Smith introduced this item and also Gay Fraser of DETR and Councillor Kevin Wilson, Chair of the LGA Urban Commission.

Gay Fraser spoke about the policies contained in the Urban White Paper which were wide-ranging. It put in place measures, money and tax incentives to make urban development attractive. She stressed that local authority co-operation was essential to make the proposals in the White Paper work.

Ms Fraser went through the work which the DETR was currently undertaking. This included rationalising tasks and selecting representatives for a "sounding board". The Urban White Paper was just the start of an on-going process and the DETR was working with a number of towns and cities on implementation. The DETR was developing an Action Plan which would be updated every six months. The first Action Plan would be published in the spring.

Ms Fraser drew attention to a series of roll-out seminars to be held in February and March. She encouraged local authorities to attend. The DETR was also keen to obtain feedback from local authorities. She felt this would best be co-ordinated by HIOW/LGA.

Councillor Kevin Wilson thanked the DETR for attending regional/sub-regional meetings.

Councillor Wilson reported that the Urban White Paper had been warmly welcomed by the LGA. However there were still some concerns, particularly planning issues and the fiscal policy regarding greenfield and brownfield sites.

Councillor Wilson drew attention to the three main themes of the White Paper, namely:

* that the policies were holistic and inclusive in their nature

* that there was not a Ďone size fits allí system. It would work in both large and small urban areas

* there was an emphasis on community leadership which would include local government. If local authorities could oversee successful urban renaissance, then this would also benefit rural communities.

He felt it was important that different tiers of local authorities develop social and environmental well-being. All areas should encourage local strategic partnerships. He urged local authorities to work with the LGA and central government on the policies proposed in the White Paper.

Councillor Wilson drew attention to an Urban Commission Seminar to be held in Portsmouth on 22 and 23 March and invited local authorities to attend. He pointed out that one of the reasons why Portsmouth had been chosen as a venue was the City Councilís commitment to urban renaissance.

Points expressed by those present included:

- disappointment that the 50/50 approach regarding VAT on greenfield and brownfield sites did not go far enough. It was felt that there should be VAT on greenfield sites and none on brownfield sites. Councillor Wilson did not disagree with this sentiment but felt that the policy now put in place was a step in the right direction.

- there should be more clarity with regards to compulsory purchase order powers. Gay Fraser replied that the DETR was preparing a policy statement to be published in the spring.

- problems with contaminated land. The White Paper did not address this issue and Portsmouth in particular felt that more financial help should be put in place to help in cleaning up contaminated land. Ms Fraser pointed out that there were provisions in the fiscal measures to help clean up contaminated land. It was hoped that these policies would be picked up in the Budget this year.

- the problems attached to large urban sprawls, the problems they create and how best to deal with them.

- the importance of social housing and the need for the Government to tackle the issue.

- more clarification on exemption from stamp duty and the fact that in more affluent areas few properties came into the required price range. Ms Fraser reported that he DETR were considering the stamp duty issue and also looking at the worst areas of deprivation.

- the quality of design of urban buildings: DETR was looking into this issue and Centres of Building Design were being set up to look specifically at the design of buildings and open spaces.

It was generally felt that the White Paper was encouraging but also disappointing in that it tries to do too much. The issues contained in it should also be considered alongside other issues such as education, community safety and transport policies.

The HAPTC pointed out that there were more urban parish and town councils now. It would be important to include them in the White Paperís policies.

The Chairman thanked both Gay Fraser and Councillor Kevin Wilson.

6.01 COMMITTEE FOR RURAL HAMPSHIRE

Councillor Tony Jackson (Test Valley) reported on the work of the Committee for Rural Hampshire over the past 14 months. He drew attention to the fact that many people were leaving the farming industry. Councillor Jackson went through the Community for Rural Hampshireís Action Programme and drew attention to other initiatives which had been implemented. He re-iterated the importance of local authority support for farmers in their areas.

Councillor Susan Band (Hart) welcomed all those present to Hart. She spoke in more detail about meeting the challenge of rural change in Hampshire. This focussed on economic, social and environmental challenges. Councillor Band highlighted areas in which local authorities were helping to meet these challenges including a farmersí information pack/event on farm diversification produced by East Hampshire and the hope that other local authorities would follow suit; Basingstoke and Deaneís innovative rural strategy which had now been published - Councillor Band encouraged those present to obtain a copy; and Hampshire County Councilís inspiring county-wide landscape strategy which had also now been published.

7.01 REVIEW OF FUNDING OF COUNCILS OF COMMUNITY SERVICE

Peter Robertson (Hampshire) introduced this report which set out the proposals for a new funding formula for Councils of Community Service in Hampshire. He drew attention to how this would work.

Mr Robertson reported on how this would impact on District Councils and that they could either:

(a) buy fully into the model on either an individual or a collective basis so that District Council contributions are also related to the National Association for Councils for Voluntary Service model; or

(b) accept that County Council contributions will be made in accordance with the model but not necessarily making their own decision by reference to the model.

There would be no additional cost to District Councils given the transitional arrangements proposed.

Mr Robertson asked for comments and answered questions about the implications of the proposals.

Winchester City Council drew attention to the excellent example of the Winchester Centre where all the main voluntary organisations were based. After further discussion it was -

RESOLVED -

(1) That the County Council be thanked for explaining and consulting upon its proposals; and

(2) The District Councils consider the implications in each district.

8.01 PROPOSALS TO BETTER PROTECT CHILDREN FROM POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS OFFENDERS

Brian Partridge (Portsmouth) introduced his report which highlighted the issues following the case of Sarah Payne, the campaign run by a national newspaper and the protests undertaken on an estate in Portsmouth.

The report drew attention to a protocol for potentially dangerous offenders drawn up between the Police, Probation and Social Services Departments in Hampshire, Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and Southampton. This dealt with the appropriate way of calling risk assessment meetings to consider situations where it appeared children may be at risk.

The report also highlighted the package of measures produced by the Government to strengthen the protection of children and provide better information to the public on the management of sex and violent offenders released into the community. However, the report set out two areas where the proposals were lacking, namely:

(a) in not making the Sex Offenders Register retrospective to cover all known Schedule 1 offenders

(b) in not providing adequate powers to housing authorities to require known child sex offenders to move to different accommodation where there is a genuine fear for the safety of children.

The report requested support from the Association to the City Councilís position on these matters and in lobbying the LGA and Government to include these proposals in its legislation at the earliest opportunity.

Those present felt support should be given and congratulated Portsmouth on its quick response to the problems experienced. Clarification was sought on the relevance of the proposals where offenders were not in Council controlled housing i.e. owner/occupiers or those living in private, rented accommodation. Mr Partridge reported that the City Councilís proposals related to local authority and registered social landlords only.

There was some concern about the human rights issues involved, and on this basis Winchester City Council abstained.

It was felt that the vetting of persons involved in voluntary work with children should be made easier. Mr Partridge pointed out that the Government was setting up a Criminal Records Bureau to help in this matter.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the Association welcomes the proposals announced by the Government on 15 September 2000 and in particular the speedy action taken by including necessary provisions in the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act;

(2) That the Association lobbies the LGA and relevant Government departments to seek at the earliest opportunity to include the following provisions in legislation subject to the Human Rights Act and other relevant legislation:-

- making the Sex Offenders Register retrospective to cover all known Schedule 1 Sex Offenders; and

- additional powers for housing authorities (in relation to local authority and registered social landlords) to require known child sex offenders to move to different accommodation where there is a genuine fear for the safety of children.

9.01 HAMPSHIRE FRAMEWORK FOR "SUPPORTING PEOPLE"

The Policy Manager introduced his report which gave details of the Government programme which brings together funding for people living in various types of supported housing. The new system required collaboration between County and Districts.

The report recommended an overall management and review mechanism to ensure that Members "own" the somewhat complex arrangements which are intended to lead to a better quality of life and greater independence for vulnerable people. The Chief Executivesí Group had considered various options for implementation.

It was proposed that a joint Member/Officer Steering Group be established to oversee implementation of "Supporting People" in Hampshire. This Steering Group would represent:

District Councils (5)
County Council (3)
Chief Executives (3)
Housing Officers (3)

plus others detailed in the annex under the title "County Core Group".

In relation to the proposed resolution, Mr Goulder stressed that the Association was being asked to approve the broad framework described in the Annex. Some of the detail, such as who would service the Steering Group, was not yet finalised.

With 11 representatives in total it would be possible for each District Council to be represented.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the broad framework for joint implementation of "Supporting People" between Hampshire County Council and the eleven District Councils be approved, subject to the need for each member authority to agree the proposals;

(2) That a joint Member/Officer Panel be established as described in paragraph 5 of the report; and

(3) That the Association confirms five District Members to serve on the Panel, at its meeting on 23 March.

10.01 DRAFT REGIONAL PLANNING GUIDANCE FOR THE SOUTH EAST (RPG9) AND CONSULTATION ON THE PROPOSED HOUSING DISTRIBUTION

The Honorary Secretary introduced his report which brought the Association up to date following its representations to the Government on 12 June 2000. Many of the Associationís concerns had been taken into consideration. He also drew attention to the SERPLAN Conference held on 19 December to debate RPG9 and reported on the resolution adopted at that meeting.

Mr Smith highlighted the housing numbers contained in the RPG which were now the subject of consultation. East Hampshire pointed out that it would be difficult for certain authorities to maintain high levels of housing growth. New Forest also expressed concern about increased pressure for development on the fringes of the new National Park. Concerns were also expressed regarding affordable housing for key workers and that the proposals did not go far enough in this respect.

It was requested that "Isle of Wight" be added to the end of recommendation 2(a).

There would be a report to the next meeting of the Association dealing with implementation issues and the need to set up a new body to replace the Hampshire and Isle of Wight SERPLAN Co-ordination Group.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the revised RPG9 be welcomed for its positive response to the majority of comments by the Association;

(2) That, in response to the consultation on housing distribution, the Association registers concern:

(a) at the continuing high level of housing growth proposed for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight which fails to take proper account of environmental areas, including the proposed National Parks;

(b) at the lack of an adequate response to fiscal measures proposed by the Association to discourage greenfield development, while noting that the Urban White Paper includes a limited response; and

(3) That the officers be asked to report further as set out in paragraph 9 of the report and including planning policy guidance issues.

11.01 SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUDGET FOR THE ASSOCIATION 2001/2002

The Policy Manager introduced his report which set out the monitoring report for 2000/2001 and gave details of the Associationís budget for 2001/2002. He highlighted the fact that subscriptions for 2001/2002 would remain at the same level as the previous year.

RESOLVED -

(1) That the monitoring report for 2000/2001 be noted;

(2) That the budget for 2001/2002 be approved;

(3) That the combined effects of inflation, VAT de-registration and extra costs be absorbed for the forthcoming year; and

(4) That the Associationís membership subscription unit be retained at £2,200.

12.01 THE CONNEXIONS SERVICE

Consideration was given to a report by the Connexions Pilot which set out the key points relating to the Connexions service, its overall themes and pilot activity. The report also highlighted the specific themes to be piloted and progress on work to date.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

13.01 SOCIAL AFFAIRS AND HEALTH EXECUTIVE - 28 NOVEMBER 2000

The meeting considered a report-back by Councillor Maureen Robinson (New Forest) on the meeting of the LGA Social Affairs and Health Executive held on 28 November 2000. The report highlighted the development of ĎCare Directí, talks during the autumn aimed at addressing the problems encountered by the NHS over the winter period and scrutiny of the NHS.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

14.01 E-GOVERNMENT - A SEMINAR FOR MEMBERS AND OFFICERS - 1.00 PM, FRIDAY 26 JANUARY, THE CHERNOCKE ROOM, HARLINGTON CENTRE, FLEET

Consideration was given to a report by the Policy Manager which set out the programme for the seminar on E-government which was to be held that afternoon.

RESOLVED -

That the report be noted.

15.01 DATE OF NEXT MEETING

It was noted that the next meeting of the Association would be held at 10.00 am on Friday 23 March at Penns Place, Petersfield.

Last update: 14/03/2001
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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