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Paper 8 -  7 June 2002 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

7 June 2002

THE ASSOCIATIONíS ACTION PLAN 2002-2003 AND ANNUAL REPORT 2001-2002

Report by the Policy Manager

RECOMMENDATIONS

(1) That the Action Plan be approved for consultation in the form of a bulletin to go to member authorities and partner organisations; and

(2) That the Annual Report be published on the Associationís website.

1. The draft Annual Report, set out in the Annex, outlines in some detail the work of the Association over the past year.

2. The objectives of the Association are:-

é To provide a means for facilitating co-operation between the constituent authorities;

é To promote the interests of local government in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight;

é To assist member authorities in the effective performance of their duties and functions;

é To pursue issues of common concern to member authorities and to represent their joint interests to other bodies.

In its first five years, the Associationís Action Plan has elaborated these objectives and arguably been over-ambitious in trying to take them forward. This Governmentís second term is about "delivery" rather than another tide of "initiatives". Likewise, the Association might now try to consolidate, and draw a line under the plethora of change.

3. Subject to Membersí views, the following list sets out the main focus for the Associationís work over the coming year:

(1) Prepare for Comprehensive Performance Assessment, building on the work carried out by Hampshire County Council and the Unitary Authorities.

(2) Develop the pattern and consultative arrangements for local strategic partnerships and community strategies across the area.

(3) Develop Health Scrutiny arrangements alongside the Strategic Health Authority.

(4) Develop the new Hampshire and Isle of Wight arrangements for safer communities.

(5) Follow up the Local Government White Paper, especially "capacity-building" with South East Employers and IDeA.

(6) Support the campaign for adequate funding to reflect extra costs in the South East.

(7) Review action being taken on some key concerns of member authorities:

- affordable housing and key worker housing
- provision of care and nursing homes
- parking standards in new housing developments.

(8) Support and promote locally the strategic and organisational objectives of the LGA (set out in the LGA business plan) and consider whether to incorporate the Association as the Hampshire and Isle of Wight LGA.

(9) Follow up initiatives from earlier action plans.

NICK GOULDER
Policy Manager

Date: 21 May 2002
Annex: 1
Contact: Nick Goulder - 023 8068 8431, E-mail hiow@eastleigh.gov.uk

ANNEX

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

ANNUAL REPORT 2001/02

SUMMARY

The Annual Report points out the developments of the past year and action points for the future. The Associationís year started last June with a workshop which allowed Members to compare and contrast their authoritiesí varying experiences with their new or emerging constitutions.

Following a period of unprecedented constitutional change, the Association and South East Employers assisted with the development of the scrutiny function for non-Executive Members.

The Association has assisted Member Authorities with the continuing "modernisation" process, including arranging on behalf of the LGA a consultative meeting for South East authorities, chaired by Councillor Ken Thornber, with the Secretary of State.

HIGHLIGHTS

Priority for the year

Outcome

More focussed member-led meetings

Agenda have been shorter. Members were able to concentrate on the main issues.

Link in with the Health agenda

Two out of five Member meetings have featured health as the major item.

Develop the framework for community strategies and Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs)

A start has been made/further action for 2002-3.

Consider the lessons of the foot and mouth and flooding crises

Undertaken by the Major Emergencies Co-ordinating Committee.

Pick up the key issues from the Local Government White Paper

A start has been made/further action for 2002-3.

CREATING A VOICE FOR HAMPSHIRE AND THE ISLE OF WIGHT

1. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is an important sub-region within the South East. The interests of this area differ from those of Kent or Milton Keynes with whom we share the same Government Office and Regional Assembly. The Association has formed a regular dialogue both with Government and with regional partners such as the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

2. Government has recognised the significance of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight as sub-region in its drive to "modernise" and "join up" public services. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Health Authority has been established this year and the Learning and Skills Council was established last year. The Government Office for the South East (GOSE) has a team of Civil Servants to deal with our area. This Association is the voice for local government in the dialogue with GOSE, regional and sub-regional agencies.

3. Law enforcement and the criminal justice service is now also largely based on a Hampshire/Isle of Wight sub-region. Local authority community safety work is co-ordinated through a Chief Officersí Group which is currently chaired by the Chief Officer of the National Probation Service (Hampshire and Isle of Wight). This group includes Police, Youth Offending Team, Fire and Rescue, Connexions and the Area Criminal Justice service as well as local authorities. It is serviced by the Associationís staff. Both the Police and Fire Service attend Association meetings and their staff play a significant part in our activities.

4. The Association from the outset has worked closely with the voluntary and community sector, whose representatives attend regular meetings of the Association, and with Parish and Town Councils whose associations are affiliated.

Articulating the Needs of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight

5. The Association has specifically commented to Government on the following issues over the past year:

Local Government Act 2000
Involving Patients and the Public in Healthcare
Health Overview and Scrutiny
Improving Participation in the democratic process
Police Reforms: Integration of Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and Drug Action Teams
Local Government White Paper 2001
Best Value
Planning Green Paper

We have also worked through partner organisations to make sure the needs of our area are articulated e.g. via Hampshire Economic Partnership in commenting to the South East England Development Agency on the Regional Economic Strategy.

A Forum for Elected Members

6. The Association has provided a forum in which leading Members can discuss matters of concern, and consult each other easily. Partners and Government representatives can attend meetings to provide a real "joining-up" and consultative forum. The Minister for Local Government (Alan Whitehead MP), attended the November Association meeting in Portsmouth shortly before publication of the Local Government White Paper. The same meeting was attended by the Chairman of the Learning and Skills Council.

IMPLEMENTING THE ACTION PLAN

7. At the start of the year, Members approved a wide-ranging Action Plan shown on our website. The following paragraphs give a brief progress report on each main element.

Community Strategies/Local Strategic Partnerships

8. Each authority is developing a Community Strategy and Local Strategic Partnership for its area. Hampshire County Council has set up a County-wide LSP with District Council representatives (Councillors Peter Moyle, Rushmoor and Sean Woodward, Fareham) appointed by the Association. Whether a standing conference of all Local Strategic Partnerships in the area is now needed - as originally envisaged - will be considered in the light of experience during the forthcoming year (Action Point). It is likely that the Associationís initiative in setting up a network of staff leading on Community Strategies/ Local Strategic Partnerships will be continued.

Best Value

9. The Association pressed hard for a review of the way Best Value was implemented. In particular the Association objected to the onerous audit and inspection regime. We have welcomed the review of Best Value and look forward to a more sensible and cost-effective approach following the Local Government White Paper and development of the Comprehensive Performance Assessment. (Action Point).

E-Government

10. The Association arranged (through its e-Government Steering Group) for authorities to integrate their formal statements to the Government about implementing electronic government (IEG statements). We have established a dialogue between the e-Government Steering Group and the DTLR. Bids for e-Government funds in 2002/3 were co-ordinated and the 15 authorities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have been awarded £3m to develop e-government over the coming year.

Customer Services Protocol

11. In its first Action Plan, the Association set out to ensure that "customers at any service point are given a consistently helpful service whether they are in Denmead or Waterlooville, Bitterne or Hedge End, Paulsgrove or Bedhampton, Hawley or Farnborough".The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Customer Service Development Group has been working to make this a reality across the fifteen local authorities. This year all the authorities agreed a protocol setting target standards for responding to customers.

Promoting Healthy Communities

12. The Association has worked to improve local authority input to Health Improvement Plans, and to improve joint working as the NHS structures in our area have been reorganised. Health Service managers have attended Association meetings to discuss the new arrangements. We have also pressed for good co-ordination across border areas such as the Blackwater Valley, so it is pleasing that an integrated Primary Care Trust is being developed for that area.

13. The Association discussed with the NHS locally the Governmentís proposals for involving patients and the public in health care. In particular, Members discussed the exercise of the new powers for local authorities to review local health provision. Joint work on health scrutiny will be an important action point for the next year.

Economic Development

14. The Association supports the Hampshire Economic Partnership (HEP) which co-ordinates local authority economic development work across the mainland. (The Isle of Wight Partnership fulfills the same role for the Island). The newly-appointed Executive Manager for the HEP attended the Association meeting on 22 March. At the same meeting, Members heard from the South East Economic Development Agency and commented on the Regional Economic Strategy currently under review.

Promoting Safer Communities

15. The Association has taken over the administration of the joint arrangements for promoting safer communities across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. The objectives are:-

(1) To achieve reductions in youth crime by 2004 in line with national targets.

(2) To achieve reductions in domestic and street violence which most affect public confidence.

(3) To promote strong and sustainable communities which support families, vulnerable people, ethnic and other minority groups.

(4) To analyse information from local crime reduction partnerships, partner agencies and police crime figures to inform joint actions and priorities.

In future reports, we will deal with developments in relation to these targets.

Emergency Planning

16. Members heard from Ian Hoult, Hampshire Emergency Planning Officer, in relation to reacting to the emergencies of the past year. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Major Emergencies Co-ordinating Committee (David Cowan represents Districts on this) has reviewed arrangements in the light of the flooding and foot and mouth emergencies. An independent report is available on the latter.

Supporting People

17. The Association has established a joint County/District partnership for Hampshire to manage the new "Supporting People" funding arrangement for people in supported housing. This has had a successful first year with the arrangement being judged exemplary by Government. The Associationís work has been underpinned by the work of the Strategic Housing Officersí Group, currently chaired by Portsmouth, and by Hampshire County Councilís Social Services Supporting People team.

Local Government White Paper

18. The Government consulted the Association over the contents of the December 2001 Local Government White Paper, and plans to involve both the LGA and this Association in its implementation. The lead officer for the South-East on the DTLRís Local Government Modernisation Team (Avril Atkinson) has attended Association meetings and works closely with the Policy Manager who has been appointed an Associate of that team at DTLR.

19. The Association has objected to excessive intervention by Government and worked with the DTLR to implement some aspects of the Governmentís programme. In particular we have set up joint working in Best Value, e-Government, LSPs and (via South East Employers) a Scrutiny Network. We plan to build on this work to assist with "capacity-building" (Action Point).

REPORTS-BACK

20. During 2001-2002 the Association received reports-back from:

LGA Social Affairs and Health Committee*
LGA Planning Executive (January 2002)
Hampshire and Isle of Wight Learning and Skills Council (November 2001)
Hampshire Economic Partnership (March 2002)
Hampshire Early Years Development Partnership*

* Those indicated will be included in the Associationís Bulletin.

Members decided during the course of this year to put routine reports-back into the Associationís Bulletin, rather than on the agenda as information items.

ORGANISATION AND COSTS

21. The Association met regularly at Member level during the course of the year. Behind the scenes some 20 officer groups develop joint working across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Individual Chief Executives led on particular issues on behalf of the Chief Executivesí Group e.g. Chris Tapp/Health; Andrew Lloyd/HEP; Dave Yates/Supporting People; Peter Robertson/e-Government; Alan Jones/LSPs; Katrine Sporle/Community Safety.

22. The Associationís papers, including information such as the list of officer groups, were made public and are shown on our website (www.hiow.gov.uk). The full costs of the Association are given in a separate report by the Honorary Treasurer on this agenda.

23. The Chairman of the Association elected for the year was Councillor David Gillett, Leader of Havant Borough Council. The Vice-Chairman was Councillor Tony Jackson of Test Valley Borough Council. The Honorary Secretary was Robin Smith of Havant Borough Council and Alan Jones of Test Valley Borough Council (from November 2001 to May 2002).

24. The Association employed one full time Policy Manager, Nick Goulder, and a part time Personal Assistant/Office Administrator, Diane Allen. These staff are based at the Civic Offices, Eastleigh. Eastleigh Borough Council provides the Associationís accountancy and office support services. The Borough Treasurer, Nick Tustian, is the Associationís Treasurer. The Isle of Wight Council Treasurer, John Pulsford, is the Associationís Honorary Auditor.

Date: 21 May 2002

Note on abbreviations

DTLR

Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions

GOSE

Government Office for the South East

HEP

Hampshire Economic Partnership

IDeA

Improvement and Development Agency

IEG

Implementing Electronic Government

LGA

Local Government Association

LSP

Local Strategic Partnership

NHS

National Health Service

SEEDA

South East England Development Agency

Last update: 23/05/2002
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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