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Paper  2 -  25 January 2002 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Meeting held on 30 November 2001 at Institute of Maritime Studies, Boathouse 6, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor R Donnelly
Mrs K Sporle (Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor Mrs E Cartwright
Mr P Burton (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor K House
Councillor Mrs M Kyrle OBE, JP
Mr C Tapp (Chief Executive)

Fareham

Councillor R Price
Councillor S Woodward
Mr A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor P Edgar
Mr M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor F Hindson
Councillor K Thornber
Councillor A Rice
Councillor W Wheeler
Mr P Robertson (Chief Executive)
Mr T Rath (County Education Dept)

Hart

Councillor P Hutcheson
Councillor D Simpson
Mr G Jelbart (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor D Gillett (Chairman)
Councillor K Moss
Mr F Campbell (Director of Environment Services)

Isle of Wight

Councillor Mrs S Smart
Mr A Kaye (Head of Paid Service)

New Forest

Councillor S Hayes
Councillor M Holding
Mr D Yates (Chief Executive)

Portsmouth

Councillor T Blair
Councillor Mrs E Baker (Lord Mayor)
Mr B Partridge (Head of Chief Executive’s Department)

Rushmoor

Mr A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

Councillor N Arnell
Councillor B Palmer
Mr A Jones (Chief Executive and Honorary Secretary of the Association)

Winchester

Councillor S Campbell
Councillor R Sabine
Mr D Cowan (Chief Executive)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor Mrs J Pittfield
Mrs S Hudson (Director)

Minister for Local Government

Dr A Whitehead MP

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Learning and Skills Council

Miss P Melville-Brown (Chairwoman)
Mr M Stoneman

Eastleigh Community Services

Mr K Dufton

Hampshire Constabulary

Inspector M Dickinson
Chief Inspector J Campbell

Local Government Association

Mrs M Robinson (Social Affairs and Health Executive)

Government Office for the South East

Mr C Byrne

Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions

Ms S Allies
Ms S Halls

Hampshire Association for the Care of the Blind

Mr T McInulty
Mr S Theobalds

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities

Mr N Goulder (Policy Manager)
Mrs D Allen (PA to Policy Manager)

53.01 WELCOME

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Mrs Elaine Baker, welcomed all those present to the meeting.

54.01 APOLOGIES

Apologies were received from Councillor B Gurden (Basingstoke and Deane); Councillor S James (East Hampshire); Councillor M Woodhall (Hampshire); Councillor H Rees (Isle of Wight); Councillor B Lawson (Isle of Wight Council and Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils); Councillors R Pettigrew and P Shaddock and Mr N Gurney (Portsmouth); Councillors J Marsh and P Moyle (Rushmoor) and Councillor T Jackson (Test Valley).

55.01 APPOINTMENT OF HONORARY SECRETARY

The Chairman reported that Alan Jones, Chief Executive of Test Valley Borough Council, had been appointed Honorary Secretary of the Association until June 2002.

56.01 MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2001 were signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

With regard to item 45.01 (East Hampshire’s motion regarding the Foot and Mouth Epidemic), Councillor Mrs Cartwright reported that 23 other local authorities had approved similar motions.

56.01 PRESENTATION BY DR ALAN WHITEHEAD MP

The Chairman welcomed Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Minister for Local Government, to the meeting.

Dr Whitehead addressed the meeting on the forthcoming Local Government White Paper.

Dr Whitehead then answered questions and addressed concerns expressed by those present at the meeting. The main issues discussed were:

Representations from Fareham Borough Council concerning the impact of insurance premiums and interest rates.

The RSG settlement, which Dr Whitehead felt would be a reasonable for local authorities.

The Government’s intention to increase flexibility for local authorities and to improve the standing of authorities.

Regional government.

Local Strategic Partnerships - the need to fund them.

Broadband communications.

Funding for Social Services.

The forthcoming green paper on planning.

Dr Whitehead said he would report back:

Concerns raised by Winchester City Council about the possible split of planning functions under National Park proposals for the South Downs.

The need for Government leadership and campaigning to encourage recycling of waste by the public.

The Chairman thanked Alan Whitehead for his presentation and summed up by saying that it was worth remembering that Dr Whitehead was fighting for local government in Westminster. The Association wished him luck and offered him assistance.

57.01 PRESENTATION BY THE HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LEARNING AND SKILLS COUNCIL

Penny Melville-Brown, Chairwoman of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Learning and Skills Council (LSC), gave a presentation on the first seven months’ operation of the LSC.

She reported on the LSC ’s mission, its objectives and plans for the future, and the importance of joint working with local authorities. She drew attention to the organisation’s Local Strategic Plan for 2002-2005 which would be considered by Local Council members on 12 December and distributed for wider consultation on 17 December. It was suggested that the Local Strategic Plan be considered at a future meeting of this Association.

The Chairman thanked Penny Melville-Brown for attending the meeting to give her report personally.

58.01 IMPROVING PARTICIPATION IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS

Consideration was given to a report of the Chief Executive of Rushmoor Borough Council on this topic. The issue of engaging people in their community was also touched upon by Dr Whitehead in his presentation, and it was accepted that the key issue for generating voter turnout was the better recognition of the leadership role of local government, with powers to match.

The report was agreed in principle, however concerns were expressed regarding the reference to compulsory voting in the recommendation and it was agreed to delete this.

In discussing action to improve voter turnout, Members considered that the following could improve voter turnout:

* single member wards
* all-out elections
* enhancement and clarification of the role of local authorities

RESOLVED

That the Association makes representations to the Home Office to encourage the Electoral Commission to examine all initiatives which promote elector turnout.

59.01 TRAVEL CONCESSIONS FOR THE BLIND AND PARTIALLY SIGHTED

The Chairman introduced Simon Theobalds and Tim McInulty from the Hampshire Association for the Care of the Blind to the meeting.

Consideration was given to a report by the County Surveyor which drew attention to the Transport Act 2000 which requires the relevant local authorities to provide half-price local bus travel to eligible people. The Act also allows these authorities to grant completely free travel to these people at their discretion. Travel concessions were funded by district and unitary councils and not county councils. The issue had been brought to a head by the decision of Wilts and Dorset Bus Company to withdraw its provision of free bus travel for the visually impaired.

Tim McInulty stressed the importance of concessionary travel to blind and partially sighted people and the confusion of the present system whereby some authorities offered concessions and others did not. Simon Theobalds made the point that lack of sight deprived people of the independence afforded by travel. The need to handle money on public transport services when the destination was not clear reinforced this deprivation.

It was agreed that the Chief Executives’ Group would work further on the report and aim to bring the issue back to the March 2002 meeting of the Association.

RESOLVED

(1) That members of the Association consider whether they wish to make available completely free concessionary bus travel to eligible people including the blind and partially sighted; and

(2) That further work be carried out by the Chief Executive’s Group in consultation with the County Surveyor on this issue and on related matters such as universal bus passes and standardisation for men and women.

60.01 RESPONSE TO THE GOVERNMENT’S CONSULTATION ON THE PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A NEW HEALTH AUTHORITY FOR HAMPSHIRE AND THE ISLE OF WIGHT

Consideration was given to a report of the Chief Executives’ Group which gave details of the presentation made by Adrian Osborne of the North and Mid Hampshire Health Authority to the Association at its meeting in September.

RESOLVED

(1) That the proposal for Strategic Health Authority for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight be supported subject to the need to improve cross-border flexibilities particularly in the Blackwater Valley; and

(2) That the Chief Executives’ Group reports further on the future relationship between the fifteen local authorities, the Strategic Health Authority and the PCTs network.

61.01 INVOLVING PATIENTS AND PUBLIC IN HEALTHCARE

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Manager which attached the joint response sent to the Government as a result of the discussions at the last meeting. Councillor Maureen Robinson reported on the Government’s response which had been published following the consultation process.

It was reported that the draft regulations on the scrutiny process were still awaited from Government.

RESOLVED

(1) That the joint response be noted; and

(2) That the Chief Executives’ Group report further at the next consultation stage.

62.01 APPROACH TO GYPSY AND TRAVELLER ENCAMPMENTS IN HAMPSHIRE

Consideration was given to a report of the Chief Executive of Hampshire County Council on this issue. The report sought agreement for negotiations to be held between the local authority members of the Association aimed at improving the management of unauthorised gypsy and traveller encampments in Hampshire.

Hampshire Police welcomed the report and offered their support.

RESOLVED

(1) That the H/IOW Association should be the forum for an initiative between the County, City and District Councils and Hampshire Constabulary to achieve improvements in the future management of unauthorised encampments across Hampshire;

(2) The initial meetings be co-ordinated by Hampshire County Council staff; and

(3) The outcome be reported back to the respective Members/Review Committees of the individual Councils with a view to formal agreement being reached through the Association to improve future management of unauthorised encampments in Hampshire.

63.01 SOUTH EAST ENGLAND REGIONAL CULTURAL CONSORTIUM

Consideration was given to a report of the Policy Manager which sought nominations for candidates to serve on this body. Two nominations had been received from Havant and Fareham. Hampshire County Council requested that a third, Councillor John Waddington, be added to the list.

RESOLVED

That the names of Councillor Commander Malcolm Harper, OBE; Councillor Virginia Wilson-Smith and Councillor John Waddington go forward to be considered as nominees to join the Board of the Regional Cultural Consortium.

64.01 NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Association would be held on Friday 25 January at Eastleigh Borough Council.

Last update: 16/01/2002
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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