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Paper 7 -  6 June 2003 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

6 June 2003

THE ASSOCIATIONíS ACTION PLAN 2003-2004 AND ANNUAL REPORT 2002-2003

Report by the Policy Manager

________________________________________________________________________

RECOMMENDATIONS

(1) That the Action Plan be approved for consultation with inter-authority groups and partner organisations; and

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

(3) That the Associationís name be changed to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Government Association.
________________________________________________________________________

OBJECTIVES OF THE ASSOCIATION

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

2. In recent years, the Association has also:

é worked to develop more effective relationships with regional organisations, and through them to influence the wide range of issues which they increasingly control; and
é
provided a forum for exchange of ideas and experience across Member authorities.

3. The Association has worked closely with the Local Government Association (LGA) at a national level and is in effect the local branch of the LGA. Thus the recommended change of name.

DRAFT ACTION PLAN 2003-2004

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

(1) Following new Planning legislation, ensure that the interests of Hampshire/Isle of Wight authorities are fully safeguarded and promoted in the new regional planning structure, and that arrangements are made to follow up the work of the Hampshire Structure Plan Joint Advisory Panel.

At its last meeting the Association decided that Member authorities should work together on the preparation of Local Development Frameworks (LDFs) and explore options for joint LDFs. This important new work will be taken forward by the Chief Executivesí Group and Planning Officersí Group.

(2) Provide a strategic approach, and secure capacity-building funds, to enable appropriate training for member and staff development, working with South East Employers, and the Personnel Officersí Group.

The Government has announced £40m of new funding for member and staff development.

(3) Contribute to the effectiveness of local strategic partnerships and community strategies by providing integrated training/development opportunities for LSP staff from all partner agencies and member authorities.

We have already negotiated funds for this from GOSE and the Hampshire Strategic Partnership which will take a lead role in this.

(4) Contribute to the effectiveness of Health Overview and Scrutiny by developing authoritiesí engagement with the NHS at the Hampshire/Isle of Wight level, by agreeing a structure for constructive overview across the area, and by providing a forum for public health development.

(5) Improve the current arrangements for Community Safety by providing a forum to enable the community safety partnerships across the area to work together, to share best practice, to monitor community safety and to influence strategic partnersí policy, practice and expenditure.

(6) Ensure all authorities are prepared for the next round of CPAs and demonstrate to inspecting authorities and partners excellent joint working at Hampshire/Isle of Wight level.

ANNUAL REPORT

5. The draft Annual Report, set out in the Annex, outlines in some detail the work of the Association over the past year. It will be seen that the minor review recommends a change of name to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Government Association to emphasise the close relationship between this Association and the Local Government Association.

NICK GOULDER
Policy Manager

Date: 20 May 2003
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 2002/03

SUMMARY

1. The Association was joined during the year by Southampton City Council and the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority. It now represents at Member level all 15 local authorities in this important sub-region of the south east.

2. The Association works increasingly through active networks of inter-authority staff. Some 26 groups listed on our website include Planning and Transport Chief Officers, Strategic Housing, Chief Finance Officers and Chief Environmental Health Officers. New groups have been encouraged by the Association to develop policies in such areas as E-government, public health and customer service. These inter-authority groups:

ź provide policy management and support for Members
ź
report to Association meetings
ź
consider the impact of new legislation and other changes
ź
develop contacts with regional bodies
ź
help the Association look after the interests of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area

Their work is co-ordinated by the Association through the Chief Executivesí Group. The Chief Executivesí Group appoints lead Chief Executives to head up work in the key areas of achievement for the Association. Details are given on our website.

3. The Associationís direct staff resources have remained small despite taking on the extra work of providing the secretariat to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Safety Chief Officersí Group, currently chaired by Probation, with the Chief Constable as Vice-Chair.

4. As a result, with the expanding membership base, the Associationís subscriptions from member authorities have continued to be reduced.

HEADLINES FOR 2002-2003

5. The Association set itself eight new objectives for the year ahead at the Annual Meeting in June 2002:

Prepare for CPA

We held two briefings for Members, in the second of which the County and Unitary Authorities briefed District members on their experience with CPA. We organised "capacity building" seminars for District staff which firstly drew on County/Unitary experience and secondly brought in the West Sussex pilot experience.

Develop LSPs and Community Strategies

We developed the network of local authority and partnership staff across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, drawing on best practice and arranging briefings on common issues. We have now bid for and received further funding from GOSE for LSP capacity building.

Develop Health Scrutiny Arrangements

The lack of Government guidance has delayed matters so that we expect substantial progress to be made next year. The Association has appointed four District Council representatives to join the Hampshire Health Review Committee.

The Regional Director of Public Health (Dr. Mike Gill) met the Chief Executivesí Group and is ready to attend a future Association meeting. The County Council has offered to host a seminar on this subject.

Develop the new HIOW arrangements for Community Safety

The Association now provides the secretariat for the HIOW Community Safety Chief Officersí Group (COG). We arranged a major conference for COG to consult and report back to local authority Members and partners - to take place on 8 July.

Follow up the capacity-building proposals in the Local Government White Paper

We are preparing a bid with South East Employers for part of the new £40m budget announced by the Government.

Campaign for adequate funding to reflect area cost

The Association worked to support the efforts of individual authorities, South East Leaders and the Regional Assembly to retain some area cost adjustment.

Review key areas of concern - affordable housing, care and nursing homes

The Association has debated key issues and made representations to Government. The Regional Assembly Director of Planning and Transport attended the March Association meeting which addressed affordable housing with the Chair of the Strategic Housing Officersí Group. The Association supported Hampshireís drive to provide 500 new nursing home places.

Support the LGA and consider whether to incorporate the Association within the LGA

The LGA Chief Executive attended the Annual Meeting of the Association in June 2002. In discussion with the LGA it was agreed that there was no need to change the Associationís constitution or corporate image, but a change of name to Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Government Association would better reflect our purpose. This is recommended. The Association will still be known as HIOW.

CREATING A VOICE FOR HAMPSHIRE AND THE ISLE OF WIGHT

6. The interests of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight 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).

7. Government has recognised the significance of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight as a sub-region in its drive to "modernise" and "join up" public services. The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Strategic Health Authority, Learning and Skills Council, Connexions service and other organisations such as the Criminal Justice system are arranged on this basis. The Government Office for the South East (GOSE) has a Hampshire and Isle of Wight directorate. This Association is the voice for local government in the dialogue with GOSE, regional and sub-regional agencies.

ARTICULATING THE NEEDS OF HAMPSHIRE AND THE ISLE OF WIGHT

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

Asylum Seekers
Social Housing Grant
Gypsies and Travellers
Local Government Finance Formula Grant Distribution
Sale of Public Sector Land

A FORUM FOR ELECTED MEMBERS

9. 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.

ORGANISATION AND COSTS

10. The Association met regularly at Member level during the course of the year. Behind the scenes extensive officer working developed joint working across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. An example is the agreement between Hampshire and Isle of Wight authorities and the Regional Assembly on transition to the new development plan system. This has been commended throughout the South East by the Regional Assemblyís Local Authority Chief Executivesí Advisory Group.

11. The Associationís papers are shown on our website (www.hiow.gov.uk). The full costs of the Association are given in a separate report on this agenda.

12. The Chairman of the Association elected for the year was Councillor Tony Jackson of Test Valley Borough Council. The Vice-Chairman was Councillor Elizabeth Cartwright of East Hampshire District Council. The Honorary Secretary was Alan Jones of Test Valley Borough Council.

13. 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, was the Associationís Honorary Auditor and our thanks go to him on his retirement. Paul Wilkinson (Chief Finance Officer, Isle of Wight Council) takes over.

Date: 20 May 2003

Note on abbreviations

COG

Community Safety Chief Officersí Group

CPA

Comprehensive Performance Assessment

GOSE

Government Office for the South East

IDeA

Improvement and Development Agency

LDF

Local Development Framework

LGA

Local Government Association

SEEDA

South East England Development Agency

Last update: 28/05/2003
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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