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Paper 5 - 16 July 2004 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday 26 March 2004 at 10.00 am.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Tony Curtis (Director of Planning and Transport)

East Hampshire

Councillor Mrs E Cartwright (Vice-Chairman)
W Godfrey (Chief Executive)
J Potter (Head of Housing Services)

Eastleigh

Councillor K House
Councillor P Wall
C Tapp (Chief Executive)

Fareham

Councillor R Price
A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor P Edgar
M Crocker (Chief Executive)

Hampshire

Councillor K Thornber
Councillor W Wheeler
Councillor M Woodhall
J Pattison (Head of Corporate and Legal Services)
I Hoult (County Emergency Planning Officer)

Hart

Councillor S Parker
V Evans (Acting Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor D Gillett
Councillor K Moss
G Andrews (Managing Director)
K Edwards (Service - Development Manager)

Isle of Wight

Councillor B Lawson

New Forest

Councillor M Holding
D Yates (Chief Executive)
H Renwick (Head of Information Services)

Portsmouth

Councillor L Mason
M Headicar (Chief Executive)
C Allen

Rushmoor

Councillor J Marsh
P Gardner (Director of Resources)

Southampton

Councillor A Vinson
B Roynon (Chief Executive)

Test Valley

R Tetstall (Chief Executive)

Winchester

Councillor S Campbell
S Eden (Chief Executive)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

A Lovell (Chairman)

Isle of Wight Association of Parish and Town Councils

B Lawson

Eastleigh Community Services

K Dufton

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities

N Goulder (Director)
D Allen (PA to Director)

Also in attendance:

Local Government Association

Councillor M Robinson

Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

John Haward (Director for Local Government Practice)

13.04 WELCOME

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Tom Blair, welcomed all present to the meeting.

14.04 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Donnelly and Gurden (Basingstoke and Deane); R Tulloch (Community Action Hampshire); Councillor Woodward (Fareham); C Byrne (GOSE); Councillor Cully (Gosport); Councillor M Cartwright (Hampshire Fire and Rescue);Councillor J Pittfield and S Hudson (HAPTC); Councillor Fullbrook (Hart); Councillors Rees and Smart (Isle of Wight); Councillor Kendal (New Forest); Councillor Moyle (Rushmoor); and Councillors Carr and Jackson (Test Valley).

15.04 CHAIRMAN

In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman, Councillor Elizabeth Cartwright, took the chair for the meeting.

16.04 MINUTES

The minutes of the meeting held on 30 January were agreed.

Concerning minute 10.04 (Subscriptions and Budget for the Association 2004/2005) the Director confirmed that Havant Borough Council had agreed to take responsibility for dealing with any Government funding for capacity building. In relation to the Police Authority joining the Association, Councillor Thornber undertook to speak to the Chairman of the Police Authority on this matter.

17.04 CAPACITY BUILDING

The Chairman introduced John Haward, Director for Local Government Practice, at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM).

Mr Haward gave details of the funding which would be available from the Government to local authorities for capacity building. He outlined the projects which were being undertaken nationally, for example elected member development, children and young people and partnership working. He also highlighted projects under way in the South East:

ˇ Portsmouth City Council - developing leadership potential of tomorrow’s leaders. It was hoped to expand this project across the South East;

ˇ Hampshire and Isle of Wight - training and development of LSP members and staff; and

ˇ Elsewhere - self-help training for district councils especially in project management. Looking to expand this project to other counties.

Mr Haward emphasised that these were not pockets of isolated activity and that good work would be disseminated elsewhere.

He also gave details of national programmes including the virtual leadership academy. This service would be available to both local authority members and senior staff.

He encouraged local authorities to talk to the ODPM about any schemes which they thought might be eligible for funding. He felt that successful schemes would help obtain further funding from the Treasury.

Hampshire County Council felt that scarce skills both at member and officer level needed to be addressed. Mr Haward gave details of schemes which were addressing these problems for example development of accountancy and project management.

The Chairman thanked Mr Haward for his presentation.

18.04 POTENTIAL HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT USE OF CAPACITY BUILDING FUNDS

Consideration was given to a report of the Director which outlined in more detail the projects for which funding was being sought.

RESOLVED

That the report be noted.

19.04 REGIONAL HOUSING STRATEGY

The Chairman introduced Julia Potter, Head of Housing at East Hampshire District Council.

The presentation focussed on the Regional Housing Strategy 2006-2009; the Housing Green Paper; consultation draft launched on 18 March 2004 and the deadline for response to the consultation which was 11 June 2004. Ms Potter felt that the response should detail concerns relating to key workers, funding and affordability and housing supply.

Councillor Keith House (Eastleigh Borough Council and member of the Regional Housing Board (RHB)) reported that the RHB now had more time than originally anticipated and was keen to stimulate a wide debate. Points which were made during the discussion included:

ˇ the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire would be making a strong co-ordinated response

ˇ local authorities should be given more flexibility e.g. the definition of key worker housing should be expanded

ˇ tribute was paid to the work of the Hampshire Structure Plan Joint Advisory Panel

ˇ the Government should fund infrastructure to support new development e.g. South Hampshire Light Rapid Transit

ˇ we now had a small window of opportunity to make these points to the Government

ˇ the implications of Hampshire’s two national park designations needed to be taken into account

ˇ the ODPM needed to "join up" its approaches to the housing issue - some authorities like Hart were finding the new system difficult following abolition of Social Housing Grant.

The Chairman thanked Julia for her presentation.

RESOLVED

That the officers prepare a joint response to the consultation draft of the housing green paper that will form the basis of the South East Regional Housing Strategy 2006-2009. The response should cover mutual areas of concern surrounding key workers, funding, affordability and housing supply. It should also include the importance of the provision of infrastructure and the maximum flexibility to tackle housing problems.

20.04 CIVIL CONTINGENCIES BILL

The Chairman introduced Ian Hoult, County Emergency Planning Officer.

Mr Hoult outlined the contents of the new Civil Contingencies Bill which would receive Royal Assent in the coming months.

The Bill would place responsibility equally between County, Unitary and District Councils. The report listed the new or enhanced work areas and duties member local authorities would have to undertake in response to the Bill. Also Emergency Planning would feature in the Comprehensive Performance Assessment from April 2005.

Mr Hoult gave details of the resources which would be available from Government now and in the future. He would be visiting each local authority to discuss the implications of the proposed Bill.

During discussion concerns were expressed regarding funding, members attending local emergencies, the timing of the Bill and the high percentage of military personnel in the area making it vulnerable.

It was agreed that there were economies of scale and other benefits to be gained by joint working, and those present agreed there would be advantage in District Councils making a unanimous decision about contracting with the County Council to provide a service for all.

It was requested that the Association prepare a joint representation to the Government outlining concerns about funding.

Mr Hoult addressed these concerns and endorsed a joint representation to the Government on funding.

The Chairman thanked Mr Hoult for his presentation.

RESOLVED

That the Association prepare a joint representation to the Government concerning funding of Emergency Planning in the future.

21.04 CUSTOMER SERVICE DEVELOPMENT

Gwen Andrews introduced Helena Renwick of New Forest District Council and Karen Edwards of Havant Borough Council who gave a presentation on this topic.

They highlighted the work and achievements of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Customer Service Development Group.

They also gave details of the five year vision for Hampshire and gave examples of why local authorities needed to work together and how to achieve this. It would not be an easy task and they would need support to put procedures and standards in place.

Those present welcomed and supported the scheme. Havant gave examples of its customer service work. Eastleigh felt that a breadth of local knowledge was important. Gosport suggested that the scheme should be broadened to embrace all public sector service providers.

The Chairman thanked Helena and Karen for their presentation.

RESOLVED

That the work of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Customer Service Group be noted and supported.

22.04 FUTURE AGENDA

Consideration was given to a report by the Director setting out items for the Association’s Annual meeting and future events. Since the report was written, two further matters were now likely to feature at the next or future meetings: defence land disposals and a presentation by the Standards Board.

Other items were suggested by those present including an update on the Accredited Community Support Officers’ scheme; the Broadband Forum; and tourism.

Under the Association’s five-minute rule, Winchester highlighted a recent meeting called by Surrey Heath District Council on the Regional Spatial Strategy. In view of the diminished role of County Councils in Strategic Planning, the meeting had been called to gain consensus from District Councils over the need for geographically based representation on the Regional Planning Committee. It was felt that each County area should be represented so that the representative could act as a conduit for a flow of information to and from the Committee. District Councils were also asked if they would be prepared to fund jointly a staff resource at the Regional Assembly to ensure that the District Council views were adequately considered. It was understood that the Chief Executives’ Group would look into this and report back.

23.04 DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The Annual Meeting of the Association would be held on Friday 16 July 2004, 10.30 am at Eastleigh Borough Council.

Last update: 10/05/2004
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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