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Paper 11 - 16 July 2004 2004 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

16 July 2004

THE ASSOCIATIONíS ACTION PLAN 2004-2005, FUTURE AGENDA

AND ANNUAL REPORT

Report by the Director

________________________________________________________________________

RECOMMENDATIONS

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

(2) That the planned agenda for the next meeting (paragraph 6) be noted; and

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

BACKGROUND

1. At this time of year the Association agrees its main headings for action and its subscriptions based on the budget approved earlier in the year. Members agree the work of the Association in the light of the Associationís objectives bearing in mind the review of work over the past year. The Annual Report, set out in the Annex, gives a brief review of the work of the Association. The objectives of the Association are set out below.

OBJECTIVES OF THE ASSOCIATION

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;
é
To develop effective relationships with regional organisations; and
é
To provide 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.

PROPOSED ACTION PLAN 2004-2005

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

(1) To agree input to the South East Plan and to develop a common understanding of the development needs of Hampshire/Isle of Wight communities

With the delay in legislation and the drafting of the South East Plan, spatial planning remains high on the agenda. Whilst we need to recognise that parts of the area, particularly the Isle of Wight, South Hampshire and the Blackwater Valley/ Thames corridor have their own priorities, the Association needs to work for the common good of the whole area.

The Association has been invited by the Hampshire Strategic Partnership (HSP) to be the co-ordinating agency for one of the HSP priorities: "Promote a common understanding of the development needs of Hampshire communities over the next 20 years". (Similarly, the Hampshire Economic Partnership has been asked to be the co-ordinating agency for another priority: "Support the economy of Hampshire"). It is proposed to bring this back to Members for consideration at the next meeting along with suggested input to the draft South East Plan.

Lead Chief Executive: Simon Eden.

(2) Local Transport Plans

In the context of spatial planning, the next round of transport plans and Regional Transport Board arrangements will be particularly important to all member authorities. The Association can add value to the work of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Planning Officersí Group and other joint groups in this policy field. Our objectives will be to ensure direction from local authority Leaders, integration with community, spatial and other strategies, dove-tailing the Unitary Authorities with the County area, securing effective engagement from the District Councils and influencing the regional strategies.

Lead Chief Executive: Simon Eden.

(3) Joint Working on Efficiency and Improvement

The Chief Executivesí Group is working on the potential for efficiency and improvement through joint working. The Group completed a survey of joint working across authorities in January 2004 - this is available on the Associationís website. We propose to tackle the following areas:

é Procurement, particularly joint procurement of services

é Scrutiny, possibly involving a bid for "capacity building" funds

é HR or Personnel management e.g. potential for more joint work on recruitment and agency staff arrangements

é Training and development in performance management.

Lead Chief Executives: various including - Will Godfrey (procurement), Gwen Andrews: (scrutiny), Dave

(4) Developing joint work through the Public Service Agreements (PSAs).

Building on the existing PSAs, the second generation of LPSAs potentially helps to develop the more integrated local public service that the Association has been seeking. (Developing joint work through the LPSAs is a general aim, and all chief executives are involved).

(5) Children and Young People

To assist member authorities prepare for implementation of the Children Bill.

Lead Chief Executives: Unitary and County Council Chief Executives, plus Dave Yates and Jules Samuels for the District Councils.

(6) Affordable Housing

We shall continue to follow up the Associationís conference held last October in Winchester Guildhall, and commission a joint report from the Strategic Housing Officersí and Planning Officersí Groups.

5. In addition to these headlines, sustainability remains high on the agenda and there are other matters which will come forward either from previous work (e.g. on community safety) or from new legislation (e.g. emergency planning).

AGENDA FOR THE MEETING ON 24 SEPTEMBER

6. Two presentations are planned for the next meeting which takes place in Winchester Guildhall:

é the Standards Board on standards in local government

é Broadband communications.

In addition we plan to bring Members a draft submission to the Regional Assembly on the South East Plan, linked with a report on Local Transport Plans, and work on behalf of the Hampshire Strategic Partnership. Also on that agenda will be a report from the Associationís Outside Bodies Appointments Panel.

ANNUAL REPORT

7. The draft Annual Report, set out in the Annex, outlines the work of the Association over the past year. It is recommended that this Annual Report be published (as required by the Associationís Constitution).

NICK GOULDER
Director

Date: 5 July 2004
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 2003/04 

SUMMARY AND INTRODUCTION

1. The Association represents the 15 local authorities of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority. It provides a forum and mechanism for the local authorities in this important sub-region of the South East to work together. Of all the eligible member authorities, only the Police Authority has failed to join despite the emphasis on Community Safety as part of the Associationís work

2. The Association works increasingly through active networks of inter-authority staff, for example the Community Safety Partnership Chief Officersí Group chaired by the Chief Constable. Some 34 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 Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

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 extensive engagement of individual Members, officers and in particular "Lead Chief Executives" has meant that the Associationís direct staff resources have remained small.

4. As a result, with the expanding membership base, the Associationís subscriptions from member authorities have continued to remain below their starting level when the Association was set up in 1997 following local government re-organisation. The Association represents good value for example to a District Council which paid less than £4,000 for its membership in 2003/2004. The corresponding figure in 1997 was £4,200.

ACTION PLAN 2003 TO 2004

5. The Association set its Action Plan for the year ahead at the Annual Meeting in June 2003 and the follow section of this annual report considers progress in each action area:

(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.

The legislation has been delayed and we need to continue working on this in the coming year. Meanwhile separate arrangements have been made in South Hampshire and North East Hampshire to look after the interests of these sub-regions. Across the county of Hampshire as a whole the Association has been nominated as the co-ordinating agency for carrying out the work of the Hampshire Strategic Partnership in promoting a common understanding of the development needs of Hampshire communities. The Association has worked alongside key sub-regional partnerships in South Hampshire, Thames Valley Corridor and Blackwater Valley. The Association has also made a response to the Housing Green Paper for the South East.

(2) Provide a strategic approach, and secure capacity-building funds, to enable appropriate training for member and staff development.

The Governmentís new "capacity building" fund is mainly targeted at weak and poor authorities and at national programmes managed by the Improvement and Development Agency and Employerís Organisation. The Association succeeded in piloting an innovative approach to training and development of Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs - see 3 below) with a capacity building grant of £12,000 and of £48,000 over the next two years. We are now working with member authorities and South East Employers to put in bids for member training in the area of scrutiny and for staff training and development in the area of procurement.

In preparation for capacity-building on joint working and procurement, the Association carried out a survey of current practice which is available on our website. Portsmouth City Councilís innovative leadership training scheme has received capacity building funds and we shall continue to work with the City Council to promote this scheme.

(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 had already established a network for managers of Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) and staff of major Hants/ IoW institutions (Environment Agency, NHS etc.) - details are given on our website under "officer networks". This year we built on this network to run a seminar for LSP members and staff in January 2004. For this we used funding from both the Governmentís capacity building fund and from Hampshire County Councilís fund for the Hampshire Strategic Partnership (HSP). The LSP managers themselves are now taking forward arrangements for the network.

We worked with the H/IoW Public Health Network and HSP to run a major training event for LSPs in December 2003 on issues connected with health, and we are now seeking to arrange a follow-up event to take place covering issues connected with Community Safety.

Councillors Sean Woodward (Fareham) and Peter Moyle (Rushmoor) represented the District Councils on the HSP and the Association put considerable effort into this particular partnership because it involves 12 of the Associationís 15 local authority members.

(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.

We have worked with the Hampshire Health Review Committee to achieve this aim particularly at officer level. At member level, Councillor Brian Bayford of Fareham Borough Council has reported to the full Association meeting on the work of that committee. Authorities have concentrated their limited resources on developing their own overview and scrutiny functions. However each of the principal Unitary and County authorities have made constitutional arrangements for delegating to a joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee any matters which cover more than one authority.

(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.

The Association arranged a major conference on Community Safety arrangements for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in July 2003. The conferenceís focus on better joint working across the area set the agenda for joint community safety work during the year. The conference was attended by 130 decision-makers and partners from local crime and disorder reduction partnerships and provided workshops on:

ź Tackling anti-social behaviour - the Southampton experience
ź
Engaging with communities - "building stronger communities"
ź
Race and Diversity - the new approach
ź
Drug Action across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
ź
Domestic Violence - learning from best practice

Achievements during the year included:

ź Better integration of victim and witness support work into the community safety arrangements
ź
Assisting with the Youth Justice Plan for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area
ź
Approving a Service Level Agreement for the operation of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders throughout Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
ź
Appointing a Domestic Violence Co-ordinator ( Karen Marsh, employed by the Hampton Trust) to improve work on tackling this crime across the area; approving a domestic violence strategy for the area
ź
Following up the preliminary work on Race for Justice carried out by Sara Kahner and appointing the new co-ordinator, Hamid Samiy
ź
Developing the Accredited Community Support Officer scheme.

The Association provided the secretariat for the Chief Officersí Group which leads work on community safety. The Chairman of the Group is the Chief Constable, Paul Kernaghan and the Vice-Chairman is the Chief Executive of Rushmoor Borough Council, Andrew Lloyd. Lead Chief Executives for the local authorities are Peter Robertson, Andrew Lloyd and Chris Tapp.

This joint arrangement for Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships across the Police Authority area has been put forward at regional and national level as an example of good practice.

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

The Association had arranged briefings for members and staff on Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) in the previous year. We built on this by arranging with the Government Office for the South East (GOSE) for a briefing for District Council staff across Hampshire on 1 July 2003. We then worked with the Audit Commission to demonstrate to them the extent of joint working across the area. The briefing notes we prepared are shown on our website. We commenced work with the Audit Commission on joint "Improvement Planning" following CPA.

THE REGIONAL AGENDA

6. As the Association developed a "joined-up" approach to sub-national government across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the Government moved ahead with its regional agenda. Referenda are now taking place in three English regions on the desire for an elected regional assembly and unitary local government. These developments will be watched carefully, in particular by this Associationís representatives on the Local Government Regional Forum: Councillors David Gillett (Havant) and Tony Jackson (Test Valley, Chairman of the Association).

7. The Association has assisted the LGA with the "regional relationships project" detailed on the LGAís Regional Bodies website (see under "about the LGA" on their home page). This gives some basic information about the rather complex regional arrangements now developing within England.

A VOICE FOR HAMPSHIRE AND THE ISLE OF WIGHT

8. 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).

9. 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 those within the Criminal Justice system are arranged on this basis. GOSE has a Hampshire and Isle of Wight directorate represented on the Chief Executivesí Group. This Association is the voice for local government in the dialogue with GOSE, regional and sub-regional agencies.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

10. Following a presentation to the Association by the Regional Assembly and H/IoW Strategic Housing Officersí Group, the Association held a major conference on the subject at Winchester Guildhall on 28 October 2003. The event was co-chaired by Councillors Elizabeth Cartwright and Michael Woodhall. Hampshire County Councilís report "Affordable and Key Worker Housing Provision: Defining the Issues" is given on our website. This subject continues to be a major concern despite the many initiatives to tackle the problem.

OTHER WORK DURING THE YEAR

11. The Association discussed and developed policies across our area on the following subjects (not mentioned elsewhere in this report):

Civil Contingencies Bill

Hampshire Compact

Sewer Flooding

Council Tax on Second Homes

Hampshire Material Resources Strategy

Supporting People

Customer Services Development

Hampshire Water Strategy

Economic Development and Economic Partnership

Nursing Care Investment Strategy for Hampshire

Election Issues

Regional Housing Strategy

A FORUM FOR ELECTED MEMBERS

12. 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 outgoing Chairman, Tony Jackson, has instituted a regular "five-minute slot" at meetings to ensure that elected Members can keep a handle on future agenda and raise matters of concern.

ORGANISATION AND COSTS

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. The Association employed one full time Director, 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 Chief Finance Officer, Paul Wilkinson, is the Associationís Honorary Auditor

Date: July 2004

Last update: 07/07/2004
Author: Nick Goulder, Director

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