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Paper 3 -  26 November 2004 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE & ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Minutes of the Association meeting held at Winchester City Council on 24 September 2004 at 10.00 am.

Present:

Basingstoke and Deane

Councillor B Gurden

G Holdcroft (Chief Executive)

East Hampshire

Councillor E Cartwright (Chairman)

Councillor A Pattie

W Godfrey (Chief Executive)

Eastleigh

Councillor D Airey

Councillor C Thomas

R Tambini (Deputy Chief Executive)

Fareham

Councillor S Woodward

Councillor R Price

A Davies (Chief Executive)

Gosport

Councillor P Edgar

Councillor I Binfield

Hampshire

Councillor A Rice

Councillor M Woodhall

J Rees-Evans (Head of Economic Development)

N Gibbins (Assistant County Treasurer)

Hart

Councillor S Parker

J Samuels (Chief Executive)

Havant

Councillor K Moss

G Andrews (Managing Director)

New Forest

Councillor M Holding

D Yates (Chief Executive)

Portsmouth

Councillor T Blair

Rushmoor

Councillor J Marsh

A Lloyd (Chief Executive)

Southampton

Councillor A Vinson

R Smith

Test Valley

Councillor I Carr

R Tetstall (Chief Executive)

E Gault

Winchester

Councillor S Campbell

Councillor T Evans

S Eden (Chief Executive)

Hampshire Association of Parish and Town Councils

Councillor J Pittfield

Hampshire Fire and Rescue

D Howells

Councillor M Cartwright

Association of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Authorities

D Allen (PA to Director)

Also in attendance:

Standards Board for England

P Hughes CBE (Deputy Chair)

P Hoey (Head of Policy and Guidance)

Local Government Association

Councillor M Robinson

38.04 WELCOME

The Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Cecily Sutton, welcomed all those present to the meeting.

39.04 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor G Hood (Basingstoke and Deane); Councillors K House and P Wall (Eastleigh); Councillors K Thornber and B Wheeler (Hampshire); Councillor S Wallis (Hart); Councillor D Gillett (Havant); Councillors H Rees and S Smart (Isle of Wight); Councillor M Kendal (New Forest); Councillor P Shaddock (Portsmouth); Councillor P Moyle (Rushmoor); Councillor A Jackson (Test Valley); R Tulloch (Community Action Hampshire); K Dufton (Eastleigh Community Services); N Goulder (HIOW); C Byrne (GOSE); S Hudson (HAPTC)

40.04 STANDARDS BOARD FOR ENGLAND

The Chairman introduced Patricia Hughes CBE (Deputy Chair) and Paul Hoey (Head of Policy and Guidance) of the Standards Board for England.

Patricia Hughes gave a presentation on the work of the Standards Board which provided an overview of the Board’s role, key functions and membership. She pointed out that Councillor Louise Bloom of Eastleigh Borough Council was a member of the Board.

The presentation covered:

ˇ The number of complaints received by the Board since it was established in March 2001
ˇ
The type of authorities about whom allegations had been received
ˇ
The nature of the complaints
ˇ
The criteria for determining whether complaints should be investigated
ˇ
The number of cases investigated and their outcomes
ˇ
The sanctions imposed
ˇ
Good indicators
ˇ
Room for improvement - including, in particular, the way the Standards Board was addressing delays in the time taken to conclude investigations
ˇ
Where to next?
ˇ
Improving the ethical environment
ˇ
Conduct - we all have a part to play
ˇ
Keeping in touch.

Ms Hughes and Mr Hoey received feedback and answered questions and concerns from those present which focussed on:

The need for better guidance from the Board particularly in helping members understand what constituted a conflict of interest. A clear understanding on this point would be important in relation to the new Licensing Panels. The subject of prejudicial interests was also a concern especially where members were voted onto councils on the back of local issues and were then precluded from debating those issues.

The general feeling that members required more information and guidance from the Standards Board. Paul Hoey explained that at present information was routed through Monitoring Officers. However the Board was planning to send a quarterly newsletter to Chief Executives who would be asked to pass relevant information onto members.

Patricia Hughes felt that members needed support through training but that it would be difficult for the Board to assist with training while also carrying out its regulatory role.

A number of views were expressed reflecting differences in the extent to which members felt that the work of the board was of value. However, members welcomed receiving information on the work of the Board.

Patricia Hughes requested further feedback and action from local authorities. She drew attention to consultations which would take place in autumn 2004 on a new Code of Conduct for Local Government. Councils were also urged to prepare for the new power to investigate complaints locally. They would need to plan and resource for this additional function and provide guidance and support to their Monitoring Officers.

The Chairman thanked Patricia Hughes and Paul Hoey for their presentation.

41,04 BROADBAND DEVELOPMENTS

The Chairman introduced John Rees-Evans (Head of Economic Development, Hampshire County Council) who gave a short presentation on Broadband and its impact on the growth of the local economy.

The presentation focussed on:

ˇ The benefits of broadband
ˇ
The Hampshire Broadband Forum
ˇ
Why a Partnership was required and its remit
ˇ
Work underway at present
ˇ
The future
ˇ
How member of HIOW could help. In particular Mr Rees-Evans encouraged those present to attend a conference in Winchester Guildhall on 3 December.

Mr Rees-Evans reported that Gross Domestic Product per head in Hampshire was below the regional average, highlighting a need to guard against complacency. Broadband had the potential to impact significantly on economic development but the take-up rate was only 12% against a regional average of 14%. Consideration was also given to Mr Rees-Evans’ report on Broadband developments.

Mr Rees-Evans answered questions and concerns from those present including:

Councillor Sheila Campbell (Winchester) who emphasised Hampshire’s economic position and the importance of Broadband.

Concerns regarding the high cost of Broadband and that fact that many disadvantaged people were unable to afford it. Efforts to date to bring prices down were not working. Concerns were also expressed about connection difficulties in some areas of the county.

Mr Rees-Evans acknowledged these difficulties and assured members that accessibility was a key concern of the Partnership. The Partnership would be looking into funding for deprived areas.

Basingstoke and Deane felt there were a number of other factors which impacted upon economic performance and which would need to be considered.

Mr Rees-Evans offered to make a presentation to HIOW on economic development in general.

The Chairman thanked Mr Rees-Evans for his presentation.

RESOLVED

(1) That Members recognise the significant contribution which use of broadband technologies can make to social and economic success in Hampshire, the Cities and the Isle of Wight;

(2) That member authorities work closely through the Partnership Forums set up to ensure close and cross border collaboration;

(3) That where appropriate to the needs of their area, member authorities engage in the "Broadband PPP" through direct financial participation and/or the work of their Officers; and

(4) That Members work to extend participation in the programme across all of Hampshire and the Cities, and the Isle of Wight.

42.04 MINUTES

The minutes of the annual meeting held on16 July 2004 were agreed as a correct record. Arising out of minute 33.4 (Accredited Community Safety Officers) the Chairman reported that the Police Authority had applied to the Home Office to fund 50 Community Safety Officers.

43.04 APPOINTMENTS TO OUTSIDE BODIES

Consideration was given to a report by the Director which gave the up to date position regarding appointments to outside bodies.

The Chairman reported that Councillor David Welch had replaced Councillor Francis Williams on the Hampshire Health Review Committee.

The Chairman reminded members that reports-back from those appointed to outside bodies could be placed on the Association’s website and asked that members make use of this facility by sending them to Diane Allen at HIOW.

RESOLVED

(1) That membership of the Appointments Panel be confirmed; and

(2) That the appointments set out in the Annex be confirmed.

44.04 HAMPSHIRE PENSION FUND

The Chairman introduced Nick Gibbins, Assistant County Treasurer, who introduced the County Treasurer’s report on this subject. The report focussed on the draft Funding Strategy Statement, annexed to the report, which had been prepared by the County Treasurer and the Fund’s actuary. It had been prepared in accordance with the regulations which took effect in April 2004 which required local authority funds to prepare such statements by 31 March 2005. Comments were invited which should be passed to the County Treasurer by Friday 15 October.

Mr Gibbins answered questions and concerns from those present

More information was requested concerning the investments strategy. It was requested that regular reports back be made to HIOW on this issue.

RESOLVED

That members of the Association consider the draft circulated and pass any comments to the County Treasurer by Friday 15 October 2004.

45.04 CHANGE OF NAME FOR THE ASSOCIATION

Consideration was given to a report by the Director on this subject.

A change of name had initially been suggested at the 2003 Annual Meeting but was not approved at that time. At the 2004 Annual Meeting Councillor Ken Thornber had requested that the matter be raised again.

After discussion and voting it was:

RESOLVED

That the name of the Association be changed to the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Local Government Association.

46.04 FIVE MINUTE SLOT AND FUTURE AGENDA

Consideration was given to a report by the Director which set out items for discussion at the next Association meeting.

The Chairman requested that a discussion on the South East Plan be included in the January agenda following receipt of the consultation paper (scheduled for after Christmas) and if appropriate, a joint response be made by this Association on the consultation paper.

RESOLVED

That the report be noted.

47.04 DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The next meeting of the Association would be held in the New Forest District Council offices at Appletree Court, Lyndhurst at 10.00 am on 26 November 2004.

Last update: 16/11/2004
Author: Nick Goulder, Director

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