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This response from the Association may be supplemented by individual responses from member authorities. The Association represents all local authorities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight apart from Southampton City Council.
Issue 1 - Electoral Colleges
We would like to see the South Central electoral college merge with that for the South East. We feel that the area of the Government Office for the South East is too large for one electoral college. The establishment of two electoral colleges in the GOSE area, one for Thames Valley and one for the emerging six county confederation (Hampshire and the Isle of Wight through to Kent) would best reflect sub-regional structures.
In this context it is important that the LGA should recognise the South East Regional Forum (SERF) as the regional structure for the South East outside London. All communications with the regional electoral colleges should be copied to the SERF regional secretariat currently based at East Sussex County Council.
Issue 2 - Consultation on Corporate Policy Issues
The LGA paper proposes that two or three members or officers from each region might attend briefings at the LGA. In our case each local Association should be briefed and represented. Two or three from each college could not adequately feed back on corporate policy issues to all the authorities across either the whole SERF region or some of the larger "petals". LGA consultation on policy issues should focus on the local associations (there are nine such associations in the SERF region). The LGA held a very good briefing on Regional Development Agencies, attended by representatives from across the whole of England. Three officers attended from this Association and were able to provide effective feedback. The meeting did not seem too large.
We would normally like to be able to send two representatives from Hampshire and the Isle of Wight authorities to corporate policy briefings.
We have welcomed the proposal of the LGA Economic Regeneration Committee to meet in and consult the six-county confederation (Ailsa Blair has the details). This six-county area should be the electoral college and should be consulted by service committees.
Issue 4 - Feedback
We believe that wherever possible feedback should be to the local associations such as this Association. Where local associations do not have a member on a major LGA Committee, feedback should be to local associations via the electoral college.
There must be no bar on individual LGA members representing their own views to the LGA. However this Association will encourage members to share their views with other members so that representations are co-ordinated. Where a particular authority, eg an urban unitary or a county council, has a particular point to make which is only relevant to that type of authority, we would encourage them to share their views with similar authorities elsewhere in the country.
Issue 6 - National Policy Work
This Association and the South East Regional Forum would be prepared to help develop national policy on behalf of the LGA. However we would be particularly keen to develop policy of direct relevance to the South East eg policy on ports or the Strategic Defence Review. Moreover we would suggest that the LGA needs to involve more members in its national policy development. It could achieve this by drawing in members and officers not currently on main committees and not just from one region, to help with particular time-limited studies.
Issues 7 and 8
We do not have any other specific suggestions for improvement. However we do commend the "regional contacts" work of our contact Ben Clayden.Issue 9
Formal recognition would help to consolidate the arrangements for inter-action between LGA members and with the LGA.
It would help develop relationships if the electoral colleges were to agree short formal reports to the LGA, and to SERF.
|Author:||Nick Goulder, Policy Manager|
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