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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 09/11/2006
WAVERLEY LOCAL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP



Summary & Purpose
The Local Government White Paper, Strong and Prosperous Communities, places Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) at the centre of a locally focused, strategic commissioning role for local government in the future. This paper informs Members of the current LSP arrangements in Waverley, and proposals for the ongoing evolution of the body. It also highlights key development considerations pertaining to governance, transparency and accountability.

APPENDIX I
Waverley Borough Council

EXECUTIVE - 9TH NOVEMBER 2006

Title:
WAVERLEY LOCAL STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

The Local Government White Paper, Strong and Prosperous Communities, places Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) at the centre of a locally focused, strategic commissioning role for local government in the future. This paper informs Members of the current LSP arrangements in Waverley, and proposals for the ongoing evolution of the body. It also highlights key development considerations pertaining to governance, transparency and accountability.

Environmental implications:

Sustainability is a direct concern of the Local Development Framework, and identified in the White Paper as a key cross-cutting theme for LSPs to address.

Social / community implications:

If the LSP is to strengthen its role as a cross-sector community voice, it will need to quality assure the extent of its representativeness, both in terms of membership composition and in terms of its protocols for consulting with stakeholders.

E-Government implications:

This report has no direct e-government implications.

Resource and legal implications:

The LSP has identified a set of risks that it potentially faces as its new work programme evolves, most of which are common to LSPs nationwide. The body will require ongoing support to evaluate such risks and ensure that appropriate mitigation is in place.

Community Strategies

1. The Local Government Act 2000 introduced a requirement on local authorities to prepare Community Strategies that cover the geographical areas they serve.

2. The Community Strategy (now referred to as a ‘Sustainable Community Strategy’) sits at the top of the hierarchy of strategic plans for any given area. Produced in extensive consultation with local communities, these documents should provide a prioritised overview of the issues most important to residents within the catchment of the local authority.























Figure 1: The Strategic Plan Hierarchy

3. Operating at the same level in the hierarchy is the Local Development Framework, which Government guidance stresses should be ‘the spatial expression of the Community Strategy’.

4. Priorities identified within the Community Strategy are often not limited to the delivery responsibilities of any one public sector agency. Strategies and operational plans within individual agencies will clearly need to take account of their statutory responsibilities and operational imperatives.

5. However, the White Paper sets out an expectation to incorporate, as a minimum, the core content of the following documents into the Community Strategy:

LDF Core Strategy
Housing Strategy
Homelessness Strategy

6. As a general principle, all public sector organisations should make every effort to align their plans with the broad goals of the Community Strategy.

7. The Waverley Community Strategy (www.waverley.gov.uk/lsp/communitystrategy.pdf) was published in 2003, and is due for revision in the near future under best practice. The document sets out eight priority themes for the Borough, which are:

Transport, highways and related issuesPolicing and community safety
Planning and environmentLocal economy and local services
HealthCommunications and democratic accountability
HousingPromoting social inclusion

Local Strategic Partnerships - Background

8. Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) are the preferred method of co-ordinating the production of Community Strategies, and providing strategic oversight for their delivery.


9. A typical LSP in a district council area will meet between four and six times annually, and will include representatives of:

District CouncilThe Primary Care TrustOlder people
County CouncilThe community and voluntary sectorChildren and young people
Town / Parish CouncilsThe education and skills sectorLocal NHS Trusts
The PoliceThe business communityMedia organisations
The Fire AuthorityFaith communitiesGovernment Offices

10. LSPs were created as statutory requirements in the 88 areas that were originally in receipt of Neighbourhood Renewal Funding (‘NRF’). Elsewhere, convening LSPs was voluntary – although the vast majority of local authorities chose to do so, as the most effective way to discharge their responsibilities in respect of Community Strategies.

11. In two-tier areas, LSPs operate at both district and county level. The recent White Paper, Strong and Prosperous Communities, places a statutory obligation on upper-tier (county) authorities to consult on and produce Local Area Agreements, which are (funded) delivery plans for their Sustainable Community Strategy.

12. The relationship between district and county LSPs is not, however, hierarchical, and varies from county to county. There is, however, a direct relationship between the LAA and the bodies that constitute district-level LSPs – these bodies will have a duty to have regard to the targets of the LAA, and support their delivery.

13. The White Paper states an expectation that [all] “LSPs should be the overarching strategic partnership [for their area], bringing together a manageable number of key thematic partnerships to deliver the priorities agreed in the Local Area Agreement and Sustainable Community Strategy”.

The Waverley LSP

14. Relative stability of structures, co-terminosity of operational boundaries, and often significantly higher levels of partnership funding have meant that the LSPs in NRF and unitary areas have tended to be the most effective and productive. The Waverley LSP has encountered some difficulties in establishing and enacting its role in light of the absence of these factors in Waverley - most notably with some partners facing up to radical organisational change in recent times.

15. The importance attached to the future role of LSPs in the White Paper has made a review of the structure in Waverley a timely exercise, designed to strengthen its role and capacity to deliver.

16. To that end, the Waverley LSP Executive was recently reconstituted, with agreement of a Terms of Reference for its operation, election of a new Chair, and a commitment to review the thematic subgroup structure and work programme that operates beneath it.

17. The Terms of Reference (attached as Annexe 1) were agreed by all Partners on the Waverley LSP in June 2006, with the exception of Dr Andrew Povey and Mr Dave Johnson, both of Surrey County Council. The new Chair of the Waverley LSP is Jean Roberts-Jones, Chief Executive of Surrey Community Action. The new Vice Chair is Ken Kent, representative of the Waverley Business Forum.

18. A review of the thematic subgroups below the LSP is now underway, as part of a process to establish a framework to:

Assess achievements against the existing Community Strategy
Formulate consultation on a revised Sustainable Community Strategy

19. Early agreements made by the LSP in respect of the review centre on the delivery of the work programme around four subgroups, broadly covering the following areas (although final titles for these groups are yet to be established):










Health and social inclusion Crime and disorder reduction Sustainable natural and built environment Economy and skills
Development Priorities for Waverley LSP

20. An immediate priority for the LSP is to map its work programme and work programme proposals to the outcomes identified in the LAA. The proposed structure of thematic partnerships will map well to the four ‘themes’ of the LAA, and should facilitate this endeavour. This piece of work will need to be supported by a meaningful and accessible performance management process.

21. Partnership governance is a key risk for local authorities, especially where partnerships move from a purely strategic model to encompass delivery or commissioning functions. Waverley LSP has begun to consider key risks, and the development of risk assessment will be a major part of its short-term work programme.

22. The White Paper also states that, in order to improve democratic accountability, the LSP will need to incorporate elected Members routinely into its thematic subgroups, with an expectation of representation from the relevant portfolio holders at meetings. It will also be necessary to consider scrutiny arrangements for LSP decisions.

23. In response to the strategic commissioning and t-government agendas, the LSP will also be expected to be at the vanguard of innovative and cross-boundary working. Waverley LSP has resolved to meet with Guildford LSP on 19th December 2006, to discuss possible pilot projects that may benefit from a united approach.

Conclusion

24. To date, the Waverley LSP has provided a fit-for-purpose mechanism by which to deliver the Council’s statutory responsibilities in respect of Community Strategies, and to facilitate strategic dialogue between the key partners in the Borough.

25. The changing agenda, set out most recently in the White Paper, places LSPs at the heart of local authorities’ new strategic leadership role. In order to remain fit-for-purpose, the LSP will need to change and evolve.

26. Such evolution cannot happen and, indeed, would not be legitimate, without the support and commitment of Members. It is therefore critical that Members are kept abreast of the LSP work programme, and this briefing report is the first of many regular progress updates, that will also highlight the major implications for Waverley Borough Council arising from the LSP’s agenda.

Recommendation

The Executive is asked to note this report.

Background Papers (MD)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICERS:

Name: Chris Ash Telephone: 01483 523148
E-mail: cash@waverley.gov.uk

Name: Anne Bott Telephone: 01483 523145
E-mail: abott@waverley.gov.uk

Comms/exec/2006-07/178