This note commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department for Transport examines the emerging governance issues of Local Strategic Partnerships. The research indicates that councillors see the LSP as strengthening the consultation process, but are afraid of losing powers to the LSP. If there were to be ‘power creep’ towards the LSP, conflict might result. In contrast to other representatives on the LSP, elected representatives have a unique role in carrying responsibility for the overall balance of governance in an area and it might be helpful to see them as ‘first among equals’. Backbench councillors may need support to help them to develop their community leadership role. To ensure that community representatives on LSPs truly represent their communities, it may be necessary to establish voting systems or support mechanisms to enable them to hear from and report back to their communities.Similar issues arise in the case of business; there may be tensions within the business sector and issues of conflict of interest. Questions of legitimacy and accountability also apply to other public agencies on LSPs, and to the voluntary sector and faith representatives. The representation of certain groups on an LSP does not absolve the LSP or the council from consulting and learning from those groups – nor does the individual have to necessarily ‘carry’ responsibility for reaching the wider group. LSP members may need support to carry out their roles well. They should be encouraged to think about their governance roles and talk about their shared responsibilities, rather than simply attend meetings.
The Note is available at: http://www.odpm.gov.uk/stellent/groups/odpm_localgov/documents/page/odpm_locgov_028894.pdf