Headlines: October 12th, 2000

A vision of public services taking an holistic approach to problem solving has been set out in a consultation paper published by the Department for Environment Transport and Regions. The paper, prepared by a team form ten central departments, the Number 10 Policy Unit and the Local Government Association, sets out a path that should lead to compatible objectives, agreed priorities for the allocation of resources and a pooling of valuable and diverse expertise.The big idea underlying the proposal is the setting up of Local Strategic Partnerships to bring coherence to the patchwork quilt of ‘stand alone’ initiatives which continue to emerge from central departments. The Partnerships would bring developments such as health, education and employment actions zones under a single local umbrella so that they could be linked together and integrated better with mainstream services. They would also provide an umbrella for the many joint working arrangements currently in place such as the Crime Reduction Partnerships.

The area covered by a Local Strategic Partnerships will be decided locally, but it will be wide enough to allow strategic choices whilst allowing a focus on a particular school, primary care group or job centre. Its members will include representatives from public services including: health, education, police, Probation Service, Employment Service, Benefits Agency, social services, local council, housing providers and the Regional Development Agency; and from the community, voluntary and private sectors.

Strategic partnerships, such as New Commitment to Regeneration Partnerships, are already in place in some areas and it is expected that they can be readily converted to Local Strategic Partnerships. Elsewhere, local councils will be expected to convene meetings of all potential players to agree on the way forward.

Responses to the consultation paper are required by 14 November 2000.

The paper is available at: www.regeneration.detr.gov.uk/consult/partship/pdf/local.pdf

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