Headlines: November 2nd, 2000

Parts of the public sector have been brought under severe pressure by the recent abnormal weather, and a unique cross-sector gathering has agreed to urgently define and respond to the lessons to be learned.The Central Local Partnership was formed three years ago to discuss issues which cut across several Whitehall departments – and local government.

It is chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and attended by Cabinet and other key Ministers and leading members of the Local Government Association.

It has met to discuss current pressures and agreed that the country’s infrastructure needs to be more robust, and that planning and preparation needs to be more rigorous.

The two sides will meet again next month to share their individual assessments of what is required, with a view to seeking clear conclusions at a strategic level about what needs to be done