Headlines: April 10th, 2001

Local crime and disorder partnerships are to be given 220m pounds over three years to disrupt local drug markets and drug-related crime. This is the latest development in the move towards relaxing the grip of Whitehall and pushing responsibility for responding to complex issues down to the community level. The Communities Against Drugs package, which is backed by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, will target resources at those areas that need it most, reducing crime, creating safer neighbourhoods and giving young people a positive alternative to drug misuse. The new funding will be used to provide high visibility policing of drug hotspots, increase the number of neighbourhood wardens, and give support to parents and residents groups. There will also be funds to improve security including CCTV and street lighting and to provide for extra truancy sweeps.Another example of the trend to delegate to the local level was the recent invitation to some 80 areas of the UK to become one of the 15 pathfinders in Neighbourhood Management. The National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal provides for core services to be managed at local level and the pathfinders will test new approaches to delivering regeneration through bottom-up Neighbourhood Management.

The framework for translating the aims of central departments into local action is currently being built up. Local strategic partnerships, which are being put together now, will provide an umbrella organization for existing partnerships, such as those for crime and disorder and for public bodies and voluntary and community groups and businesses. The strategic partnerships will have increasing freedom to tackle local issues, such as drug abuse, social exclusion and neighbourhood renewal.