Headlines: November 30th, 2001

A new survey suggests that councils are using partnership working and consultation techniques as key tools in getting to grips with their new statutory duty of community leadership.A Local Government Association survey among councils has revealed that many are embracing the new duty to produce community strategies.

More than half of the councils in England and Wales took part in the survey, and of these, nearly 80 per cent of councils expect to have their community strategy published by March 2002, with the remainder published by March 2003.

Community leadership means building better vision and direction for a council’s area, by listening to and involving local people and working more effectively with local partners. It has always been an unspoken role of councils but was created a legal duty in October last year.

Councils are also supporting their enthusiasm with cash, despite no extra government funding to help them prepare their strategies. The research revealed that just under 30 per cent of authorities were preparing to spend more than 50,000 pounds on the project.

The LGA hopes that councils have performed sufficiently promptly to ensure the new governance role is further bolstered in the forthcoming local government white paper.

A copy of the report, Follow the leaders, can be found on the research pages of the LGA’s website at www.lga.gov.uk\lga\research