Headlines: March 28th, 2002

Local Strategic Partnerships were designed to bring joined up government to the sharp end of service delivery, but many are failing to deliver. Abandoned cars can provide a useful barometer of how well a partnership is performing because cross-agency co-operation is required for faster removal.Partnerships are part of the Government’s wider reform agenda to improve the quality and responsiveness of public services. They bring together at a local level the different parts of the public sector including councils, the health service, central departments as well as the private, business, community and voluntary sectors. Up to 40 public bodies may be providing services in any one locality and the partnerships have to find ways to bring it all together so that people receive a seamless service.

After more than a year in operation answers are still being sought to such questions as who should sit on the partnership? How should the partnership be structured and how can they be made more effective?

It is now recognized that the growth in partnerships of different kinds has become counter productive – there are just too many. In the extreme there may be over 100 partnerships doing similar things in one locality. Local government Minister Nick Raynsford is committed to reducing the number of partnerships that central government require. The Home Office and the Department of Health plan to merge Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships and Drug Action Teams as a contribution to reducing bureaucracy. Local Strategic Partnerships are now being urged to look again at the partnership map in their locality.