Headlines: July 11th, 2002

For the first time, national and local government representatives have been able to agree a set of shared priorities for the improvement of local services.The seven shared priorities, which include raising the standards across schools, transforming the local environment and meeting local transport needs, will focus the efforts of Government and councils for improving public services.

They will also influence the service delivery targets to be set in the national public service agreement (PSA) for local government.

The publishing of the shared priorities fulfils a commitment made in the White Paper – Strong Local Leadership – Quality Public Services – to define a single list of main aims for local government.

The priorities were agreed at the first Central Local Partnership (CLP) meeting since John Prescott’s return to take responsibility for local government policy.

Surprisingly, this is the first time such a list has been agreed despite the CLP being in existence since 1997 as a means of strengthening links between all Government departments and councils.

The key priorities are:

– Raising standards in schools

– Improving the quality of life of children, young people, families at risk and older people

– Promoting healthier communities

– Creating safer and stronger communities

– Transforming local environment

– Meeting transport needs more effectively

– Promoting the economic vitality of localities.

The Government is committed to putting in place a national Public Service Agreement (PSA) for local government, although it will be delivered through individual local PSAs and by implementation of Best Value.

The shared priorities can be found at www.local-regions.odpm.gov.uk/lpsa/index.htm