Headlines: February 28th, 2006

An online discussion forum has been launched so people with an interest in the future of local strategic partnerships and other local government issues can feed their views into the final week of consultations on the future of LSPs. The forum is a pilot and its success is being evaluated by the Hansard Society as part of a Department for Constitutional Affairs project looking into the use of information and communication technology by central government.People are being invited to give views on five questions from the consultation and the forum offers them the chance to discuss other LSP-related topics. The forum – Ispforum.net will continue after Friday’s deadline for the consultation as part of the wider e-democracy exercise.

Visitors to the forum are being asked specifically about the role of LSPs and Sustainable Community Strategies, Local Area Agreements and Local Development Frameworks and, about the governance of LSPs, their capacity and accountability. The idea is that stakeholders can discuss a number of the issues likely to feature in the proposed White Paper on Local Government. LSPs are the first topic and will be followed by others over the next few months. The Government’s view is that the partnerships are central to the delivery of effective Local Area Agreements and to the development of strong local leadership and devolved decision-making.

Evaluation of the discussion forum will form part of a report to be issued in the summer to inform the way information and communications technology is used as a platform for dialogue between citizens, elected representatives and political institutions.