Headlines: January 20th, 2010

The Home Office plans to set up ten Pathfinder areas to trial Neighbourhood Agreements on community safety and justice between police, councils and residents. The Pathfinders will require police, councils and other agencies to agree service standards with local residents and the residents will be able to hold them to account.

The agreements will allow residents to have a say in how issues are tackled, build better relationships with local service providers, understand better what services they are entitled to and how they can be improved. Communities which win the right to sign the first Neighbourhood Agreements will be able to help target the crime and anti-social behaviour that matter most in their local areas.

Selected pathfinders will be supported by an experienced Delivery Manager and assisted with local communications and publication. A launch workshop event will take place in March and will provide full briefing on developing and maintaining a Neighbourhood Agreement and opportunities to learn from those with experience.

The agreements are based on the experience of the Department for Communities and Local Government in developing community contracts across a wide range of services in England, for example on local environmental issues such as litter, graffiti, fly-tipping and street lighting.

Joint applications from local councils and police forces will be considered by a cross-departmental selection panel, which will pick the ten pathfinder areas. They will then be independently evaluated before the scheme is introduced in other areas across England and Wales in Spring 2011.

Local authority areas, estates, neighbourhood policing team areas, crime and disorder reduction partnerships and community safety partnerships can apply to become Neighbourhood Agreement Pathfinders. Applications close on January 29. 2010 and the ten pathfinder areas will be confirmed in February 2010.