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BIGGER ROLE FOR LOCAL PARTNERS IN NEW LOCAL SERVICE AGREEMENTS

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A bigger focus on local priorities for improvement compared to national ...
A bigger focus on local priorities for improvement compared to national

targets and a greater emphasis on involving local partners within and beyond

local government to improve services for local people were revealed as two

main developments in future Local Public Service Agreements today.

At a joint Local Government Association and ODPM conference, local government minister Nick Raynsford launchedthe government's guidelines for pilot

authorities for the second generation of LPSAs - individually agreed targets

between a council and central government to improve services in its

community.

In an attempt to build on the successes of the first round of LPSAs,

launched in 2000, the second stage will allow councils the flexibility to

negotiate around topics which are most important to their area, rather than

have to fit around national targets.

Councils will be encouraged to work closely with their local partners, such

as Local Strategic Partnerships, the police and primary care trusts to agree

a target which they can work together on to deliver real improvements in

their neighbourhoods.

There will also be a bigger role to play for district councils who will be

expected to be one of the main partners in LPSAs in shire counties. Second

generation agreements are unlikely to be agreed by central government if

they do not substantially involve district authorities.

Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, vice-chairman of the Local Government Association

said: 'Community safety, housing, health improvement and education are among

the major concerns for local residents. These issues are both complex and

inter-related. They have to be addressed in strong partnerships across the

public sector and with the voluntary, private and community sectors. The

Public Service Agreement round two will empower local councils to lead in

new public/private sector partnerships to tackle these vital quality-o f-life

issues.

'In PSA2, local government is committed to setting ambitious targets which

are locally owned. We now need all departments across central government to

share this commitment and award the freedoms and flexibilities we need to

deliver improvements to our local communities.'

Since the launch of LPSAs, 1,155 targets have been agreed between councils

and central government, and 1,000 freedoms have been granted.

The LGA is urging local authorities to become even more ambitious with the

targets they set and the freedoms they ask for in the next round.

Changes to the second generation of LPSAs include:

- Establishing as a starting point for LPSAs an agreement between the

council, its partners and government on the local priorities for

improvement

- There is no national menu of targets from which LPSA targets must be

selected.

- There is scope for LPSAs to be drawn up covering a wider area than just

one local authority

- A greater role for district councils as key partners in LPSAs

- The opportunity for local authorities to explore more ambitious and

radical agreements

NOTES

1. Copies of the LGA's publication 'Building on success' which outlines the

LGA's vision for the second generation of LPSAs is available on the

publications section of the LGA website. This also features case studies of

previous successes.

2. The guidance document for the second generation of LPSAs will be launched

at the conference. Copies will be available from the ODPM website at

www.odpm.gov.uk

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