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The role to be played by councils as leaders of their local communities will be the subject of a major conference b...
The role to be played by councils as leaders of their local communities will be the subject of a major conference being held by the Welsh Local Government Association this week.

Community Leadership: Building Partnerships for Developing Communities is the title of the association's annual conference, which takes place on September 9-10 in Swansea. The conference will launch the association's consultation paper on Community Leadership and Community Planning, and will act as a forum for discussions on some of the major issues involved in defining community leadership.

The WLGA is proposing that all forms of government in Wales should work in advance of primary legislation by creating community plans based on partnerships between the public, private and voluntarty sectors. The aim is that all organisations which are active in local communities should share an understanding of local needs and plan together for action which is effectively coordinated to meet those needs. The role of local authorities is to lead these partnerships, bringing people to together to meet real needs on the ground - ensuring that Wales leads in developing 'joined-up' government.

'The purpose of the conference and consultation paper is to find out how we can best perform our role as leaders of our communities,' says Harry Jones, leader of the WLGA.

'Local authorities already work with a multitude of organisations and groups within their area, and on a national basis with the assembly. We now want to make sure that the relationship we continue to develop with our partners is both inclusive and constructive, so that we can fulfil our role as community leaders as effectively as possible.'

Speakers at the conference will include Alun Michael, first secretary of the national assembly; Jeremy Beecham, chair of the LGA; Peter Law, assembly secretary for local government; and Ruth Hall, chief medical officer for Wales. Representatives of the voluntary sector, the town and community councils, health authorities and organisations involved in developing the economy of Wales will also speak to the conference and take part in a panel discussion.

Feedback gained from the conference, and responses to the consultation paper will inform a 'White Paper' to be published by the association later in the year. The association is hoping that a wide range of organisations, groups and individuals will give their views on community leadership and community planning.

The government outlined its proposals for local authorities to take on the role of community leadership in the Local Voices White Paper published by the Welsh Office in July 1998. Tied in with the role of community leader is a proposal for local authorities to have a statutory duty to promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of their communities, and to produce Community Plans setting out how this will be pursued.


Thursday 9 September

11.00amRegistration and Coffee

12.00pmPlenary Session 1: Launch of the Consultation Document on Community Leadership

Chair: John Hopkins, Deputy Presiding Officer of the WLGA

- Welcome by the Lord Mayor of Swansea

- Alun Michael MP AM

- Harry Jones


2.00pmPlenary Session 2: Partnerships in Communities

Chair: Harry Jones

- Jeremy Beecham, Chair of the LGA

- Peter Law AM, Assembly Secretary for Local Government and the Environment

- Marjorie Dykins, Chair of the Wales Council for Voluntary Action

- Mair Stephens, Chair of the Wales Association of Town and Community Councils

- Mike Hedges, Association Spokesperson on Social Affairs and Leader of the City & County of Swansea


3.45pmWorkshop Session 1

to 5.00pm

1AObjective One and community regeneration

1BInclusion: learning and information

1CCommunity planning: the rural perspective

1DSocial inclusion and equality

1ECommunity planning, children and young people

7.00pmCivic Reception & Conference Dinner

Civic Reception at the Maritime and Industrial Museum hosted by the City & County of Swansea.

8.00pmConference Dinner at the Swansea Marriott Hotel, with Peter Stead, political commentator, broadcaster and historian, as after dinner speaker.

Friday 10 September

9.30amPlenary Session 3: Partnerships in Health and Well-being

Chair: Plaid Cymru Member (TBC)

Jane Hutt, Assembly Secretary for Health & Social Services

Ruth Hall, Chief Medical Officer for Wales

Jan Williams, Chief Executive of Iechyd Morgannwg Health

Wayne Griffiths, Chair of Menter Cwm Gwendraeth

Alan Watkin, Chief Leisure Libraries and Culture Officer, Wrexham CBC


11.30amWorkshop Session 2

2AInclusion: leisure and culture

2BCommunity health and partnership

2CMethods of community consultation

2DCommunity planning: housing and regeneration

2ECommunity planning and sustainable development


2.00pmPlenary session 4: Partnerships in the Economy

Chair: Meryl Gravell (Coalition Group)

Val Feld AM, Chair of Assembly's Economic Development Committee

Panel discussion with:

Brian Willott, Chief Executive of the WDA

Adrian Webb, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glamorgan

Ken Jones, Chair of CBI Wales

Paul Rowson, Director of Business in the Community Wales

David Jenkins, General Secretary of Wales TUC

Meurig Royles, Co-ordinator of the North Wales Economic Forum.

3.30pmClose of Conference

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