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Groups quitting local strategic partnerships

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Influential organisations such as regional development agencies and community groups are deserting local strategic partnerships, new government research has revealed.

A survey of 222 LSPs conducted by the Department for Communities & Local Government found evidence of a “significant reduction” in the participation of such organisations between 2006 and 2008.

While the police and health bodies such as primary care trusts are partners in nearly 100% of LSPs surveyed, participation by RDAs has fallen from 45% in 2006 to 30% in 2008.

The Learning & Skills Council was a partner in 81% of LSPs surveyed in 2006 but in 2008 was present in just 67%.

For Jobcentre Plus, the figure fell from 45% to 30% and the involvement of community networks fell from 53% to 39%.

The report claimed that having seen a period of expansion after being set up in 2002, LSPs were now focusing on “core organisations”.

Rachel Litherland, national adviser for partnerships at the Improvement & Development Agency, said the findings needed to be taken with a pinch of salt as they were compiled 12 months’ ago.

“I think some LSPs have set up public service boards with their core partners and then forums to involve wider partners so it’s unclear whether the survey has picked that up,” she said.

“We are still seeing some really big barriers in the way of most areas pooling budgets but we hope that’s where Total Place provides a window of opportunity.”

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