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By Emma Parsons ...
By Emma Parsons

Consultation has begun on the shared set of priorities for central and local government outlined in the white paper.

Councils have been asked to comment on a draft set of targets agreed by the Local Government Association and senior civil servants. They have also been put out to consultation with ministers.

The LGA is planning detailed talks with leading members before the next central/local partnership meeting on 20 March when further discussion on the priorities will take place.

The association is keen to hear members' views on the draft list, which it recognises needs further work.

The concept for the shared priorities was put forward by the association in its Partnerships for ambition paper published in October (LGC, 19 October 2001). The idea is to clarify the areas councils should be concentrating on and to commit the government to supporting them in these areas.

In the long term the LGA hopes the list will provide a coherent framework for inspection and performance assessment.

Association director of strategy and communications Phil Swann said: 'It's as much about securing central government support to help local councils deliver their priorities as it is about local government helping central government deliver its agenda.'

He stressed the association would be looking for 'tangible benefits' for councils and that local authorities were not obliged to meet their part of the deal if results were not forthcoming.

Responses should be sent to Mark Stevenson at the LGA by 15 March.

Draft List of Shared Priorities

-- Raising standards across schools by helping all schools match the excellence of the best, sustaining improvement in primary schools, and transforming secondary schools

-- Improving the quality of life of children and families at risk - by tackling child poverty, maximising the life chances of children in care or in need, and strengthening the protection available for all children at risk of abuse

-- Promoting healthier communities by tackling the causes of health inequalities, particularly during childhood and between groups with particular health needs and between deprived and other communities

-- Creating safer and stronger communities by reducing crime and the fear of crime, strengthening social cohesion and tackling drug abuse

-- Transforming our local environment by improving the quality of our public space and housing conditions and supply

-- Meeting local transport needs more effectively by improving local road networks and bus


-- Promoting the economic vitality of localities by supporting business improvement, providing the right conditions for growth, improving adult skills, and helping the hardest to reach into work.

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