The Council recently received a request from the Audit Commission to submit key documents in advance

The Council recently received a request from the Audit Commission to submit key documents in advance

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Cumbria Strategic Partnership – Story So far 1) Background 2) Sub Regional Strategy 3) CSP Support Team 4) Achievements 5) Local Area Agreement 6) CPA Peer challenge Report 7) Appendices 1) Letter from Paul Holme – Learning and Skills Council 2) Minutes of January 2002 Meeting 3) May 2004 Minutes Extraordinary Meeting – Change from Management Board to Executive Board 4) Constitution 5) Sub Regional Strategy 6) October 2004 Minutes – launch of Sub Regional Strategy 7) April 2005 Minutes – launch of Sub Regional Strategy Action Plan Launch 8) Regional Economic Strategy Response 9) August 2005 minutes – Discussion of RES and Cumbrian Priorities 10) Sub Regional Spatial Strategy 11) October 2005 Minutes – Launch of Spatial Strategy 12) Cumbria Vision Strategic Plan Response 13) Nuclear Decommissioning Response 14) Police Structure Review 15) ODPM Local Strategic Partnership Consultation Response 16) Response from David Mclean MP th17) Minutes of April 5 Full Partnership meeting 18) Letter to ODPM & Others 19) World Heritage Site Letter 20) LAA Newsletter Issue 1 Issue 2 Issue 3 21) List of CSP Partners 22) CSP Structure & LSP Links Page 1 of 8 Introduction In the 4 years since the CSP was formally established as the strategic partnership for Cumbria, it has developed into a countywide partnership of significance and influence. It is able to speak with a single voice for the County, aiming to impact on both Regional and National ...

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Cumbria Strategic Partnership – Story So far
1)
Background
2)
Sub Regional Strategy
3)
CSP Support Team
4)
Achievements
5)
Local Area Agreement
6)
CPA Peer challenge Report
7)
Appendices
1) Letter from Paul Holme – Learning and Skills Council
2) Minutes of January 2002 Meeting
3) May 2004 Minutes Extraordinary Meeting – Change from Management Board to
Executive Board
4) Constitution
5) Sub Regional Strategy
6) October 2004 Minutes – launch of Sub Regional Strategy
7) April 2005 Minutes – launch of Sub Regional Strategy Action Plan Launch
8) Regional Economic Strategy Response
9) August 2005 minutes – Discussion of RES and Cumbrian Priorities
10) Sub Regional Spatial Strategy
11) October 2005 Minutes – Launch of Spatial Strategy
12) Cumbria Vision Strategic Plan Response
13) Nuclear Decommissioning Response
14) Police Structure Review
15) ODPM Local Strategic Partnership Consultation Response
16) Response from David Mclean MP
17) Minutes of April 5 Full Partnership meeting
th
18) Letter to ODPM & Others
19) World Heritage Site Letter
20) LAA Newsletter
Issue 1
Issue 2
Issue 3
21) List of CSP Partners
22) CSP Structure & LSP Links
Page 1 of 8
Introduction
In the 4 years since the CSP was formally established as the strategic
partnership for Cumbria, it has developed into a countywide partnership of
significance and influence. It is able to speak with a single voice for the County,
aiming to impact on both Regional and National policy development and at the
same time encourage and expect service delivery across the county to be
aligned towards agreed shared objectives.
A letter received in April 06, summarizes one partner’s views of this success.
APPENDIX 1
Background
The Cumbria Strategic Partnership (CSP) was established during 2001 when the
existing Cumbria Sub Regional Assembly responded to a need to broaden its
remit and membership to become more inclusive and responsive to wider
strategic issues facing Cumbria. It was recognized that increasingly Cumbria
needed to think and speak with a single voice and to be clear about its strategic
priorities, particularly when influencing policy development within the North West
region and beyond. At the same time the Local Government Act 2000 required
each Local Authority to develop a Community Strategy and it was considered
appropriate that the emerging CSP could provide the necessary partnership
forum for this purpose, working closely with the County Council.
The first full meeting of the CSP took place in January 2002 Minutes Appendix 2.
Initially the CSP comprised a partnership of some 50 partners, all with a
countywide, or in the case of Districts a local, strategic role. Partners included,
Cumbria County Council, each of the six District Councils and the four Local
Strategic Partnerships (LSPs). (NB There are now five LSPs in Cumbria,
following the independent development of Carlisle LSP and Eden LSP,
formally Carlisle and Eden LSP)
To begin with, a Management Group was able
to provide advice to the full Partnership which was the decision making body. In
May 2004 an Extraordinary Meeting took place where the Partnership decided to
replace the Management Group with the Executive Board Minutes Appendix 3.
Following this meeting the Constitution was amended to reflect the changes in
the management structure. The Constitution outlines what is expected from
partners - Constitution Appendix 4.
The CSP is the strategic interface between key countywide organisations and
provides a partnership voice for Cumbria. It is developing as a central information
sharing forum, providing opportunities for partners to debate issues of
countywide significance. Recent important presentations have been given on the
emerging University of Cumbria, on the serious economic situation facing West
Cumbria and Furness and on the current structural changes facing a number of
organsiations; for example,
the Primary Care Trusts, the Constabulary and the
Learning and Skills Council.
Page 2 of 8
Inevitably, some critics have suggested that the CSP is only a talking shop, but in
many ways the CSP provides the only opportunity for partners, who would not
otherwise have been engaged or well informed about the facts behind some of
these decisions, to consider issues of critical countywide importance. In many
ways this opportunity for open debate coupled with an Executive Board that is
poised for action is one of the strengths of the CSP and increasingly the Support
Team is being approached by partners and other colleagues, seeking a place on
a forthcoming agenda.
Sub Regional Strategy
The Sub Regional Strategy, Sustainable Cumbria, Appendix 5,
was launched in
October 2004, Minutes Appendix 6, and the supporting Action Plan, Minutes
Appendix
7,
was endorsed in April 2005. Agreement on the Action Plan required
partner organizations, for the first time, to consider how shared countywide
priorities should be supported by their own organisations. Individual budget and
service planning now needed to be aligned, and this has been useful learning as
we embark on the development of the Local Area Agreement.
In addition to influencing partner activity within the sub region of Cumbria, the
CSP and the SRS are central to influencing policy development at a regional
level. Strategic clarity about the priorities for the county enables Cumbria to seek
to ensure that these are properly considered during the development and
consultation of the Regional Economic Strategy (RES) Response appendix 8 and
Minutes detailing discussion of response Appendix 9, The Regional Spatial
Strategy (RSS), the Regional Transport Strategy (RTS), and the Regional
Housing Strategy (RHS). A Sub Regional Spatial Strategy was published in
September 2005 Appendix 10 and Minutes of launch Appendix 11
and provides
the spatial framework to achieve the goals set out in Sustainable Cumbria. The
document is based around three agreed spatial objectives:
To reduce the dependency for high level services/jobs on towns
outside Cumbria
To increase the complementary nature of key towns
To develop and maintain high quality modern transport networks
This was the first time a sub region had produced a spatial strategy that was able
to represent the spatial requirements of the county in order to achieve its
strategic objectives.
This innovative work was applauded by David Higham, of
GONW, when he spoke at its launch.
The Executive Board
This Board meets eight times a year and is the decision making body of the CSP.
It is inclusive in nature, comprising all seven Leaders of the Local Authorities and
all five LSP Chairs. It also has a representative from each of seven important
Page 3 of 8
sectors of interest; criminal justice, housing, jobs, business, health, education,
environment.
The membership of the Executive Board will be reviewed at intervals and
currently discussions are taking place to decide how best the Executive should
interact with the emerging Thematic Partnerships and their Leads/Chairs
supporting the development of the LAA.
CSP Support Team
A small support team for the CSP has now been established. This has the
responsibility for managing the business of the CSP, and its Executive Board,
and importantly for supporting the implementation of the Action Plan of the SRS.
The CSP continues to seek to avoid duplication of activity, and to recognise and
share examples of good practice. The CSP Team works closely with all partner
organisations, and with the LSP Coordinators, and has regular one to one
meetings with partners, as far as is possible. The establishment of a small,
centrally located CSP office now has provided a good location for small
countywide meetings, and has underlined the independent nature of the CSP role
and “brand”. An open culture is encouraged and CSP partners are always
welcome to call in to the office and currently it is providing an excellent location
for many of the LAA development meetings.
All partners are listed on the CSP website;
www.cumbriastrategicpartnership.org.uk
Where possible logos and links to partner websites are provided.
Now that this is
in place, all CSP agendas and minutes are openly available for both the CSP full
meetings and the Executive Board. The Constitution, the SRS and the Spatial
Strategy are also there as is all the supporting information for the LAA. Partners
are being encouraged to use the website as a central countywide information site
and to date it has received 208 hits since the launch on January 12
th
2006.
Equality and Diversity, Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure
Forum and a new Rural Forum.
The CSP is also working to build even greater awareness of the need to make
sure that policy takes account of the diverse nature of our population and is
responsive to specific needs and pressures.
An Equality and Diversity Task Group has now aligned the activity of a group of
colleagues focused on equality and diversity issues with the activity of the CSP.
The intention is to provide opportunities for effective interaction between those
with first hand knowledge and those engaged in, for example developing the
LAA. A series of Challenge Days is proposed which will allow developing
Outcomes Frameworks to be challenged from a variety of perspectives.
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Work is also progressing on supporting the development of a countywide
Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure Forum which will provide a
mechanism for the effective strategic intervention of this up until now
unconnected sector at the strategic level. Similarly early discussions have taken
place to support the development of a Rural Forum.
Achievements
Mention has already been made of the recognition of the value of full CSP
meetings, bringing together a range of partners which would not otherwise have
the opportunity to learn from each other. However, the CSP has gained the
authority to provide comment or articulate concern on behalf of the whole county.
Several responses have now been made to the Region and to Central
Government on behalf of Cumbria, following debate at either CSP meetings or
the Executive Board.
Examples of the CSP responding on behalf of the county include;
Cumbria Vision Strategic Plan Response January 06 Appendix 12
Nuclear Decommissioning Response date Appendix 13
Police Structure Review - December 2005 Appendix 14
ODPM Local Strategic Partnership Consultation Response - March 2006
Appendix 15
Achieving consensus in responding to documents is challenging and the CSP
acknowledges that individual Partner organizations may respond on specific
points. The CSP’s response to the Police Structure review was welcomed by the
Chief Constable as it set out clearly what the key issues for Cumbria are and
enabled the Constabulary to set out their response to the Home Office.
Several other letters have been sent from the Chair of the Partnership to external
bodies. These responses have been based on the agreed shared priorities for
the county. Recent meeting have taken place between the Cumbria MPs and the
Chair and CSP Manager, and now correspondence of countywide importance is
copied to Cumbrian MP’s to make them aware of the work undertaken by the
Partnership. .David McLean MP has been particularly supportive of the work of
the CSP and sent this recent letter.
Response from David Mclean MP Appendix 16
Examples of letter to external bodies include:
Letter to various government departments outlining the concerns about the
loss of high value jobs, public sector relocation, Cumbria proofing, and the
ability of Cumbria to influence policy at a regional level. Appendix 17
Page 5 of 8
Letter to Lake District National Park Authority regarding:
o
Planning Approach & Partnership Working Appendix 18
Developing the Local Area Agreement (LAA) for Cumbria – the Cumbria
Agreement
Cumbria County Council is now required to work in partnership to develop a
Local Area Agreement for the county. As the Accountable Body, Cumbria County
Council needed to be satisfied that the final agreement was developed effectively
and had the support of all partners. It was agreed that the CSP could provide the
best mechanism for supporting the development of the LAA and currently work is
being done to evolve six Thematic Partnerships linked to the CSP which will
develop the four blocks of the LAA and provide crosscutting support, ensuring
that all partners are engaged and that the final agreement addresses the agreed
countywide priorities
Local Area Agreements (LAAs) are a new way of working, to improve the
effectiveness and efficiency of the way government works with local authorities
and their partners to improve public services. The process is designed to deliver
national outcomes in a way that reflects local priorities. A range of government
funding streams will, in future, be brought within the framework of the LAA. There
will be more flexibility about how this funding is used; and a reduction in
bureaucracy. LAAs encourage partnership working to deliver outcomes for a
specified area. The development of a LAA is potentially problematical, and
effective communication, trust and openness are essential factors. The CSP has
reached a level of maturity as a partnership now to provide a good catalyst for
the necessary discussions and will jointly negotiate the agreement with Cumbria
County Council and GONW. In addition, the SRS, Sustainable Cumbria, already
provides a clear summary of the priorities for the county and as such provides an
essential starting point for LAA negotiations.
LAAs are divided into four blocks:
Children and Young People;
Healthy Communities and Older People;
Economic Development and Enterprise; and
Safer, Stronger Communities.
The Thematic Partnerships of the CSP enable the key partners under each
heading to work together to develop a set of outcomes and performance
indicators. Each thematic Partnership will be responsible for agreeing one part of
the strategic framework which together will form the Local Area Agreement
for Cumbria or the Cumbria Agreement. The draft LAA will then be endorsed on
behalf of Cumbria by the members of the CSP Executive, following final approval
of the organisational implications of the Agreement being given by individual
Page 6 of 8
partner organisations. The development of the LAA will simultaneously support
the development of a refreshed SRS.
A further key achievement for Cumbria is the creation of the year one Safer and
Stronger Communities agreement, which was launched by David Higham from
Government Office North West at the April 5
th
Full Partnership meeting, Appendix
19, Minutes of meeting. The CSP was integral to developing this agreement,
helping to shape the structure of the Thematic Partnership and providing links to
the full partnership for consultation.
This part of the Local Area Agreement went
live in April 2006 and the CSP is currently helping to manage an effective
approach to implementation.
The CSP is also leading on external communication for the development of the
Local Area Agreement for Cumbria. A Communication Strategy is in place, key
contacts in each partner organisation have been identified and regular
newsletters are being produced and circulated. The Newsletters are available on
the CSP website for ease of access Appendix 20.
The CSP is also facilitating
LSP area based events which will raise awareness of the LAA. Specific
workshops focused on the Voluntary and Community Sector will help improve the
engagement of this important sector. Further events are planned for November
2006 where delivery of the LAA can be discussed.
CPA Peer challenge Report
Further acknowledgement of the effectiveness of the CSP and its effective
relationship with Cumbria County Council can be found in
“The Mock Joint Area Review in January 2006” which included the following
statement;
“Engagement with the Cumbria Strategic Partnership (CSP) is well established
and influential. External partners are complimentary about the role taken by the
Council and the way that priorities are becoming aligned. The CSP is seen as a
transformed forum for constructive debate with Council representatives providing
sound contributions and leadership by the modelling of good behaviours. This
has led to improved relationships more generally and a more welcoming
atmosphere for Council representatives engaged in partnership”.
Taken from Cumbria County Council CPA Peer challenge Report
Conclusion
In the four years since its inception, the CSP has become an important forum for
Cumbria. It successfully combines debate and discussion, the introduction of new
ideas, collaboration, and support. It has the authority to speak with a single voice
for the county, representing the public, private and voluntary sector. It has good
relationships with the LSPs in the county and has managed to clarify its role with
a complex two tier situation. By respecting the principle of subsidiarity the CSP
Page 7 of 8
has facilitated a way forward that has allowed countywide priorities to be agreed
which take account of the diverse nature of Cumbria.
Much work has still to be done and the CSP is continuously evolving, but
partnership working in Cumbria is considered to have achieved a maturity and
effectiveness that was not in place a few years ago.
Sonya Frankland
Partnership Officer
Sue Stevenson
CSP Manager
2
nd
May 06
Page 8 of 8