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Local Authorities: Members

Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance she has issued on whether local authorities should invite local hon. Members to (a) area forums and (b) Strategic Partnership Board meetings; and if she will make a statement. (125724)

The current non-statutory LSP guidance issued in 2001 does not prescribe a role for local hon. Members, instead it states that

“the membership, structure and scope of an LSP should reflect both its aims and the breadth of issues that fall within its scope. The precise membership of any partnership will depend on local circumstances and priorities; but LSPs will only be effective if their core membership includes the public, private, community and voluntary sectors”.

The expectation in relation to informal area forums covering a subsection of a local authority area would also be for the membership to be determined locally.

However, as I emphasised in the recent Commons Committee debate on the Local Government and Public involvement in Health Bill (22 February 2007), the role of Members of Parliament in LSPs and local area agreements in particular is rising up the policy agenda. Members of Parliament have unique experience both of the issues faced by local people and an understanding of the key national priorities and as such their involvement in LAAs will be critical.