Memorandum by Kingston Upon Hull City
Council (LGA 18)
1. A DUTY FOR
The City Council has embraced this duty and
is intending to produce a Community Strategy in April. This has
been a collaboration effort involving a wide-ranging stakeholder
group (over 80 organisations) brought together in a Local Strategic
Partnership. This partnership has identified the key challenges
facing the City over the next 15-20 years. It has just received
Over the next 12 months it will be devising
multi-agency action plans at both citywide and neighbourhood level
to address these, and to particularly tackle severe deprivation
in many of our neighbourhoods. The duty has resulted in all involved
focusing on the interrelationship of problems, and thereby the
solutions of multiple deprivation and decline. Linkages between
the causes and between the actions to bring about an urban renaissance
are actively been sought.
The power of well being will be helpful as the
power of first resort, but in addressing some of the City's problems
of environmental and physical decay (particularly within the private
housing sector) further powers will be required. Where the number
of empty properties are counted in thousandsand risingand
negative equity is a real problem for many households, current
powers (and resources) for renewal and especially compulsory purchase
Central Government will need to play its part
in enabling the Council and its partners to work together in order
to bring about an Urban Renaissance by introducing new powers,
providing new resources and changing the tax regime (particularly
in relation to green field/brown field development). By doing
so value can be added to the Council's use of the well-being power
to improve the quality of Hull's communities.
In addition it will be important to work with
the East Riding of Yorkshire Council. With very tight administrative
boundaries, the city Council cannot deal with the City's issues
in isolation. It is important for both Council's to view these
issues and their solutions within the content of the City region.
Of particular importance will be a joint approach to planning
for new housing development.
2. NEW ARRANGEMENT
The City Council anticipated the main provisions
of the Act by moving to a Cabinet/Leader model in 1999. It also
introduced Scrutiny and Area Committees at that time. Consequently,
as a pioneer, it has had to forge its own path, learn and adapt
as it progressed. On the whole the new arrangements have worked
well, although sheer volume of matters that the Executive has
had to deal with at times has resulted in a dilution of its strategic
The new constitution (just introduced) with
greater powers of delegation to individual Portfolio Holders and
Area Committees should enable the Executive to focus on the key
strategic agendas the Council and the City faces. The Cabinet
model means that these are being considered in a more linked,
inclusive and rounded way than under the previous system. Similarly
the Area Committee structure has enabled the emphasis on neighbourhood
service delivery and regeneration to be more sensitive to local
needs. This needs further development under the new constitution.
Additionally the Area Committees, and particularly Ward and Neighbourhood
Forums, have resulted in increasing community involvement.
It is too soon to comment on how the new constitutional
arrangement will work in detail, and the development of the Forward
Plan and understanding of key decisions is only at an early stage.
The Scrutiny process is working reasonably well.
Arrangements are currently being reviewed to address some raised
concerns. Training is being organised for new members and to reflect
additional responsibilities with health. Some members (and officers)
will remain resistant to modernisation.
Recently two elected members have been added
to the existing independent committee. The impact of the new national
Standards Board is not yet clear. It is probably too early to
comment at the moment.