Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Memorandum by Gloucestershire County Council (RG 72)


  Gloucestershire County Council is committed to partnership working across a multitude of service areas, and in particular the areas now identified under Local Area Agreements ie economy, young people, safer and stronger communities, healthy living and older people.

  Our pattern and successes in partnership working have been reliant upon partners serving the same population base, usually just Gloucestershire.

  We would not pretend that the current arrangements are simple, or even make sense to the community, but we have made them work. We are particularly concerned by the trend towards quasi regionalisation of the services of our major partners. This situation is occurring in the following areas:

    —  Merger of Police forces.

    —  Merger of Ambulance Trusts.

    —  Regionalisation of Fire Control.

    —  Regionalisation of Learning and Skills Councils.

    —  Regional control of Business Links.

  In contrast, we believe the current proposals to create a single Primary Care Trust for Gloucestershire, coincident with our Children's Service and Adults Social Care responsibilities, will create better opportunities for co-ordinated service delivery.

  For many of our services to make sense to our customers require co-ordination across partners. Successful multi-sector working often requires the pooling of budgets. This is often seen as a brave step, but is realistic where we share the same customer base, and money cannot leak out. The chances of such working with regional partners is dramatically reduced, particularly where we cannot yet even identify the governance arrangements for such bodies. If just one partner was subject to change, the impact may well be manageable, but with the wholesale change that we are witnessing, as listed above, we face a serious setback in the challenge of providing and leading joined-up public services for Gloucestershire.

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