Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Memoranda

Memorandum by Kingston Upon Hull City Council (LGA 18)


  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 accreditation.

  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 thousands—and rising—and negative equity is a real problem for many households, current powers (and resources) for renewal and especially compulsory purchase are inadequate.

  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.


  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 approach.

  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.

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Prepared 22 April 2002