Hampshire Senate Marks Its Successes
Wednesday 27 February 2013
Joined-up public services, working together to deliver high quality, coordinated, efficient and effective local services for the people of Hampshire this has been among the key successes of the Hampshire Senate as it marks almost five years of work.
Set up in 2008, the Hampshire Senate was established as a voluntary affiliation to advise and make recommendations to its member and associate member authorities, who are the Leaders of Hampshire County Council and most Hampshire borough and district councils, Chief Constable of Hampshire Police, the Chairman of the Hampshire Fire Authority and Chief Fire Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service. The Chairman of NHS Hampshire, the Hampshire Association of Local Councils and the New Forest National Park Authority are also members. In addition, there are seats for Southampton and Portsmouth City Councils, the South Downs National Park Authority, the voluntary and community sector, the Armed Forces, the Enterprise M3 and Solent Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), and the Federation of Small Businesses (Wessex region).
Since its creation, the Senate and its members have played a key role in overseeing, coordinating and supporting strategic development that has seen the partners deliver positive outcomes around key themes such as reducing road fatalities in Hampshire, reducing teenage conception rates, improving school attendance and cutting antisocial behaviour.
In addition, the Senate has provided a way to bring together member organisations and allowing them to share expertise, support and learning. By breaking down barriers between partners providing Hampshire's services, members have also been able to discuss priorities and create continued positive dialogue to help support wider collaborative working. This forum for discussion and partnership has helped to underpin and reinforce a variety of projects. These include; identifying support for Hampshire's economy during the recession, Hampshire's long term future infrastructure needs, the development of public service hubs such as the Havant Public Service Plaza and Ringwood Gateway, shared IT arrangements between East Hampshire District and Havant Borough Councils to deliver savings and more joined-up public services, as well as ongoing collaborative working to successfully reduce Hampshire's carbon footprint and a wide variety of health and wellbeing issues.
There has been specific success through the achievements of the Senate's Insulate Hampshire initiative, with over 18,600 free loft and cavity wall insulation measures installed in over 13,900 Hampshire homes to save residents over £92million in their fuel bills. The Senate-backed Project 500 scheme to identify and deliver affordable rural housing has already seen the first new homes occupied in Breamore, and the importance of faster broadband speeds is recognised as crucial by Senate partners, who are match-funding a project to connect thousands of Hampshire homes and businesses in future.
Chairman of the Hampshire Senate, Councillor Ken Thornber, said: 'Financial pressures on the public purse continue as a result of ongoing reductions in Government funding, so rather than each of our organisations working individually to develop solutions, it makes sense that in these tough economic times, we combine our knowledge and expertise to help protect the delivery of ongoing high quality, and cost effective public services to the people of Hampshire. This is the objective of the Senate, and one of its real successes to date has been around creating this important structure that allows us to work at a strategic level and discuss the issues that matter to people's wellbeing and quality of life in the county, and develop best practice so we can improve outcomes for all. It is particularly encouraging that the Senate has also been recognised as an example of how councils are making a success of joined-up working, with positive acclaim received from Government and other local authorities across the country.
'The last five years have seen some very positive results for the Hampshire Senate and building on our well-established partnerships, Senate members remain committed to its principles of successful collaborative working in future. Specifically, the Senate will continue its work towards improving the lives of almost 1,600 troubled Hampshire families by 2015, as well as supporting the county's ageing population and the support and help that they will need in future to live and age well in Hampshire.'