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Issue:- 09 September 2010

Atlantic Gateway moves a step closer

ON 8 September 2010, plans to create a special delivery vehicle to take forward the Atlantic Gateway concept were widely welcomed, following a meeting between Local Authority Leaders and Peel Holdings. This new vehicle will work closely with and be accountable to the three sub-regional LEPs (Cheshire and Warrington, Greater Manchester and Liverpool), once these are formed. This approach means that there is no requirement for a separate AG LEP.

Atlantic Gateway is an outstanding opportunity for collaboration across the Manchester to Liverpool area with the potential for driving over 100,000 new private jobs on the back of £50 to 75bn of private sector investment.

The Leaders were clear and unanimous in their view that a Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) based on Atlantic Gateway would be unnecessary and counter productive. Together with Peel they have agreed with Peel that there should be a vehicle established accountable to the three LEPs take forward the exciting, unique and innovative opportunity offered by Atlantic Gateway. Although the governance arrangements for such a vehicle have still to be agreed and are likely to include representatives from the 3 LEPs and key private sector interests in the area.

In today’s global economy, business is no longer reliant simply on what goes on in a local context, but also on infrastructure and innovation both nationally and internationally, as reflected in the Atlantic Gateway strategy already agreed by Local Authority Leaders.

Atlantic Gateway is a wide thematic framework based on issues best dealt across the wider geography but is also based upon ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support private sector growth. Peel Holdings and other substantial firms in the area have a strong part to play in this.

Leaders considered the widely reported LEP submission by Peel to Government and have agreed with Peel that a joint ambition should be the creation of a new vehicle, with collaboration between the 3 LEPs in the area and the private sector focussed on delivering the strategy.

It was agreed that, given the rapidly changing policy environment it was vital not to lose momentum on an Atlantic Gateway strategy and collaboration which has the potential to become, working with the LEPs, an agent for transformational change – helping to rebalance the UK economy with Manchester and Liverpool at the heart of a resurgent North.

John Merry, Chair of the Atlantic Gateway Leaders Group said:- “We’ve come a long way in the North West in recognising that we work better together than alone – take the strength of partnership within AGMA for example. It is a big leap to break down old rivalries and join forces, and this is what Atlantic Gateway is all about. It is critical that we keep this important collaboration on track and in line with other developments in the region. We need to ensure that whatever is created complements the activities of the three LEPs rather than being in the position of competing for resources. We agree that this should not be a LEP but a new vehicle which has a clear remit to work together with the 3 LEPs in the area on the fundamental economic issues which span boundaries. I’m sure Government will like the innovation that the public and private sector in the North West is showing through Atlantic Gateway and we see no reason why Peel’s underlying plans, in particular, those on Finance and Community Funds, should not be given very careful consideration.”

John Whittaker said:- “We are pleased that the Atlantic Gateway leaders endorse our ideas to create a specialist delivery vehicle within the new LEP framework proposed by HM Government to bring forward the large scale and long term investment required to address some of the deep rooted issues we face including rebalancing the UK economy in favour of the North and encouraging new investment on a significant scale.”

Consultation over the transformation of social care

CONSULTATION on the transformation of social care in Liverpool is moving forward with the creation of an independent group to make sure the plans reflect the views of people who receive services.

In June, the city council announced proposals for a major shift in emphasis in the way services are delivered - focused on meeting people’s individual needs, rather than having to choose from a fixed menu of social care services.

It follows the introduction of “Putting People First”, a government initiative which has already led to a huge number of people opting to use direct payments to choose the care they receive, leading to a huge drop in demand for in-house services such as day centres.

A major consultation event is being held at St George’s Hall on Wednesday, 8 September 2010, giving service users, carers, families and other people interested in adult social care services the opportunity to have their say.

It will include a series of discussions about what people would want from a new service, how it should be delivered and what buildings are needed.

People will be invited to nominate themselves for a place on the Independent Group, which will co-ordinate and deliver future consultation events, communicate the outcome of discussions and oversee the commissioning of an independent evaluation of the process.

Councillor Roz Gladden, Cabinet member for adult health and social care said:- “What we are proposing is a really big change that will completely transform the way in which people access and receive care in Liverpool, and that is why we really want those affected to let us know what they think and be involved.  We completely understand that people will be nervous and anxious about it, but we are committed to working closely with them during the consultation process and beyond to explain exactly what it will mean for them. This Independent Group will have no representation from the city council on it and that is because we want to give people confidence that the process is as open and transparent as possible.”

Under the new-look service, 12 day centres and three residential care homes will be amalgamated to become six new “Health and Wellbeing Supercentres" in neighbourhoods across the city.

Three would provide round-the-clock emergency response services, while the remainder would provide intensive health and social care support for people leaving care and those with complex needs, as well as a range of community services.

The council has already approved plans to invest £1.5 million in the first wave of the new Health and Wellbeing Centres. Sedgemoor Care Home in Norris Green will become a round-the-clock unit and Lime Court Day Centre in Kensington will be a community hub, open 12 hours per day, seven days a week.

Draft plans following the discussions will be drawn up in January and the consultation programme will be completed next March (2011).  However, communication will continue through the three years it will take to deliver all of the changes.

Director for Children, Family and Adult Services, Stuart Smith, said:- “Doing nothing is not an option and the changes we are planning are accelerating a process which is actually already underway.  People are already voting with their feet and the demand for our traditional services has been shrinking for several years.  We simply must respond to that and change the way we operate, to deliver the type of services our residents want.”

Overall, it is expected there will be a significant increase in the number of people being supported.

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