Local Government Reform Act 2014

44.

Local economic and community plan

44. The Principal Act is amended by inserting the following sections after section 66:

“Interpretation (sections 66A to 66H)

66A. In the relevant sections—

‘Committee’ means a local community development committee established pursuant to section 49A;

‘Plan’ has the meaning assigned in section 66B;

‘relevant sections’ means sections 66A to 66H.

Local economic and community plan

66B. (1) Each local authority shall make, in accordance with section 66C and any regulations made, or general policy guidelines issued, by the Minister for the purposes of that section, and the principles of sustainable development, a 6 year local economic and community plan (in this section referred to as the ‘Plan’), which shall be referred to as the ‘Local Economic and Community Plan’, prefixed by the name of the local authority concerned, and the Plan shall be for—

(a) the promotion of economic development in its functional area, and

(b) the promotion of local and community development in its functional area.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), promotion of economic development includes but is not limited to—

(a) creating and sustaining jobs,

(b) promoting the interests of the community, including—

(i) enterprise and economic development across economic sectors,

(ii) foreign direct investment,

(iii) indigenous industry,

(iv) micro-enterprises and small and medium sized enterprises,

(v) tourism, and

(vi) agriculture, forestry and the marine sectors, and other natural resource sectors,

(c) identifying local attributes that are essential—

(i) to enhancing local economic performance, such as the quality of the environment and the qualities of cities, towns and rural areas, including—

(I) accessibility, physical character, and infrastructure,

(II) employment opportunities and quality of life,

and the means by which these may be utilised to enhance competitiveness, and be supported by investment decisions relating to economic infrastructure (including transportation, water services, energy, communications and waste management), together with social and cultural facilities, and

(ii) to promoting local economic activities,

(d) supporting enhancement of local innovation capacity, including investment in research and development capacity, technology transfer, up-skilling and re-skilling,

(e) identifying, for existing and prospective businesses, opportunities to engage with local government on relevant matters in setting up and managing their businesses and to ensure speedy and co-ordinated access and response,

(f) identifying local strengths and opportunities, weaknesses and deficiencies relevant to economic performance and—

(i) in relation to such strengths and opportunities having regard to economic and employment trends, the means of maintaining and augmenting them, and

(ii) in relation to such weaknesses and deficiencies, the means of addressing or rectifying them,

and

(g) identifying economic potential and the requirements to realise it.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (1), promotion of local and community development includes, but is not limited to—

(a) promoting and supporting the interests of local communities, or any part of a community or group within a local community, including measures to enhance quality of life and well-being of communities and measures aimed at—

(i) tackling poverty, disadvantage and social exclusion through support for basic services and other initiatives,

(ii) supporting training and up-skilling, creating and sustaining employment and self-employment opportunities, and investing in local development through community-focused supports and services, and

(iii) the provision of infrastructure and community facilities and investment in physical regeneration and environmental improvements,

(b) supporting the capacity of local communities to improve their quality of life,

(c) supporting social enterprise, social capital, volunteering and active citizenship,

(d) developing integrated and evidenced-based approaches to local service planning and delivery,

(e) identifying the needs and priorities of local communities to enhance their well-being, and developing sustainable solutions that make the best use of local assets, strengths and opportunities to address those needs and priorities,

(f) exploiting and co-ordinating funding sources from the public, private and community and voluntary sectors to stimulate and support local development and sustainability, and

(g) promoting, supporting and facilitating community involvement in policy development and decision-making processes related to the planning, development and delivery of services.

(4) Every Plan made pursuant to subsection (1) shall be consistent with—

(a) the core strategy and the objectives of the development plan (being the development plan for the purposes of Chapter I of Part II of the Act of 2000) of the local authority concerned, and

(b) any regional spatial and economic strategy or, as appropriate, regional planning guidelines (being a strategy or guidelines for the purposes of Chapter III of Part II of the Act of 2000),

that apply to the area of the Plan, and shall consist of a written statement which may include objectives for the sustainable development of the area of the Plan.

(5)(a) Without prejudice to subsections (2) and (3), the Plan to which subsection (1) relates shall include and integrate—

(i) economic elements in respect of local economic development, and

(ii) community elements in respect of local and community development.

(b) Each local authority shall, without prejudice to and, in accordance with section 66C and any regulations made or policy guidelines issued by the Minister for that purpose, draft the economic elements of the Plan.

(c) Each Committee shall, without prejudice to and, in accordance with sections 66C and 128B and any regulations made or policy guidelines issued by the Minister for that purpose, draft, adopt and obtain approval for the community elements of the Plan.

Preparation and making of local economic and community plans

66C. (1) A local authority and a Committee shall, in preparing the economic and community elements of a Plan, have regard to—

(a) the need to integrate sustainable development considerations into the Plan,

(b) the resources, wherever originating from, that are available or likely to become available to it for the purpose of the Plan and the need to secure the most beneficial, effective and efficient use of such resources,

(c) the need for co-operation with, and the co-ordination of its activities with those of other local authorities, public authorities and publicly funded bodies, the performance of some of whose functions affect or may affect the local authority and the Committee,

(d) the need for consistency with the policies and objectives of the Government or any Minister of the Government or other public authority in so far as they may affect or relate to the promotion of economic and community development as provided for in sections 66B(2) and 66B(3), and

(e) the need to integrate the economic and community elements, developed in accordance with the provisions of subsections (2) and (3), into the Plan.

(2)(a) Each local authority in developing the economic elements of the Plan shall, in accordance with regulations made by the Minister under section 66H—

(i) consult with members of the public (in this subsection referred to as a ‘public consultation process’) by publishing a public notice (which notice may be given by means of the internet or otherwise) inviting them to make observations or other submissions in writing to the local authority in relation to its proposed development of those elements of the Plan and, in relation to the observations and other submissions so made—

(I) prepare and publish a report on them, and

(II) have regard to them when preparing the economic elements of the Plan,

(ii) consult with those public authorities and publicly funded bodies exercising functions that, in the local authority’s opinion, have a contribution to make or are making to economic development within the functional area of that local authority, and

(iii) consult with any person or body prescribed by regulations made by the Minister under section 66H.

(b) Following consultations in accordance with paragraph (a), the local authority concerned shall submit a draft of the economic elements of the Plan for consideration—

(i) in respect of each municipal district concerned, by the municipal district members, and

(ii) by the regional assembly for the region within which the local authority is located pursuant to section 43 of the Local Government Act 1991,

and each shall adopt a statement on the draft for consideration by the elected council of that local authority and by the Committee.

(c) The consideration of the economic elements of a draft of the Plan by the regional assembly, the municipal district members, in accordance with pararaph (b), and the Committee, in accordance with section 128B(1) (h), shall relate to its consistency with—

(i) the core strategy and the objectives of the development plan (being the development plan for the purposes of Chapter I of Part II of the Act of 2000) of the local authority concerned,

(ii) any regional spatial and economic strategy or, as appropriate, regional planning guidelines (being a strategy or guidelines for the purposes of Chapter III of Part II of the Act of 2000), that may apply, and

(iii) the community elements of a draft of the Plan submitted by the Committee in accordance with subsection (3)(b).

(d) The adoption by the municipal district members of a statement under paragraph (b) is a reserved function.

(3)(a) The Committee, in developing the community elements of the Plan shall, in accordance with regulations made by the Minister under section 66H—

(i) consult with members of the public (in this subsection referred to as a ‘public consultation process’) by publishing a public notice (which notice may be given by means of the internet or otherwise) inviting them to make observations or other submissions in writing to the local authority in relation to its proposed development of those elements of the Plan and, in relation to the observations and other submissions so made—

(I) prepare and publish a report on them, and

(II) have regard to them when preparing the community elements of the Plan,

(ii) consult with those public authorities and publicly funded bodies exercising functions that, in the local Committee’s opinion, have a contribution to make or are making to community development to or within, the area of the Committee, and

(iii) consult with any person or body prescribed by regulations made by the Minister under section 66H.

(b) Following consultations in accordance with paragraph (a), the Committee concerned shall submit a draft of the community elements of the Plan for consideration—

(i) in respect of each municipal district concerned, by the municipal district members, and

(ii) by the regional assembly for the region within which the local authority, to which the Committee relates, is located pursuant to section 43 of the Local Government Act 1991,

and each shall adopt a statement on the draft for consideration by the elected council of that local authority.

(c) The consideration of the community elements of a draft of the Plan by the regional assembly, the municipal district members, in accordance with paragraph (b), and the local authority concerned, in accordance with subsection (4)(a), shall relate to its consistency with—

(i) the core strategy and the objectives of the development plan (being the development plan for the purposes of Chapter I of Part II of the Act of 2000) of the local authority concerned,

(ii) any regional spatial and economic strategy or, as appropriate, regional planning guidelines (being a strategy or guidelines for the purposes of Chapter III of Part II of the Act of 2000), that may apply, and

(iii) the economic elements of a draft of the Plan prepared in accordance with subsection (2)(b).

(d) The adoption by the municipal district members of a statement under paragraph (b) is a reserved function.

(4)(a) Following the adoption of statements provided for in subsections (2)(b) and (3)(b) and any statement adopted by the Committee, the Plan (including any Plan amended consequent to subparagraph (i), or new Plan made consequent to subparagraph (ii) of section 66F(b)) shall integrate the economic and community elements and that Plan shall be made by the elected council of the local authority, with or without amendment, and any amendment by it shall relate only to the consistency of the Plan with—

(i) the core strategy and the objectives of the development plan (being the development plan for the purposes of Chapter I of Part II of the Act of 2000) of the local authority concerned that apply to the area of the Plan, and

(ii) any regional spatial and economic strategy or, as appropriate, regional planning guidelines (being a strategy or guidelines for the purposes of Chapter III of Part II of the Act of 2000) that apply to the area of the Plan.

(b) The making of the Plan under paragraph (a) by the elected council of the local authority is a reserved function.

Publication of local economic and community plans

66D. As soon as may be after the making of a Plan under section 66C, a copy of it—

(a) shall be made available at the principal offices of the local authority and on its internet website,

(b) shall be furnished to the Minister, and

(c) may be inspected by any member of the public during normal opening hours, and purchased at a price not exceeding the reasonable cost of reproduction.

Implementation of the economic elements of local economic and community plans

66E. (1) Without prejudice to the implementation of the community elements of the Plan in accordance with section 128B, each local authority shall—

(a) implement, or arrange for the implementation of the economic elements of the Plan as made in accordance with section 66C,

(b) co-ordinate, manage and oversee the implementation of the economic elements of the Plan and any projects or programmes prepared to support or advance the implementation of the economic elements of the Plan that have been either—

(i) approved by resolution from time to time for that purpose by the local authority concerned in respect of all or part of its administrative area, or

(ii) agreed for that purpose between the local authority and a public authority,

and ensure that any plans and strategies related to those projects or programmes are implemented in accordance with the economic elements of the Plan,

(c) seek to ensure effectiveness, consistency, co-ordination and avoidance of duplication between the economic development programmes to which paragraph (b) applies and the functions of the local authority in relation to promoting the interests of local communities or in other related functions under sections 66 and 66B or otherwise, and

(d) in addition to those projects or programmes to which paragraphs (b) and (c) apply, pursue the co-ordination generally of all economic development programmes within the functional area of the local authority, for the purposes of—

(i) supporting or advancing the implementation of the economic elements of the Plan or optimising resources for the benefit of local communities in that area, and

(ii) improving the efficiency with which public authorities use their resources.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), each local authority shall prepare, review and update, as appropriate, on an annual basis an implementation strategy.

(3) The making and amendment of an implementation strategy is a reserved function.

Monitoring and review of economic elements of local economic and community plans

66F. Without prejudice to the monitoring and review of the community elements of the Plan in accordance with section 128B, each local authority shall—

(a) monitor and review on an ongoing basis the implementation of the economic elements of the Plan, including performance against any benchmarks or indicators of performance set out in it and, if the local authority considers appropriate, to revise the actions, plans and strategies set to achieve its objectives,

(b) undertake a review of the economic elements of the Plan at least once within the period of 6 calendar years after it was made or last amended for the purposes of this paragraph and, if the local authority considers it necessary after any such review—

(i) to amend the economic elements of the Plan, or

(ii) to make new economic elements of the Plan for approval by the local authority in accordance with the provisions of section 66C,

and any such amendment or making shall be in accordance with any regulations made, or general policy guidelines issued, by the Minister for that purpose.

Annual Report on monitoring and review of local economic and community plans

66G. Each local authority shall include in its annual report an assessment in relation to the implementation and, where appropriate, review of its Plan in accordance with sections 66E, 66F and 128B during the year immediately preceding the year in which the report is submitted.

Regulations and general policy guidelines

66H. (1) The Minister may, following consultation with such public authorities as he or she considers appropriate, make regulations for the purposes of the relevant sections and sections 128B to 128F either generally or in relation to a regional assembly or a local authority or a Committee or to a particular class or classes of regional assemblies or local authorities or Committees and each regional assembly, local authority and Committee shall, to the extent that those regulations apply to it, comply with those regulations.

(2) The Minister may, in particular but without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), make regulations under that subsection in relation to the Plans including—

(a) the preparation of a Plan,

(b) the co-ordination of the preparation of the economic and community elements of a Plan,

(c) the integration of the economic and community elements into a Plan,

(d) the timing of the preparation of a Plan,

(e) the role of the strategic policy committee established pursuant to section 48(1A),

(f) extending or shortening the period of a Plan for the purposes of synchronising the time period for a Plan with other relevant plans and strategies,

(g) the format and content of a Plan,

(h) the procedures and processes to ensure consistency with the core strategy and objectives of the development plan of a local authority,

(i) the procedures and processes to ensure consistency with the regional spatial and economic strategy and any regional planning guidelines referred to in subsections (2) (c) (ii), (3) (c) (ii) and (4) (a) (ii) of section 66C for the purposes of Chapter III of Part II of the Act of 2000,

(j) engagement and consultation with the local community in the preparation of a Plan,

(k) public consultation when a Plan is being prepared or reviewed, including the procedures and processes for seeking the timely and effective participation by the public concerned,

(l) developing performance indicators and arrangements for measuring performance of a Plan,

(m) publication of a Plan,

(n) implementation of a Plan, including the preparation, review and updating of the implementation strategies provided for in section 66E(2) and the arrangements for implementation provided for in section 128B(1), and

(o) the review and amendment of a Plan.

(3) For the purposes of the relevant sections and sections 128B to 128F, the Minister may issue general policy guidelines in relation to—

(a) principles guiding the preparation of the Plan,

(b) matters to be taken into consideration when a public consultation process is being undertaken for the purposes of preparing or reviewing the Plan,

(c) matters to be taken into account when a review of the Plan is being undertaken,

(d) avoidance of duplication and optimising the use of available resources,

(e) implementation arrangements for the Plan, and

(f) any other matter of a general policy nature that the Minister considers appropriate for inclusion in the guidelines,

and guidelines issued under this subsection may relate generally to all local authorities or to a particular class or classes of local authorities and shall, in so far as the guidelines relate to them, be complied with by every local authority, municipal district members and each Committee.”.