Overhaul planned for Local Area Partnerships

Councillor Andrew Spowart
Councillor Andrew Spowart

Radical proposals have been unveiled to overhaul North Lanarkshire’s Local Area Partnerships (LAPs) and put power in the hands of communities.

The plans are outlined in a report to the council’s Policy and Resources Committee and will be considered at a special meeting in Motherwell Civic Centre on Thursday.

Councillor Andrew Spowart, convener of the Transformation Committee, with responsibility for streamlining and improving council business practices, said: “We have been looking at the six area LAPs in great detail in recent months and it is clear there is a need for a major overhaul.

“Ward boundary changes play a part but we have to look at population changes over the past view years to ensure proper representation.

“I think too our residents have higher expectations of being allowed to play a more pivotal role in local decision-making.

“The council also works very closely with a broad range of community partners from police and fire services to local voluntary groups.

“The report to be considered by committee sets out the guiding principles of the shake-up.”

Among the recommendations are:

The number of LAPS can be amended, potentially creating new bodies to reflect community population and ward boundary changes.

Develop Locality Plans across the council area.

Allow LAPs to become formal consultees in key areas such as major planning applications.

Organise flexible meeting times and venues to meet community needs.

Develop social media platforms to ensure two-way communication.

Councillor Spowart added: “I think these represent a quite radical shift in emphasis.

“LAPs are about local decision-making within local areas, effectively putting very real power in residents’ hands.

“If you like, this isn’t about us telling residents what they are getting but us letting residents tell us what they want.”