HC Deb 21 January 1999 vol 323 c572W
Dr. Starkey

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement about the research his Department has commissioned on cross-cutting issues relating to local government and public policy. [67439]

Ms Armstrong

Today, I am publishing two reports looking at how effective joint working, at both central and local levels, is at tackling a number of serious issues facing society today. These issues, like social exclusion, community safety, disaffected youth and sustainable development, cut across Government Departments.

We need to know how we can improve the design and delivery of policies aimed at tackling these issues and we need to shift the emphasis from attempting to solve problems to preventing them. The two reports contain lessons from the experience of joint working and advice about future co-operation in working towards agreed outcomes.

The research encourages everybody to look beyond short term, single issue approaches using a number of separate agencies to a more coherent, unified approach setting these issues in the widest possible context.

This joined-up approach is not only more desirable, but has already proved to be more effective in emerging policies like Health Action Zones and the Best Value pilots in my own specific area of responsibility, local government.