§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he intends to issue statutory guidance to local authorities on community strategies. 
§ Ms Armstrong
Section 4 of the Local Government Act 2000 requires local authorities to prepare a community strategy to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of their area and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development in the UK. The Government issued draft guidance for English local authorities for consultation in June and received nearly 350 responses from a wide range of local authorities, public sector organisations, voluntary and community sector groups, businesses and private individuals. We are publishing today statutory guidance on preparing community strategies, updated in the light of this consultation and recent policy developments; copies are being sent to all local authorities in England.
The guidance makes clear that community strategies should be prepared and implemented in partnership with other local stakeholders, and that partnerships should actively engage the participation of local people in the process. This guidance is supported by all the main policy departments who sponsor or regulate other organisations that we hope will work with councils in local strategic partnerships to prepare community strategies.
At the same time, we are issuing for consultation draft guidance for local authorities in England on their new power in section 2 of the 2000 Act to promote or improve economic, social and environmental well-being. The consultation period will last until 9 February 2001. Copies of these documents have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament. Electronic copies, together with a document setting out the Government's analysis of the consultation on the community strategies guidance and our response to the key points made, will also be available on my Department's website.