For that reason, the Government has proposed to the European Commission that the composition of the county strategy groups be amended to provide for the inclusion of local public representatives. I am confident this will be agreed shortly.
The Government's approach to local government reform was set out in the Government statement of 4 July 1995. The Devolution Commission has been established and has been asked to make recommendations so that the local authorities become the focus for working through local partnership involving local community based groupings, voluntary bodies, the private sector and public agencies, and the efforts of local authorities and those of existing groups such as county enterprise boards, Leader groups, and area partnerships are co-ordinated.
The experience of the county strategy groups will be an important input to the work of the Devolution Commission. The involvement of public representatives will also be a step in the direction which the Government wish to support.