Following a formal signing ceremony in central London on Thursday 29 March, Merton now has its own Local Area Agreement (LAA).
The Agreement sets out what Merton Council and its key partners will deliver for local people and how they will collectively spend public money to do this.
Councillor Samantha George, Deputy Leader of Merton Council and vice chair of the Merton Partnership, attended the ceremony on behalf of the partnership. Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, opened the ceremony.
At the ceremony for the 62 local authorities involved in this round of Local Area Agreements, Ruth Kelly commended the Merton Partnership on the development of its first Local Area Agreement. The Merton Partnership consists of Merton Council officers, councillors and key partners.
The Agreement will run from April 2007 to March 2010 and has an overall theme of ‘bridging the gap’ between the more deprived east and affluent west of the borough. It consists of a number of key improvement targets around four themed blocks.
· Children and Young People
· Economic Development and Enterprise
· Healthier communities and older people
· Safer and Stronger communities.
Councillor Samantha George said:
“The Agreement represents the commitment of partners from all sectors in Merton working together on our key priorities to improve the quality of life for local people.
“Having a Local Area Agreement offers us a real opportunity to make a telling difference by working together on the issues that matter most to people.”
Chris Frost from the Merton Partnership said:
“The voluntary and community sectors have been very engaged in the LAA process, and the final document reflects this involvement extremely well.
“We were particularly delighted that the voluntary sector will lead on one of the targets. We look forward to building on our strong local partnerships to ensure the voluntary sector remains involved for the benefit of the communities it serves.”
Ruth Kelly Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said:
“The London Borough of Merton is showing it is serious about tackling inequality by focusing attention on their most deprived wards.”
The Government Office for London (GOL) described the Agreement ‘as having a clear and comprehensive evidence base, and outcomes which reflect local priorities.’ Key targets include assisting people into work who are on incapacity benefit or statutory sick pay, increasing volunteering, educational attainments, and reducing obesity for older