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Hertfordshire County Council

The Hertfordshire Assembly has been established as a means of bringing together a broad range of partners from across the county to:

  • help steer and develop shared views of emerging plans and strategies
  • gain a collective understanding of key issues affecting
  • put its combined weight behind initiatives benefiting Hertfordshire and its people.

The membership of the Assembly is generally 'non-executive' and drawn from a wide range of organisations to bring varying perspectives together. The Assembly meets twice a year.

The next meeting of the Assembly will be held in November 2018. The Assembly planned for 22 November 2017 was cancelled.

Meeting of 13 February 2018

David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Chairman of Hertfordshire Forward welcomed over 40 partners (PDF 182Kb) Opening in a new window to the Hertfordshire Assembly to consider the housing growth issues for Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire Forward is the local strategic partnership which brings together all the key agencies in the county to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of Hertfordshire residents.

David posed the question: Hertfordshire is planning some 100,000 new homes over the next fifteen years. How can we deliver the new homes that we need in a way that is viable, sustainable and with the necessary infrastructure whilst supporting positive social outcomes and providing enhanced quality of life for new and existing residents?

Five speakers were invited to give their views, expanding on the elements and principles of the issues. The Assembly discussed the concerns, challenges and opportunities this major growth could bring to Hertfordshire.

David opened the Assembly, welcomed all attendees and speakers and identified this key priority for the County Council: the need to deliver infrastructure to support the growth that’s planned for the county – and in particular those areas where we have direct responsibility, such as schools and roads. Also, the necessity to take a positive approach to influence the delivery of housing that addresses local needs and helps secure and deliver supporting infrastructure. A summary of his words can be seen here.

Jim McManus, Director of Public Health at Hertfordshire County Council presented to the Assembly. The Assembly heard about the Hertfordshire Health and Wellbeing Planning Guidance that sets out our expectations of developers in terms of the delivery of healthy development and communities.

This focuses on the principle of designing in health and wellbeing as an essential part of the planning process, placing specific emphasis on active travel, multi-functional open space and high
quality urban environments.

Colin James, Director of Urban Design at WYG presented
what is seen as exemplary in terms of urban planning and place making using features from WYG’s work in Baldock to illustrate this.

Linda Haysey, Leader of East Hertfordshire District Council, gave a view of the situation from the District Council and planning authority. East Hertfordshire is likely to see over 16,000 new homes in the area in the next fifteen years and plans are underway for a new development of 10,000 homes in an area to the north of Harlow, known as the Gilston Area.

In addition to new homes, the site will deliver a significant amount of new infrastructure including schools, health facilities and parks.

The District Council and developers are working together in collaboration with the local community, to ensure that the development of the highest quality and reflective of Garden Town principles.

Kevin FitzGerald, Honorary Director at Campaign to Protect
Rural England (CPRE) Hertfordshire provided an overview of the registered charity established 90 years ago to celebrate and protect Hertfordshire's countryside for all to enjoy.

Lesley Davies, Chief Executive of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, presented ‘the major growth planned for Hertfordshire and how to ensure a positive future for wildlife’. The Trust works to influence the planning process to protect biodiversity and secure enhancements for wildlife, engages with planning at both a strategic level, through commenting on local plan documents,
and at the development control stage, through commenting on individual planning applications. The Trust strives to foster constructive relationships and ultimately deliver positive results for the county’s wildlife.

David thanked all the speakers and opened the discussion, a summary of the issues raised and closing remarks can be seen here.

Previous Meetings

Meeting of 28 February 2017

The eighth Hertfordshire Assembly was held on Tuesday 28 February at County Hall, Hertford. David Williams, acting as Chairman in the absence of Robert Gordon, opened the Assembly and welcomed over 30 people from a wide selection of organisations.

The Assembly heard from Jim McManus, Director of Public Health about the Drug and Alcohol strategy for Hertfordshire; a multi-agency strategy covering prevention, enforcement and treatment and care.


Following the presentation Assembly members raised issues including domestic abuse and the impact of ‘hidden alcohol’ amongst middle-aged women. Also discussed was good practise now underway for people where alcohol or drugs negatively affect their daily life. e.g. ‘No More Project’ in Stevenage. A request was made for data about how older people were affected by drug and alcohol misuse and the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment report available on the HCC website was recommended.

Clarification was sought about how small businesses can offer support. The Street Warden Scheme operating in some districts was an example of an initiative working effectively in tackling anti-social behaviour relating to alcohol consumption and invariably preventing a cost to the NHS and Police by removing the potential for crime through injury. Small businesses selling alcohol were invited to consider a financial contribution towards this sort of initiative.

Steve Peacock, Programme Director for the Hertfordshire & West Essex Sustainability & Transformation Planpresented the Hertfordshire and west Essex STP publication ‘A Healthier Future.’ The Sustainability & Transformation Plan brings together the challenges and opportunities that face NHS and care services in Hertfordshire and west Essex as they work together to improve health and wellbeing within the funds available.


Following the presentation questions were raised about the engagement processand Steve confirmed this was a national programme which had required a response within tight timescales. The STP programme team now seeks to engage with partners to build services that work for local communities. It was acknowledged that the successful delivery of the aims of the STP particularly around the prevention workstream relies on effective partnership working including with district councils and the voluntary and community sector.

The interrelationship with planning housing provision with health provision was made. The importance of revising health service provision alongside town centre regeneration plans and health services infrastructure to support housing developments was acknowledged. The STP team were urged to explore the opportunities for funding of health services provision from new housing developments.

Clarification was made that the STP’s focus is wide – addressing health services for adults, children, early years and pre-natal.The valuable contribution from the voluntary and community sector towards the prevention agenda was acknowledged; organisations were invited to analyse their contribution to the prevention work stream. There was a general consensus that a unified response to pooling resources to help deliver services to the same population is needed.The STP aims to continue supporting current initiatives that are effective and working well, there is no intention to dismantle the integrated health and social care practice which has proved successful in Hertfordshire.Clarification was made about the two community ward closures at St. Albans City Hospital, it was confirmed that this was an operational decision and not within the strategic remit of the STP.

David Williams closed the Assembly and advised members that the annual half day conference will take place on Wednesday 21 June in the afternoon.

Meeting 3rd November 2016

The seventh Hertfordshire Assembly was held on Thursday 3 November at County Hall. Teresa Heritage, acting as Chairman in the absence of Robert Gordon, opened the Assembly and welcomed over thirty people from a wide selection of organisations including five district councils.


The Assembly heard from David Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire about the forthcoming Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan (2017 - 2022).  The current Police and Crime Plan: Everybody’s Business (2015- 2020) was published in June 2015 and set out a five year plan for Hertfordshire. Much of the content contained within the five year plan remains fit for purpose and whilst some projects and initiatives require updating, the direction of travel across many areas of business remains. The revised plan will be open for public consultation from 28 November 2016 to 16 January 2017.

 A slightly amended date for public consultation has been agreed following the Assembly to extend consultation by an extra week due to the Christmas period and the revised dates are included in the report.

The second agenda item was about town centre regeneration in Hertfordshire and was delivered by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), East Herts District Council and Stevenage Borough Council. Hertfordshire LEP works with partners to increase the economic prosperity of Hertfordshire and there are a number of regeneration projects underway in Hertfordshire.


Before the Assembly attendees were invited to a short networking opportunity where the Transport Vision 2050 consultation, open until 14 December 2016, was promoted together with details of the Young People Manifesto 2016/17. The Manifesto is produced by members of Herts1125, led by elected Herts Members of Youth Parliament (MYP), and describes the issues they are campaigning to change and improve for all young people.


Meeting of 9 February 2016

The sixth Hertfordshire Assembly was held on Tuesday 9 February at County Hall. Robert Gordon, Chairman of Hertfordshire Forward and Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, opened the Assembly and welcomed forty-four people from a wide selection of organisations including six district councils.

Devolution in Hertfordshire

The Assembly heard about the progress made on the devolution agenda for Hertfordshire and discussed how this work could be progressed further. The following key points were made:

  • Partnership working in Hertfordshire is successfully embedded, which forms the basis of any devolution plan
  • The process so far has been productive however, we need to continue to  align our objectives to jointly better serve the people
  • Housing is recognised as a priority within the 5 themes; Transport Infrastructure and Planning will encompass housing priorities in addition to Health and Care 
  • A new mechanism for a Hertfordshire wide approach to housing was mooted.


Hertfordshire Skills Strategy 2015 - 2017

The appetite for this Strategy originated at the Hertfordshire Forward conference in 2014 and aims to increase and develop Hertfordshire's workforce to ensure the county can continue to support a strong economy within which businesses can thrive, whilst enabling all residents to maximise their own individual potential. The Assembly heard how the strategy was developed in partnership by Hertfordshire County Council, Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Work and Pensions and the progress made. There followed a discussion which included the following points:

  • The Skills Strategy aims to close the skills mismatch often expressed by large employers whereby skills developed do not necessarily meet the demands of industry
  • Initiatives such as 'Skill Makers' in Watford aim to respond to employers concerns about work readiness and lack of  training/education opportunities to help meet local skills demands
  • Importance of raising parental aspirations; the Skills Strategy aims to raise the level of apprenticeships to degree standard. The University of Hertfordshire is launching its first degree apprenticeship in Engineering and Computer Science in September 2016. Parents of school leavers are expected to play an important role in encouraging children to take up degree apprenticeships and encourage school leavers to consider all available career paths
  • The Skills Strategy recognises support needed for entrepreneurs. A support network is available to all new start-ups.


Years of Mental and Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Hertfordshire Year of Mental Health, July 2015 and July 2016, aims to inspire and motivate people from across the county to take a few simple steps to help challenge mental health discrimination, and to improve the lives of those with mental health problems. The Assembly heard about the progress made. Hertfordshire Health and Wellbeing Board are refreshing the Health and Wellbeing Strategy and invited the Assembly to give their views on the draft priorities. The strategy commences a twelve week public consultation exercise from 15 March and the final strategy will be launched in June 2016. The following key points were made:

  • Need to continue the prevention agenda and ensure that we can influence all sectors including building design/development to enable a positive impact on mental health
  • Improve access to mental health support for pupils at Primary Schools 
  • Mental health has been selected  as a continuing priority for young people in the 2015/16 Herts Young People's Manifesto
  • Representatives of the organisations present were asked to appoint a Mental Health Champion and undertake to proactively promote mental health across all of their business.



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