The 'duty to cooperate' was created in the Localism Act 2011.

It places a legal duty on local planning authorities, county councils in England and public bodies to engage constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis to maximise the effectiveness of local plan preparation in the context of strategic cross boundary matters.

Progress is recorded in a Statement of Common Ground (SCG), agreed and signed by the relevant organisations involved. A SCG documents where effective co-operation is and is not happening throughout the plan-making process and is a way of demonstrating at examination that plans are deliverable over the plan period, and based on effective joint working across local authority boundaries. The SCG also forms part of the evidence required to demonstrate the Council has complied with the duty to cooperate.

The council prepared a Duty to Co-operate Framework (July 2022), which forms part of the Local Plan evidence to help demonstrate that the council is engaging constructively, actively and on an on-going basis.

It identifies the strategic cross boundary issues which the Local Plan is likely to reflect (and how they have come about).

In March 2021, the council signed a SCG with the South Downs National Park Authority in relation to housing and traveller accommodation needs.

A background paper on the 'duty to cooperate' was prepared to support the draft local plan reg.18 consultation in 2019, but this is now dated. It is available for reference, as part of the progress of the local plan to date.