Formed by Parish Councils --- Run for Parish Councils --- Delivering to Parish Councils
The Gloucestershire Association of Parish and Town Councils (GAPTC) is a not for profit membership organisation, representing, training and advising the parish (including town) councils of Gloucestershire, who form the grass roots tier (or first level) of local government in England.
GAPTC offer members a resource of vital, operational information and facilitate communication at all levels of the parish network - district, county, regional and national.
As a membership association we are unable to deal with queries from the public, but we are happy to make general information available through this website, which helps to increase understanding and awareness about the sector.
Council tax referendum principles
Last week the NALC chairman Cllr Ken Browse wrote to local government minister Marcus Jones MP in advance of the provisional local government finance settlement being published – with a further plea not to extend council tax referendum principles to parish and town councils; some extracts are below:
"Our Executive Committee met this week and took stock of where we are on your consultation on the local government finance settlement. We agreed an unprecedented step of me writing to ask you to revisit your stance as this could seriously damage our shared aim of encouraging people to get involved in improving their local communities. More »
Last month I wrote to you setting out in detail our response to the local government finance settlement consultation including our deep opposition to your proposals. I am now following this up with a personal plea not to take this course of action.In short your proposals will seriously damage the ability of communities to respond to current and future needs and priorities such as neighbourhood planning, protecting and enhancing local assets and services, as well as fundamentally undermining local democracy and the vital community leadership role played by parish and town councils.
Councillors from across the country on our Executive Committee reported to me the consultation was already having the effect of stopping parishes doing things like increasing winter maintenance, grass cutting, getting involved in neighbourhood planning and taking on new services. Alarmingly many councils are simply not setting precepts which would give them the resources do these kind of things; this is because of the proposals.
I have to say I have been very struck by the concerns which have been expressed to me directly by councillors from all over the country – ordinary people giving up time freely to serve their community – to what simply amounts to crude capping of parish precepts and a real sense of mistrust of them by central government.Many people who are proud to serve their area as a councillor and who work hard to improve quality of life for residents have told me they will be standing down if these plans go ahead.
I find this is all most worrying indeed and I have to admit that your proposals and indicative lack of trust in our most local level of democracy are making it increasingly difficult for us to persuade councillors to embrace many government initiatives."
·Delegates at our conference for larger councils on Wednesday unanimously supported a motion opposing the government's plans, calling for more action by NALC, county associations and councils if they are included in the provisional local government finance settlement. I will keep you updated next week!
Audit firms announced
· Last week the announcement of the three audit firms that would be providing external audit to parish and town councils from April 2017 was made. Over the last few years NALC has been working with government on the future of local audit introduced by the Local Audit and Accountability Act and closure of the Audit Commission. Central to this has been establishing a sector-led body – Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments Limited – to procure auditors for our councils and
Larger councils' conference
·Nearly 150 people gathered at the Royal National Hotel for the NALC larger councils conference 'Changing Places'; speakers included Professor Janes Wills, Queen Mary University London, Teresa Pearce MP, shadow secretary of state for communities and local government, Lord Porter of Spalding, chairman of the Local Government Association, with other sessions on council tax referendums, equality and diversity, devolution, review of the Super Councils Network and hustings for elections to the Larger Councils Committee – congratulations to Leah Colney, town clerk, Alton Town Council and Cllr Andrew Lawson from Workington Town Council on being elected! Speaker presentations will be available on the NALC website shortly.
Winter edition of LCR
·LCR Winter 2016 - some highlights including quotes from articles include:
-Interview with Cllr Neil Clarke MBE, chair of the District Councils Network - "I don't think any part of local government should be subjected to the referendum principles";
-Power to the people article from Professor Jane Wills, Queen Mary University London - "There is scope for local councils to seize the opportunities for reshaping our political infrastructure and culture";
-Cllr Lillian Burns from National Council and Policy Committee argues the government could be putting a stop to devolution and localism – "Meanwhile the devolution momentum is seriously stalling…. Against this background of massive change and uncertainty, feuding and financial instability, local councils are being looked to to 'pick up the slack";
-A look back at September's Annual Conference and Star Councils Presentations - "We have a real opportunity over this parliament to build on this and establish local councils as 'local powerhouses', complementing the more strategic work of the proposed";
-And an update on the campaign to halt the government's referendum principles plans for local councils - "This is a centralist sledgehammer to crack a nut for the only part of local government that still has genuine control over local taxation and will surely be a nail in the coffin of localism".
· If you don't already subscribe to LCR access the NALC website and sign up and get much more than the above which gives you a small taste of what's inside the NALC flagship national magazine. » Less
Mon, 05 Dec 2016 09:24 by Alison Robinson
GAPTC has been very successful in helping small councils obtain grants for setting up websites in order to be able to comply with the Transparency Code and to purchase laptops and printers.
Around £95,000 has been granted and we are the fifth most successful county association in England. The fund is still available until the end of March for councils with a turnover of less than £25,000 so check out the information in the documents section. More »
Please see attached graph showing Transparency Fund distribution across England, as at November 2016.
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:32 by Anita Sach
This week the GAPTC took a few hours out to 'team build'. This took the form of working together in an unfamiliar environment and slightly out of everyone's comfort zone.
This enabled us to have valuable time out to be creative, think outside the box, build confidence and accept that you don't have to be a perfectionist to be successful.
Fri, 02 Dec 2016 16:12 by Alison Robinson