Advice and guidance
Training and Equipping
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.
This bulletin provides a brief update on a number of meetings and national developments this week:
Update on council tax referendum principles campaign
With just a week to go until the Local Government Finance Settlement Technical Consultation closes, your responses are still flooding in. Here's a short update on the campaign:
-The NALC annual general meeting yesterday voted unanimously to support a motion opposing the government's proposals to extend council tax referendum principles to local parish and town councils; More »
-This week's print and online version of the MJ magazine includes a column by Ian Miller, chief executive of Wyre Forest District Council in which he heavily criticized the proposals and urged councils to respond;
-Marcus Jones MP is confirmed to speak at our larger councils conference on 30 November and it would be great to have as many larger councils and county associations as possible at the event to convey the strength of feeling on this issue before he publishes the local government finance settlement in early December;
If you still haven't responded to DCLG or written to your MP please can you do so, as well as seeking support from your principal council(s) and local civic organisations and other partners that have an interest in a strong first tier of local government – and remember individuals can respond too!
NALC annual conference
·NALC's second annual conference – now the biggest event in the sector – was held in Birmingham this week. Around 220 delegates from county associations and councils heard from 44 speakers including the local government minister Marcus Jones MP and the leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr John Clancy who restated his commitment to establishing parish councils in the city and to work with us to promote parishing in other urban areas.
The event also included our Star Councils presentations with Oswestry Town Council winning Council of the Year, Clerk of the Year went to Sue Wilthew from Chippenham Town Council, Cllr Helen Ogden from Westerham Parish is Councillor of the Year and Dorset won county association project of the year; you can read about the other winners and finalists on the NALC website. Also see GAPTC twitter account.
Following last week's well attended session on neighbourhood planning at the All Party Parliamentary Group on local democracy NALC used the opportunity of giving evidence to the Public Bill Committee for the Neighbourhood Planning Bill to press the importance of neighbourhood plans being given greater weight in the planning system and for areas with a plan to have a bigger share of the community infrastructure levy. You can read our written evidence to the Bill Committee, NALC's press release following the session or watch the afternoon sessions again which included contributions from RIBA, CPRE and Locality on Parliament TV.
And finally the Councillor Commission – whose aim is to provide policy makers that take decisions about the structure, function, role and purpose of local government and democracy, with a better understanding of the office of councillor and of the contribution councillors make to their communities – published their interim report this week. You can still get involved by responding to the online survey or submitting written evidence before the Commission finalises its report for publication in the New Year. » Less
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:23 by Alison Robinson
Posting details of clerk's pay on website
Advice from NALC's legal adviser
Part 2.1 of the Code provides that councils subject to the Code should publish the details of each individual item of expenditure above £100.On the face of it this would include staff expenditure, including staff salaries.In my view a heading like "staff expenditure" could be used.In my view publishing pursuant to the Code would amount to lawful processing for data protection purposes. More »
You refer to the Code being a code of recommended practice as per paragraph 4 of page 4 of the Code.You have asked, as such, if it is a legal requirement for councils to publish the salary payments of their clerks.In my view the starting point is the position set out in NALC's Legal Briefing L02-15, that the Smaller Authorities (Transparency Requirements) (England) Regulations 2015 ("the 2015 Regulations") make compliance with the Code mandatory for parish councils with a turnover not exceeding £25,000.I advise that Regulation (2) (1) of the 2015 Regulations provides that an authority to which the Code applies must publish the information specified in the Code in the manner and form and on the occasions specified in the Code.
The Code was issued by the Secretary of State under s.2 of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 (the duty of authorities to publish information), in exercise of his powers to issue a code of recommended practice as to the publication of information by local authorities (including parish councils) about the discharge of their functions and other matters which he considers to be related.
I note the words "should" and "must" are both used throughout the Code.The Code is not a legally drafted document and in my view the word "should" means councils need to do something.I do not think that the use of "should" in the Code implies there is a discretion.Councils, in my view, would need to have a good reason for not publishing the details of each individual item of expenditure above £100 in accordance with the Code and be prepared for any potential judicial review claims.
May 2016 » Less
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 16:22 by Alison Robinson
Update on council tax referendum principles campaign
Thank you for your support with the campaign on the Local Government Finance Settlement Technical Consultation and council tax referendum principles, activities have included:-
- Lots of councils and county associations have been getting in touch and are responding to the consultation and writing to MPs.
- The Rural Services Network has published on their website a draft submission for its members to consider which opposes the proposals and we will be raising this issue with other rural organisations at a meeting of the Rural Coalition next week.
- NALC are meeting the local government minister Marcus Jones MP on Monday to engage with him directly on the proposals and their impact on our councils and communities.
- The NALC chairman Cllr Ken Browse has written a letter to the local government journal MJ calling on principal councils to support us and respond to the consultation – this will be included in the print edition published next Thursday.
- At the Conservative Party conference NALC have raised awareness of the proposals and sought support from councillors, council leaders, MPs, Peers and other organisations.
Neighbourhood planning More »
- The Neighbourhood Planning Bill, see attached parliamentary briefing , was sent to all MPs to set out our general support for the Bill along with other ideas NALC will be proposing during its passage through Parliament; NALC would really welcome your comments on anything else they should be promoting which will help parishes who are already neighbourhood planning or indeed encourage those who aren't!
- You might also be interested in the October edition of DCLG's Notes on Neighbourhood Planning which includes the latest on the Bill, an update on the implementation of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and the latest referendum statistics and a range of new tools and case studies.
Conservative Party Conference
- This week the NALC chairman Cllr Ken Browse, Executive Committee member Cllr Richard Parry and head of policy and development Justin Griggs were in Birmingham at the Conservative Party Conference to promote the sector to MPs, ministers, peers, council leaders, councillors and other opinion formers, with the council tax referendum proposals a key theme of our engagement.
- You may be interested to watch the conference speech by the new communities and local government secretary Sajid Javid MP, in which housing was his central message and top policy priority; he also announced a £3 billion Home Building Fund and the publication of a Housing White Paper later this year.
New director at DCLG
Jillian Kay is the new director of local government policy at DCLG; Jillian's responsibilities include relations with Local Government Association and sector improvement, risk and audit, resilience and emergencies as well as their new parishes team and community partnerships. She has indicated that new ministers are busy getting up to speed on a number of issues but initial feedback is that current priorities around housing and neighbourhood planning, devolution and the importance attached to parishes would continue. NALC have updated Jillian on the work of the organisation and county associations, welcoming the creation of the new parishes team and has identified some of the opportunities for us to work together on. » Less
Fri, 14 Oct 2016 10:37 by Alison Robinson