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Alison Robinson

Chief Executive Officer: Alison Robinson
Cranham House (the OPEX
Building), Falcon Close, Green
Farm Business Park, Gloucester

  • Image: Advice and guidance

    Advice and guidance

  • Image: Member involvement

    Member involvement

  • Image: Celebrating success

    Celebrating success

  • Image: Promoting parish councils assets

    Promoting parish councils assets

  • Image: Training


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 and 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.

Latest News

GAPTC Newsletter

General Data Protection Regulations

All member councils were sent a copy of the NALC toolkit which contains model policies and templates to use. NALC and SLCC are working together to clarify the situation on the role of the Data Protection Officer on a national basis and with the Bill going through the House of Commons recently, we hope to have more clarification soon. Until then review the information you hold in regard to living individuals and destroy it if you no longer need to hold it. As soon as we have further information we will share it with you. More »

NPPF 'demystified' – new training course developed

The NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) was developed to simplify the planning system and make it more approachable for everybody. It also gives guidance to planners and decision makers and is a useful document in helping councils respond to planning applications. In response to feedback from our planning training courses, we have commissioned Andrea Pellegram to develop a course to demystify the policy and help clerks and councillors participate in the planning process and influence planning outcomes. The course will take place at Brockworth on 2nd May, although this date may change because of the current consultation on the NPPF.

Andrea actively supports local councils through membership of her Planning Local website (www.planninglocal.co.uk) with an annual fee of £100 which includes a newsletter, access to website and remote support. Go to Andrea's website for further information.

Nominate a local project for the Campaign to Protect Rural England awards

For many years the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) Gloucestershire Branch has been looking at the changing landscape in our county, assessing excellence in various aspects and giving an award, namely in connection with buildings, land use and the community.

Last year, for example, they gave awards to such diverse schemes as Vegetable Matters, a farm shop and café in the North Cotswolds, The Stoke Orchard Community Centre, stores and coffee shop, Kingswood village allotments and the Horsley Play Project, to name a few.

The judges would like your help! Please will you get in touch and let them know of any interesting project which is being undertaken in your patch, whether it is public or private, in which you feel proud and deserving of their attention. They will make arrangements to visit and explore the background and detail of the project, looking at the location, surround and principles adopted for its development.

Contact Lisa Belfield, Office Manager and Planning Advisor at Lisa.belfield@cpreglos.org.uk

GAPTC AGM 21st July

Our AGM will take place on Saturday 21st July, from 10.30am – 1.30pm, at Highnam Community Centre, and this year we have a guest speaker from GCC talking about the Gloucestershire Inform website, which replaced MAIDeN. The website is a mine of information to local councils, providing key facts about the county, including the needs among adults, older people, children and young people in Gloucestershire that might have an impact on future demand for social care services; key issues relating to Gloucestershire's local communities; the latest indices of deprivation within the county; the economy; and the latest mid-year population estimates.

Come along and meet the GAPTC team as well as members of the Executive Committee. The AGM business will be followed by a buffet lunch. Please note that only one councillor (not clerks) from each council can vote on AGM business.

LCAS success

We continue to encourage all councils to work towards Foundation Level of the Local Council Award Scheme and the most recent success is Guiting Power PC. We have a number of councils working towards the award and we encourage all councils to consider going for this award as basically it is your day job, a healthwatch on your council and you will probably find that you are virtually 80% there without even trying. We are happy to talk to you about it.

Transparency grant

The final round of transparency funding was in February and 8 councils with a turnover of less than £25,000 took the opportunity to apply for funds to set up a website or purchase a council laptop. The income received in February was £6525 and for the 3 years that the fund was available, Gloucestershire councils received a total of over £149,000.

Local Regeneration Handbook

Supplies of the book have now arrived and are being sent to the councils that ordered it at the reduced price. Two of the prizewinners of the GAPTC photo competition have been awarded with their prize of the Handbook (pictured). If you are interested in purchasing the book, written by Gloucestershire clerk, Andrew Maliphant of Longhope PC, they are available from SLCC.

2018 training programme – new courses added

The next Being a Better Councillor course on the 8th May in Whitminster is virtually full but there will be another one in the early autumn. The next start date for our rolling programme of Clerks the Knowledge is 19 April, with Clerks More Knowledge on 17 May and 21 June, so please book soon. We have just added two new courses, the brand new NPPF 'demystified' (see above) and Chairmanship Skills on 26 June. We are also bringing in Tracy Dolphin, our HR specialist, to run another course on How to Conduct Appraisals on 6th June. New courses on Procurement and Community Engagement are also in development and we hope to schedule them for the early summer.

Full information on course content, location and costs can be found on the website. All bookings must be made using the online booking form. » Less

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 17:52 by Alison Robinson

NALC update - from Jonathan Owen (Chief Executive)

Data Protection Bill and GDPR

·This week Jon Owen (NALC CEO) wrote to officials in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Information Commissioner's Office and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in advance of a joint meetings they were having today and Monday on the Data Protection Bill and General Data Protection Regulation. He wanted to ensure they were all clear about the concerns about the Data Protection Officer requirement, the ways they can help mitigate the impact on our sector and the NALC offer to work with them to find a solution. More »

Lobby Day

· The annual parliamentary engagement day – Lobby Day – takes place on Tuesday, you can follow it on Twitter via @nalc and the hashtag #NALCLOBBYDAY. Highlights include over 70 meetings organised with MPs so far plus participation on the day from Defra minister Lord Gardiner, MHCLG minister Rishi Sunak MP, deputy speaker Eleanor Laing MP and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on local democracy Scott Mann MP.

·A key focus on Tuesday will be to register the sector's concerns about GDPR.

Policy consultations

· NALC would welcome your views on consultations by Defra on waste crime, MHCLG on the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework and Committee on Standards in Public Life inquiry into ethical standards (which you can also do through two short supporting online survey of councils and county associations). All three consultation briefings are on the NALC website, you will need to login to access all these documents.

Improvement and Development Board

·The Improvement and Development Board met on Tuesday at the NALC office, here's a brief summary: the Board noted over 900 councils were now either working towards or had achieved accreditation through the Local Council Award Scheme, including 120 councils at Quality level; further material and resources will be circulated to county associations to encourage more councils to get involved in the National Improvement Strategy's cornerstone initiative; work on developing a peer review scheme for larger councils - with the support of Local Government Association – is making good progress and piloting is scheduled to take place in the next few months; the Board had invited Professor Colin Copus from De Montfort University to talk about the Councillor Commission's The Voice of the Councillor report and discuss its findings, welcoming NALC's work taking forward some of the report's recommendations and agreeing to write to LGA and MHCLG about their response.

National Employers pay offer

·Last Friday, GMB announced that its members voted 94 per cent in favour to accept the National Employers' LGS 2018-20 pay offer. UNISON's NJC Committee is meeting today to receive the outcome of its ballot, Unite will follow suit on Wednesday 21 March. The National Employers are next meeting on Tuesday 10 April to further consider their response to pay claims received in respect of Chief Executives, Chief Officers and Craftworkers. If all three unions accept the offer then details confirming the pay award will follow shortly thereafter. However, if one of the other unions rejects the offer then clearly next steps would need to be discussed.

Buckinghamshire unitary looks likely

· Hot on the heels of his decision to reorganise local government in Dorset, Sajid Javid MP announced this week he is 'minded to' approve the bid for a new Buckinghamshire county unitary council, replacing the current borough and district tier areas in the county.

Cornwall up for planning award

· The Cornwall county association entry for the Cornwall Planning Partnership in the Planning Awards 2018 has been shortlisted in the category 'Award for stakeholder engagement in planning'.Winners will be announced at the Awards evening on 6 June 2018. » Less

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 14:44 by Alison Robinson

NALC update - from Jonathan Owen (Chief Executive)

Data Protection Bill and GDPR

· NALC's concerns over the impact of the Data Protection Bill and GDPR on local councils were picked up in Parliament last week as well as extensively in the media. Prior to last Monday's Second Reading of the Bill the NALC chairman Cllr Sue Baxter wrote to secretary of state for digital, culture media and sport, Matt Hancock MP and NALC issued a press release.

· Responding to David Drew MP, who mentioned NALC in speaking about the costs of GDPR, Matt Hancock MP said: "I have received representations not only from the National Association of Local Councils, but from the Suffolk Association of Local Councils and many of my own parish councils—including Moulton Parish Council—which do an admirable job in telling me about the pressures facing parish councils throughout the country. I pay tribute to them for their efforts, and for the length of their representations to me.​ Of course it is important for parish councils, and other local councils, to follow high-quality data protection standards. The Information Commissioner's Office has provided extensive guidance to help organisations to prepare for their new responsibilities, and I urge councils to look at it. The responsibilities of data protection officers—this is relevant to the issue raised by the hon. Gentleman—can be implemented in different ways. For instance, several parish councils can choose to share a single data protection officer, provided that he or she is easily accessible from each establishment. The system does not require the hiring of one person per organisation. Organisations have already been set up to provide this service, and the service itself is important. In the case of a small organisation, such as a very small business or a parish council on a low budget, it is still important for data to be handled and protected carefully, because small organisations too can hold very sensitive personal information. I am extremely sympathetic to the plight of small businesses that must deal with regulation—especially as I come from a small business background myself—but I am also convinced that it is good practice to follow high-quality data protection standards, and that it is good for organisations to do so." More »

· In terms of next steps the Bill now moves to Committee Stage for detailed examination, meeting on 13, 15, 20, 22 and 27 March, and NALC urge councils and county associations whose MP/s are on the Committee to lobby them by writing and setting out collective concerns (feel free to draw upon the Parliamentary Bulletin circulated last week). NALC will also be working with MPs to secure amendments to allow further debate and press for government action, especially regarding the cost of appointing a Data Protection Officer, with Lobby Day also providing an opportunity for us collectively to be briefing and lobbying MPs.

LCR prices frozen for 2018/19

· NALC have frozen the price of subscribing to the informative magazine LCR. An annual subscription runs from 1 April 2018 and includes the four editions of Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring, do look out for renewal details which will be sent out next week, the cost is listed below:

-Member rate

1-3 subscriptions £17.00 (price frozen) per subscription

4+ subscriptions £13.50 (price frozen) per subscription

County association rate £11.00 (price frozen) per subscription

-Non-member rates

1-3 subscriptions: £40 (price frozen) per subscription

4+ subscriptions: £35 (price frozen) per subscription

  • And in just three-week's time, LCR Spring will be landing on doormats. Here's a sneak peek: a very timely interview indeed with the ICO's information commissioner Elizabeth Denham who gives her take on data protection and GDPR, plus an article with more advice from the NALC legal team; think tank ResPublica talks about its radical report on the structure of local government; Falmouth Town Council explains how the 'toilet tax' affects the community and why it is campaigning for change; and in the regular Your Say survey views will be shared on the standards regime.

Revised NPPF launch

· The prime minister Teresa May MP last week launched the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework at a joint conference organised by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Royal Town Planning Institute; Sajid Javid MP, secretary of state for MHCLG also gave a keynote speech.

Policy Committee

· The NALC Policy Committee met last Wednesday at the NALC office, here are a few highlights: the Committee considered progress on its work programme and discussed in more detail short and long term campaigns; approved a motion from the Suffolk county association on ensuring 'made' neighbourhood plans are treated as a statutory part of local plans; the Committee welcomed Jessica Ellis and Alison Seabrook from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to discuss the consultation on Implementing Geological Disposal, noting other consultations underway including the Committee on Standards in Public Life inquiry on ethical standards.

Joint project and event with LGA

· The Local Government Association (LGA) hosted two roundtables last week to gain additional insight to inform the development of a new guide on how principal authorities and town and parish councils can work more collaboratively together to best serve the needs of their communities. The new guide will be launched at the NALC/LGA Principal and local councils working in partnership national event on 16 May 2018, places are free to NALC and LGA members but book early to avoid missing out.

Lobby Day

· Fifty meetings with MPs are already scheduled or being finalized for the Lobby Day on 20 March! Lobby Day is a great opportunity for county associations to build relationships with their local MPs and highlight any issues affecting councils in their area, especially GDPR! Don't forget, if you need any help – especially if you haven't yet written to any of your MPs – just get in touch with the NALC policy and development team via ben.murray@nalc.gov.uk as they can provide support and advice. You can also follow what is happening on Lobby Day via our Twitter: @NALC and by searching the Lobby Day hashtag: #NALCLOBBYDAY.

International Women's Day

·The NALC chairman Cllr Sue Baxter used International Women's Day 2018 to applaud and recognise women active in local councils, calling for more women to put themselves forward for election as parish and town councillors. NALC also showcased a number of female councillors – who make up 39 of councillors in the sector according to the NALC Census Survey of Parish Councillors – through case studies in the resources section of the Diversity Commission page on the website, and there is still time to Tell us your thoughts on what you've done locally in the past or are doing now to promote and increase diversity on your council. » Less

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 17:25 by Alison Robinson