NALC update - from Jonathan Owen (Chief Executive)
Posted: Mon, 04 Dec 2017 09:25 by Alison Robinson
· The NALC new Management Board met for the first time last Tuesday, here are a few highlights in advance of the draft minutes being available: councillors held a workshop to identify risks facing the sector and NALC to feed into the new strategic plan (which NALC will consult on extensively later in the year) and feature prominently in its work programme for the year along with reviewing NALC services, establishing service level agreements and ensuring value for money; consideration of the main elements of the terms of reference and activity for the Committee work programme; the latest corporate performance statistics were noted along with progress to provide support to councils on GDPR including the development of a national DPO service and commission useful GDPR compliant templates; an extensive discussion to review the recent annual conference, identify further follow up action and shape next year's event and councillors agreed in principle to return to Milton Keynes and thanked NALC staff and colleagues from the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes county association for all their hard work; appointed the chairman, Cllr Kevin Wilson and chief executive as NALC's representatives on the Improvement and Development Board; welcomed the new joint project with LGA on effective engagement between local and principal councils which would include an event in April 2018.
Improvement and Development Board
·The Improvement and Development Board held its final meeting of the year on Wednesday, here is a brief summary: an extensive session to feedback and reflect on recent sector conferences such as NALC, SLCC and SOLACE including keynote speeches including the secretary of state and issues raised by delegates such as regulation; discussion and feedback on the underperformance checklist and the further work agreed to scope out an intervention support offer; the Board noted ongoing activity on GDPR including provision of guidance and engagement with government and the Information Commissioner's Office; performance statistics on the Local Council Award Scheme, CiLCA and good councillor guides were noted; received a report on the recent CiLCA trainers event; welcomed the successful validation of the Community Governance course by De Montfort University Leicester whose assessor panel commended the course and SLCC in a number of areas.
· Last winter the UK experienced several outbreaks of avian influenza – better known as bird flu – and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is asking for help to share information in local communities. This highly contagious disease affects birds including chickens, ducks and geese, and can be fatal to them, devastating farmers' livelihoods. It is just as much of a risk to those with a few chickens in a back garden as to commercial farmers and anyone who keeps chickens, ducks or geese. Defra is asking local councils to share their advice on bird flu in their respective communities, for example on noticeboards using their poster, through social media or in newsletters.
ACRE celebration event
· Last week the chairman of our Smaller Councils' Committee, Cllr David Francis, and head of communications, Alan Jones, attended the Action for Communities in Rural England 'Supporting the Rural Voice – 30 years of achievement' and annual general meeting in Solihull. The well attended event celebrated the achievements of England's rural communities over the past 30 years, how the ACRE network, along with partners such as county associations, have supported and responded to an ever changing landscape of new challenges, an evolving demographic and embraced innovation and enterprise. Speakers included Defra minister Lord Gardiner, who highlighted a personal experience of the brilliant work by his local council on their neighbourhood plan, and Rural Coalition chairman Margaret Clark.
· Voting is now open for the three councillor places on the Larger Councils' Committee, this is in addition to voting for the 2 clerks places – further details are on the dedicated elections page on the website, the deadline is 15.00 on 13 December 2017.
· Congratulations to Cllr Robert Grainger, Wolston Parish Council (Warwickshire), Alison Stevens, clerk, Westham Parish Council (East Sussex) and Heather Parks, clerk, Heytesbury Imber and Knook Parish Council (Wiltshire) who have all been elected to the Smaller Councils' Committee.
DCLG getting out and about
· Officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government will be out and about visiting a number of local councils over the next week or so. NALC have consistently asked ministers and officials to get out of London and visit councils and county associations to gain a better understanding of our sector, the difference the sector makes to communities and the issues we face. In recent years Campbell Park Parish Council and Leighton-Linslade Town Council have hosted officials from a range of departments; this latest round of engagement is from the development plans implementation team to some councils who are neighbourhood planning to discuss and get feedback on the support provided such as grants and technical help.