NALC update - from Jonathan Owen (Chief Executive)

Local Government Finance Settlement 2018/19 Technical Consultation

· NALC responded to the Government's consultation on next year's local government finance settlement and their submission makes the case for a continuation of the current position of council tax referendum principles not being extended to our sector, provides evidence of how the sector is responding to the Government's challenge, presses for a multi-year settlement and asks Government to work with NALC to promote good practice in transparency and engagement and help us grow the capacity of the sector to access alternative funding and deliver 'invest to save' projects. NALC will be engaging with Government further in coming weeks in advance of the settlement expected in early December.

Changes to the annual return

·The Joint Panel for Accounting Guidance (JPAG) which brings together NALC, Society of Local Council Clerks, Association of Drainage Authorities, Department for Communities and Local Government, National Audit Office, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and external auditors, met last week, here are some highlights: the new Annual Governance and Accountability Return 2017/18, simplified by SAAA and split into three returns depending on size of local council was agreed and will be publicised shortly by SAAA with a number of roadshows being held across the country; the timescale and project plan for the Practitioners' Guide was agreed, this will be consulted on prior to publication in March 2018; JPAG will also be looking at how it can provide further support to the sector such as sharing good practice to help the sector develop its capability on transparency and engagement in financial matters.

NALC larger councils conference

·If you haven't yet booked to attend NALC's last major event of the year, now is the time! Making Local Economic Growth Work is a conference for larger councils' taking place on 13 December 2017 at the Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury. This year's event will focus on the role of local councils being place shapers and influencers in local economic development, housing and planning, health and well-being and finding funding, with both plenary and workshop sessions providing an insight and practical advice on how local councils can have more impact on these important issues. NALC are pleased to announce the that one of the keynote speakers is Mike Cherry, who is the national chairman of the Federation of Small Business – a great addition to the line-up of speakers.

Rural Coalition

·Last week the Rural Coalition met Lord Gardiner, minister for rural affairs and biosecurity, to discuss the Rural Statement and in particular housing and broadband: the minister was very supportive of the role of parishes and interested in how they could work together to provide small scale good quality affordable housing; the minister has a programme of meetings with ministers across government to ensure rural issues have a high profile; the Rural Coalition's chairman Margaret Clark will be giving oral evidence to the Select Committee on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act on 7 November and the minister on 12 December – these sessions may be worth watching!


·And finally a quick update on our work to promote the impact of GDPR on the sector and support its implementation: in advance of the Committee Stage of the Data Protection Bill this week Baroness Neville-Rolfe has tabled an amendment in order to secure a debate highlight on the impact of GDPR on parishes, in particular the cost of the new requirement to appoint a Data Protection Officer.

Posted: Thu, 02 Nov 2017 14:48 by Alison Robinson

Tags: GDPR, Local Government Financial Settlement, NALC, National Association for Local Councils, News, Rural Coalition, annual return, data protection, larger councils