Latest GAPTC newsletter

Clerks Networking session

Over 30 clerks from parish and town councils across Gloucestershire attended the Clerks Networking event last week where Janice Banks, the CEO from the Gloucestershire Rural Community Council, gave a talk about the varied work the organisation carries out in support of local councils. It was good to be reminded about their wide-ranging role including work on Affordable Housing, Village Halls, Neighbourhood Developments Plans and Community Emergency Plans. Several clerks took the opportunity to feedback their very positive experiences of working with GRCC. Full information can be found on grcc.org.uk.

Sue and Anita then gave an overview of their understanding of the GDPR to date as well as what councils should expect from the new audit scheme (see below). We then turned the tables on the clerks and gave them infrequently asked questions that had been received by the GAPTC Advice Line so that they could discuss them and work out their response, after which we told them what advice we had given. We were very impressed with the considered responses and the knowledge of the clerks. The session finished with the traditional networking in small groups followed by a buffet lunch.

Awards were given to clerks who had recently achieved CiLCA as well as to clerks from councils who had achieved Foundation level of the Local Council Award Scheme and Quality Gold (see attached).

The 2017/18 Annual Return and External Audits… or not

PKF Littlejohn have been appointed to be the External Auditors for Gloucestershire. All councils will be emailed an Annual Return (known as the Annual Governance and Accountability Return) in March. Councils where the higher of the income or expenditure for 2017/18 was £25,000 or less will be able to declare themselves as exempt from a limited assurance review by the external auditor, provided they meet all the qualifying criteria. This will have to go on the agenda for the first meeting of the financial year and approved by full council and then an exemption form completed. Full details of the qualifying criteria can be found on the localaudits.co.uk website. Councils with income or expenditure of more than £25,000 will have an External Audit in the normal way.

General Data Protection Regulation

We hosted a presentation on the new emerging Data Protection regulations at the end of November. This legislation affects the whole of the EU and countries trading with EU members so this is big! So much is still being discussed in parliament and the whole of the UK is holding its breath waiting for details to emerge, so don't panic, just check the information you hold on living persons and audit why you are holding it. If you don't need it, get rid of it.

If you think about it as an individual, we are all going to be bombarded by all organisations, both public and private, with requests for permission to retain information and details of what it is used for. We can hardly wait! So the message is Keep Calm and Get Shredding! The latest NALC briefing, dated August 2017, is on our website in the documents section, under D. As soon as more information emerges we will share it with you.

Please also look at the free online learning tool 'futurelearn', as there is an GDPR course.

Transparency grant

Time is running out if you would like to apply for a grant from the Transparency Fund. The very last date for application is 9 February and will not be available in the next financial year. Money is still available for websites, laptops and associated costs. If you set up a website or purchased a laptop since April 2015 solely to meet the requirements of the Code and have not claimed before, you can claim costs back to 2015. The application form and guidance notes can be found in the documents section, under T.

transparency

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New training programme for 2018

We kick off the new year with our rolling programme of Clerks the Knowledge course starting on 18th January with the Essentials, 21st February, a Miscellany including Planning,, and 22nd March, the Finance Module.

Our first Being a Better Councillor course takes place on 15th February and is booking up fast. We will be putting on another date shortly, so keep an eye on the website.

NEW for 2018 is Parish Mapping on 24th January. Run by Parish Online, suppliers of mapping tools to parish and town councils, this session is about digital mapping and the importance of maps to local councils.

Preparing for Audit will take place on 6th February and will cover the latest statutory requirements.

Finally, there will be an Agendas and Minute Writing session on 7 March.

We will be adding more courses in the New Year with new courses currently in development. Further information and the online booking form can be found on the website.

CiLCA or ILCA?

Thinking of undertaking CiLCA or ILCA in 2018? Come and meet Alison, our CEO, Kim Bedford, our CiLCA trainer, and Elisabeth Skinner, the SLCC training lead, and learn about what is involved and the costs. The venue is TBA at the moment as we are looking for somewhere that offers the best coffee and scrumptious pastries!

The Local Regeneration Handbook

One of our very own Gloucestershire Clerks, Andrew Maliphant of Longhope PC, has had published a book on local regeneration, a fundamental to the sustainability of local communities. This is especially the case in the UK, with the Government focus on such approaches as Local Enterprise Partnerships and neighbourhood development plans, and further devolution proposals in the pipeline. The Local Regeneration Handbook meets the needs of today's practising "regeneration workers", broadly including anyone from regeneration partnership officers and housing association neighbourhood officers to parish clerks, parish councillors, or other active local citizens, who all share a concern for the wellbeing of the community where they live or work, and a need to work with others for the best possible future for that community.

Containing practical advice, templates, and real-life case studies for different stages in local regeneration, including fundraising, partnership development and project management, as well as support for personal development, and illustrations of key points by cartoonist Kipper Williams, this is an essential guide for anyone in local regeneration. There have been a number of academic textbooks about regeneration, and some collections of articles around best practice, but no practical handbook that says 'this is what you do'. The book covers the wide spectrum of regeneration activity while providing signposts to further, more detailed information - creating effective local partnerships and bringing in financing are only two of the key steps towards a successful result.

Published by Sage Publications in October 2017 – see https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/local-regeneration-handbook/book257469 for further details. SPECIAL OFFER This book is £25.99 in paperback but available to GAPTC members at a 20% discount, so £19.50 plus postage – please send your orders in to training@gaptc.org.uk by 19th January 2018.

Access to GAPTC website

Don't forget that we are now able to offer a separate password to council members, separate from the clerk, which gives access to the website, but not the 'ticket' system. For councillors to have their own password access to the website, excluding the 'ticket' member support, we need you to supply us with a generic council email address, such as councillors@sleepyhollowpc.org.uk. We can only set up one additional access for each council, not for individual councillors. Let us have the additional email address and we will set up a separate password.

Very best wishes for Christmas from the GAPTC team, Ali, Sue, Anita and Shirley and a happy, healthy and successful 2018.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Posted: Wed, 13 Dec 2017 12:12 by Alison Robinson

Tags: Data Protection, Funding, GDPR, News, Regeneration, Training, Transparency, Transparency Fund, external audits