NALC update - from Jonathan Owen (Chief Executive)

Larger Councils' Committee

·The Larger Councils' Committee held its first meeting of the year last Tuesday at CCLA, here's a brief summary: Cllr Kevin Wilson (Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes) was elected chairman and Cllr Barbara Moore (West Bletchley Parish Council) vice chairman for 2018; an extensive discussion on the Committee's purpose with a number of changes to terms of reference proposed such as additional representation from the Super Councils' Network, reducing National Assembly representatives from 5 to 4, either the Chairman or Vice Chairman should be a National Assembly member, and councils contributing to travel and subsistence costs; the Committee reflected on its 2017 work programme and identified priorities for the next two years including membership recruitment and retention highlighting urban councils, sharing good practice and events, special interest groups including the Super Councils Network, flexible and diverse funding campaign, Peer challenge and peer support, improving communications with councils & using technology; items raised by the Committee included insurance cover regarding GDPR; LGA's head of local government finance Nicola Morton gave a presentation on the local government finance settlement and the Committee applauded NALC's lobbying success in securing council tax referendum principles not extended for three years; progress by the Improvement and Development Board to develop and pilot Peer Challenge for the sector were welcomed; the vacant seat on the Committee would be filled at the meeting of National Assembly on 6 February.

Commission on localism

·The new report on localism is recommending making it easier in legislation to establish parish councils with routes of redress when blocked by principal authorities. Locality established the Commission on the Future of Localism in 2017, in partnership with Power to Change and chaired by Lord Kerslake to consider how to reinvigorate localism and unlock the power of community. The Commission's 'People Power, Future of Localism' report calls for need of a new power partnership between local government and local people to unlock the potential of localism and picks up a number of proposals submitted by NALC.

Rural Coalition

·The Rural Coalition met last Wednesday, here are a few highlights: a lecture-style event would be held on 15 March hosted by RICS subject to confirmation of funding from Defra; following the submission of written evidence, in November the chair Margaret Clark gave oral evidence to the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act committee; agreement to write to DCMS minister Tracey Crouch MP following her appointment as ministerial lead for loneliness; a discussion with Defra officials on feedback from the recent roundtables as well as priorities including rural proofing and housing; and our chairman Cllr Sue Baxter will be meeting Defra minister Lord Gardiner next month.

New legal guidance

·Last week NALC published two revised Legal Topic Notes: LTN 82 Compulsory Purchase has been reviewed with minor textual changes and the updating of a web hyperlink as a result of a change to the target website; LTN 87 Procurement has been revised to include the new financial thresholds for procurement applicable from 1 January 2018 plus rewording some parts for additional clarity.

Shrewsbury scoops national award

·And finally, huge congratulations to Shrewsbury Town Council whose Market Hall was yesterday crowned Britain's Favourite Market in NABMA's Great British Market Awards 2018.

Posted: Mon, 29 Jan 2018 09:44 by Alison Robinson

Tags: Larger councils, Localism, NALC, National Association for Local Councils, News, Rural Coalition, updated Legal Topic Notes