NALC update - from Jonathan Owen (Chief Executive)

National Assembly

·In the week when we commemorate the Suffragettes – members of women's organisations in the late-19th and early-20th centuries which advocated the extension of the "franchise", or the right to vote in public elections, to women – NALC were pleased that their National Assembly on Tuesday had a long debate about the need to promote diversity and encourage more people from all backgrounds to get involved at local, county and national level. NALC set up a Diversity Commission last year to explore this issue in detail and NALC want to encourage you to support this work by taking or promoting the Councillor Census survey and tell us your thoughts on how local councils and NALC can encourage diversity or any good work you've already done – please get in touch with if you need more information or want to get involved.

·A few other highlights from National Assembly – which in many ways is the sectors "Parliament" bringing together elected representatives from each county association – included: a well-received presentation by the head of legal services Meera Tharmarajah on the hot topic of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and an update by the head of policy and development Justin Griggs on preparations for the Lobby Day on 20 March taking an important stance in support of Policy Committee through an unambiguous assertion that as the first tier of local government, parishes should be subject to the same rules as the rest of local government, though applied proportionately, and this is set to be the cornerstone of our developing strategic plan and vision for the sector; and confirmation that our annual conference would take place on 30/31 October 2018 in Milton Keynes.

Local government finance settlement and council tax referendum principles

·Following an extensive debate by MPs about the funding of local government, the final settlement was approved by the House of Commons this week, including the multi-year deal not to extend council tax referendum principles to this sector.

·But while it was a real achievement to secure this multi-year deal – which was recognised and praised by the National Assembly on Tuesday including Sue's vital advocacy with ministers – NALCs work on this issue isn't done! it's important to keep our finger on the pulse of what's happening in the sector, especially on significant precept increases, both to know what's going on around the country and in case of media or government interest. Soplease could let us know about significant increases and reasons (for example onward devolution) as well as how you have engaged with residents. Please get in touch with

New legal guidance

·This week NALC published on the NALC website (login required) new legal briefing L02-18 Reporting personal data breaches. This explains the new obligations under GDPR which require councils and parish meetings to keep an internal record of all personal data breaches and to report, in certain circumstances, breaches to the ICO and to an individual affected by a personal data breach.

Keep Britain Tidy

· NALC met with Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy to hear how many parish and town councils have supported their work to eliminate litter, improve local places and prevent waste. NALC is pleased to support this year's Great British Spring Clean from 2-4 March 2018 which is a great community campaign with a simple aim: to bring people across the country together to clear up the litter that blights our towns, villages, countryside and beaches. The campaign wants to inspire 500,000 people to get outdoors, get active and help clear up the rubbish that lies around us. Last year around 300 of our councils supported the campaign through organising and supporting litter picks and it would be great if more registered and took part this year. You can find out more, access a range of resources and sign up to support the campaign on their website.

Chairman at District Councils Network conference

· This morning the NALC chairman Cllr Sue Baxter spoke at the District Councils' Network conference as part of a plenary panel on transformation in local government. Sue spoke about the opportunities and challenges that partnership working with parish and town councils can bring to the transformation agenda, highlighting examples of parishes doing more around health and well-being, housing and economic development, highlighting financial pressures such as onward devolution and council tax support funding, as well as calling on principal councils and other bodies such as the police and NHS to work closer with the sector.

Consultations responded/underway

· NALC recently responded to the Cabinet Office Freedom of Information Code of Practice consultation and the Labour Review of Social Housing, they will shortly be responding to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government consultation on Park Homes, and are planning to respond to the Department for Transport's consultation on the Major Roads Network so please get your views on the NALC consultation briefing to by 2 March 2018. You will need to login to access all our documents (just ask GAPTC for log in details).

Royal Garden Parties

· NALC would like to thank county association colleagues for identifying local councillors to be invited to this year's Royal Garden Parties through NALC's allocation; over 200 names have been submitted to the Palace and invitees will hear direct from the Palace approximately 6 weeks in advance of the garden party.

Posted: Fri, 09 Feb 2018 17:05 by Alison Robinson

Tags: Conferences, Keep Britain Tidy, Lobby Day, National Assembly, National Association for Local Councils, New legal guidance, News, consultations, council tax referendum principles, local government finance settlement