NALC update - from Jonathan Owen (Chief Executive)
Data Protection Bill and GDPR
· NALC's concerns over the impact of the Data Protection Bill and GDPR on local councils were picked up in Parliament last week as well as extensively in the media. Prior to last Monday's Second Reading of the Bill the NALC chairman Cllr Sue Baxter wrote to secretary of state for digital, culture media and sport, Matt Hancock MP and NALC issued a press release.
· Responding to David Drew MP, who mentioned NALC in speaking about the costs of GDPR, Matt Hancock MP said: "I have received representations not only from the National Association of Local Councils, but from the Suffolk Association of Local Councils and many of my own parish councils—including Moulton Parish Council—which do an admirable job in telling me about the pressures facing parish councils throughout the country. I pay tribute to them for their efforts, and for the length of their representations to me. Of course it is important for parish councils, and other local councils, to follow high-quality data protection standards. The Information Commissioner's Office has provided extensive guidance to help organisations to prepare for their new responsibilities, and I urge councils to look at it. The responsibilities of data protection officers—this is relevant to the issue raised by the hon. Gentleman—can be implemented in different ways. For instance, several parish councils can choose to share a single data protection officer, provided that he or she is easily accessible from each establishment. The system does not require the hiring of one person per organisation. Organisations have already been set up to provide this service, and the service itself is important. In the case of a small organisation, such as a very small business or a parish council on a low budget, it is still important for data to be handled and protected carefully, because small organisations too can hold very sensitive personal information. I am extremely sympathetic to the plight of small businesses that must deal with regulation—especially as I come from a small business background myself—but I am also convinced that it is good practice to follow high-quality data protection standards, and that it is good for organisations to do so."
· In terms of next steps the Bill now moves to Committee Stage for detailed examination, meeting on 13, 15, 20, 22 and 27 March, and NALC urge councils and county associations whose MP/s are on the Committee to lobby them by writing and setting out collective concerns (feel free to draw upon the Parliamentary Bulletin circulated last week). NALC will also be working with MPs to secure amendments to allow further debate and press for government action, especially regarding the cost of appointing a Data Protection Officer, with Lobby Day also providing an opportunity for us collectively to be briefing and lobbying MPs.
LCR prices frozen for 2018/19
· NALC have frozen the price of subscribing to the informative magazine LCR. An annual subscription runs from 1 April 2018 and includes the four editions of Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring, do look out for renewal details which will be sent out next week, the cost is listed below:
1-3 subscriptions £17.00 (price frozen) per subscription
4+ subscriptions £13.50 (price frozen) per subscription
County association rate £11.00 (price frozen) per subscription
1-3 subscriptions: £40 (price frozen) per subscription
4+ subscriptions: £35 (price frozen) per subscription
- And in just three-week's time, LCR Spring will be landing on doormats. Here's a sneak peek: a very timely interview indeed with the ICO's information commissioner Elizabeth Denham who gives her take on data protection and GDPR, plus an article with more advice from the NALC legal team; think tank ResPublica talks about its radical report on the structure of local government; Falmouth Town Council explains how the 'toilet tax' affects the community and why it is campaigning for change; and in the regular Your Say survey views will be shared on the standards regime.
Revised NPPF launch
· The prime minister Teresa May MP last week launched the draft revised National Planning Policy Framework at a joint conference organised by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Royal Town Planning Institute; Sajid Javid MP, secretary of state for MHCLG also gave a keynote speech.
· The NALC Policy Committee met last Wednesday at the NALC office, here are a few highlights: the Committee considered progress on its work programme and discussed in more detail short and long term campaigns; approved a motion from the Suffolk county association on ensuring 'made' neighbourhood plans are treated as a statutory part of local plans; the Committee welcomed Jessica Ellis and Alison Seabrook from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to discuss the consultation on Implementing Geological Disposal, noting other consultations underway including the Committee on Standards in Public Life inquiry on ethical standards.
Joint project and event with LGA
· The Local Government Association (LGA) hosted two roundtables last week to gain additional insight to inform the development of a new guide on how principal authorities and town and parish councils can work more collaboratively together to best serve the needs of their communities. The new guide will be launched at the NALC/LGA Principal and local councils working in partnership national event on 16 May 2018, places are free to NALC and LGA members but book early to avoid missing out.
· Fifty meetings with MPs are already scheduled or being finalized for the Lobby Day on 20 March! Lobby Day is a great opportunity for county associations to build relationships with their local MPs and highlight any issues affecting councils in their area, especially GDPR! Don't forget, if you need any help – especially if you haven't yet written to any of your MPs – just get in touch with the NALC policy and development team via email@example.com as they can provide support and advice. You can also follow what is happening on Lobby Day via our Twitter: @NALC and by searching the Lobby Day hashtag: #NALCLOBBYDAY.
International Women's Day
·The NALC chairman Cllr Sue Baxter used International Women's Day 2018 to applaud and recognise women active in local councils, calling for more women to put themselves forward for election as parish and town councillors. NALC also showcased a number of female councillors – who make up 39 of councillors in the sector according to the NALC Census Survey of Parish Councillors – through case studies in the resources section of the Diversity Commission page on the website, and there is still time to Tell us your thoughts on what you've done locally in the past or are doing now to promote and increase diversity on your council.
Posted: Mon, 12 Mar 2018 17:25 by Alison Robinson