NALC update - from Jonathan Owen (Chief Executive)

ICO statement on GDPR

· NALC are pleased to let you know that following lengthy discussions with relevant Government departments, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) have issued a statement of reassurance setting out their views on the particular challenges facing the local council sector regarding the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which NALC have very much welcomed. You can read the full statement in Policy Briefing PB01-18 but please not the following section: "The Commissioner has said previously that the GDPR is a journey rather than a destination. She will be looking to councils to demonstrate that they are committed to making progress towards embedding the right processes and procedures. She wants to reassure councils that if they have a positive attitude to finding practical solutions to some of the challenges of implementation, they will find a pragmatic, fair and proportionate regulator."

· NALC are continuing to work with the ICO and others to establish sensible arrangements for the requirement to appoint a Data Protection Officer and will provide further updates as discussions progress, plus there is a wealth of information available to help local councils on the ICO website as well as NALC's toolkit on GDPR and Legal Briefings in the members area of the NALC website. NALC are continuing to lobby on your behalf for a proportionate regime for the sector during the passage of the Data Protection Bill; this will be having its final stages in Parliament over the coming weeks and the NALC CEO (Jonathon Owen) would urge you to contact your local MP and press upon them the importance of having a system that works for the sector and reflects its size and data usage.

Larger Councils' Committee

· The Larger Councils' Committee met last week at the CCLA offices in London, here are a few highlights in advance of the draft minutes being available: Cllr Clare Horrocks, Sutton Coldfield Town Council and Adam Keppell-Green, Knutsford Town Council, both new directly elected representatives were welcomed to their first meeting, along with Cllr Iain Hamilton, National Assembly member for Merseyside who had been elected to fill a vacant position from National Assembly; the Committee considered feedback from larger councils on changes to the Committee's terms of reference as part of the governance review and agreed proposals to submit to the Management Board; NALC's success on securing a three-year deal on council tax referendums in the final local government finance settlement was noted, along with headline figures published by government which showed parish precepts had risen by 4.9% on average for 2018/19 compared to 6.3% in 2017/18; progress on the development of a peer challenge programme for larger councils was noted; guidance on principal and local councils working in partnership as part of a joint project between NALC and the Local Government Association would be published on 16 May at a joint free conference in London, members of the Committee were encouraged to attend; and a discussion on NALC's campaign to create new councils and the forthcoming review of our support offer.

Local government pay scales 2018/19

· Following the recent National Joint Council for Local Government Services agreement on pay for local government employees, NALC have published in the members area of the NALC website (login required) Employment Bulletin E01-18 which sets out the new pay scales for clerks and other employees employed under the terms of the model contract including spinal column point 50 and above. The NALC chairman Cllr Sue Baxter is meeting the local government minister Rishi Sunak MP next month and will be flagging up with him that the increase on the lower end of the pay scale exceeds 2% and may have implications for budgets and precepts.

Meeting of SAAA and advice on Certificates of Exemption

· And finally, the Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments (SAAA) board met last week, here are a few key points: the revised annual return and external auditors were now in place saving the public purse some £2 million; a number of useful FAQs were on the SAAA website; the board noted that external auditors have raised with SAAA that a number of Certificates of Exemption have been returned to them where it appears that the council has not resolved at a meeting to certify the council as exempt from a limited assurance review by the external auditor and that the qualifying criteria have been met, therefore councils are reminded that the decision to certify as exempt should be taken at a meeting of the council as stated on the Certificate of Exemption, after which the Certificate can be completed and sent to the external auditor.

Posted: Mon, 23 Apr 2018 13:02 by Alison Robinson

Tags: External Audit, GDPR, Larger councils, Local Government pay scales, NALC, National Association for Local Councils, News, SAAA