NALC update - from Jonathan Owen (Chief Executive)

External audit non responses

Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments (SAAA) are now receiving management information returns from the audit suppliers – currently, their main concern is the number of authorities they have had no response from, this is higher than in previous years. At the end of last week there were over 700 authorities who had not responded at all.

All will now have received formal reminder letters at a charge of £40 each and will receive a further chaser if there is still no response. It is likely that most of these will qualify as exempt and therefore may have assumed that they do not need to do anything! Audit suppliers such as PKF Littlejohn have already been in touch with some county associations.

Any council which is unsure who their external auditors are can find this information on the SAAA website. SAAA will receive a further detailed return from the suppliers at the end of August.

Brexit briefing

In advance of yesterday's speech on planning for a no deal Brexit by Dominic Raab MP, secretary of state for Exiting the European Union, NALC were pleased to participate in a confidential briefing on the 25 technical notices as part of guidance on how to prepare for Brexit if there's no deal.

Officials said they will be working closely with the wider local government sector and NALC in the run-up to the UK's exit from the European Union "to ensure a successful transition by helping to facilitate effective and constructive conversations between local government and central government."

Joint Information Governance Group (JIGG)

Last week, JIGG met to discuss in more detail the production of new guidance for local (parish and town) councils on information governance, data protection and cybersecurity. The meeting also agreed to submit a bid to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) grants programme to fund the guide including research and dissemination. A decision is expected in October.

Data protection fees

Staying on the subject of information governance, one issue raised at JIGG was local councils trying to pay their data protection fee online. In selecting the option of a 'public authority', the online process asks for data protection officer details, which is not necessary for local councils. ICO colleagues have raised this issue internally and been assured that a request has been made to have this amended. In the meantime there is a workaround – rather than selecting 'public authority' select 'other' which then asks for organisation type, you can then add you council there.

Updated guidance

NALC's A GDPR toolkit for local councils has been revised and reissued; the second bullet point of paragraph 17.3(2) was incorrectly included in the 3 August update and has now been removed. The toolkit is available in the Development Tools section of the member's area.

Your views on rural buses

A reminder that we'd still love to hear your views on rural buses in advance of a ministerial roundtable on rural buses. NALC have been invited to input on how rural buses can be better supported and services improved for those living and working in rural communities. NALC are keen to hear feedback on your experience of the 37 total transport pilots launched in 2015, as well as initiatives such as Network Integration, Community Transport and Demand Responsive Transport, but especially examples of community transport projects you are involved in – drop nalc a line by 7 September to policycomms@nalc.gov.uk

Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS)

The latest list of local councils in the LCAS is available on the website. In case you're not familiar with LCAS, the scheme is designed to celebrate the successes of the very best local councils and provide a framework to support all local councils to improve and develop to meet their full potential. The scheme offers local councils the opportunity to show that they meet the standards set by the sector, assessed by their peers, and to put in place the conditions for continued improvement.

Posted: Fri, 24 Aug 2018 13:35 by Alison Robinson

Tags: Brexit, External audits, GDPR, JIGG, Joint Information Governance Group, LCAS, Local Council Award Scheme, NALC, National Association for Local Councils, News, SAAA, community transport, data protection, rural buses