NALC Chief Executive's bulletin
NALC Larger Councils Committee
The Larger Councils Committee met on 22 January at CCLA in London, here's a brief summary:
- Colleagues from CCLA welcomed the Committee to their offices and gave a brief overview of their work with the charities, churches and local authorities sectors, with total funds under management close to £9bn, the public sector making up almost 20% (£1.7bn) and some 700 clients, over 300 local (parish and town) councils make use of the Public Sector Deposit Fund to satisfy their short term cash needs and just short of 100 have invested long term in the Local Authorities' Property Fund, enjoying enhanced returns. They reported that in more established unitary areas, local councils are delivering an increasing number of devolved services paid for by generating additional income through increasing precepts, which is resulting in more use of CCLA's funds, seeing this as something that will continue as the restructuring of local government continues and greater demands are placed on local councils
- Cllrs Paul Harvey, West Bletchley Council in Milton Keynes, and Iain Hamilton, Halewood Town Council in Merseyside, were elected chairman and vice chairman
- The Committee held an extensive policy discussion session to consider: council leadership, in particular, the role of council leaders, including current practice; and NALC's longstanding policy objective on business rate reform to inform NALC's work on the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). To support the Committee's priority of sharing good practice note of group discussions would be circulated and also made available on the NALC website
- Progress on the Committee's work programme, including joint work with the Local Government Association to pilot peer challenge with Chippenham Town Council in the Spring and new developing new guidance on helping tackle loneliness, the finance settlement proposal
- Items raised by the Committee included prudential borrowing, the impact of the Ledbury case, boundary and community governance reviews, powers regarding council housing, and council tax support funding
- The Committee were pleased the study tour to Bishop's Stortford had sold out, noted over a hundred delegates had booked to attend Spring Conference and the exhibition had sold out, and agreed to feed in themes/subjects relevant to larger councils for this year's annual conference programme.
LCR interviews Queen's Park Community Council's Eartha Pond
Last week, senior communications officer and LCR editor, Marie Dill, met with Cllr Eartha Pond from London's first-ever local council, to talk about local councils. Subjects covered included how to get more diversity on local councils, how to engage with young people and whether London needs more local councils. On that subject, she said: "The more [local councils] we have and can connect with to become a bigger network of communities in London, the better. Other areas in London have similar issues to ours, and while it's not about one-size-fits-all, it's about learning from each other – collaboration is key". To read more from the interview, which will be published in the winter edition, subscribe to LCR at: www.nalc.gov.uk/lcrmagazine
Great British Spring Clean
In the NALC Points of Light 2019 report it shows local councils are stepping up to support communities across a wide range of themes, including local environmental improvements through litter picks and street cleaning. Last Wednesday, Keep Britain Tidy launched their Great British Spring Clean 2019 in Westminster, attended by Jessica Lancod-Frost, policy officer. This year's Spring Clean will take place from 22 March – 23 April 2019 and I'm again keen for as many councils as possible to get involved and join over 370,000 #LitterHeroes already cleaning up their community!
The NALC chairman, Cllr Sue Baxter, continued her New Year engagement with Parliamentarians this week, meeting further members of the House of Lords to brief them on our sectors achievements last year, her open letter to councillors, and the priorities for the year ahead. Other topics covered included council tax on second homes, creation of local councils in urban areas, and the CSR. Last week the NALC solicitor, Gurvynda Paddan-White, attended a roundtable on the Voice of The Councillor report, hosted by the Essex Association of Local Councils. Among the issues discussed were relationships with principal authorities, role of chairman and mayor, and onward devolution of services.
Posted: Tue, 29 Jan 2019 09:35 by Alison Robinson