NALC Chief Executive's bulletin
Toilet Tax Bill enters Parliament
Legislation to end the toilet tax entered Parliament last week, which when enacted will save the sector millions of pounds. This has been a key campaign over the last few years to exempt local (parish and town) councils from paying business rates on toilets they own or manage. The snappily titled Non Domestic Rating (Public Conveniences) Bill received its First Reading in the House of Lords on 18 June and NALC will be working with Parliamentarians in both Houses, including Scott Mann MP, who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Local Democracy and has been championing this issue, along with Liz Truss MP and local government minister Rishi Sunak MP.
Precepts media coverage
Some more good media coverage by the BBC last week highlighting how local councils are increasing precepts to take on and save local services, examples in the story include Chippenham Town Council, Lilbourne Parish Council and Newport Pagnell Town Council. Well done Mark Williams, town clerk, Falmouth Town Council for his interview on BBC Radio Cornwall, you can listen again on BBC iPlayer (2.10 in) just after the piece on Lucky the kitten! NALC also published their analysis of parish precepts which you can read here.
LCR interviews Duncan Selbie of Public Health England
Last week, Marie Dill, senior communications officer, interviewed Duncan Selbie, chief executive at Public Health England, for the summer edition of LCR's special on health and wellbeing. Just one of the things he wanted to point out was how vital local councils are in helping people to live in good health. He said: "I would reverse the importance of the different councils in local government. I would say the most important are [local councils] because they are the closest to people. Keeping people healthy is not just about diagnosis, but what really matters to people – can they meet their friends, get to the local shops and get decently paid work. And it's local councils that know the most about how to connect people." To read more from the interview, which will be published in the summer edition, click here to subscribe to LCR.
- The NALC Management Board met on 18 June and noted a positive financial year end result and recommended an increase in affiliation fees to 7.2p per elector in 2020 capped at £1840. Councillors also agreed on some small changes to NALCs governance and supported a paper on developing member services.
- The Policy Committee met on 19 June, agreeing a number of policies on a neighbourhood planning, considered policy motions on financial services, boundary reviews and local elections data, warmly welcoming the news on our toilets campaign and also agreeing to support the Use Our Loos campaign, noted progress on new regulations to change parish polls, considered a number of draft surveys as part of our elections review, and discussed a number of audit issues which NALC will be relaying to the Joint Panel for Accounting Guidance.
Out and about
- A visit Lancashire on 15 June to hear some of the brilliant things local councils are doing including digital inclusion programme, housing for unemployed people, community hubs, youth council budget, a pedestrian bridge across the canal to an isolated area, and a blues festival! Their conference also heard from the Police and Crime Commissioner and a Guide Dog called Preston!
- Charlotte Eisenhart, head of member services, attended the Leicestershire and Rutland Association of Local Councils (LRALC) AGM on 15 June. Charlotte heard about the professional services offered by LRALC, including a new internal audit service and the excellent work of local councils in Leicestershire, including running a neighbourhood watch scheme, funding support workers to help the elderly and disabled bathe and providing funding for an early intervention officer. Charlotte also delivered a presentation outlining the services and support NALC provides to local councils and NALC's new vision for the sector.
- NALC's chairman, Cllr Sue Baxter, attended a meeting of the Prime Minister's Rural Dementia group on 20 June and heard about some excellent work in the south-west, where local councils are working together to build dementia friendly communities. NALC will be promoting this as part of its health and wellbeing campaign this year, so please do let us know of any work your local council is doing to help support local residents with dementia.
This 11 July marks the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide where over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were systematically murdered simply because of their religious identity in the worst atrocity that occurred on European soil since the Second World War. Remembering Srebrenica is the sole organiser of the UK's Srebrenica Memorial Day commemorations. Since its creation in 2013, the organisation has educated over 90,000 young people on the lessons from Srebrenica, organised nearly 6,500 memorial activities across the Country and created 1,200 Community Champions who pledge to stand up to hatred and intolerance in their communities. By remembering the past, we hope to learn lessons for the future and to promote a safer and more tolerant society for all. Remembering Srebrenica would like to invite you and your council to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide, and join them in teaching others about the consequence of hatred and intolerance during the week 7 - 14 July 2019. They have numerous resources and suggestions on how you can join us in commemoration – please take a look at their website here.
NALC Open Days
Just a quick reminder about a NALC open day on the 16 July. These days are run to enable new staff at county associations, councillors on committees as well as new member councils to meet our officers and put names to faces as well as finding out more about our work. If colleagues are interested in attending, please contact email@example.com for more information and to book a place.
In support of National Loneliness Awareness Week, NALC published 50 case studies demonstrating how local councils of all sizes are getting involved to help tackle loneliness, a problem which increases the likelihood of premature mortality by 26%. The case studies featured identify activity taken to counter loneliness amongst older and younger people, the unemployed and those with dementia, including managing community venues, organising events, providing community transport and social prescribing.
Posted: Sat, 22 Jun 2019 10:14 by Alison Robinson