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ENABLING PARISH & TOWN COUNCILS IN GLOUCESTERSHIRE SINCE 1939

NALC Chief Executive's bulletin

Chippenham Peer Review

The pilot peer review with Chippenham Town Council took place last week. NALC's head of member services, Charlotte Eisenhart, was part of the peer review team who spent two days onsite where through 20 meetings they spoke to more than 45 people including a range of council staff together with councillors and stakeholders, spending more than 80 hours to determine findings and feedback for the council! You can read the news story here, and more details on this and future peer reviews will follow in due course.

Communities Partnership Board

The new faith and communities minister at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Viscount Younger of Leckie, attended the Communities Partnership Board on 10 September. In his remarks, he thanked all the organisations on the Board (including NALC) for their support to the communities agenda which he is committed to as being key to building strong communities, helping unite the country, breaking down barriers in communities, and leading to greater integration. Other issues covered included communities policy priorities and the Towns Fund, where the NALC head of policy and communications, Justin Griggs, reiterated the call for local councils to have the opportunity to play a lead role in bidding for funding, especially as nearly a third of 100 areas selected have town council as their most local tier of local government. Details on the prospectus for the Towns Fund are still being worked up.

NALC Management Board

The NALC Management Board – which brings together 10 councillors from across the country to oversee the work – met on 10 September, draft minutes will be available on the NALC website shortly, but here are a few highlights:

  • proposals to launch a new human resources (HR) service as part of our existing membership offer were agreed; this will comprise a suite of model HR policies and documents for local councils plus advice and guidance for county associations – further details will be available later in the year.
  • the Board considered the NALC activity report on the work completed on our members behalf since July, this includes: meetings with Ministers; concerted lobbying on exempting toilets from business rates; a presence Local Government Association annual conference to highlight the potential of the sector to principal councils, including a well-attended fringe event; commencing research into how May's local elections went and what changes NALC should be seeking; NALC have responded to 220 legal queries, issued new model financial regulations; facilitated a groundbreaking first peer review in the sector; attended a number of local training days and events.
  • Councillors also agreed on plans for NALC's engagement at some of the party political conferences – if you are attending the Liberal Democrat, Labour, or Conservative events over the next few weeks and would like to help fly the flag for our sector contact NALC at justin.griggs@nalc.gov.uk

Prorogation of Parliament
The current Parliamentary session was brought to a close with a prorogation announcement on 9 September; the House of Commons and the House of Lords will next sit for the State Opening of Parliament on 14 October 2019 with a Queens Speech. One direct consequence of prorogation is the Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill, which seeks to end the toilet tax, won't continue its passage and NALC are pressing for this to be carried over into the next session.

Children's Funeral Fund for England

MHCLG has published details of the new Children's Funeral Fund For England which aims to reduce the financial burden for families by reimbursing burial authorities, cremation authorities and funeral directors directly. More information for local councils on how to claim is here.

And finally...

As this year's #communitiesweek2019 draws to a close, new housing minister Esther McVey praised Knutsford Town Council's neighbourhood plan in the latest edition of Notes on Neighbourhood Planning, which had 100 volunteers involved in its production and covering important local themes such as community places and transport.

Posted: Sat, 14 Sep 2019 11:21 by Alison Robinson

Tags: peer review, Communities Partnership Board, building stronger communities, Towns Fund, NALC Management Board, HR service, activity report, Public Lavatories Bill, Children's Funeral Fund, Neighbourhood Plan, News, NALC, National Association for Local Councils