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NALC Chief Executive's bulletin

This week NALC wrote a joint letter with the Society of Local Councils Clerks to the sector to commend your efforts but also asking you to stop holding meetings. The new Coronavirus Act includes a measure on local authority meetings but new regulations are now needed before councils are allowed to hold meetings remotely. NALC are pressing for progress on this as a matter of urgency.

NALC have been updating the webpage frequently as new information and guidance is available, including updates on the engagement with government and other organisations such as the Local Government Association (LGA). The LGA included a section on the role of local councils in their daily bulletin to principal council chief executive's, this is below for your information.

"We know that for those of you with parish and town councils in your areas, you will already appreciate the role they play in our communities, often working in close partnership with you, and now playing their part in the public health crisis. We are in contact with the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and joining up where we can at present, including on measures of shared interest in the Coronavirus Bill.

At chair level we spoke today to NALC's Cllr Sue Baxter, among the issues discussed was legislation to make car parks free for NHS workers, which NALC has agreed to support. NALC is communicating daily with its members including through a dedicated page on its website that is regularly updated, this also signposts to information and guidance from Government, Public Health England as well as the LGA. We would encourage you to ensure parish and town councils in your area are aware of this important source of information to them. Councils will already be in contact with the relevant association of local councils in your area, and we would urge you to stay in close contact with them, especially on the role of parish and town councils in supporting the local voluntary and community sector and the work of the hubs. NALC is gathering examples of how parish and town councils are supporting their communities and some are included in their Coronavirus case studies publication, which will be updated later this week as more councils share their stories with NALC via a short surveyor by emailing tweeting @nalc."

In addition to gathering examples of the work of local councils, NALC have started to collect information on the financial impact on the sector, especially on loss of income. This is starting with the Super Councils Network and will be extended further shortly, so please look at out for that to ensure a robust and well-evidenced case to government for a package of support can be made.

NALC Management Board

With videoconferencing now all the rage and fundamental to how organisations operate, NALC's Management Board held a successful first-ever remote meeting on 25 March, here are a few headlines:

  • They were updated on business resilience plans including homeworking and using teleconferencing to keep in touch with county associations, councillors and committee members.
  • The board agreed that NALC's main priorities for the short-term are to: update the Coronavirus webpage (which has currently received around 60,000 hits) with current information, guidance and advice; lobby government, including ensuring they account of the sector when drawing up regulations for remote meetings, pressing for compensation for lost income, and on accounts and audit timescales; and liaising closely with county officers
  • And if there are positive things are coming out of all this, it is the incredible team effort at national and county level and in particular the response of local councils to support their communities – there are over 100 examples which will be shared shortly.

Videoconference with county officers

Not to be left out, around 30 county officer colleagues took part in the second of a weekly videoconferences to stay in touch, provide updates and share information.

Precept statistics

In any ordinary week, the publication of headline council tax levels set by local authorities in 2020/21would be of great interest! So some light relief away from everything else: average increase across England is 3.9%, smallest since 2016/17; average local precepting authority increase is 4.0%, smallest since 2015/16.

LGC magazine

The local government magazine LGC has followed The MJ in opening up free access to their magazine. A good reason for you to register is their story on the partnership approach to supporting the vulnerable which highlights the role of local councils, including a few examples, and includes quotes from Justin Griggs, NALC head of policy and communications.

Posted: Fri, 27 Mar 2020 15:18 by Alison Robinson

Tags: COVID19, Coronavirus, LGA, LGC magazine, Local Government Association, NALC, NALC management board, advice, news, precept statistics