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NALC Chief Executive's bulletin

Coronavirus examples and impact

More and more local (parish and town) councils have been sharing what they are doing to support their community at this time. NALC have updated and republished the Coronavirus case studies publication to include over 150 examples, but please do keep sharing what you are doing. Next week NALC will be requesting information on the financial impact on your council.

Accounts and audit deadlines

One of the (many!) issues NALC have been raising with the government in recent weeks has been statutory accounts and audit deadlines. This week NALC responded on behalf of the sector to a rapid consultation – working closely with a range of bodies including the Society of Local Council Clerks – on proposed regulations which would extend the deadline for the inspection/publication requirements in the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015. See response in our documents section 'NALCs response to consultation on extending accounts and audit deadlines'.

Local authority meetings regulations

There has also been quite a lot of activity this week on the regulations regarding local authority meetings. NALC provided feedback to the government on draft regulations. Charlotte Eisenhart, head of member services and Jane Moore, senior solicitor and legal services manager have been involved in a number of calls with a group of local government bodies including the Local Government Association, Association of Democratic Support Officer, Lawyers in Local Government and Centre for Public Scrutiny, about support to councils on holding remote meetings. Yesterday the regulations were laid and made and will come into force on 4 April. NALC have already published on the Coronavirus page a legal briefing on NALC's interpretation of the regulations, as well as practical guidance on how to hold effective council meetings. See GAPTC documents section 'NALCs response to LA meeting regulations'

County officers weekly meeting

NALC coordinated a Zoom call with over 30 county associations on 1 April. These weekly calls were set up in response to the pandemic so that all of us can coordinate support to members as swiftly and seamlessly as possible. This week we discussed a wide range of issues including the new remote meetings regulations, government furloughing scheme, the financial impact of the pandemic on local councils and other issues of relevance to members.

NALC Policy Committee

NALC's Policy Committee held its first-ever remote meeting via Zoom on 1 April, here are a few highlights:

  • The committee thanked NALC staff for their work under difficult conditions and endorsed the approach agreed by the Management Board to prioritise Coronavirus and focus on support to councils and county associations and engaging with the government; they also commended our work so far and noted that work on other projects and campaigns would be impacted
  • Councillors noted feedback received so far on the draft report on the experience of parish elections in May 2019, and progress on the climate change project including recent telecon of the task and finish group
  • The committee considered a number of policy motions from county associations, with a motion from Cheshire on sustainable development not supported; two motions from the Kent regarding elections supported; and motion from Suffolk on major infrastructure projects, also supported
  • Other issues covered included Lobby Day which the Committee praised and said was quite an achievement in the circumstances, and a reintroduction to Parliament of the Toilet Tax legislation but that second reading date had been affected by events and early Easter recess.

Posted: Fri, 03 Apr 2020 16:34 by Alison Robinson

Tags: COVID19, Coronavirus, NALC, accounts and audit deadlines, advice, legal briefing, news, policy committee