NALC Chief Executive's bulletin

Local council meetings

Last week NALC updated their dedicated Coronavirus webpage with a statement on local (parish and town) council meetings. Following the government announcement of further easing of lockdown restrictions from 4 July, both NALC and the Society of Local Council Clerks are strongly advising local councils to continue to meet remotely, without the need for face-to-face contact. You can read the statement in the Local Council Activity and Operations section, under Local meetings.

Meeting with the local government minister

The NALC chairman, Cllr Sue Baxter, held her first meeting with the new local government minister, Simon Clarke MP, on 22 June, making strong representations on council finances. While the minister was very positive indeed about the role of our councils in communities, including proposals likely in the devolution white paper this autumn to take forward the communities framework, NALC pressed hard on the more immediate issue of financial support for those councils most impacted by the pandemic. The minister did recognise the financial pressures facing councils and agreed to reflect on our representations. Sue also took part in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government webinar for local government leaders on 25 June, which was hosted by the secretary of state, Robert Jenrick MP, and again raised the issue of financial support. NALC will be writing to the minister to follow up on this meeting, as well as engaging further with officials.

NALC Smaller Councils Committee

NALC's Smaller Councils Committee met virtually on 23 June and in advance of the minutes being available here are a few highlights:

  • The committee supported the appointment of Josephine Parish as vice-chairman
  • Charlotte Eisenhart, head of member services, gave an update on NALC's work supporting county associations and local councils during this time, including information and guidance available on the dedicated Coronavirus webpage
  • Committee members provided feedback on how remote meetings were working in their councils and supported having the flexibility to hold meetings remotely in the future
  • NALC project officer, Claire Goldfinch, provided an overview of NALC's climate change work and research into the 2019 local council elections, with committee members offering suggestions on how more people could be encouraged to stand for election

New Grimsey report

The latest Grimsey Review COVID-19 supplement recognised the role of our sector in leading change in communities and supporting high streets and businesses, with a number of local councils cited in the report. Recommendations cover transferring power to communities, leadership, taxation, post-retail planning, property, planning, and transport.

Tree Charter newsletter

June's tree charter newsletter outlines the work of Barwell Parish Council, Leicestershire, East Suffolk Council, Suffolk, and Shrewsbury Town Council, Shropshire, on tree planting, community organising and working with principal councils. A reminder that Tree pack applications are likely to close at the end of July, so if you still wish to hold a planting event for Tree Charter Day 2020 on 28 November, do apply. Don't forget to write Charter Branch by your name to increase your chances of success. There are also small grants available this year if you need more than the allocated 420 trees - email charter@woodlandtrust.org.uk for more information. Online events are also being organised, so stay tuned!

And finally...

In the unlikely event you missed it (!), yesterday the government introduced the Business and Planning Bill as part of its easement and recovery measures. This aims to help more pubs, restaurants and cafes serve customers outdoors, simplify and reduce the costs of the licensing process for outdoor seating and stalls, and planning changes so outdoor markets, pop-up car-boot sales or summer fairs will not need a planning application

Posted: Mon, 29 Jun 2020 09:30 by Alison Robinson

Tags: Local council meetings, NALC, New Grimsey Report, Smaller Councils Committee, Tree Charter, news