Local Government Association (LGA) Annual Conference and Exhibition 2018
This week I was in Birmingham with Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, and other NALC and county association colleagues at the LGA Annual Conference and Exhibition 2018.
I was delighted to hear several positive mentions of our tier of local government in speeches and sessions including the speech
by James Brokenshire MP, secretary of state, who said: "the power of local government to be an incredible force for good – not as a distant, faceless bureaucracy, but, from the biggest unitary to the smallest parish council, as the heartbeat of the communities it serves.”
Our exhibition stand was popular once again and visited by a number of delegates to discuss local councils, our One Community
report with the LGA, as well as the work of NALC and county associations. Given our fringe event was the morning after the England game (is it coming home?), we managed to pull in quite a crowd to debate the future of local councils with our panel
of speakers – you can read the headlines on my Twitter
, and the video will be available next week. Cllr Sue Baxter also met with a range of local government figures including; Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands, Cllr Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, Lord Gary Porter, chairman of the LGA, Cllr Peter John, chair of London Councils and Dave Hodgson, vice-chairman of LGA’s Improvement Board.
In his own conference speech
the local government minister Rishi Sunak MP – who made a beeline for the NALC stand when he arrived to catch up
with Cllr Sue Baxter – launched a new digital pledge backed by £7.5m of government funding to help local councils transform their online services. We discussed the announcement with his officials and will follow up on how our councils can get involved and access funding.
Huge thanks to Cllr Mike Scott, Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils, Gail Power, Shropshire Association of Local Councils and Cllr Clare Horrocks, Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council, and others, who joined us throughout the week.
NALC at events
A number of NALC colleagues have also been out and about this week. Gary Barker, solicitor, spoke at the Suffolk Association Local Councils larger councils meeting about the Ledbury Case, payments to churches and the Direct Access Scheme. Ben Murray, policy and projects officer was at the Community Organisers
course in Warwickshire. And Jane Moore, head of legal and solicitor, spoke at the Devon Association of Local Councils event on subjects including the code of conduct and ways of working with county associations.
Rural isolation roundtable
Lord Gardiner of Kimble, rural ambassador, and Tracey Crouch MP, ministerial lead on loneliness, have invited NALC to participate in a discussion on rural loneliness on 19 July and I am keen to get your views in advance of that meeting. The discussion will provide an opportunity to update stakeholders on the government’s plans to tackle loneliness and support stronger connections across society. One particular issue they are interested in is how loneliness affects people living in rural areas, the main problems and the best solutions to these. Please send your comments to email@example.com
by 16 July – thank you!
Updated legal guidance
And finally, a number of Legal Topic Notes (LTN) have been updated including LTN 31 on Section 137 spending limit and several others to bring them in line with the new General Data Protection Regulation.