NALC Chief Executives Bulletin

NALC Elections Campaign

This week we launched a new promotional video as part of our #MakeAChange elections campaign to encourage more people to stand for election as local councillors in the forthcoming elections in May 2019. The new video aims to help people looking to stand for election to understand the steps they will have to take to become a councillor. Watch our six steps to becoming a local councillor video

Communities Framework

  • The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have asked NALC, as a member of the Communities Partnership Board, for input to the development of a new Communities Framework. The framework will describe the importance of strong communities, set out the department's vision for supporting the development of these alongside the vital work of other groups, organisations and sectors, and explain and take forward how they are embedding this approach across the work of the department.
  • They are focusing for now on three questions – what do communities want: to do more of, or have more control over, in their local areas; in terms of inclusive spaces (parks, community centres, shared amenities) in their local areas; national and local government to do more, or less of, to support communities who want more control over issues affecting their local areas. Let us know what you think to policycomms@nalc.gov.uk or fill in the online survey. Thank you!

Policy consultations
 
Staying on the subject of inputting to government policy-making, we’d welcome your views on the Clean Air Strategy consultation and on proposals for fighting to flood by considering NALC's policy consultation briefings in the members' area of the NALC website (login required).

NALC Open Days
 
A reminder that this year's open days at the NALC office are on 20 March, 16 July and 17 October 2019. These provide an opportunity for members of the National Assembly and committees to find out more about our work and meet our staff. To find out more or to register a place, please email NALC at NALCcommittees@nalc.gov.uk

County Officers Forum
 
The County Officers Forum, which brings together county association officers to discuss common issues and share good practice, met on 6 February at CCLA in London. NALC was represented by Justin Griggs, head of policy and communications and Gary Barker, solicitor. The meeting considered a number of subjects including digital mapping, ethical standards, a project to improve guidance on law and procedure, information management systems, skills and interests register, and the Local Council Award Scheme.

And finally...

I wanted to share a comment from an ex-colleague of mine, who is now working in a shadow unitary authority being created as a result of local government reorganisation: “You are greatly blessed at NALC having such a strong network of county associations”, and we are!

Previous Bulletin

Chief executive's bulletin 

Final local government finance settlement
 
The secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government, James Brokenshire MP, published the final local government finance settlement 2019/20 this week, and as expected council tax referendum principles have not been extended to local (parish and town) councils. To support our ongoing work on this issue, can I still ask you to keep us informed of any significant precept increases – please email policycomms@nalc.gov.uk, thank you! The government have also allocated £56.5m to help principal authorities prepare for Brexit, and I would encourage you to liaise with them about this new funding and so they are aware of any particular issues you may be facing.

NALC Management Board

 
NALCs Management Board, which brings together 11 councillors elected from the National Assembly to oversee our work, met on Tuesday 29 January, here’s a brief summary: 

  • The board noted we are set to achieve a surplus against the budget this year, had applied for cyber essentials accreditation to demonstrate we handled data securely we have, and an update on proposals regarding the annual conference
  • A report on performance over the last two months was considered, with councillors noting the legal team had dealt with 127 written queries and 34 telephone queries over the last quarter
  • The publication of our new range of materials to encourage more people to stand for election in May’s local elections was welcomed
  • Welcomed progress on the development of our new strategic plan, agreeing four new strategy aims to take forward our new vision for the sector and NALC; strong national and county voices promoting the sector, promoting and creating local councils in England, supporting councils and councillors, effective national and county associations working together

Committee on Standards in Public Life report
 
Along with our chairman Cllr Sue Baxter and other colleagues, I attended the launch in Parliament this week of the Committee on Standards in Public Life report on local government ethical standards, which I’m pleased backs NALC’s longstanding calls for reforms to the current regime including the re-introduction of sanctions. However, I’m disappointed by the report’s failure to recommend and promote more councillor training and development, this is an issue Sue raised at the event with Committee’s chairman and other members, and we will be taking this up in further dialogue and engagement with the Committee and the government over the report’s recommendations. You can read more in our news story and full media release.
 
NALC/LGRC Local Council Expo 2019
 
A date for your diary as I’m really pleased to announce we will be partnering with Local Government Resource Centre Associates to stage the 2019 Local Council Expo on 21 June at Chateau Impney, Droitwich in Worcestershire. This follows the highly successful event held in 2016 at the same venue and will be by far the largest exhibition of products and services available to local councils together with demonstrations of the latest technology. With all-day entry, there will also be an opportunity to speak in-depth to a range of experts and a programme of demonstrations, presentations and discussions throughout the day on practical topics of specific interest to modern local councils. More details on how you can book your place next week, but in the meantime do put this innovative event on your calendar!

Staffing changes
 
Firstly, I would like to let you know that we have appointed Charlotte Eisenhart as our new head of member services. She is currently head of engagement at the Royal Society of Arts, but as many of you know, she has previously worked for NALC and the Local Government Association. This post was created as a result of our recent strategic review and I see it as crucial to continuing our closer work together, at all levels. I know Charlotte will be keen to engage widely when she starts in May.

I am also pleased to announce that Farhana Miah has moved from her role as the receptionist to acting executive officer on an initial six-month basis, taking over responsibility for supporting NALC’s committees as well as continuing to provide assistance with NALC conferences, LCR and helping the smooth running of the office.

Out and abouts

  • Sue and I met with colleagues from the Society of Local Council Clerks to consider joint work to update the governance toolkit and other template policies
  • Colleagues from the policy and communications were at the launch of Youth Politics UK London to develop links with a range of national youth organisations to raise awareness and get more young people involved in the sector
  • Our head of policy and communications, Justin Griggs, attended the annual parliamentary reception of the Royal Town Planning Institute, where James Brokenshire MP spoke about the important rol ofe planning and design in building strong communities
  • Yesterday the Essex Association of Local Councils hosted a visit by our head of finance and administration, Steve Walker

And finally...

NALC's Spring Conference is less that two weeks away. And with that, we're running a super sale saving you 20% off your tickets. The deal ends on 7 February, so register your place today to make the most of the discount.