NALC Chief Executives Bulletin

Tree Charter Day

I was pleased that last Saturday, 30 November, NALC celebrated the second annual Tree Charter Day. Together with The Woodland Trust, we’ve sent out around 30,000 trees to Charter Branches, helping to ensure the ‘Plant for the Future’ principle in the Charter becomes reality. We’ve also collected 250,000 pledges to plant trees via the Big Climate Fightback campaign too! You can find out more about The Tree Charter on the dedicated page on our website. To help us drive the Tree Charter forward and plan a bigger and better Tree Charter Day next year, we're asking all Charter Branches to complete a short survey – it should only take a few minutes. And if you have any stories about how your local council is playing its part to protect trees and woodland, please contact drop us a line at policycomms@nalc.gov.uk – thank you.

Finance and Scrutiny Committee

NALC’s Finance and Scrutiny Committee met on 4 December at the NALC offices, here are a few highlights:

  • The committee received quarterly management accounts and reviewed the budget for forthcoming years after noting that the Annual General Meeting had agreed the recommended affiliation rate of 7.2p per elector for 2020/21 with a cap making the maximum payment £1,840 (this is in line with recent practice)
  • Councillors were also pleased to receive reports from officers and to hear that planning for the Spring Conference is going well and launched for bookings
  • This being the last meeting before the annual National Assembly, the chairman Cllr Peter Davey, thanked colleagues for their support and commitment on the committee during the year

General Election manifestos

Our summary of the General Election manifestos of the Conservative, Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties boils down the 400 or so pages to just 20, identifying measures of interest to our sector on communities, local government and public services. Do also check out Manifest Destiny by the think tank Localis which provides a shorthand guide to the localist elements of the three main party manifestos as well as highlights identified by the Local Government Association.

Civic Voice manifesto

Staying on manifestos, I’m really pleased that colleagues over at Civic Voice – the national body for civic societies – are continuing to call on the government to make it easier to set up new local councils in urban areas in their new manifesto, which also has a strong emphasis on an urgent need for a rebalancing of power within the planning system. Much common ground for us to work together in after the General Election!

Neighbourhood planning

The National Trust has published a really useful Guide to Heritage in Neighbourhood Plans. The guide covers heritage policy and designations, the neighbourhood plan process, the evidence base, community and stakeholder engagement, basic conditions and heritage, writing the plan, and community-led development and projects.

Out and about

  • Our head of policy and communications, Justin Griggs, was in Lincoln on 3 December at a meeting of Birchwood Big Local to discuss the creation of a new urban parish council – you can read more in our news story here
  • Justin and Charlotte Eisenhart, head of member services, attended the Localis Winter Reception at the British Academy on 4 December

And finally…

Huge congratulations Frome Town Council (FTC) and Sevenoaks Town Council (STC) who won prestigious national and European awards this week for two of their innovative and ambitious projects. The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, presented STC with the Award for Urban Heritage at the National Railway Heritage Awards in London for their Bat and Ball Station regeneration project. And Frome Town Council were in Berlin to receive the Innovation in Politics Award for the best community project for their community fridge, chosen from 400 projects from 40 countries by an independent jury of 1000 European Citizens. Very well done indeed!