NALC Chief Executives Bulletin

 

NALC Chief Executive Bulletin - 02/08/19

Cabinet reshuffle

The Government’s reshuffle is complete and it is worth highlighting a few announcements:
  • As mentioned last week, Robert Jenrick MP is the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. We have also been informed by colleagues that he is also the president for Nottinghamshire county association, so hopefully, he should have a good understanding of the sector! 
  • Luke Hall MP is the new Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Minister for Local Government and Homelessness. He is also MP for Thornbury and Yate in South Gloucestershire, which falls within the area of the Avon local councils associations (ALCA).
  • Lord Gardiner was reappointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity at the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs We have built a good relationship with him on rural issues, so are pleased to see him continue in this post. 
We have sent them our congratulations and are seeking meetings to discuss key issues. You can find further details on the Ministry website. Please do let us know if you have particularly good contacts with any of them.

Election research

Following a discussion on Northamptonshire ALC’s motion at our last National Assembly meeting, we have published councillor and council surveys to collect feedback on what happened in the May 2019 elections. The results will be used to gain a national picture of the local election process and to highlight any on-going issues, to be raised with national organisations, such as the electoral commission or LGA. NALC also hopes to use the findings to encourage more members of the public from different backgrounds to stand for election in the future by gaining stories of best practice. Take a look at our news story and please complete the surveys below! And encourage others to do so too. We have had over 1,000 responses since Wednesday!

Complete councillor survey  |  Complete local council survey

Tree charter newsletter

July's Tree Charter newsletter was published this week and sent to all of our tree charter branches. NALC has partnered with The Woodland Trust and The National Union of Students to promote ten principles of protecting green spaces and trees in local areas. The newsletter highlights case studies from three excellent local councils: Falmouth, Loughton and Bishop Waltham. A date for your diary is 30 November, the annual tree charter day, where we encourage as many people as possible to plant trees around the UK. You can apply for free trees through The Woodland Trust.

If you would like to find out how your council can get involved then head over to our website, where there is plenty of supporting material and guidance. If your council is doing good things with trees please contact claire.goldfinch@nalc.gov.uk

BHIB Cyber Essentials Pilot

NALC sponsors BHIB have teamed up with Berea Associates to run a pilot aimed at making cybersecurity simple for local councils. At the moment they are working with 5 councils in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire to pilot a Cyber Essentials and Security scheme. They are working with a wide size range of councils and exploring the use of cyber technology to ensure the safety of council information. The solution provides a cybersecurity guidance and advice pack for councillors, clerks and volunteers along with a web-based self – assessment that once completed will give you your HM Gov. Cyber Essentials certificate. We’ll keep you posted with progress and share more about the solution in the coming weeks!

The Village Survival Guide

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has published this week ‘The Village Survival Guide’ which NALC had had input to. It features case histories, checklists and practical advice, and is intended to help those living in the countryside to utilise the talents available in their own communities. The guide references how working with your local (parish and town) councils can deliver great initiatives: such as a volunteer car service which has been a lifeline for villagers getting to medical appointments and for those who don't qualify for non-emergency patient transport, ‘car clubs’ which has helped connect schools, elderly and the disabled around the villages, and the Good Neighbours Scheme which brings volunteers in touch with residents who need support, such as gardening, DIY or even just befriending to help tackle loneliness. Find out more

Local Government Association (LGA) releases Councillors’ guide to handling intimidation

LGA has released a report on the practical steps for councillors to use to protect themselves from intimidation. Read the full report 

The key points from the report are:
  • Councillors are encouraged to keep a record of any intimidatory communication or behaviour
  • Contact with unknown or anonymous individuals should be undertaken with care
And finally...

I am pleased to announce that Katie Bourne, the newly appointed Sussex Police Crime Commissioner has been elected as the Chair of the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners. In that capacity, she also sits on the Government’s new national policing board which had its first meeting this week. She will also be speaking at our conference in October on ‘Creating Safer Communities’ and I am sure there will be opportunities to question her on the Government’s plans to recruit additional police officers. 
Additionally, we have announced an exciting line-up for our youth engagement workshop which highlights how to engage young people in local politics. The panel is: Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, chair at British Youth Council: Kayleigh Wainright, head of membership & policy at UK Youth, Rachael Farrington, founder of Voting Counts, Jason Arthur, director of strategy and communications at Step Up to Serve and Cllr Sam Foulder-Hughes, at Kingston Council and former British Youth Parliament councillor. I think this will be a very stimulating panel talk and look forward to seeing them all in October! 
Make sure you buy your tickets before they sell out!
Cabinet reshuffle

The Government’s reshuffle is complete and it is worth highlighting a few announcements:
  • As mentioned last week, Robert Jenrick MP is the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. We have also been informed by colleagues that he is also the president for Nottinghamshire county association, so hopefully, he should have a good understanding of the sector! 
  • Luke Hall MP is the new Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Minister for Local Government and Homelessness. He is also MP for Thornbury and Yate in South Gloucestershire, which falls within the area of the Avon local councils associations (ALCA).
  • Lord Gardiner was reappointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity at the Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs We have built a good relationship with him on rural issues, so are pleased to see him continue in this post. 
We have sent them our congratulations and are seeking meetings to discuss key issues. You can find further details on the Ministry website. Please do let us know if you have particularly good contacts with any of them.

Election research

Following a discussion on Northamptonshire ALC’s motion at our last National Assembly meeting, we have published councillor and council surveys to collect feedback on what happened in the May 2019 elections. The results will be used to gain a national picture of the local election process and to highlight any on-going issues, to be raised with national organisations, such as the electoral commission or LGA. NALC also hopes to use the findings to encourage more members of the public from different backgrounds to stand for election in the future by gaining stories of best practice. Take a look at our news story and please complete the surveys below! And encourage others to do so too. We have had over 1,000 responses since Wednesday!

Complete councillor survey  |  Complete local council survey

Tree charter newsletter

July's Tree Charter newsletter was published this week and sent to all of our tree charter branches. NALC has partnered with The Woodland Trust and The National Union of Students to promote ten principles of protecting green spaces and trees in local areas. The newsletter highlights case studies from three excellent local councils: Falmouth, Loughton and Bishop Waltham. A date for your diary is 30 November, the annual tree charter day, where we encourage as many people as possible to plant trees around the UK. You can apply for free trees through The Woodland Trust.

If you would like to find out how your council can get involved then head over to our website, where there is plenty of supporting material and guidance. If your council is doing good things with trees please contact claire.goldfinch@nalc.gov.uk

BHIB Cyber Essentials Pilot

NALC sponsors BHIB have teamed up with Berea Associates to run a pilot aimed at making cybersecurity simple for local councils. At the moment they are working with 5 councils in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire to pilot a Cyber Essentials and Security scheme. They are working with a wide size range of councils and exploring the use of cyber technology to ensure the safety of council information. The solution provides a cybersecurity guidance and advice pack for councillors, clerks and volunteers along with a web-based self – assessment that once completed will give you your HM Gov. Cyber Essentials certificate. We’ll keep you posted with progress and share more about the solution in the coming weeks!

The Village Survival Guide

The Prince’s Countryside Fund has published this week ‘The Village Survival Guide’ which NALC had had input to. It features case histories, checklists and practical advice, and is intended to help those living in the countryside to utilise the talents available in their own communities. The guide references how working with your local (parish and town) councils can deliver great initiatives: such as a volunteer car service which has been a lifeline for villagers getting to medical appointments and for those who don't qualify for non-emergency patient transport, ‘car clubs’ which has helped connect schools, elderly and the disabled around the villages, and the Good Neighbours Scheme which brings volunteers in touch with residents who need support, such as gardening, DIY or even just befriending to help tackle loneliness. Find out more

Local Government Association (LGA) releases Councillors’ guide to handling intimidation

LGA has released a report on the practical steps for councillors to use to protect themselves from intimidation. Read the full report 

The key points from the report are:
  • Councillors are encouraged to keep a record of any intimidatory communication or behaviour
  • Contact with unknown or anonymous individuals should be undertaken with care
And finally...

I am pleased to announce that Katie Bourne, the newly appointed Sussex Police Crime Commissioner has been elected as the Chair of the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners. In that capacity, she also sits on the Government’s new national policing board which had its first meeting this week. She will also be speaking at our conference in October on ‘Creating Safer Communities’ and I am sure there will be opportunities to question her on the Government’s plans to recruit additional police officers. 
Additionally, we have announced an exciting line-up for our youth engagement workshop which highlights how to engage young people in local politics. The panel is: Amanda Chetwynd-Cowieson, chair at British Youth Council: Kayleigh Wainright, head of membership & policy at UK Youth, Rachael Farrington, founder of Voting Counts, Jason Arthur, director of strategy and communications at Step Up to Serve and Cllr Sam Foulder-Hughes, at Kingston Council and former British Youth Parliament councillor. I think this will be a very stimulating panel talk and look forward to seeing them all in October! 
Make sure you buy your tickets before they sell out!


Jonathan Owen
Chief Exeuctive
NALC

 

NALC Chief Executives Bulletin

 NALC Chief Executive Bulletin - 26/07/19


New prime minister and cabinet

I’m sure many of you have been keeping a close eye on the goings-on in Westminster this week, here’s a short update:
  • Boris Johnson beat Jeremy Hunt to become the new prime minister, uniting the country among key pledges in his first speeches
  • James Brokenshire stood down as secretary of state for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), and was replaced by Robert Jenrick, the MP for Newark in Nottinghamshire
  • Sajid Javid promoted to Chancellor and Rishi Sunak promoted to chief secretary to Treasury, replacing Liz Truss who becomes trade secretary;
  • Esther McVey is the new housing minister in MHCLG, with Jake Berry remaining a minister but jointly with Cabinet Office – the new local government minister is yet to be announced
  • Theresa Villiers is the new secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • We tweeted congratulations to Robert Jenrick from @nalc and our chairman, Cllr Sue Baxter, and Sue has also written congratulating him on his appointment, saying she looks forward to working together to take forward the new Communities Framework and setting out our key asks for the upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review – you can read more in our news story here.
Communities Framework to strengthen the role of local councils

More on the Communities Framework, which I was delighted to see published earlier this week, and following representations by NALC – including through our role on the Communities Partnership Board – commits to strengthening the purpose and role of local (parish and town) councils, championing your important work, and exploring making it easier to set up new councils. Again, you can read more in our news story here.

Star Council Awards finalists announced

Almost overshadowing Wednesday’s Cabinet appointments (!) was our announcement of the finalists in the Council, Councillor, Young Councillor and Clerk of the Year categories of our Star Council Awards. To find out more about the Council of the Year finalists and vote for your favourite here. We also announced the County Association Project of the Year longlist, and in a new innovation this year aimed at showcasing the brilliant work of county associations, we have invited them to choose their favourite which will be combined with the judges votes. All winners will be announced at our Star Council Awards dinner held on the first night of our Annual Conference – you can be there to see the winners crowned by booking your conference place now.

Give larger councils a voice in 2019!

On 25 July we opened nominations to the Larger Councils Committee for directly elected candidates for 2020. The committee is a key special interest group for NALC and represents the interests of all larger local councils. There are four elected councillor and two elected clerk places – for more information and to download a nomination form click here.

Rural Coalition

Promoting the interests of rural areas is a key priority for NALC and our Smaller Councils Committee, one of the ways we take this forward is through the Rural Coalition, of which we are a key partner. Here are some highlights from the meeting held on 24 July:
  • Lord Gardiner, minister for rural affairs, Defra, attended as it might have been his last meeting due to the reshuffle, and he reflected that he had enjoyed the Coalition’s support, challenge and input over the last few years, thanking members for their contributions including at recent roundtables (which NALC attended) and noted that messages received had been picked up with others, and referenced the new prime minister’s commitment to digital access across the country and raising funding for schools.
  • He fed back on the government’s recent response to the House of Lords report on the rural economy and stressed more needed to be done to embed rural proofing across government, which the Coalition could help with, with proposals including a senior leader in each government department to ensure services reflect rural/ countryside issues, and the creation of a Rural Affairs Board in Defra to act at senior level with other departments and organisations such as the Coalition to bring in their expertise.
  • Finally he stressed that the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund needs to take account of rural areas where there is a high proportion of small businesses; NALC will be supporting this and calling for our sector to have an influence on its development and delivery
Trade Unions Pay Claim
 
The Trade Union Side of the National Joint Council for Local Government Services has submitted their pay claim for 2020 to the LGA, who will be consulting their councils via regional pay briefings during September and October. NALC’s Management Board will be considering making representations on the pay claim at its meeting on 9 September, and if you have any views please let me have them by then.

LCR Summer 2019
 
Look out for the latest edition of LCR, which should land on your doorstep today. In this issue discover a whole range of articles, from our cover star Duncan Selbie, chief executive, Public Health England, who believes local councils are the bedrock to keeping the nation healthy, to the legalities of vaping in council buildings, and a call from outgoing Local Government Association chairman Lord Gary Porter for local councils to work with their principal authorities to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.
To read more and subscribe to LCR go to www.nalc.gov.uk/lcrmagazine.

Out and about
 
I was grateful this week to Sally Longmate, chief executive, Suffolk Association of Local Councils, for inviting me to a meeting with England’s largest super district East Suffolk Council, to discuss how local councils can contribute to a really exciting initiative to set up community partnerships, bringing together other key agencies including health and police to address local concerns, with a small budget too. Great for our councils to have a seat at that table!

And finally...

NALC warmly welcomed Elisabeth Skinner, academic leader, Society of Local Council Clerks and students from the Community Governance course, to our offices on 26 July. The students were clerks and deputy clerks studying for an advanced Level 4 qualification, building a deeper knowledge beyond the Certificate in Local Council Administration. Elisabeth provided feedback following the first set of assignments submitted in June, topics covered included planning, finance, and both community and organisational governance.

Jonathan Owen

Chief Executive 

NALC 


NALC Chief Executives Bulletin


NALC Chief Executive Bulletin - 19/07/19
 
New LGA chairman to address NALC conference

I’m delighted to announce that the new chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), Cllr James Jamieson, has agreed to give a keynote speech to our annual conference in October. The leader of Central Bedfordshire Council took over from Lord Gary Porter just two weeks ago at LGA’s own conference in Bournemouth, and while we’re currently liaising over his complicated diary, I’m really looking forward to hearing James set out his vision for closer working across the tiers, building positive relationships and the future of local government. If you haven’t booked your places yet, you can check out the brilliant programme and do so here – last year sold out so I would encourage you to book soon!

NALC in Parliament

As Parliament starts to wind down for the Summer recess (did it ever really wind up, other than for Brexit?!), NALC was at two events in Parliament this week. Our head of policy and communications, Justin Griggs, was at the Summer reception of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for local government, whose secretariat support is provided by think tank Local Government Information Unit (LGiU). You can listen again to the speech by James Brokenshire MP on the LGiU podcast, and read the report launched at the event by their Local Finance Taskforce: A roadmap to a sustainable future. Cllr Sue Baxter, our chairman, was at a meeting of the APPG for reform, decentralisation and devolution in the UK, whose chairman is Andrew Lewer, MP for South Northamptonshire. The meeting considered the LGA’s The Future of Non-Metropolitan England; The freedom to lead local places, and during the discussion Sue said we recognise the challenges set out in the report, support many of the recommendations, and that local councils are actually already part of the solution through our growing our role despite the challenges facing devolution. We will continue to stay in touch with Andrew and his APPG, as well as LGA, on this issue.

Partnerships with BHIB Councils Insurance and CCLA

I had very good meetings this week with two of our key partners, BHIB Councils Insurance and CCLA and it was great to hear from Michelle South (who has been nominated for Insurance Broker of the Year and Risk Professional of the Year in the Women In Insurance Awards 2019 – good luck!) about their exciting plans to help councils with cybersecurity and asset management; and talk to the new CCLA chief executive, Peter Hugh Smith, about continued close working and mutual support.

NALC Star Council Awards judging

Not long to wait now until we announce the finalists of our very own Oscars – NALC’s Star Councils 2019. The panel of judges met at our offices on 17 July to deliberate over a record number of entries across the five categories, hear what they had to say in the series of short videos on our Twitter @nalc. Look out for more announcements next week!

RSA report backs call for rural strategy

The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) Food, Farming and Countryside Commission made strong calls for a Government rural strategy when it published its report Our Future In The Land this week. The report was produced by RSA director, Sue Pritchard, who is participating in the Strengthening rural communities workshop at our annual conference. I was particularly pleased to see the report build on their interim report which highlighted the important role of local councils, with the final report making recommendations covering neighbourhood planning, sustainable development and giving primacy to homes being built and purchased for permanent residence. You can read more in the news story here.

NALC Open Day

On 16 July we welcomed colleagues from Devon, Lincolnshire, West Yorkshire, Worcestershire, and Warwickshire and the West Midlands to the NALC offices for our latest induction day. These days are run to enable new staff at county associations, councillors on committees as well as new member councils to meet our staff, put names to faces as well as finding out more about our work. Our next induction day will be held 17 October 2019, please contact farhana.miah@nalc.gov.uk for more information and to book a place.

CiLCA recognised trainers

As you know, NALC works closely with other partners on the Improvement and Development Board (IDB) regarding CiLCA (Certificate in Local Council Administration), including on support and updating for ‘recognised trainers’. The names recognised on this list are the only trainers who can deliver CiLCA training; this has recently been updated on our website and can be accessed here.

Out and about

Chris Borg, policy and development manager, joined our East Riding and Northern Lincolnshire Local Councils’ Association (ERNLLCA) colleagues on 17 July to engage with councils about membership, and also for a meeting of their district branch where Chris was on hand to provide advice on a policy motion on retrospective planning applications, which I’m sure will be winging its way to our Policy Committee quite soon!

Peer review

On 19 July NALC and LGA hosted a peer review briefing session at NALC’s offices. Attendees joined us from a range of larger local councils to become the first-ever national peer review team for the local council sector. We will be piloting the new peer review approach – an ambition set out in the Improvement and Development Strategy – with Chippenham Town Council on September 2019.

And finally...

It’s been a mixed week for our campaign to set up councils in unparished areas. Unfortunately, though not unexpectedly, Tower Hamlets Council decided not to set up a new council in Spitalfields – campaigners are considering their next steps (and won’t be giving up!), and we’re doing likewise about changes needed to the process such as the introduction of mandatory referendums, a right of appeal and the final decision taken away from principal authorities. The more positive news is residents in Maidenhead and also Windsor has started petitions for new two new town councils, watch this space! And Justin was in Birmingham on 16 July at a meeting of the Moseley Regeneration Group who are exploring setting up a new council, where he and John Crossling from the Warwickshire and West Midlands Association of Local Councils answered questions ranging from budgets and staffing to training and the general power of competence, and innovation and good practice.

Jonathan Owens
Chief Executive
NALC