NALC Chief Executives Bulletin

 NALC Chief Executive Bulletin - 23/08/19

 
Communities Week (9-15 September)

A heads up that Communities Week, organised by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), will take place in the week commencing 9 September. Plans for the week are being finalised by MHCLG and I’ll update you when we know more! But in the meantime, it would be great if local councils and county associations could consider what you can do throughout that week to promote our vital contribution to building strong communities. A few ideas include: getting some media coverage such as in the local newspaper or radio, using your social media channels to promote your work and projects, likewise tagging on to an existing event you have planned and invite your MP to attend. Do let me know any other ideas you may have so we can share them more widely!

Tree Charter project

Our policy and communications intern, Claire Goldfinch, visited The Woodland Trust in Grantham on 22 August to discuss plans for the Tree Charter Day on 30 November, where tree planting will be the main focus. The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) has detected more than 74,000 fires between January and August in Brazil – this is the highest number detected since records began in 2013! And 9,500 forest fires have been observed since just 15 August, mostly in the Amazon region. Local councils can play their part in combatting this loss to trees around the world by planting trees for Tree Charter Day through three easy steps: put the date in your diary and sign up to the tree charter here; identify any space you have where a tree can be planted; get in touch with claire.goldfinch@nalc.gov.uk if you would like to receive free trees from the Woodland Trust and for more information about Tree Charter Day.

Plunkett Foundation meeting

Also out and about this week was our policy and development manager, Chris Borg, who attended the advisory group of Plunkett Foundation’s Inspire programme in Birmingham on 22 August. The purpose of the programme is to provide support to rural community businesses, issues covered at the meeting included: programme evaluation which NALC will be involved in; publishing a joint article encouraging local councils to use their powers to support and create rural community businesses; the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Local Democracy holding a session on rural community business; and research Plunkett have commissioned from the University of Oxford on social prescribing. You can find out more about the Inspire programme here.

NALC Annual Conference 2019

NALC’s Annual Conference 2019 at the Doubletree By Hilton Hotel, Milton Keynes on 28/29 October is fast approaching and here’s a couple of exciting programme updates: a plenary panel session on climate change will include Suzanne Jeffery, chair, Campaign against Climate Change, and Chaitanya Kumar, Green Alliance. The Investing in your Community workshop by the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network (CCIN), including how local councils are tackling austerity, will feature Cllr Sharon Taylor, chair, CCIN, Cllr Sue Woodward, Burntwood Town Council, and Cllr Donna Fuller and Steve McNay, Woughton Community Council. If you haven’t already registered then do book now!

Government visits Falmouth Town Council

I was delighted that government officials visited Falmouth Town Council this week to find out more about their partnership model of working with the Business Improvement District. Officials from the Cities and Local Growth Unit in MHCLG made the long but always worthwhile trip to sunny Cornwall to visit many areas including Falmouth to examine place-based regeneration, especially place-making in the high street and how to achieve better balancing between private and public partnerships, including how to share best practice. This was a great opportunity for the town council to promote their vital role in the partnership, and among other things to reiterate our call for local councils to be able to bid directly for government funds!​

And finally...

In the last two weeks, a further 1,000 councillors and councils have taken part in our research into May’s local elections, taking the total to over 3,000 responses so far! Whether you’re holidaying abroad, on a staycation, or hard at work, do take a few minutes to share your views through our survey for councillors and councils – the closing date is 27 September.


Jonathan Owen
Chief Executive
NALC

 

 NALC Chief Executive Bulletin - 16/08/19


New ICO guidance

I was pleased to see the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) this week publish more advice for local (parish and town) councils, in response to prolonged pressure from NALC for continued sector-specific guidance. ICO’s senior policy officer, Stacey Egerton, has blogged about three top issues for town and parish councils and their new bite-sized resources including a fact sheet on the use of personal devices, data audit and retention resource pack, and six steps to data sharing in local councils. Also pleasing is Stacey’s recognition of growing confidence among councils and evidence of good practice, but she also highlights there is still more to do. We are meeting with the ICO over the next few weeks and we will be discussing this latest guidance and further support to help councils with data protection.

Lord Porter blogs for NALC

Staying on blogs, reflecting on his last four years as chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA), Lord Gary Porter writes on the NALC blog about the relationship that has grown between the LGA and NALC, stressing “it is vital that we continue to work together, whether that is to share best practice, promote new ideas or to lobby central government for the positive changes our communities need”. Well worth a read so go check it out here.

Local Council Award Scheme

Huge congratulations to Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council who are the latest council to achieve Quality Gold through the Local Council Award Scheme! Nearly 50 local councils have now achieved the top accolade of this important sector-led improvement initiative, the same number again are currently working towards their submission, and over 200 councils in total have achieved an award at all levels, with nearly 350 more the pipeline. I’d like to urge all councils to consider getting involved as the scheme offers councils the opportunity to show that they meet the standards set by the sector, assessed by their peers, and to put in place the conditions for continued improvement. You can find out more about the scheme here.

Out and about

NALC’s policy and projects intern, Claire Goldfinch, was in Devon on 15 August to learn more about how our councils are helping build dementia-friendly communities.

And finally...

Don’t forget you can stay up to date on how we are working with county associations to promote and support you and your councils on our website, sign up to receive our weekly newsletter, subscribe to LCR, and follow us on social media on Twitter (or me @NALCchiefexec), FacebookYouTube and Instagram.


Jonathan Owen
CEO
NALC

 

NALC Chief Executives Bulletin

 NALC Chief Executive Bulletin - 09/08/19

 
 Model Financial Regulations

I’m delighted that this week NALC published our updated Model Financial Regulations for England and Wales. This includes easy-to-use templates to create financial regulations for member councils that are up-to-date with the current legislation and regulations, and guidance to help complete the templates. The financial regulations can be accessed under Templates in the member's area of the website or from your county association. You can read more in our news story here.

Local Government Brexit bulletin

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) have published their latest Local Government Brexit Bulletin providing an update on recent developments to councils, including on the Local Government Brexit Funding Announcement, a recent meeting of the Brexit Delivery Board, events and publications. You can sign up to receive the bulletin by emailing lgengagement@communities.gov.uk.

Neighbourhood planning

I was pleased to read that 25 neighbourhood plans were passed in July according to the All things neighbourhood planning website. This really useful resource provides an overview of plans and summarises some of their content, and as you’d expect they are very diverse including: cycle and pedestrian ways, tackling flooding, solar gain and geothermal heating, dark skies policies, biodiversity maps, healthy air policies, housing for older people, a nursery, vacant shops, second homes in coastal communities, and even cataloguing and preserving the genetic diversity of fruit trees in parish orchards! I was particularly struck by Goring Parish Council’s explanation of why it did a neighbourhood plan – “to be in charge of our own destiny" – which I think is a fantastic slogan for neighbourhood planning. And don’t forget there is plenty of advice and support available for neighbourhood planning via Locality (funded by MHCLG) including how to apply for funding support, you can find out more here. This week they published basic demographic and other information on neighbourhood planning areas and you can download a free report tailored to your area.

Peer review update

Further to discussions with the Local Government Association, I’m delighted to report we have secured additional support for a second peer review pilot this financial year. NALC’s Larger Councils Committee has a long-standing ambition to introduce a peer review scheme for our largest councils, modelled on the LGA’s approach, as a tool for improvement, and we have invited the Super Councils Network to put themselves forward to take part.

Local councils and climate change

I was interested to learn at least 29 local councils have declared a climate emergency according to the Campaign Against Climate Change, in response to warnings of the effects from the United Nations, the World Health Organisation and others. In NALC’s recent LCR poll on climate change, 85% of respondents said local councils have a role to play in tackling climate change, but with 80% yet to have a climate change plan. As a response to this, I am delighted to announce we are hosting a climate change plenary panel at the annual conference which will cover practical tips on combatting climate change in communities – watch this space for more details but you can sign up to attend the conference here! And at their last meeting, our Policy Committee agreed to include climate change in next year’s campaigns. If you have any stories about your council’s work on climate change, and what you think our campaign should include, please let us know at policycomms@nalc.gov.uk.

DIS

The next issue of DIS has been circulated to subscribers today. DIS is a fortnightly publication keeping you up-to-date to with the latest news, events and funding opportunities. All coming from the local government sector. Subscribe today to get your copy of DIS

Out and about

Several NALC colleagues have been out and about visiting county associations this week: the Kent Association of Local Councils hosted Beverley Brown, finance and administration officer, and Farhana Miah, executive officer on 7 August for a visit to their office; and Charlotte Eisenhart, head of member services, and Linda Hammond, member services intern, went to see the Essex Association of Local Councils on 9 August to find out more about their Local Council Award Scheme accreditation panel and discuss how NALC could better support county associations in this important initiative.

And finally...

Our surveys of councillors and councils about May’s local elections have received over 2,000 responses so far! Don’t panic, there’s still plenty of time to share your views as the closing date is 27 September.

Jonathan Owen
Chief Executive
NALC

 

 


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