Membership fees - changes from 2023

link to the benefits of SALC membership 

In 2021 the SALC Board wanted to examine how subscriptions were calculated to make sure it was fair for all.  This resulted in April 2023, following a decision to hold back on introducing the changes, SALC introducing the new formula to calculate membership subscriptions that had a proportionate relationship between the fee and number of electors.   Below is a detailed explanation and chronology of events for reference purposes.

Fees for 2024-25 subscription

Please note that NALC have agreed to increase their membership subscription for 2024/25 by 3% and the SALC Board also agreed to increase SALC subscriptions by 3% and, as we did last year, cap those aligning to the new charging framework to lessen the impact.  SALC will take the shortfall from general reserves.

Our invoices are now ready to be distributed from 1st April following receipt of the electorate numbers from district councils.   If your council is aligned this year we will be writing to you to confirm.  For the remaining few that are still aligning we will have also contacted you.

In 2021 the SALC Board undertook a review of how subscriptions were calculated because there was no proportionate relationship between the membership fee local councils were paying and the number of electors resulting in no adjustment for growth.  Therefore parishes that have seen increases in electorate numbers since SALC last reviewed its fees have not seen their subscription change accordingly.    The Board wanted to address this in-balance and align the calculation with the approach introduced by NALC in 2016.

No.  The issue identified, and which the SALC Board is endeavouring to cure, was that the allocation of councils to bands of electorate had resulted in significant differences in fees as electorate numbers changed.  The proposed changes address these anomalies and ensures that councils with the same number of electors pay the same fees.

The price per elector should not be the same for all councils.  NALC uses a straight-line relationship, but SALC considers that membership benefits to a council do not continue proportionately as the number of electors increase, and this has been a long-standing consideration for SALC.  The working group plotted the fees against electorate numbers to illustrate the anomalies and the current proposals rectify this.

The NALC AGM considered a recommendation by National Assembly on 3rd October 2023 to increase the affiliation fee. 

After a vote, 68 voting in favour, 3 against and 4 abstentions, it was resolved affiliation fees for 2024/25 at 7.94 per elector being capped at £2,037 for larger councils as recommended.

Up to the period ending 31st March 2016, SALC calculated membership fees on a banding basis which included the NALC subscription.  For the period beginning 1st April 2016 NALC increased their membership fee by 17.86% which resulted in the proportion of subscription that SALC would retain significantly falling unless all the bands were increased by 17.86%.   It was decided that a larger overall increase was not an option and SALC agreed to increase their proportion of the subscription by 2.5% only.  

What was the new calculation method for the SALC membership fee?

Unfortunately the maths is quite complicated and below is the original formula used in 2020/21 is as follows:

for larger councils (over 3k electorate)  " electorate number less 3000 x 0.0086963 + 801" = £

for smaller councils (under 3k electorate)  "electorate number  ^ 0.65 x 4.437" = £  (please note the symbol ^ means "to the power of")

EG Anytown Parish Council electorate number = 1311 ^ 0.65 x 4.437 = £471.55 (plus NALC subscription)
Another Town Council electorate number = 3525 less 3000 x 0.0086963 + 801 = £805.57 (plus NALC subscription)

for (all) parish meetings
- from 1st April 2023 the SALC fee was fixed fee at £30 plus the NALC fee and this remains the same from 1st April 2024.

As SALC have increased its fee by 3% and so the above formula has had to be updated so as to allow the compound interest to the added.  As a result we do not recommend using the formula now it is published for information purposes only.  Any queries regarding membership fees should be directed to so we can assist your council on an individual basis.

The working party were attempting to fix inconsistencies for several parishes which are being charged significantly less than those of an equivalent size which is unfair.   A modelling exercise undertaken by the working group demonstrates the issue visually below.

You can see this in more detail for smaller councils in the graph below and this information supported the recommendation to the SALC Board that the anomaly required addressing.

To demonstrate this further - below is a final graph (excluding larger councils) that overlays the revised formula designed to fix the anomaly, solves the inconsistencies and brings all councils into line.

Subscription period SALC increase NALC increase
2017-18 3% 1.9%
2018-19 3% 3.94%
2019-20 0% 2.04%
2020-21 3% 2.85%
2021-22 3% 3.05%
2022-23 0% 1%
2023-24 3% (plus a cap of 10% for those aligning to new calculation) 3%
2024-25 3% (plus a cap of 10% for those aligning to new calculation) 3%

The approach and formula mean that SALC will not see an increase in subscription income as a result of the change covering the current financial year (2022-23) and next financial year (2023-24).   This approach was agreed by the SALC Board to mitigate the impact and to further demonstrate that the purpose of the review was to re-balance not increase income for SALC.

A working group from members of the SALC Board along with the Finance Manager undertook the review and made recommendations to the SALC Board in October 2021.  

Introduction of this new formula was delayed until 1st April 2023 and all members were put on notice about the change in 2022.  SALC have also frozen overall % increases for the period 2022-23 and 2023-24 and offering councils who are having to pay an additional one off cost the option to pay over a period of time.  

In addition, the SALC Board agreed in November 2022 that any increase in fees using the new formula would be capped at 10% for 2023-24 any further adjustments for councils who were expecting increases of over 10% will be deferred and reviewed prior to the 2024-25 financial year.  Councils impacted have been informed.  The shortfall will be met by SALC reserves.

Of 358 parish councils in membership 186 councils will be required to pay an additional one off sum for 2022/3 made up as follows:

  • 52 will see an increase of less than 4%

  • 14 will see an increase of between 4 and 5%  

  • 41 will see an increase of between 5 and 10%

The remaining 79 will see an increase of over 10%.

As a result of SALC capping those impacted to lessen the burden and taking the shortfall from general reserves, from 1st April 2024 the majority of councils will be aligned and the timeline for moving them across year on year is as follows:

  • by 2025/6 a further 3 councils will be aligned

  • by 2026/7 the final 4 councils will be aligned

  • in addition special arrangements for a small number will be agreed where alignment is likely to take a little longer.

This will complete the exercise.

No, because one of the key objectives of this exercise was to identify and find a way to address the anomalies and the new formula produces a consistent method to calculate fees based on the size of the electorate, which is consistent with the NALC approach.  

Over the last four years SALC has significantly increased the added value to its membership offer and it recognises that annually councils evaluate the cost -v- the benefit being part of SALC brings because of the impact on the public purse.  To help councils understand what value SALC offers to local councils we have produced this quick factsheet download the benefits of SALC membership factsheet using this link.     We have also designed a summary page that provide some headline information - use this link to that dedicated page

SALC has to wait for the district council to provide electorate numbers before any final figures can be calculated.  This is requested at the end of January every year and received around the middle of February.    SALC can then calculate the final figures and prepare standard invoices in their finance system.  The invoice will just show the total due but it includes the affiliation fee SALC has to collect and pay to NALC on your behalf.  Invoices are distributed by our financial system in early April and payment is required within 30 days.  

As SALC has to collect and pay the NALC affiliation fee it is important all subscription fees are received within 30 days of receipt of the invoice.  This is the standard terms for all our invoices, eg: training, payroll, internal audit.

If a council fails to pay within that time we have a debt recovery policy which can be found here.   We know there are numerous unplanned circumstances that can lead to non-payment of invoices and our policy takes account of that.  We will always take these matters into consideration especially where there are changes in personnel or banking issues. 

We have had a communication in place since December 2021 when we first advised all member councils by email that we were reviewing the fee structure.  Since that time we have had articles in our Local Councillor Magazine, included it in our updates at area forums, circulated the notes of those area forums to all councils and included it in our Annual Report and at our AGM in July 2022.  We are in direct contact with those councils affected to encourage them to speak with us about how we can help with the transition, this will include an offer of payment plans if that is helpful.    See our full communication plan below.

We are continuing to keep this page up to date including the timeline below.  This gives councils full transparency in the approach we have taken to address the problems with our previous charging regime.  

Communication plan - fee structure

December 2021

Direct mailshot to all councils putting them on notice of the review and change.   Included approach to delay implementation of changes for 12 months and to freeze SALC subscriptions (2022/23) to allow councils to prepare and split over two years.  Other options to be offered for those needing longer transition.

February 2022

General reminder and awareness in the Local Councillor Magazine, at area forums (notes are circulated to all members).

April 2022

Invoices to councils - noting no increase for this financial year because of fee structure change.  Plan was to accompany these with an explanation to individual councils affected by the new calculation.  This was carried forward and an apology circulated to parishes for the delay.

June 2022

New page published on SALC website with explanation, sharing of methodology, graphs, issues and reasoning.  Included FAQs following issues raised.    

July 2022

Additional information added to website on benefits of membership, downloadable factsheet.  Some direct calling to councils most impacted to help answer concerns.

August 2022

Direct mailing to clerks for councils affected grouped into three areas:

  • councils with lower than 10% increase

  • councils with increase between 10-20%

  • councils with increase above 20%

Mailshot linked to information and offer to discuss in more detail the increase to help councils consider transition.

October 2022

Direct mailing to clerks for councils as a follow up - direct from include offer of help/discuss impact and queries.  Update to frequently asked questions.  Deal with individual queries as required.

    NALC AGM to consider subscription increase.

November 2022

Councils updated via area forums and to continue to deal with follow up queries.  To include offer of transition for those requesting it to spread the cost.

Board updated on feedback including timing in relation to cost of living crisis.

Revision - increase in fees using the new formula would be capped at 10% for 2023-24 and any further adjustments for councils who were expecting increases over 10% to be deferred and reviewed prior to 2024-25 financial year.

 Dec 2022

All councils experiencing over 10% increase contacted to advise of the change.

 January 2023

SALC to receive details of electorate numbers per parish

 April 2023

Membership invoices distributed.

October 2023    
NALC AGM agrees increase in subscription charges for 2024/5 by 3%
 Nov 2023

SALC Board agreed 3% increase and to retain a capping system  for those aligning to new model which will continue over the next 3 years and to discuss with remaining handful of parishes needing a longer period.

 January 2024

SALC receive details of electorate numbers per parish from District Councils

 February 2024

SALC update webpage, confirm to all members of the changes.  Contact groups of councils capped  as part of alignment. Prepare invoices for distribution. This will continue for 3 years (2027-28) if necessary.

March  2024

CEO contacts all councils aligned in 2024/25 and to be aligned in 2025/26 and 2026/27 alongside agreeing individual arrangements for longer payment terms where necessary.

April  2024

Membership invoices distributed

 Autumn 2024

SALC and NALC to consider standard fee increase.  Notify members of any increases to be made.  Members should note that actual final figures are not possible until electorate numbers are received from Districts Councils at the end of January.

 February 2025

SALC receive details of electorate numbers per parish from District Councils.  Review webpages, contact groups capped at 10% as part of alignment.  Prepare invoices for distribution from 1st April 2025.