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E-Bulletin - 15th October 2018

This bulletin is intended for members AND staff  - clerks are requested to circulate accordingly
Elections and Annual Meetings, 2019 - CORRECTION OF PREVIOUS BULLETIN
While outgoing councillors retire and new ones commence four days after the day of the election, our previous bulletin wrongly stated that in computing this period Sundays are not counted. This means that the fourth day will be a public holiday, and s.243(1) Local Government Act 1972 says that when this is the case, the changeover will occur the following day, Tuesday 7th May (not 8th). This date has been confirmed by the Electoral Commission.  It therefore follows that Annual Meeting must be held between 7th and 21st May. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

The SALC AGM this year is based on the theme of Health and Wellbeing, taking place on Tuesday 6 November at Blackbourne Community Centre, Elmswell from 6pm.  
We are delighted there will be an opportunity for you to visit exhibitors whilst enjoying light refreshments and listen to Jo Churchill, MP and Nick Hulme, Chief Executive and STP Lead for Suffolk and North East Essex East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation Trust. Please follow this link to view the invitation to our event, the AGM meeting starts at 7pm.
To book a place please follow this link to Eventbrite.  To purchase a ticket you will need to enter the following password: AGM2018 (case sensitive). Alternatively, you can email us at the office and we can process the booking on your behalf.
Please inform the office of any apologies.

COUNCILLOR COURSE: Sat 27 October and 3 November
PLANNING WORKSHOP: Tues 6 November  
COUNCILLOR COURSE: Thurs 8 and 15 November 
CLERK PRACTICAL WORKSHOP book keeping: Tues 13 November 

Training with Steve Parkinson, back for the second year!


CLICK HERE for SALC's 2018-19 training programme
Charles Arnold-Baker on Local Council Administration
11th edition

See below communication from Lexis Nexis 
Arnold-Baker on Local Council Administration has long been established as the key text for parish and community councils, local authorities and solicitors practising in local government and public and administrative law. It comprehensively covers all aspects of this specialist area of local government law in a reader-friendly style.
It is a complete statement of the law relating to parish and community councils, in the form of an extensive though succinct narrative, accompanied by comprehensive statutory materials.
Now in its eleventh edition, 'the yellow book' remains the key text in this area of law and the best way for local councils to have easy access to a comprehensive statement of their legal obligations.

What's New for this edition:
  • Coverage of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, in relation to public spaces protections orders and the control of dogs
  • The new General Data Protection Regulation
  • The Data Protection Act 2018
  • Discussion of the differences between England and Wales, as the divergence between the laws of the two countries continues to grow
Purchase price £103.99 member price, postage fee £11 or you can arrange collection from the SALC office
To order your copy please email
Our new e-version of The Local Councillor is now available. Click here to view the Autumn edition
"The Voice of the Councillor" - research
In July 2017 after a year of research, the Local Government Research Unit at De Montfort University, in partnership with The Municipal Journal, published a final report following their independent review of the role and work of the councillor and of the contribution made by councillors to the governance of their communities and the country.  

The report is called
‘The Voice of the Councillor’ because one of our councillors attending a roundtable commented: ‘this is marvellous because no one has ever bothered to ask us before about what it is like to be a councillor and now I can say my piece’.

The project did not work to a set of pre-designed questions but heard evidence from councillors about the issues that were of concern to them.  It includes what councillors wanted policymakers in central government, the public and the media to know about the work they undertake. 

SALC has taken up the opportunity for Suffolk councillors to discuss the report findings and provide feedback so this important dialogue can continue.

A workshop has been arranged for 5 December 11am  hosted by the De Montfort University. The event is taking place at the SALC office, Claydon. 
Spaces are limited – to book your place please email or call 01473 833713.
Suffolk Parent Carer Network has its annual parent/carer satisfaction survey which is live from 1st to the 31st October.  This is a chance for all parents and carers of children and young adults with any additional need to have their say on education, health and social care services within Suffolk, and it is not limited to children/young people with EHCPs, but includes those on SEN Support and those with any additional need and/or disability even if they are not receiving additional support in school.  I have attached both a word/pdf poster version with link details, and the email link here;  This information really helps us to shape the services within Suffolk, so please can I ask that you share the poster, and the link within your network of contacts to reach as many families as possible.
To view the latest clerk vacancies, click here

Click here to access the news from East Suffolk 
Click here to access the news from West Suffolk
Click here to access the news from Babergh and Mid Suffolk

Click here to access the news and updates from SCC
News from the National Association of Local Councils
Loneliness minister to address Spring conference
I’m delighted to announce that Tracey Crouch MP will be the keynote speaker at next year’s Spring Conference. The Kent MP was appointed the parliamentary under-secretary of state for Sport and Civil Society in June 2017, having previously held the brief for sport, tourism and heritage since May 2015. In January she was appointed the minister for loneliness by the prime minister – a recommendation made by the Jo Cox Commission – to lead a cross-government group and is launching the government’s loneliness strategy on Monday.

Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments (SAAA)
 SAAA met on 9 October 2018, brief summary below:
  • The main focus of the meeting was to discuss the operation of the first year of the new audit arrangements
  • A number of issues had been raised by councils and county associations particularly around timeliness of clarification of information by auditors which would be further explored with the audit firms concerned
  • SAAA also agreed some changes to the Annual Governance and Accountability Return which will be discussed by the Joint Panel for Audit for Accounting Guidance next week
Society of Local Council Clerks Conference
On 10/11 October, I was delighted to be at the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC) conference in Lincolnshire, which was attended by around 140 delegates, here a few highlights:
  • I found it a valuable opportunity to catch up with a range of colleagues working in or with the sector and talk about our work, especially the big conversation about the future of the sector and role of local (parish and town) councils
  • David Preston, town clerk to previous NALC Council of the Year winner Oswestry Town Council, passed on the presidency to Sarah Jeffries, clerk to several parish councils in Wiltshire and also a former member of NALC’s Smaller Councils Committee
  • I was pleased to see our work and advocacy on standards mentioned by the Committee on Standards in Public Life during their talk; takeaways for me were they’ve welcomed hearing views from across the sector, been grateful for engagement with county associations including visits over the Summer and recognise their important role in promoting and supporting good governance, and their report is now expected to be published in January
  • You can read more about the conference on my Twitter or the conference hashtag #SLCCnational
Meeting with the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC) 
NALC and the SLCC met on 27 September to discuss a range of mutual interests including:
  • A discussion of the future of the sector post-Brexit Britain, recognising that local (parish and town) councils had a great opportunity to help the country respond to current challenges as the first tier of local government
  • Consideration of the need for a workforce development strategy to underpin these developments, with an agreement, agreed to consider this further through the Improvement and Development Board
  • Noting good joint working between the organisations, particularly on improvement and audit, with a number of areas for closer collaboration identified for further consideration
  • Exploring how to improve behaviours in the sector and the following statement was agreed: "NALC and SLCC are concerned that relationships in some councils between clerks and councillors, and sometimes between councillors, are not what they should be in the first tier of local government. We recommend our members consider this seriously and take steps accordingly. We will be jointly issuing guidelines and supporting material, in advance of next year’s elections, identifying key steps that need to be taken to help ensure that these relationships are as positive as they can be enabling councils to focus on meeting the needs of their communities. These steps will include positive values, up-to-date procedures, effective recruitment and retention, and a commitment to continuous improvement."
Survey on new vision and future of local councils
In the run-up to our annual conference at the end of the month, I’d like to hear from local councils, clerks and councillors about our new vision for the role of local councils and the support and change needed to achieve this. What’s the future of local councils? is the essay question running throughout the conference and which we have asked all our speakers and presenters to address. Please let me know your views through this short survey – thank you!
Letter to housing minister
This week our chairman Cllr Sue Baxter wrote to the housing minister Kit Malthouse MP, calling for a meeting to discuss neighbourhood planning and working together on this important initiative. I was pleased to read in Planning magazine an interview and article on the minister’s contributions to fringe events at the Conservative party conference which suggests he is keen to strengthen and promote neighbourhood planning. This is also NALC’s objective as set out in our prospectus, and our Policy Committee recently endorsed research on how neighbourhood planning is working and has developed a range of ideas which we will be promoting to give plans greater protection and in turn give communities more confidence in them.

Double congratulations are in order to colleagues at Sevenoaks Town Council as their Route 8 and Vintage Bus services have made the shortlist of six finalists in the inaugural Transport Planning Society’s People’s Award, while their chief executive Linda Larter became president-elect of the SLCC at their conference this week and will take up the role this time next year.​

Vote for your Council of the Year!
There is just a week left to cast your vote for NALC's Star Council Awards Council of the Year! Our fab final three are Cogenhoe and Whiston Parish Council in Northamptonshire, Northwich Town Council in Cheshire and Watchet Town Council in Somerset. Please, can my county association colleagues share and promote widely? Find out more about the entries and cast your vote

Policy Committee
NALC’s Policy Committee met on 2 October 2018, here are a few highlights:
  • A research report by Cllr Lillian Burns on neighbourhood planning was endorsed along with related policy motions from the Cheshire Association of Local Councils on housing land supply and the National Planning Policy Framework
  • Other motions from county associations considered included:
    • Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils on the ability of local councils to make complaints to the ombudsman about principal authorities, which was supported
    • Essex Association of Local Councils on powers to fund churches
    • Herefordshire Association of Local Councils on the independence of Monitoring Officers
    • Hertfordshire Association of Parish and Town Councils on funding for buses, which were all not supported
  • The committee endorsed Falmouth Town Council’s request to re-submit its Sustainable Communities Act proposal to the government on full mandatory rate relief on public conveniences
Out and about
It’s been another busy week getting out and about, with myself and other colleagues attending and speaking at a range of events:
  • Justin Griggs, head of policy and communications was in Birmingham to meet the city council about the creation of local councils and attend fringe meetings at the Conservative Party Conference
  • Jane Moore, head of legal and solicitor gave a talk on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at the Devon Association of Local Councils 
  • Gary Barker, solicitor covered GDPR, churches, Ledbury and drones over public spaces at the Oxfordshire Association of Local Councils
  • Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC spoke about our work over the last year and our big conversation about the future of local councils at the West Sussex Association of Local Councils
  • Yesterday, I was in Birmingham for the Tree Charter national steering group as this is a project NALC and local councils are actively involved in. Do take a few minutes to read more about the Tree Charter and join the 136,000 signatures of support, the next big event is Tree Charter Day on 24 November, more details on this soon!
GDPR ( a reminder, this guidance has been featured in a previous SALC e-bulletin)
Many of you have noticed that for data protection fee payment purposes, there is a snag for councils seeking to pay the online fee further to councils being excluded from the “public authority” definition for GDPR purposes. The ICO’s temporary fix is for councils to select the “other e.g. club, society, voluntary organisation”option in the drop down menu rather than “public body” and the council’s name and contact details can be entered in the further boxes. When council details are entered there is a further “are you a public body” question, to which the answer must be no. We recognise this is not a desirable solution but it would appear to be the only way that councils can pay the online fee. We will update you if we hear anything more.
General Power of Competence and trading
We have taken counsel’s advice on the issue of whether there is a pre-commencement limitation on eligible councils using the GPC to set up companies and trade because there is an absence of a power enabling them to do so. NALC’s view has been that the absence of a power constituted such a limitation, meaning that trading is not permitted under the GPC. Counsel’s view was that the fact there was no power for councils to trade prior to the GPC coming into force does not equate to a pre-commencement limitation meaning that eligible councils can exercise the GPC to set up companies/ trade. We will be issuing an LTN confirming the view given by counsel soon.
NALC news
We are delighted to have retained the services of Martin Fine on a consultancy basis. Martin will be advising mainly on employment matters and producing employment law guidance.

And finally...
In case you haven’t seen them already some media coverage you might find of interest:
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