We have forwarded NALC’s updated information and guidance for Parish and Town Councils on the return to in person Council Meetings. If you are unsure of your NALC login details please contact Emily at 

Public attendance at face-to-face meetings: the public must have the opportunity to attend in person but should be encouraged to use the ‘remote’ facility, if provided, and submit questions in advance. There is an expectation that all meeting venues will be COVID compliant.

Staff can attend meetings in person or remotely.

We would particularly draw your attention to the very important plea from NALC for all members to respond to the Government’s call for evidence on remote meetings. It would be very helpful if you could share your responses with us as, in addition to your direct responses, we would like to pass on your thoughts and ideas to all Member Councils and also provide a composite response reflecting various views and experiences.

Working Groups
NALC has recently confirmed their formal legal advice, initially provided some years ago (though it seems to vary in other guidance), to the effect that Working Groups are considered to have the status of committees/sub committees and are subject to the usual statutory requirements for service of Notices etc.

The view has long been held by most of us that Working Groups are informal; their purpose is limited to research and assembling of information (i.e. they do not make decisions) which will inform decision making by the Council and/or the Committee that appointed them.

It would seem that there is now a concern as to the definition of Working Groups and an increasing trend for a more extensive use of Working Groups by Councils (in place of formal meetings), and this brings into question the Council’s commitment to transparency.  

We appreciate this will affect many of you, particularly if your Council has recently appointed Working Groups at your Annual Meetings. We will be happy to chat through the implications with you.

Forums for Clerks and Chairs
We will be continuing with these Forums (remotely) shortly; they provide an opportunity to share information and provide updates.

Please keep a look out for dates which will be circulated soon.

When a vacancy arises, most Councils wish to appoint an experienced Clerk. Unfortunately there are not enough to go round!

ESALC is currently considering ways in which the word can be spread that being a part-time Parish Clerk can fit in with other jobs and domestic life. With the demise of many local papers there is a challenge in how we reach those who may be interested and invite them to a briefing. If anyone has any bright ideas as to how we might successfully achieve this, please do get in touch.

PCC / ESALC Focus Groups
These come around every 6 months and are about to start again. Arrangements have been made to meet with the following towns and parishes on the dates shown below; the purpose is to return to the same communities and establish whether policing has been effective:

17th May – Peacehaven
18th May – Lewes and Battle
20th May – Polegate and Westham
21st May – Camber
24th May – Wadhurst and Hailsham
25th May – Telscombe, Sedlescombe and Bexhill
1st June – Barcombe
7th June – Ninfield
8th June – Crowborough
9th June – Rye
10th June – Salehurst & Robertsbridge  

Well done!  
As lockdown restrictions ease, it is probably now timely for all Councils to reflect on just how well you have all done in the last 15 months. There have been many hurdles and you have overcome them with hard work and commitment. It does no harm to review the last year and capture it, maybe in a report and/or in any publication or other communication medium. It may also be a good time with budget planning looming to think about lessons learned and any changes that will prepare the Council for the future.

NALC and the County Associations are still pressing the Government hopefully to give Council’s the choice on holding ‘in person’ or ‘remote’ meetings.

This may be the opportunity to think about also offering the community the choice.

And finally we are always on the lookout for interesting snippets from our parishes that they might wish to share with others, if you have something that can be published in our next Bulletin please let Emily have a note.

Categories: Newsletter