ESALC Newsletter March 2022Dear Clerk,
We cannot believe that the financial year has almost come to an end. Whilst 2022 has been more positive in the sense that Covid-19 restrictions have eased, and communities have been able to resume a sense of “normality” with many activities and social engagements being resurrected after such a long period of closure, this has all been overshadowed by the horrifying situation in Ukraine.
Many councils have been asking for guidance on such issues as flag flying, expenditure, community collections and housing of refugees. Whilst elements of this seem to be covered by existing legislation, NALC have published some further guidance which has been circulated to all member Councils. It will hopefully cover all of your queries and we will continue to share further information on how Councils can show support as soon as it reaches us. In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions and we will do our best to provide a lawful solution.
NALC Star Awards
Don’t forget that the deadline for nominations is May 27. For those unfamiliar with this event, NALC’s Star Council Awards are the only awards in England that recognise the parish and town council’s positive contribution to its communities, rewarding local councils, councillors, young councillors, county associations and clerks. The five award categories are:Clerk of the YearCounty Association Project of the YearYoung Councillor of the YearCouncillor of the YearCouncil of the Year (public vote)Winning a Star Council award allows recipients to gain national recognition for the services they have provided to their communities. It also allows them to share their expertise with their peers.
Find out more about how to submit a nomination: www.nalc.gov.uk/starcouncilawards
ESALC Training Programme
We have already run successful briefing sessions on effective Councillor and Chairmanship, to both individuals as well as to full Councils. More sessions are scheduled for later this month and we also have our planning consultant, Flo Churchill, delivering planning training for us this month, with additional dates to be released soon. Our finance trainer, Keith Robertson has already run a session for us with a further 3 planned throughout the rest of the year.
A Pathway to Net Zero workshop is in the pipeline for April/May which will be an interactive Zoom session with the opportunity to discuss challenges as well as debate what net zero and sustainability really mean. A framework for sustainability and environmental policies will be provided, as well as ample time for questions and answers. Ideal for larger councils who have buildings and multiple employees who need to work on reducing their carbon footprint, but equally there will be many takeaway ideas for small councils which can then be shared within the community to help their parish as a whole work towards a reduced carbon footprint.
We have also had requests to run a workshop focusing on Emergency Plans, which will cover what your Council should do in the event of a major incident (flooding, pandemics etc). We are currently in talking to various trainers and hope to have a training date available for you in the very near future.
For any other training needs or questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Emily on email@example.com
Clerk & Chairman Forums
The next Clerks Forum will take place on Thursday 7th April at 10am, with the Chairman’s Forum scheduled for Tuesday 5th April at 7pm. Both events are scheduled for Zoom and we currently have no plans to change this as we are finding attendance has been much greater than when they were held in person.
Civility & Respect Project and Restoration of Sanctions
Unfortunately, there are growing concerns surrounding bullying, harassment and intimidation at local council level. As you may already be aware, an Early Day Motion (EDM) has been registered by an MP calling for the government to establish an appropriate and effective sanctions mechanism to deal with local councillors who have been found guilty of bullying and harassment following an independent investigation.
What does this mean?
EDMs are motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons for which no day has been ﬁxed. Whilst few are debated, many attract a great deal of public interest and media coverage.
They are used to put on record the views of individual MPs or to draw attention to speciﬁc events or campaigns. By attracting the signatures of other MPs, they can be used to demonstrate the level of parliamentary support for a particular cause or point of view.
What can you do?
The more MP’s that support this EDM, the more likely it is to get discussed in parliament. Please either table an agenda item to pass a resolution to write to your MP asking that they back this motion and have it discussed in parliament or write to your MP as an individual. The NALC website has a template letter.
To read more about the Project’s mission statement, please see here.
Hopefully you all saw my recent email regarding the long awaited pay award for 2021-22 which has finally been agreed, and have sorted out your backdated pay. If you have any queries on this then do get in contact with us.
Lastly, does your Council have any success stories to share? If so, please do let me know as it’s always great to read and share with fellow East Sussex Councils.
I will be in touch again soon with further training dates as well as more guidance regarding Ukraine, but if you have any queries then please do not hesitate to get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org