NALC launches consultation to update the Model Financial Regulations 

We’re working with The Parkinson Partnership LLP to update the 2019 Model Financial Regulations for England and Wales. The model financial regulations are part of a support package that local (parish and town) councils receive through their NALC and county association membership. They are an essential tool for councils of all sizes, setting out the framework within which the council ensures responsible, sustainable and compliant management of its finances. To help us with the update, we’re seeking views on the technical aspects of the regulations, and the responses will inform the revision and content of these regulations. To submit your views, please complete the form by 5 November 2023. 

Centre for Ageing Better 

One of our campaigns has been health and wellbeing. We’ve worked closely with the Centre for Ageing Better in recent years to flag up the role and potential of local councils in making ageing better a reality for everyone. Several councillors and councils (including our vice-chair (member services), Cllr Mike Drew’s, Yate Town Council) are working to develop age-friendly communities or become champions. The centre has also participated in our events, and we have actively promoted their work. We agreed this week to explore with our largest councils how they could develop further their participation in this critical area, and I will keep you posted on developments. 

Making Music! 

Making Music is the UK’s membership organisation for leisure-time music, with around 3,850 groups representing about 228,000 music makers, many of which operate within local council areas. I met their chief executive, Barbara Eifler, on 23 August 2023 where we agreed there are several issues of mutual interest which we could work on to the benefit of our respective members. These include the Terrorism Bill, how our sector can support music makers, primarily through access to facilities, and how we can encourage some of those musicians to get involved in the work of their local councils. We also agreed to collaborate on some events and promote each other’s work. 

Rural Insight Forum  

This week’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Rural Insight Forum discussed the current consultation on extending permitted development rights, which seeks views on nature-based solutions, farm efficiency projects and diversification. The meeting provided an opportunity to raise with senior government officials concerns about the proposals’ impact on high streets, loss of democratic control of the planning system and the importance of resourcing planning departments adequately. We will be responding to the consultation through NALC’s Policy Committee. The meeting also provided the opportunity to highlight our recently launched webpage dedicated to planning

Million Hours Fund 

I was pleased to read the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) press release on 28 August 2023 to highlight the work of Central Swindon North Parish Council, which is “using £6,500 to deliver sport, dance and forestry sessions”. The Million Hours Fund, supported by the National Lottery, is designed to help a range of youth services, offering a variety of positive activities. These grants were for this year’s summer holidays. Stroud Town Council also received £3,600 for helping young people create vibrant street art. Our sector can engage and help young people in many ways, and you can read about other examples and support available on our website

On the blog: LGA Independent Group  

This week’s blog is written by the Local Government Associations (LGA) Independent Group leader, Cllr Marianne Overton MBE. The blog covers the theme of our fringe event at the LGA Annual Conference on 5 July 2023 on why parish councils matter, where LGA’s political groups joined us to share what they think. She writes about the importance of first-tier authorities due to their ability to provide rapid, locally led responses to national events like COVID-19. Local councils are vital because they can uniquely address the needs of their communities. Read the blog to find out more! 

National Network: Women councillors 

Our following national network meeting for women councillors is on 7 September 2023. At the last network meeting, the network appointed two new co-chairs and discussed how to make the network more effective. The next meeting will discuss NALC achieving White Ribbon accreditation, share ideas of how NALC and the network can encourage more local councils to become White Ribbon accredited and create a survey to receive feedback on the network and its work over coming years. Learn more about the network and how to get involved! 

And finally… 

“The message is take your litter home or put it in the bin!”. Sound advice and a good soundbite from Malmesbury Town Council mayor and former chief executive of Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), Gavin Grant, on BBC Breakfast on 29 August 2023, which profiled a local volunteer litter picking scheme clearing up their local community. Well done!