A View From Our Window

Dear Clerks and Councillors

Clerks Please circulate to your councillors

Our first week in October is under our collective belts and we have three weeks to our Conference, don’t tell me you didn’t know!  Conference 2022 – Climate Change Practical Local Actions October 25th book nowThe ticket sales have been going brilliantly and as we head toward the last 20, Lorraine will release them to councils who have already taken their option of two seats, so please if you’ve been hanging back, book now! 

There are a number of Council stars to highlight this week. 

Firstly a council who has achieved a NALC – Points of Light accolade.  Bletchley and Fenny Stratford Town Council look after an Electorate of approximately 14,010, drawing down a precept of £963,259 which is supported by other income in order to deliver expenditure of  very nearly £1.4 million.  Clearly a significant council!  Size though its not enough and Points of Light looks to focus attention on the practical and positive actions that councils take. 

Bletchley and Fenny Stratford are recognised for their work with young people.  They fund four local youth clubs. Newton Leys Junior Youth Club is open every Tuesday between 17:00-18:30 for young people aged seven to twelve. Attendance 28 costs 50p per session and activities on offer include cooking, arts and crafts, sports, pool table, table tennis and Xbox with games. The Warren Junior Youth Club also offers cooking, arts and crafts, sports, pool, table tennis and games for young people aged seven to twelve on a Wednesday between 17:00 and 18:30. The Warren Senior Youth Club is open every Wednesday between 19:00 and 21:00 for young people aged twelve plus and the Compass Club Community Football Project is open to young people aged eleven plus on Friday’s between 16:30 and 18:00.  Congratulations to all the Councillors and the Officers and staff who deliver their vision.   Of course this isn’t the only positive impact that Bletchley and Fenny Stratford make on their town and you can see more on their website.

Further well deserved recognition go to three, newly qualified CiLCA clerks!  Louise Stubbs, Joanna Simmonds and Donna Moore have all received confirmation of their success this month.  They join Mandy who qualified in June, bringing a total of four CiLCA qualified clerks for our area this year!  As I’ve said before attaining CiLCA is no walk in the park, there is a great deal of work extra work involved in producing the portfolio which is judged by the Society of Local Council Clerks.   It is testament to the training and support they have received from Carole and the determination of the candidates to succeed.  Well Done!

Finally, you may have seen Woughton Community Council featured on the BBC 10 o’clock news last night.  They have declared a Cost of Living Emergency and are taking practical steps to support their community whilst lobbying their MKCC councillors and MP’s for more action.  Contact Steve, if you’d like to learn more and read their full statement on their website.

If you have a council star or project that we can highlight let me know, lets share the good news! 

Now back to our daily business, We have newly listed and revitalised Allotment Management training now open for booking on our website. This training takes place over three sessions across three dates. You’ll need to attend all three in order to get the best from this training so check that you or one of your colleagues will be at each one. 

That leads me neatly to our Website and yes, a new version is available on your screens now!  We had a few bugs which we’ve noted and are being ironed out.  We held back from uploading new information so you can expect a flurry of updates over the next few days.  Lorraine will send a proper launch email under separate cover, but one of the things we’ve been waiting for is a members area for training admin.  This will allow you to see what you’ve booked and who you’re sending.  However the clerk will only see what they have booked,  not any individual bookings by their councillors.  Now I’m sure your RFO’s and auditors are keen to tell you that all bookings should be made through the Clerk.  As councillors you can’t commit to spending money independently.  Should you as a councillor wish to book directly, you will be responsible for the payment, unless we receive confirmation from your clerk that the expenditure was authorised.  You’ll be receiving an email from the system advising you how to login to the members area and you will need to set a new password, please keep an eye on your junk mail to make sure that you don’t miss it.

Now what else has happened this week?   We kicked off the week with an on-site Whole Council Training, we enjoyed Chris Moses delivering training on how to Manage Grievances and wrapped up the training week with more on Chairing Skills.    Helen has been working hard on polishing our training presentations as well as queries, research and the Conference and Lorraine has entered a self-imposed lockdown as she has pushed hard to deliver the website and to pull all the final details together for our Conference.  In between these activities we enjoy plenty of queries, finding answers and smiles.  It’s a great team effort.

My fortnightly update with Kay and Simon from MKCC and BC respectively, will start my week off on Monday. On Tuesday we welcome Kevin Rose back to Judges Lodgings for more advanced training on Budgeting and Financial Management there are still a few places left, this is a chance to gain information and confidence if you are moving into your first budgeting experience.  Thursday brings a trip out to the BC Highways Conference at the Oculus in Aylesbury and  I have a feeling there is a NALC County Officer Forum lurking on Wednesday too.  On the housekeeping front it’s budgeting time for us too as we prepare for the BMKALC AGM on the 16th of November.  As always the week promises to be busy and diverse, just like our local government family!

Have a great weekend

Mel, Helen and Lorraine

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