What a change in weather from last week, I was so cold this time last week and today I am sat in Judges Lodges feeling the heat. It will be lovely to enjoy the sunshine and I am sure those of you who have allotments will be pleased to have dry weather to enable harvesting. On the subject of allotments, a reminder that letters should be going out this month in order to request the annual payment due, don’t forget to check if price increases were agreed last year and that notice was given.
I once again had the opportunity to meet with representatives of Bucks and Milton Keynes Youth Councils. Our Chair, Sue Smith, gave an insight into the life of a parish councillor and a lively Q&A session ensued. The enthusiasm, resilience and energy of the groups is inspiring and BMKALC are excited to be able to introduce them to you at our upcoming conference in October.
Developing an Action Plan
Tomorrow Mike Deegan will be discussing how to develop an action plan with those who have booked and addressing specific questions for a wide range of participants.
Code of Conduct Seminar
Thursday of this week will see a number of councillors and clerks attending our Code of Conduct Seminar at which Hoey Ainscough and the Monitoring Officers for Bucks and Milton Keynes will be speaking, along with others. There are a few places remaining should you wish to attend. Details on the website.
BMKALC will be meeting with the Devolved Services Team this week and will report to you as soon as possible what has been discussed, we continue to represent town and parish council views. Both Mel and I have experience of devolved services in our previous roles and understand the challenges town and parish councils are facing.
Over the last couple of months there have been several questions raised in our in-box regarding minutes and what to include when a lively debate takes place. All discussion should take place in a respectful manner – there is no need to minute verbatim- they are minutes, not hours and it is the decision of the Clerk as to the detail they include.
The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) is working with The Parkinson Partnership LLP to update its 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.
NALC is seeking views on the technical aspects of the regulations. The responses will inform the revision and content of these regulations. The consultation will not result in any changes to existing legislation.
NALC would like to know:
- Is the description of budget preparation (Section 3) adequate, and if not, what changes should be made?
- How should we improve the wording (Section 4) about expenditure monitoring?
- What changes are needed to manage safe and satisfactory delegation of authority to staff (Section 5)?
- Suggestions for amendments to improve control of online payments and banking (Sections 5 and 6)?
- What revisions are needed to manage procurement (Sections 10,11 and 12) effectively?
- What additional regulations may be necessary concerning financial risk management (Section 17)?
- Which regulations create challenges for transparency or protecting personal and commercially sensitive data?
- What, if anything, should be removed from the model regulations and why?
- Which paragraphs, if any, are obsolete and need replacing?
- Are there any other issues that should be covered within financial regulations?
To submit views, complete the form by 5 November 2023. The existing version of the 2019 Model Financial Regulations for England and Wales is located in the templates section of the member’s area on the NALC website.
Milton Keynes City Council will be holding a Parish Forum for Clerks and Councillors via MS Teams on 14th September, the link has been circulated by MKCC.
What will the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 mean for Town and Parish Councils?
The Flexible Working bill received Royal Assent in July, which means that the above act will be implemented in 2024, possibly April 2024. In short it provides Employees with a greater ability to request changes to the number of hours they work each week, as well as their start and finish times, and the right to request home working.
Severe Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) – rough sleepers – a message from Buckinghamshire Council. As the weather is exceptionally hot, if you see anyone sleeping out on the streets of Buckinghamshire, please contact StreetLink via https://www.streetlink.org.uk or phone 0300 500 0914, who will notify our dedicated Outreach workers.
If you see anyone you believe to be under the age of 18 and/or are concerned about the health or welfare of anyone that you see sleeping rough, please call 999.
Cold water and shade will be available in Buckinghamshire Council offices at Walton Street, Aylesbury, Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe, and King George V Road, Amersham.
During office hours you can contact our housing teams on the following numbers:
• Aylesbury Vale Area: 01296 585168
• Chiltern and South Bucks & Wycombe Areas: 01494 421212
Helen, Lorraine and Mel.