“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing…”

It’s a busy time.  Gong Xi Fa Cai to our Chinese community.  We saluted the magnificent haggis in celebrating Burns Night on Wednesday,  plus, we have Spring Watch underway and Bird Watch launching today.

Today is also Holocaust Memorial Day and you may  be reflecting on both that and current events.  History teaches us many things and these lessons sadly, continue to be relevant.  The British philosopher John Stuart Mill who in making an inaugural address at the University of St Andrews in 1867 stated, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing…” is as relevant today, as in 1867 and during the Holocaust.  When we join our local councils either as officers or holders of a public office, we set out to make things better for our community.  Sometimes that desire can distort our behaviour and frustration can bubble over causing stressful situations within the council as a whole.  Your Councils Code of Conduct and the work from the  Civility and Respect project recognises this and the part we can all play by refusing to accept poor and aggressive behaviour, which ultimately rips apart the good work councils achieve and discourages others from joining the council. 

This week our Free January included courses on Responsible Investments, Building Effective Personnel Committees, MS 365 for Larger Councils, Using 365 to Build Agenda and Minutes, Planning Responses and Future Nature.  Our Executive Board met on Wednesday evening and we welcomed four councillors to the Board. Cllr Jeff Herschel, Cllr Katrina Wood, Cllr Andy Cobden and Cllr Nick Rose bring a mix of skills and many years of experience between them.  I was pleased to poke my nose into the presentation by Wolverton and Green Leys TC and Linda Larter from the SLCC to their fledgling Youth Council on Thursday evening.

Next week Free January draws to a close with Internal Dispute Resolution on Monday and Q&A with Jonathan Owen from NALC and me on Tuesday. We also have the Bucks Planning Forum on Monday afternoon and then I’m off to deliver a Bespoke Whole Council Training in the evening.  Be gentle with me on Tuesday!  From Wednesday normal business should resume and Lorraine will be working on the training plan for the next 14 months along with our conference and 75th AGM.  Helen and I have some tricks up our sleeves for larger councils and our trying to pin those down, hoping for at least one trip out to see a super large Town Council.  We are also planning our Easter Clerks Coffee and Connections.

Following the update I sent out earlier, to confirm HM The King has asked that Beacons not be lit during the Coronation festivities.  He is sensitive to two facts in determining this, firstly it is very close to the platinum jubilee of our late Queen when we last lit the Beacons, secondly next year, the 6th of June, is the 80th Anniversary of the D Day landings which would be more fitting to celebrate in this way.

Two new free fundraising workshops for Bucks Council area charities in February 2023

With predictions that the UK charity sector’s income will decline by £2.2bn in real terms by the end of 2023-24 (ref Pro Bono Economics) as demand for services soar, many not-for-profit organisations are looking for ways to boost their fundraising efforts.  To help Buckinghamshire’s not-for-profit organisations do this, local charity Community Impact Bucks is holding two free workshops in February 2023: Fundraising Readiness workshop on 9th February 2023 (12.30-2pm) will highlight the building blocks an organisation needs to have in place to succeed in fundraising, and the Meet the Funder workshop on 23rd February 2023 (1-2pm) will give attendees an insight into Buckinghamshire Community Boards funding.  For more information and to book, visit Community Impact Bucks’ Training and Events.

I’m pleased to be able to remind our MK councils and now also share with our BC councils an invitation from MKCC to attend a presentation on Green Roofs,  you may recall Chris Bridgman who attended our conference with excellent advice and case studies around our area. Thank you Christine Ballard and team for extending it County wide.  The TEAMS meeting on Tuesday 21 February 2023 at 13:00 to 14:00 – details below.  The invite is open to clerks and councillors and we are limiting the number to two per council. If this causes you a major problem and you would like more than two reps to attend, please do let me know  – Christine.Ballard@Milton-keynes.gov.uk

Green Roofs presentation

Tue 21/02/2023 13:00 – 14:00


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Finally a reminder to those councils facing elections from May this year, be they ordinary, by-elections as the result of a casual vacancy or referendum, voters will need photo id.  We have a part to play in ensuring all our voters are aware of this so I’d urge you to consider how you can reach the maximum number of people in order to make them aware, this might include your village halls, residents associations, community groups, the allotment ground notice board, religious buildings, the local café… anywhere where your voters might glance.

We wish you a very good weekend and look forward to talking with you next week.

Kind regards

Mel, Helen and Lorraine

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