CLERKS PLEASE CIRCULATE TO COUNCILLORS
So that’s it folks, back to full weeks from now until August, where has the year gone!
This week BMKALC were finally able to confirm the venue for this year’s conference (17 October 2023) and I’m delighted to say that we are back at the Oculus in Aylesbury. We fully appreciate the travel commitment from the outer reaches of our geography, but frankly we simply couldn’t afford locations in Milton Keynes that could manage our requirements. We will instead work hard to bring you an amazing peer to peer conference, focussing on enriching and increasing resilience in our communities. Lorraine is busy securing sponsors and speaking groups and has already have been encouraging our members to share their work as part of this event.
We also forwarded details for the first tranche of the BMKALC Employee Assistance Programme which will go live in the next week. We were aiming for 1st June, but many councils were unable to secure a resolution within that time frame. As it is we have the opportunity to add to the programme as and when councils decide, so you haven’t missed the boat, the entry details are on the website. For those who have made the commitment, the portal is now being set up by Optima and promotional details / posters are being produced and will be sent out to you as soon as they are available.
The fortnightly NALC meeting with County Officers highlighted the partnerships they have with multiple service providers which can be seen on their website, remember if you are a member of BMKALC, you are also a member of NALC and have access to the benefits that they secure on your behalf. They have been reviewing the different communities, we are familiar with Super Councils and Larger Councils, but there is now also Climate Change and Smaller Councils, again take a look at the website and take part.
For at least four of our councils, the announcement from the Boundary Review Commission will have resonance. Finally following a very drawn out process, BC will be reducing it’s number of councillors from triple to double figures. You will recall that this was part of the Unitary proposals. I was asked on Tuesday by an Aston Clinton resident when it was going to happen, ta dah!
Elsewhere in our patch, concerns regarding procurement and when material facts come to light affecting council decisions on tender awards, political appointments in larger councils, award and use of Councillor allowance, representation of councils at outside bodies.
- Let’s start with procurement, it feels like a dark art! In a nutshell, we have excellent support through our partners for both the procurement support and legal advice.
- Political appointments are in mho best avoided in our sector but I recognise the pressure our Town Councils face, suffice to say political appointments have no standing in law in our sector,have no executive responsibilities or dutiesand given no councillor may act independently of Council,one wonders why bother.The Chair or Mayor remains the first citizen and the only councillor with a casting vote when chairing meetings. The Chief Executive Officer / Clerk is the second citizen and is impartial serving the whole council not the Chair / Mayor or Leader.
- We have had little progress on the allowance issue and being able to use it to pay carers when attending meetings and undertaking council business, please write to your MP’s highlighting the impact on securing a more diverse make up of councillors and asking for the rules covering borough and district be extended to cover us too.
- If you haven’t already reviewed and confirmed representation of your council at outside bodies you should consider this at your next meeting. We have all enjoyed changes since the last election and endured a few casual vacancies along the way, your resolved representative may no longer be a councillor!
We still receive calls from time to time around the use of private email addresses. Here’s a Fact sheet for councils: the use of personal email addresses and devices (ico.org.uk) which might be useful in focussing councils attention on why this is an important matter.
Receiving the latest update from DLUHC I noted the article included below. If you are concerned about the quality of housing in your area, you will be disappointed to see that we have houses with Category 1 defects throughout the county.
DLUHC has today (1 June) released a new experimental statistics series that provides sub-regional estimates of housing stock condition. This comes under the Decent Homes and Housing Health and Safety Rating System Category 1 hazards standards.
This new series includes modelled estimates of:
|the number and proportion of occupied homes that are deemed non-decent according to the Decent Homes Standard in each local authority, by tenure and dwelling typethe number and proportion of occupied homes that are deemed unsafe due to having a Housing Health and Safety Rating System Category 1 hazard in each local authority, by tenure and dwelling type|
Forthcoming training in June includes;
Managing Projects & Major Programmes Of Work – June 6th At 10am – Online – includes Getting schemes off the ground, Planning schedules of work, Time management, Budgeting, Ongoing monitoring
Risk Management – Health & Safety And Compliance – June 15th At 6.30pm – Online – this includes tree management; play area inspections; building inspections; managing volunteers; managing fire and security risks; insurance; data protection and freedom of information. Roger Taylor will offer a structured approach to the risk assessment process for Town and Parish Councils covering the importance of insurance and mitigation measures and how to evidence that process with case studies to illustrate good practice and bad practice.
Also have you resolved to sign the Civility and Respect pledge yet? Please consider whether or not you will, it’s not just a sheet of words, it’s a commitment to working together respectfully and continually improving our relations with each other, external bodies and our electors.
Have a fabulous weekend and we look forward to speaking with you next week.
Mel, Helen and Lorraine