EAP Programme, Voting Practices & Community Ownership Funding


In conversation with councillors this week I was struck by how many still haven’t a clue about the operational tasks required to keep even the smallest councils running.  So my suggestion this week is that when you circulate our View to your councillor team, you preface it with a few words of what is going on and through your office, lets bring  councillors into the loop!

So one week in collecting registrations for our Employee Assistance Programme.  We have collated the responses so far and will be passing them on to Optima next Friday.  If you haven’t registered yet,  go to our EAP (Employment Assistance Programme) Registration Form For Members – BMKALC (bucksalc.gov.uk) and join in all the details are on the website or in our View of the w/e 12 May 2023.

More exciting news for T’s and P’s.  Initially the Community Ownership Fund excluded Town and Parish Councils and Government has now changed their criteria…‘For the first time, parish councils will also be able to apply to the Fund, which has previously only been available to charities and community groups’.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-cash-to-rescue-community-assets-through-expanded-government-fund

The feedback from the Introduction to Canva training was most enthusiastic and we look forward to the next phase of training in this, thank you Dan from Breakthrough Communications for your excellent presentation.  We also hosted a session on the why’s and wherefores of the Civility and Respect project, looking at where conflict arises, how it can be avoided and managed and the resources available through the National Project.

We’ve had some interesting enquiries this week from Parish Meetings, those smaller parishes without a parish council who receive complimentary membership of BMKALC alongside requests for VAT advice, media policies and voting practices

Standard practice of voting is by a show of hands. Paragraph 13 (2) of Schedule 12 to the 1972 Act follows on from paragraph 13 (1) – that is, unless otherwise provided by the council’s standing orders the manner of voting at meetings of a parish council shall be by a show of hands.  Further, paragraph 60 of LTN 5E says…“A ‘secret’ ballot is permissible if standing orders so permit but the council would need to ensure that any such procedures could withstand scrutiny and challenge. It is difficult to envisage the circumstances which warrant a secret ballot, which would invariably attract scrutiny as to its purpose and validity. A secret ballot will not eliminate a risk of legal challenge to a resolution on the basis of predetermination or bias by councillor(s)”.

My question to you all is, how do you square a councillors right to request a recorded voting profile, if you have a secret ballot?  I couldn’t get a definitive answer, so until we have one please be mindful of secret ballots!

With internal audits rapidly being completed, now is a good time to consider what you have stored in the filing cabinet.  Take some time to make sure that you are storing accurate information, properly secured and that you have removed in line with Retention of Documents legislation, those documents which are now out of date.  Consider particularly if you are carrying acceptance of office forms and interests statements for councillors who are now retired.  If you can’t remember what you need to keep and for how long, there is a handy list in the Legal Topic Notes in NALC.

Next week we look forward to my fortnightly update with Simon and Kay from our Principal Authorities, Property Law with Roger Taylor, Fighting Climate Change with NALC, Day 1 of CiLCA 2023, Microsoft 365 and I have a very important date for my appraisal on Wednesday.  Fingers crossed that I’m back to write to you all again next week! 😊

We wish you all a great weekend and look forward to speaking with you next week.

Kind regards

Mel, Helen and Lorraine

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