It’s been lovely to have some leave this month; many of you will no doubt be taking advantage of the slightly slower pace of council during August to enjoy some annual leave, it is also a great opportunity to catch up on the tasks that often we don’t get to during the year.
This week we are meeting with young people and councillors ahead of our Conference in October, Lorraine is working hard to ensure that we all have an amazing experience on the day with lots to share with council afterwards. Mel is taking some well-earned time away from the office but did pop in for the Devolved Services Meeting held last week, see her report below. I am looking forward to visiting the archives department this week to capture some of the early BALC paperwork ahead of our 75th AGM in November – how things have changed over this time period, especially the role of the Clerk who now has some of the same and many new responsibilities.
NALC have given several legal updates this week and updated LTN78 regarding The Equality Act 2010 – documents are attached. They have created a new section on their website to help local (parish and town) councils in their local engagement with the planning system. https://www.nalc.gov.uk/our-work/planning This gives information on local councils’ planning powers, case studies, highlights examples of how local councils have best used the planning system to help their communities, and valuable resources.
For those of you interested in local history Aylesbury Town Council are offering a tour of Judges Lodgings (where our window is situated – I will be booking myself on this one!) and other Heritage Tours featuring previously unseen items during the month of September. Aylesbury’s Heritage Open Days | Aylesbury Town Council
Whilst BMKALC take a break from delivering training this month we are gearing up for a very important and relevant seminar and new training opportunities next month Code of Conduct Civility and Respect Seminar 7th September.
We have made considerable effort to put together this seminar, there is an incredible line up consisting of Paul Hoey & Natalie Ainscough, Nick Graham & Glenn Watson (BC Monitoring Officers), Sharon Bridglalsingh from MKCC Director, Law and Governance, Daniel Purchese of Breakthrough Communications and our own Cllr Jon Harvey from Buckingham TC and a representative on your Executive Board.
Our email box demonstrates that we still have some distance to go in terms of improving the confidence of everyone in our Council’s activities and our behaviour when delivering them.
A brand new course – Developing an Action Plan for Town, Parish & Community Councils – takes place on September 5th at 10am online.
Finance for Councillors – 12th September 10am to 1pm – In-person will be great as you get ready to review 2023-2024 spend and begin to prepare budgets for 2024-2025.
For those facing elections in 2024 our newly listed Councillor Recruitment, Induction & Retention takes place on September 19th – 10am to 1pm In-person, although it is important to note that this session is of equal value to all when faced with co-option.
For Clerks we are offering Clerks Essentials on 19th September in person.
Devolved Services Meeting
On Wednesday, 12 clerks and councillors met with Rosie Tunnard and Zoe Ford from BC to share their experiences of BC Devolved Services in order to provide input to a future contract. As an information gathering exercise it worked extremely well. The wide diversity of councils, ensured that most experiences good and bad, were captured and the contents of BMKALC’s mailbox ensured that the many observations you have made over the years were included too.
The existing contract and its multiple schedule versions was formulated in 2015 and is no longer relatable to today’s circumstances. It was acknowledged that Devolved Services as a concept has largely been a success and that we need to ensure that we build on the good parts and refresh our thinking on the parts which are not fit for purpose.
The team ploughed through the schedule highlighting the weak and moot points and making suggestions. Unsurprisingly top of our very practical list are out of date maps and the lack of clarity in definitions. These and others have been captured and will be worked on by Rosie and Zoe and the same team will meet again in early September. Getting a draft contract and schedule in time for our budgeting sessions remains a target and everyone recognises that this is essential. If you haven’t yet completed and returned the survey which Rosie’s team sent out, please do so. It does help.
Last, but not least, many of us work; or would like to work; flexible hours. Please find attached a newsletter from PD Solutions giving information regarding how fully flexible employers improve recruitment and retention at twice the rate of those requiring full-time office attendance.
I do hope that you all have a great week and look forward to whatever next week brings us.
Helen, Mel and Lorraine