Planning Week! BC Planning surgeries, Elections Toolkit Flip Book, Martyns Law, Farewell To Simon Garwood

Dear Members and Colleagues

CLERKS PLEASE CIRCULATE TO COUNCILLORS

Wow, this was a county wide planning week!  Two full training Planning Demystified days sandwiching the excellent MKALC Planning Conference.  Whilst intense and exhausting, it was also highly informative and energising.  Thank you everyone for your contributions.  To start the week we met a focus group of existing BC devolved service councils to run through the proposed changes to future contracts. You will all have received an email from Zoe Ford who is our point of contact for devolved services.

Some feedback from our Bucks members was that they didn’t know about BC Planning Surgeries and hadn’t been informed (so I have attached the original email item for you dated 3rd August 2023 in my email circulation earlier today) and I will be sending you the dates for the Nov to Jan Surgeries as soon as I locate that email, I’ve spent 10 minutes looking for it this morning haven’t got it yet so I’ve asked for it to be resent to me.  I know I’ve had it because I put the dates on the BMKALC website!  I am hoping to work with Jo Payne through Kay Pettit to see if we can persuade MK to offer a similar service.

Election Costs – As in previous years, Buckinghamshire Council will recharge parish councils the actual costs for the parish elections in May 2025 following the elections. Since this is combined with the Buckinghamshire Council unitary elections, recharges will only include the parish proportion of the costs. We can provide details of what was recharged to parishes at the last local elections held in May 2021, on request, although please bear in mind that this was based on three combined polls (parish, unitary and Police and Crime Commissioner) and will be subject to change due to inflation since that time. Costs will also depend on which parishes are contested which we will know at close of nominations at 4pm on 22 April 2025.  As is currently the case, the actual costs of any parish by elections held between scheduled local polls will be recharged to the respective parish council by way of invoice after the election.

Milton Keynes are more generous and will not apportion the costs in the way BC do.

I had  attended a further update on Martyn’s Law with particular emphasis on the impact on Town and Parish Councils which I have already written about.  Lorraine is busy looking at scheduling a training and information session and I urged you all to take a look at the App ProtectUK, free to use and very informative.  As further specifics emerge I will keep you informed.

We’ve been spending time researching simple templates for safeguarding, biodiversity and diversity policies and hope to be putting these before you sooner rather than later.  Our headline document and toolkit for Autum 2023 though has to be our Election Tool Kit and you can take a sneak peak at a flip book of it on our website. We were hoping to have a big launch on December 5th, but sadly our guest speaker is unable to join us in person, so we are working on a soft launch with a Teams event and then we’ll have the razmataz in person training in the new year.  We want this to be available for everyone facing scheduled elections but it is a really useful tool for the casual by elections and even co-opted new councillors.

Next week, we have the final gathering of CiLCA 2023, I’ll be working on those policies mentioned above, the Annual Report, Training Review and Survey Roundup.  It’s also the NALC Start Councils Awards and National Assembly. Lorraine will be taking some much needed annual leave and so for the next two weeks I shall be left to get up to mischief on your behalf, all by myself!   You’ll perhaps need to be patient with me 😊.

Sadly we will be bidding a fond farewell to Simon Garwood at the end of this year, he has been supporting Town and Parish Councils for many years now under both the roof of AVDC and then BC.  All is not lost though, as he is joining the professional ranks of Clerks, sadly in the next County, but we can’t have it all ways.  That means we get to frighten the living daylights out of our new liaison officer, Gail, play nicely now!  I’m hoping that they will both be able to join us at the Clerks Christmas Connections in a couple of weeks’ time.   I know that you will join me in thanking and congratulating Simon, as well as extending a warm welcome to Gail.  I’ll be working with them both so that we can all enjoy a smooth transition.

That’s probably enough for this week and it turns out my day off isn’t exactly going to plan, so I’ll bid you fare well for now and I’ll look forward to speaking with you next week.  Have a great weekend.

Mel and Lorraine

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