Public participation & Members Benefits partnership support

Dear Colleagues

From a sparkling start of the week to a rather damp end.  I trust that your parishes haven’t endured lasting damage from the flash floods that peppered the area and that you have all remained relatively dry.  Our week has been subdued, possibly as everyone is going through their Annual Meetings and probably Annual Assemblies too. 

As we are now firmly in the grip of a new financial year I wanted to remind you of the excellent finance training opportunities we enjoy through our Parkinson Partnership member benefit. 

The Parkinson Partnership LLP provides specialist advice on VAT and other financial matters for parish, town and community councils in England and Wales. They have provided services to more than 100 council clients, advising on millions of pounds worth of projects, including village halls, pavilions, community centres, offices, theatres and even a swimming pool. Courses include:

  • Finance for councillors
    • Introduction to VAT for public bodies
    • VAT for larger councils
    • Budgeting and financial management
    • Contracts and procurement
    • Transparency and publication

Booking invoices are issued by BMKALC. For course content and booking information please click on the link below:

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR Parkinson Partnership Finance COURSE

Our member councils may also access free specialist advice on VAT and other financial matters for parish, town and community councils by logging onto our website and choosing Members Area from the main menu bar then scrolling down to Members Benefits.  I know that Steve has helped a number of our members already and they would happily recommend him.

We have recently received enquiries relating to Public Participation time so I thought it might be useful to include this extract from NALC’s LTN. 

Public participation

42. When the public attend meetings, including attending remotely if the council so permits, they have no right to participate in them, unless permission is given. It is good practice for councils to set aside time (e.g. 15 or 20 minutes) at meetings for the public to make statements and ask questions. It is advisable for a council to permit public participation at meetings of the full council (and the meetings of committees) that are likely to be of most interest to the public e.g. a planning committee. Where members of the public are attending remotely a council should ensure that they can remotely contribute to the public participation.

Councils are recommended to adopt standing orders to structure public participation sessions and may refer to NALC’s model standing orders 3e-h. Standing orders may confirm that public participation at a meeting is restricted to items of business on the agenda for the meeting. Members of the public who wish to communicate about business which is not included in the agenda for a meeting may communicate with the council in alternative ways e.g. by written correspondence or attending councillors’ surgeries.

43.Where a council permits the public to participate at a meeting, this session: a) is included as an item in the agenda b) forms part of the council meeting in law; c) is managed by the Chair of the meeting; d) is documented in the minutes of the meeting; e) may permit a councillor to speak on a matter in which they have an interest that is not a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) which they are otherwise not permitted to speak about at the meeting;

44.Section 31 (4) of the 2011 Act provides that a councillor with a DPI in a matter being discussed during the public participation session of a meeting cannot speak on the matter unless they have obtained a dispensation.

45.Pages 106 – 107 of ‘Local Councils Explained’ provide practical guidance in respect of public participation sessions.

Next weeks Canva training is looking extremely popular and Civility and Respect bookings have also picked up.  We’re working on a course which will help councils prepare and deliver an action plan and are considering bringing Remit and Philosophy of Town and Parish Councils to a general audience too.  Keep an eye on the website, there are new courses coming to the diary all the time, some may only be repeated twice in a year and don’t forget if you have an idea for training that you think will benefit other councils too, do let us know.

Have a great weekend and we look forward to speaking to you next week!

Kind regards

Mel, Helen and Lorraine

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