Youth Councils & Cabinet visit, Pay Awards Update, Democracy In Action Free NALC Event

Youth Councils, Code of Conduct Seminar, Councillor Recruitment & Retention, 2023-24 Pay Award Updates, Devolved Services, Democracy in Action from NALC, and the Coronation Living Heritage Fund

So here we are at the end of August having just enjoyed the last Bank Holiday of the year; the leaves are beginning to fall, and it is feeling autumnal in the mornings now. We will soon be swapping out wardrobes for warmer clothes and looking forward to getting back to business as usual with most people having taken their summer leave. Mel remains on leave this week so if you have any queries please contact us via the BMKALC mailing address .

We had a highly successful meeting with representatives of BC Youth Council and MKCC Youth Cabinet last week who were an absolute delight to spend time with. We had a pre-conference meeting at the Oculus so they could get a feel for the venue and a productive working relationship between the two groups has begun; I look forward to seeing them again next week.

A reminder that our Code of Conduct Civility and Respect Seminar takes place on the 7th September in person in Aylesbury; Lorraine has secured a fantastic line up of speakers for the day, including Hoey Ainscough Associates Ltd and Breakthrough Communications. In addition, there will be presentations from Nick Graham Deputy Chief Executive Legal & Democratic services offering insight and lessons learned on Code of Conduct issues. Pete Brown (Head of Democratic Services) and Catherine Stephens (Head of Legal Services) at MKCC will give a View from Milton Keynes City Council. We also welcome Jon Harvey an accomplished coach, change facilitator, leadership, and organisational development practitioner. He has developed significant expertise in developing cultures of continuous improvement & innovation, resolving conflict, and organising the productive engagement with customers/clients/citizens. Jon is an active Buckingham Town Councillor and BMKALC Executive Board Member.

On 19th September we are  running Councillor Recruitment, Induction & Retention This is a half day, in-person, training and information session opening with councillor recruitment strategies for success, including successful campaigning and exploring how councils can create an induction programme that has long lasting benefits and ensures councillors are set up to succeed. We are often successful in recruiting new members but sometimes struggle to retain them.

The second session of discussion with Devolved Services will take place next week with the same councils attending as per the previous session earlier this month. I will give a summary of the meeting next week.

We have received several enquiries regarding the discussion and decisions surrounding pay awards for the year 2023 to 2024. On 23rd August, the SLCC released the following news statement. We will keep you updated as and when we have news.

We have been advised of the following statement from UNISON:

“The ballot of council and school members covered by the NJC in England and Wales, on the pay offer for 2023, closed on 4 July. The results were sent out to regions and branches who have worked hard to share the ballot results with members. As this was a ballot of 345,000 members in more than 4,300 employers, the process of getting results out has been a complicated one, and we want to thank you for your patience throughout.

The support during the ballot and pay campaign from UNISON members across England and Wales has been incredible; the turnout was a huge improvement on the 2021/22 industrial action ballot and that groundswell of feeling will only build as we continue to campaign on pay. Due to the Tory anti-trade union laws, we can only take industrial action in employers where we achieved a turnout of 50% or more (with a majority voting for action) and unfortunately while we passed this turnout threshold in a number of employers, most of these were smaller employers. Given the legal restrictions that are in place from the government, we have decided that it would not be effective to ask our members to take industrial action at this time.

We are currently in the process of talking to the other local government unions, GMB and Unite, so that we can now resolve this year’s pay dispute and get that pay increase in your pockets as soon as possible.

While the decision not to take industrial action may be disappointing to you, we are determined to continue our campaign to improve your pay – we want to get on with the 2024 campaign and build from here to the point where we can get the turnouts we need for strike action. We have come a long way and we would like to thank members, branches, and regions for all of your hard work and determination in getting the vote out.

The fight continues and we will keep demanding fair pay for the vital work that you do.”

We await news of their discussions with the other unions involved, the GMB and Unite. We will of course keep you advised of further developments.

NALC, and the LGA, have launched the free joint Democracy in Action online event here (NALC and the LGA to empower individuals to become local councillors – News ) to take place online on 14/11/23This has been partly organised to help promote standing in the local (parish and town) council elections in your areas in May 2024

Apply for the Coronation Living Heritage Fund – £2.5 million in funding is available to support local tree planting projects across England. To get funding, you must apply for a grant, you can apply for £10,000 to £50,000 for each project. The tree officer or environmental team at Bucks Council or MKCC can apply for funding on behalf of parish, community and town councils, community groups and parishes. The Coronation Living Heritage Fund (CLHF) celebrates the coronation of King Charles III.

Kind regards

Helen, Lorraine and Mel.

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