National Association of Local Councils’ (NALC) Annual Conference held on Monday 30 October and Tuesday 31 October 2017, saw a major push for putting local (parish and town) councils and communities more in control of how services are delivered in neighbourhoods and to be given a greater leadership role in solving the problems of society.
NALC wants to empower communities with more effective powers to tackle local issues, and have a greater say over decisions that affect them. Further to this NALC demands more devolution to local councils with strengthened relationships and engagement between all parts of national and local government.
Over 300 delegates from local councils sand county association areas from around England gathered together to formulate a way forward for the sector to further turn the dreams of localism into a reality and also wish happy 70th Anniversary to NALC.
Sajid Javid MP, secretary of state, department of Communities and Local Government (CLG), local government minister, responded: “Your (local councils) role on the front line of local government has never been more important. You hold our communities together. The great strengths of local councils are that they are part of the community. It gives you a unique local insight.
“I want all principal authorities to pass down all monies due to local councils via the local council tax support grant. I am willing to look into introducing stronger guidance on this.
“At the moment I am not going to introduce referendum (council tax capping) principles for local councils as you have been fiscally responsible.”
Angela Rippon, Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador and co-chair for The Prime Minister's Champion Group on Dementia Friendly Communities, said: “I am thrilled to see the NALC and Alzheimer’s Society partnership working together - standing united against dementia.
“With a rapidly ageing population and increasing numbers of people living with dementia, this partnership is a fantastic way of using local intelligence on a national scale and ensuring that every community feels supported to improve the general safety, health and wellbeing of people with the condition, and their families and carers.” Find out more
Cllr Sue Baxter chairman of NALC launched its new prospectus for ultra localism to help communities help themselves. She said: “We want to provide democratic local leadership that is accountable, open and transparent and builds community cohesion and resilience.
“Further we want to plan for the future of neighbourhoods by protecting and enhancing local assets and services, place shaping to meet housing and other development needs.
Cllr Peter Marland, leader of Milton Keynes Council, said: “We are the largest parished urban area in the country. We want to devolve and decentralise some of our powers to local councils. However we do not want to dump services on them. We want it to be a consultative process. We believe the best decisions are taken at the most local level.
Jonathan Owen, chief executive of NALC commented: “We need reconnect all communities to democracy. And follow the Milton Keynes model and fully have local councils throughout urban cities.
Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Local Government Association (LGA) said: “We want the LGA and NALC to work productively together. We all work to support and help the same people at all council levels.
“Why does not the government get on with sorting out Brexit and let all parts of local government run the country on all other matters.
“All local councils can be part of the solution to the country’s social care crisis.”
Rob Varley, chief executive of The Met Office said: “It is important to manage the risk of climate change and the environment for your future planning.”
Sarah Richards, chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate, said: “Local councils have a key role in local plans with getting sound plans in place. I urge local councils to get involved early and stay involved throughout.”
NALC would like to say a special thank you to BHIB Insurance Brokers, CCLA and DCK Accounting Solutions for sponsoring this annual conference.
NALC Annual Conference also saw workshop sessions on; Creating new local councils, health and well-being, housing and planning, devolution. data protection, flexible and diverse funding, capacity building in smaller local councils, AGM, policy, data protection, risk management, ICT security, partnership working, sustainability and the environment and Star Councils 2017
NALC’s annual elections saw:
Cllr Sue Baxter has been re-elected chairman of NALC
Cllr Derek Liddell has been re-elected vice chairman of NALC
Cllr Keith Stevens has been elected vice chairman (finance) of NALC