The National Association of Local Council’s (NALC) sends a ‘best practice’ delegation to find out how Dunstable Town Council is improving quality of life services for residents and visitors to Dunstable.
Dunstable Town Council (DTC) is one of the largest town council’s in the country. Employing over 80 staff with a revenue budget of over £3million, the Council is at the forefront of the town and parish sector of local government that is increasingly delivering quality of life services that principal authorities are no longer able to provide.
The National Association of Local Council’s is the umbrella body that represents the interests and development of the town and parish sector of local government. Every year a delegation from NALC visits one of the leading town and parish council’s in the sector and this year they made a visit to what is termed a ‘super council’ to find out how things are done by one of the very largest councils - Dunstable Town Council.
The visit took place on the 18 and 19 of July. Representatives of NALC and the Bedfordshire Association of Town and Parish Councils visited a number of the Town Council’s services including the award winning Priory House Heritage Centre / Tea Rooms and Creasey Park Community Football Centre. The delegation also learnt about how DTC is working in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council on plans to help regenerate Dunstable’s High Street including the £2 million Market Town Regeneration Fund initiative that will see numerous new services delivered by the Town Council introduced in Dunstable over the next couple of years.
The delegation were impressed to learn about the Town Council’s extensive events programme that attracts thousands of attendees each year; the Council’s large grounds maintenance service that maintains all the public open space in Dunstable includes two award winning town centre gardens and the Council’s services to younger and older people. In fact the delegation was amazed at the sheer variety of everything the Council is doing and that all services were predominantly delivered in-house and not through service contracts.
The delegation was hosted by Councillor Peter Hollick, the town mayor of Dunstable and David Ashlee, the Council’s town clerk and chief executive.
Councillor Kevin Wilson, chairman of the NALC Larger Councils’ Committee said: “The visit was a real eye opener and our delegation learnt just what can be achieved by a well managed; well resourced; ambitious town council. We were hugely impressed by the array of services offered by Dunstable Town Council and how they are working in partnership with Central Bedfordshire Council to help regenerate the town.”
Councillor Peter Hollick, mayor of Dunstable said: “We were very honoured to receive the delegation from the National Association of Local Councils and were pleased to be able to show them all that the Town Council is doing for Dunstable. It is always nice learn that what you are doing is being recognised and appreciated by others.”
Councillor Jim Gledhill of the Bedfordshire Association of Town and Parish Councils said: “It was a real eye opener to attend this visit and to see first hand the fantastic work in regeneration terms a larger local council like Dunstable is capable of delivering. We want to see far more of this size of local council set up in areas like Luton as the need for more parishes of different sizes to be created becomes greater in the future.”