New direction set for national localism
A new dynamic and exciting leadership team will lead NALC in 2017.
At the December annual meeting (13th December 2016) of NALC’s National Council, members elected Cllr Sue Baxter (Worcestershire) to be the chairman, while Cllr Derek Liddell (South Yorkshire) and Cllr Ken Browse (Devon) are to be the vice-chairs. Cllr Baxter is the first ever woman elected to this post.
NALC recognises that next year will be an important one with continuing excellent service delivery and representation for the membership especially as the challenges and opportunities of devolution and localism become more urgent.
Cllr Baxter replaces Cllr Browse as the chairman of NALC. Cllr Browse replaces Cllr Baxter in the vice chair post and Cllr Liddell continues to be another vice chair.
Cllr Baxter said: "It is an honour to be given this opportunity by the members of the association to carry forward the work already undertaken by NALC. We hope the National Council and local county associations together will be able to take the association on to new levels of working with local councils, especially at a time when the government seems to be channelling its efforts towards localism and devolution.
“NALC must be seen as the best in terms of delivering services to the membership and being effective advocates of the sector. All this must happen within a sustainable robust financial framework. Better working relationships with our partners and stakeholders from the public, private and voluntary sectors.
“This is a unique time for local councils with huge opportunities with, but there are huge challenges that go with this. The end game for the membership is that it will be even more of a force to be reckoned with in urban and rural areas.
“We believe local people understand the needs of their area best. This is why we believe that transferring powers, so people can make more decisions locally and solve their own problems in the creation of strong, attractive and thriving neighbourhoods.
“Often the government is silent on support to the voluntary and community sector and local councils. Millions of volunteers are giving their time to support their local communities including 80,000 local councillors. These contributions are just as important to social cohesion and everyday life as big business or glamorous infrastructure projects. The Government needs to factor support to these activities into its financial planning and recognise their crucial role.
“If anything this year has taught us that some communities feel left behind by our national economy and politics. Supporting these communities can be part of the solution.”
On being elected vice-chairs, Cllrs Browse and Liddell said: "It is a great honour and privilege to be elected to the NALC leadership team, especially at this crucial time for local councils. We are looking forward to continuing the promotion of the tier of local government closest to local communities, and serving their needs.
“It’s essential that we also develop a new approach to local democracy and local services at the most local level. That will enable us to put in place a bottom up neighbourhood democracy, unique in urban and rural Britain.”
Jonathan Owen, chief executive of NALC, said: "Cllrs Baxter, Liddell and Browse are filling these seats at a very important stage for NALC with the major enhanced role that local councils can now play in community well-being. With moves recently that enhance the role of local councils within devolution and localism, they will prove to be very effective advocates of community empowerment including overcoming challenges of being included within some Government’s devolution and localism plans."