News

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JUL
17

Is your parish and town council looking for support for environmental projects?  

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Author: Kate Sullivan, education and engagement manager, RECOUP


Everything we buy, use and consume is provided by natural resources on planet earth. The problem is, we are utilising those resources at a far faster rate than the earth can regenerate them which is unsustainable and risks future generations’ health and wellbeing and financial and political security.

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JUL
10

Achieving net zero by 2050: A guide for local councils

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Author: Nadoya Reid, communications officer, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC)


This net zero week is the perfect time for local (town and parish) councils to reflect on their roles in addressing climate change and reaffirm their commitments to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

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JUN
26

Celebrating Pride 2024: Parish and town councils leading the way

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Author: Nadoya Reid, communications officer, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC)


Pride Month is a vibrant and essential time for communities across the globe to celebrate and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion. For Pride 2024, various local (town and parish) councils in the UK have embraced this spirit wholeheartedly, organising events and activities that reflect their commitment to diversity and inclusion. Let’s take a closer look at some of the standout celebrations and explore how other councils can get involved in 2025.

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JUN
19

Make Music Day – local and international, back as usual on 21 June  

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Author: Barbara Eifler, co-chief executive, Making Music, and chair, Make Music Day UK


It’s the simplest of concepts: anyone can create or host or perform in a music event on 21 June and be part of the world’s biggest DIY grassroots music festival.

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JUN
12

Why pride matters: celebrating visibility, equality, and community

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Author: Geraldine Achieng, business development manager, LGBT Foundation 


Pride events are powerful and multifaceted celebrations that play a crucial role in promoting visibility, acceptance, and equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Not only do we commemorate the history of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, which honours the struggles and achievements of those who fought for equality, but we also celebrate the rich diversity within the LGBTQ+ community, including various sexual orientations, gender identities, and cultural backgrounds. 

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JUN
05

Could there be legionella risk in your garden?

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Author: Charlie Brain, senior consultant, Water Hygiene Centre


In today’s world people are trying to save money, lead healthier lifestyles, eat healthier foods and be more active. Many people take pride in their gardens and use gardening to help with healthier lifestyles by growing their own healthy foods and enjoying the fresh smell of flowers.

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MAY
29

Youth engagement in Yate

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Author: Hayley Townsend, town clerk, Yate Town Council 


Several months ago, Yate Town Council were contacted by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) to ask if we would be interested in hosting a study tour to share best practice and exchange ideas and experiences with clerks and councillors from across the country, all around the theme of youth engagement.  

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MAY
22

It is time to trust our young people

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Author: Cllr Cameron Palin, town councillor and deputy mayor, East Cowes Town Council


Both Scotland and Wales have votes at 16 and 17 which have cross-party support, the policy has been a gleaming success proven by the high-quality debate and extremely high voter turnout! So why has England still not followed suit?

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MAY
15

Understanding White Ribbon and its relevance for local councils

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Author: Daisy Petrow, communications officer, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC)


In the landscape of societal change, the White Ribbon campaign stands as a beacon of hope and advocacy, aiming to end violence against women and girls. But what exactly is White Ribbon, and why does it matter? Let’s delve into this crucial initiative and explore its significance for local (parish and town) councils, and how they can actively participate.

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MAY
08

Why National Epilepsy Week is so important?

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Author Nicola: Swanborough, head of external affairs, Epilepsy Society


Epilepsy is an invisible condition which can have a huge impact on people’s lives. That is why National Epilepsy Week, which runs from 20-26 May is such an important opportunity for raising awareness of the condition.

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MAY
01

It takes a village to raise a child

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Author: Charlotte Eisenhart, head of member services at NALC and Trustee at PANDAS


This week marks maternal mental health awareness week which aims to get us all talking about mental health problems before, during, and after pregnancy.

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APR
24

Ashton Hayes and Horton-cum-Peel Parish Council - achieving a quality award

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Author: Trudy Ryall-Harvey, parish clerk at Ashton Hayes and Horton-cum-Peel Parish Council, Cheshire


Ashton Hayes and Horton-cum-Peel Parish Council represents a relatively small semi-rural parish of approximately 420 dwellings and 1300 residents, with a precept of £18,770.

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APR
17

Help make The Big Help Out even bigger! 

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Author: The Big Help Out team 


During the pandemic, millions of people volunteered to support each other through the most significant national crisis since the Second World War. This cemented volunteering as a core driver of connection.

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APR
10

Why parish and town councils?

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Author: Darren Tilley, chief executive and town clerk at Braunstone Town Council


I’m often asked what I do and what local (parish and town) councils do? Along with local councils across the country, we are simply committed to achieving the best outcomes for our residents and our community. But what does that mean in practice? While we are not directly responsible for statutory services, the services, and facilities we provide are the foundation on which both community spirit and wellbeing is built and enhanced.

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APR
03

April is stress awareness month!

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Author: Kathryn Cousins, wellbeing programme manager, The Stress Management Society


Mental health impacts our mind and body. It affects how we think, feel, and behave in every aspect of life, both personal and in the workplace. It can feel challenging to break free from  the cyclical nature of poor mental health, as feeling stressed may result in being  unproductive, leading to a higher workload, resulting in overwhelm and ultimately more  pressure.

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MAR
27

Be prepared for a change in government with proactive community support for your local neighbourhood plans

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Authors: Neil Kirkland, chief executive officer and finance director and Katerina Sukstul, head of platform delivery and engagement at GoCollaborate Limited 


Local (parish and town) councils across the UK play a pivotal role in shaping their communities through neighbourhood development plans (NDPs).  While national politics can have a significant ripple effect on these local planning initiatives, early and inclusive consultation offers a powerful tool to strengthen your NDP.  

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MAR
20

Purple Day 2024: Get to know epilepsy 

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Author: Rebecca Lock, PR & media officer at Epilepsy Action


79 new people are diagnosed with epilepsy every day in the UK. That is three people every hour, and one every 18 minutes. In a week, more than 500 new people will be diagnosed on average. Every month, that’s around 2,500 people. 

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MAR
13

Village Halls Week 2024 is set to go green!

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Author: Phillip Vincent, public affairs and communications manager at ACRE


With scientific warnings of the climate crisis mounting and governments and international institutions scrabbling in search of grand solutions, it’s easy to feel powerless to act in the face of great threats to our way of life and that of future generations.

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MAR
06

We need more women in local government

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Author: Hannah Stevens, chief executive officer at Elect Her


There are approximately 100,000 councillors in England, but only 39.2% of them are women, whilst women make up 51% of the population. 

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FEB
28

Exclusive offer to help make your communities safer

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Author: Clive Rowlandson, marketing manager at the British Heart Foundation


There are 30,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) every year in the UK; sadly, the current survival rate is only 1 in 10. However, early CPR and defibrillation can significantly increase the chances of surviving an OHCA. British Heart Foundation therefore has a mission to triple survival rates from Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests by 2030.

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FEB
21

Lighting a Beacon of Peace for the D-Day 80th anniversary

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Author: Lee Cleaver, client account executive at Clear Councils Insurance


6 June 2024 marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day and will see several events hosted throughout the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories. It is a significant occasion to commemorate the sacrifices made and celebrate the years of peace resulting from those tremendous efforts.

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FEB
14

Celebrating LGBT+ History Month 2024

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Author: Cllr Andy Snape, mayor of Flitwick Town Council


As co-chair of NALC's LGBT+ councillors national network, it's an honour to write on NALC’s blog to mark LBGT+ History Month 2024! The network was set up in 2021 to bring LGBTQ+ councillors together to share ideas and inspire change in our local communities. As a network, we’re working on some exciting initiatives to raise the profile of LGBTQ+ councillors and staff working in local councils and to provide resources and support for councils that would like to engage more in this important area. 

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FEB
07

Moving your council to a .gov.uk domain couldn’t be easier with the parish council domains helper service  

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Authors: Karen Gibbard, Sandra Lowe, Stephanie Palmer and Tim Willott from the Parish Council Domains Helper Team


As you may know, the cabinet office is working hard to support England's parish and town councils in moving to .gov.uk domains where they can conduct their business safely, more securely and efficiently.

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JAN
31

Risk management

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Author: Danielle Bird, financial director at Utility Aid


The financial world is very volatile at the moment and what that means is that a lot of decisions that I make along with the board of directors have an element of risk. One thing that I do not like is uncertainty. I sit with our leadership team every month to compare budget versus actual, to make sure we are meeting targets, and not overspending. I do this, not only because it’s part of my job but also because I hate the unexpected. I take pride in accurate forecasting and feel responsible for it when it’s not.

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JAN
24

Digital engagement in neighbourhood planning

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Authors: Steve Besford-Foster, PlanSupport in association with Neil Kirkland, GoCollaborate Limited 


There has been a significant dip in the willingness of communities to engage since COVID. Some of this might be due to a fear of public meetings and mixing, but there’s a continuing strong element of cynicism about government and planning, which is having an impact on NDP engagement. There is also a growing recognition of what digital engagement can bring which many communities are looking to grasp.

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JAN
17

Winter safety and risk management tips for councils 

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Author: Lee Cleaver​​​, sales development account broker at Clear Councils Insurance 


With winter well and truly upon us, now is a good time for local (parish and town) councils to prepare for the worsening weather from a safety and risk management perspective. The winter weather can present many challenges, with roads, car parks, walkways, stairs/steps, bus shelters, playgrounds, and more becoming more hazardous due to ice and snow.

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JAN
10

Ensuring no one is left behind as UK landlines go digital 

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Author: Lucy Baker, consumer all IP director and Vicky Hicks, head of engagement, digital voice and gender equality network chair at BT Consumer 


The landline is here to stay, but the technology used to make calls is changing from analogue to digital as part of an industry-wide shift.

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DEC
20

Make Music Day – for and by everyone, on 21 June every year

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Author: Barbara Eifler, chief executive of Making Music and chair of Make Music Day UK


It’s the simplest of concepts: anyone can create or host or perform in a music event on 21 June and be part of the world’s biggest DIY grassroots music festival.

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DEC
13

From COP to local communities – helping the next generation drive climate solutions 

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Author: Graham Duxbury, chief executive of Groundwork UK


Watching delegates fly in and out of COP 28 in Dubai over the last two weeks it’s been easy to get downhearted by how distant and difficult the discussions about tackling dangerous climate change are.  In the meantime, the power of nature to enhance or disrupt our lives has never been more evident.  Extreme weather battering our shores and causing real hardship in communities is making us finally understand what an unstable climate means.  At the same time, more and more of us are realising how being better connected with nature does wonders for our health and wellbeing.  As is so often the case, we don’t truly appreciate something until it’s gone.

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DEC
06

A journey through the Newport Pagnell Town Council study tour 2023 

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Author: Shar Roselman, town clerk at Newport Pagnell Town Council 


Join me as I reflect on the enlightening study tour held in June 2023. Let's explore the valuable benefits of study tours and dive into the extensive array of subjects that these tours can cover. Trust me, you will want to take advantage of the opportunity to participate in the next one!

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NOV
29

Working together for a tree-filled future – join in this special National Tree Week 

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Author: Jess Allan, Science & Research Projects Manager at The Tree Council 


National Tree Week 2023 (25 Nov-3 Dec) marks fifty years since the ‘Plant a Tree in ‘73’ campaign, from which the annual week-long celebration of trees (and The Tree Council!) was born. The week is always a brilliant opportunity to come together and truly appreciate the trees around us that give us joy! The theme this year is ‘Grow a Tree in ‘23’, reflecting the continued love and care that trees need after planting – a crucial message for all of us. 

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NOV
22

Important takeaways from the White Ribbon conference 

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Author: Daisy Petrow, communications officer at NALC


In September 2023, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) attended the White Ribbon conference in Birmingham. White Ribbon’s mission is to prevent violence against women and girls by addressing its root causes. They work with men and boys to change long established harmful attitudes, systems and behaviours around masculinity that perpetuate inequality and violence. Their work is preventative; they want to stop violence before it starts.  

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NOV
22

Push forward: 10 ways to end violence against women 

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Author: UN Women


Violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation in the world, affecting more than 1 in 3 women, a figure that has remained unchanged over the last decade. 

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NOV
15

How local councils can help deliver a decarbonised transport system 

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Author: Cllr James Gleave, board member at Transport Planning Society and councillor at Flitwick Town Council 


Anyone who is a councillor knows that one of the things that is most often raised by the public is transport. Whether it be the lack of local buses or the state of the roads – people often have a lot to say. You may think that transport and highways is the responsibility of your County Council, Unitary Authority, District Council, Borough or Combined Authority. But believe it or not, even local (parish and town) councils can do a lot to help make the transport system better and decarbonise it at the same time.

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NOV
08

Food insecurity: what can councils do?

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Author: Louise Marshall, senior public health fellow, and Bethan Page, public health speciality registrar, the Health Foundation


Thriving communities need all the right building blocks in place, including quality housing, stable jobs, a good education, and much more. Erosion of these building blocks causes instability in people's lives, reducing resilience to circumstances outside their control and increasing their risk of poor health.

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NOV
01

Raising the digital standards of local councils 

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Author: Chris Mewse, managing director of Parish Online


I have always been passionate about using technology to create something new and useful. I used to build software and websites in my spare time and loved looking through maps and atlases (no wonder I ended up with this career!). I’m proud that over the last 14 years, my team and I have built a reputation for providing trustworthy digital services, namely our Parish Online mapping software.

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OCT
25

The benefits of fixing energy costs

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Author: Sally-Ann Beaver at director of Utility Aid 


In recent years, we have all seen energy costs fluctuate significantly, making it difficult for local (parish and town) councils to budget accurately. This can be especially problematic for smaller councils that may not have large reserves to fall back on if unexpected energy costs arise. By fixing energy costs, councils can plan their budgets with more certainty and have greater control over their expenses.

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OCT
18

Understanding and celebrating Black History Month UK 2023

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Author: Angela M, chief executive officer of International Black History Month UK


October marks the start of Black History Month in the UK. This national celebration aims to celebrate, remember, and reflect on the contributions of African and Caribbean heritage people to the British economy, culture, and history.

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OCT
11

Legionella risk — appointment of contractors for local authorities  

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Author: Sam Hagen, digital marketer at the Water Hygiene Centre 


This blog looks at the considerations any local authority should make in determining how to appoint a contractor(s) to support them to ensure that water systems are free from microbiological contamination for those who use them.

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OCT
04

Why should you use social media in a consultation? 

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Author: Katerina Sukstul, head of platform delivery and engagement at GoCollaborate 


In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, local authorities find themselves at a crossroads, facing the dual challenges of engaging their communities effectively and adapting to the ever-increasing demands for transparency and participation in decision-making processes. 

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SEP
27

Supporting your communities through tree planting 

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Author: Richard Stanford CB MBE, chief executive of the Forestry Commission  


With growing environmental pressures to tackle the climate and nature emergencies, never has it been a more important time to grow trees. The UK government and local authorities share a common goal to halt the decline in biodiversity by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.

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SEP
20

The Great British Beach Clean 

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Author: Lauren Jones-Mullins, wildlife ecologist & beachwatch administrator at Marine Conservation Society


What do you think of when you hear the words ‘marine litter’? Rolling waves of plastic? Vast islands of waste in the middle of the ocean? Wildlife tangled in fishing net and eating plastic bags? Shocking images of the extent of pollution around the world have been brought into the public eye through Blue Planet 2, National Geographic, and even the Octonauts - but the reality is much closer to home. 

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SEP
13

Foundation Award — Starting the journey

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Author: Joanne Riddle, town clerk at Bingham Town Council 


After a challenging period of time for the council, the Local Council’s Award Scheme was considered as a positive way to provide residents reassurance that the council were not only meeting their responsibilities, but they were exceeding them and were striving to constantly improve. Staff know that the council meet the legal requirements expected of them and that they take their scrutiny role seriously, but after a negative time it can be difficult to change that view with the community.

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SEP
06

Royal British Legion launch network for councillors 

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Author: Luke Lancaster, public affairs and campaigns officer for the Royal British Legion  


The Royal British Legion (RBL) recently launched Councillor Network. The aim is to enhance the support we provide to those who serve in local government. We welcome all elected representatives from every level of local government – including from local (town and parish) councils – to join.

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AUG
30

LGA Independent Group: Why do parish councils matter? 

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Author: Cllr Marianne Overton MBE, leader of the LGA Independent Group 


At a time when developments in digital technology mean that it’s possible to connect with friends and family located thousands of miles away in mere seconds, the importance of nourishing a local community and connecting neighbours has never been more important.

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AUG
23

LGA Liberal Democrat Group: Why do parish councils matter?

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Author: Cllr Joe Harris, leader of the LGA Liberal Democrat Group 


In the complex web of local governance in England, one of the most vital and often overlooked institutions is the humble parish or town council.

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AUG
16

LGA Labour Group: Why do parish councils matter?

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Author: Cllr Shaun Davies, chair of the Local Government Association (LGA) and former leader of the LGA Labour Group 


Along with being a Leader of Telford and Wrekin Council and the LGA Labour Group, it's been my real honour to be elected to the local councils that serve my ward; Lawley and Overdale Parish Council since 2019 and the Great Dawley Town Council since 2007, and Chair since 2011. I know first-hand the importance of our parish, town and community councils.

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AUG
09

LGA Conservative Group: Why do parish councils matter?

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Author: Cllr Izzi Seccombe OBE, former leader of the LGA Conservative Group


I am delighted to have the opportunity to submit this essay explaining why I believe that parish and town councils matter. I am also looking forward to engaging in a wider discussion on these issues with colleagues from the other LGA political groups at the fringe session NALC is organising at the LGA Conference on 5 July 2023. 

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AUG
02

Make a difference in climate change this International Youth Day

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Author: Jamie Sims, communications officer at Hope for the Future


For young people today, the climate and nature crisis is a central issue - one which has drawn many of us into engagement with the democratic system. This can be seen in the rapid global spread of school climate strikes. My own engagement with collective political action was in large part sparked by getting involved in a campaign for divestment from fossil fuel investments as a student. Of course, there are good reasons for this surge of interest in environmentalism among younger generations. We all have an interest in a livable and healthy planet and want to see our natural environment protected and restored.

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JUL
26

Visualising local Census 2021 data

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Author: Jessica Bailey, deputy head of outreach and engagement, Office for National Statistics


Everyone benefits from the census. The data provided helps councils, charities and businesses plan and fund the local and national services we all rely on, wherever we live, across England and Wales. 

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