News

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JUN
21

Five ways to kickstart LGBTQ+ inclusion at work

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Author: Stonewall


Whether you’re LGBTQ+ or an ally, whether you head up your organisation or you’re in an entry-level role, everybody should feel able to make their workplace a little more inclusive. Here, we’ll share five top tips for kickstarting LGBTQ+ inclusion at your organisation, regardless of shape or size.

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JUN
14

Empowering local communities: Parish and town councils' role in the Great Big Green Week

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Author: Jake Woodier of The Climate Coalition


Organised by The Climate Coalition, Great Big Green Week is a celebration of community action to address climate change and protect our natural world. Now in its third year, this nationwide event brings together communities and groups from across the country to showcase their efforts in safeguarding the planet. Local (parish and town) councils have a vital role to play in supporting and promoting Great Big Green Week alongside people from all walks of life that engage in the campaign. 

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JUN
07

Make June your Month of Community 

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Author: Tracey Robbins, head of UK delivery at Eden Project Communities


This June, the third annual Month of Community will occur across the UK. We came together with a group of partners to start the initiative in 2021, recognising so many wonderful campaigns taking place around the same time of year. This includes The Big Lunch, our annual get-together for neighbours bringing communities across the UK together for friendship, food and fun on the first weekend in June. 

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APR
13

Co-opting for democracy

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Author: Cllr David Francis, chair of NALC's Policy Committee 


It is sometimes said that democracy can only be achieved through the ballot box and that making co-options is a failure of the democratic process. However, this need not be the case, and co-options can be a positive tool. Arguably, every local (parish and town) council benefit from having a mix of councillors drawn from various backgrounds. They are capable, enthusiastic, and engaged in reflecting on their communities.

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MAY
31

Town and parish councils can boost community well-being, children’s physical activity levels, and tackle isolation by supporting play streets

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Author: Pete Davies, chief executive officer at Playing Out  


Streets constitute the majority of public space in our villages and towns. To see them only as places to drive and park cars is to undervalue them. Streets can and should be places where people can sit, talk, read, play and walk.

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MAY
25

Distinguishing between conduct and performance issues in the workplace

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Author: Danielle Scott, solicitor and senior employment law adviser at WorkNest 


An employee isn’t performing to the required standards. But are you dealing with a conduct or performance issue?

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MAY
17

How can I be more aware of subsidence?

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


In recent years the UK has been subject to extremely hot and dry weather, putting properties at greater risk of subsidence.

Subsidence happens when the ground under a property collapse or sinks lower. This uneven movement may result in structural damage, such as cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings, which can be expensive to repair.

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MAY
11

We need seamless links between mental and physical health care

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Author: Mel Islin, physical activity programme manager, Rethink Mental Illness


It is widely known and accepted that physical activity is good for our physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. But often, people are isolated from activities or cannot find the right one.

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MAY
04

Nash Mills Parish Council - Achieving a Quality Award

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Author: Nikki Bugden, parish clerk at Nash Mills Parish Council


Why apply?

We all have reasons for applying for the NALC Local Council Award Scheme.

It might be that you want to evidence to your communities the standards that you adhere to as a council, it might be to maintain your own CPD, and it might just be that you are so proud of what you and your team have achieved that you want to receive sector approved accreditation to reflect it.

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APR
27

Farnham Town Council — winner of Council of the Year 2021

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Author: Iain Lynch, town clerk at Farnham Town Council  


This week the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) launched its Star Council Awards 2023, the only awards in England that recognise local (parish and town) councils' contributions to their communities. The long-running awards celebrate local councils, councillors, young councillors, clerks, and county associations' positive impact on their communities. We look back at the 2021 Council of the Year winner, Farnham Town Council.

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APR
20

Driving down the cost-of-living

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Authors: Kim Lowes, parish councillor and community pantry lead and Sophie Taylor, clerk and responsible finance officer at Coxhoe Parish Council


The parish of Coxhoe and Quarrington Hill is not alone in feeling tested by rising costs.  As a parish council, we do our utmost to respond to the needs of residents, including taking a proactive approach to difficult financial times.

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APR
06

Top 10 tips for effective community engagement in 2023

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Author: Daniel Purchese, co-director at Breakthrough Communications 


As local (parish and town) councils are the closest level of government to their communities, it is essential for them to communicate effectively and strategically. In 2023, with the increasing reliance on technology and social media and the fact that councils are providing more services than ever, effective communication is essential in supporting effective governance.

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MAR
30

Be more purple – how to support someone who is having a seizure

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


If someone at your council meeting – maybe a fellow councillor or a public member – had a seizure, would you know what to do?

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MAR
22

New government discount scheme

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Author: Lucy Knight, customer care and communications specialist at Utility Aid   


On 9 January 2023, the government announced introducing a new Energy Bills Discount Scheme (EBDS), which will run from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. This will replace the previous Energy Bills Relief Scheme that provided a discount to all eligible organisations (which ends on 31 March 2023).

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MAR
09

Custom and self-build – the Right to Build Task Force shares the bigger picture

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Author: Duncan Hayes, marketing and communications manager at the Right to Build Task Force 


The government funds the Right to Build Task Force to support local authorities working to deliver custom and self-build homes. Find out more about the benefits of this route to delivery on the NALC-hosted event: Tackling the housing crisis the local way with custom and self-build homes on 15 March 2023.

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MAR
02

Supporting your local community for the King’s Coronation

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


With King Charles III’s Coronation set to take place on 6 May 2023 and a one-off bank holiday announced for 8 May 2023, we know that local (parish and town) councils will be key to bringing our local communities together to celebrate.

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FEB
23

Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month in Flitwick & Ampthill

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Author: Cllr Andy Snape, Town Mayor, Flitwick Town Council


Part of NALC's #MakeAChange campaign, NALC’s LGBTQ+ National Network was set up in June 2021, bringing LGBTQ+ councillors together to share ideas and inspire change in our local communities.

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FEB
16

Will your council join the nation in celebration?

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Author: Kate Groves, Marketing Manager, Eden Project Communities 


Following the recent announcement from Buckingham Palace, we are delighted to share that this year's Big Lunch will take place on 6-8 May, as part of the celebrations for the Coronation.

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FEB
02

Internal Audit Forum – the support and information resource for auditors

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Author: Eleanor Greene, Secretary to the Internal Audit Forum


Councils can be members of their county association and, thus, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC). This gives them access to resource materials, training, and support. Clerks and officers can be members of the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC), giving them access to resource materials, training, and support. Internal auditors can be members of the Internal Audit Forum (IAF).

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JAN
23

England’s 10,000+ village halls to be recognised for providing warm, welcoming, and inclusive spaces

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Author: Phillip Vincent, Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE)


Village Halls Week 2023 will celebrate how these volunteer-run rural community buildings support local residents, groups, and businesses, particularly during difficult times.

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JAN
19

Putting the local In the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

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Author: Michael King, chair of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman


For nearly 50 years, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) has had the power to investigate complaints about problems faced by people using all kinds of local services, from registering births to caring for our oldest residents.

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JAN
13

Going for gold - our journey to a quality award

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Author: Jennie Thomas, chief officer and parish clerk at Stone Parish Council


Award schemes are generally used to support the credibility of a sector, help people feel their work is valued, improve morale, boost the profile, and solidify an organisation's reputation through third-party endorsement.

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DEC
12

Tips on reducing on-site consumption and becoming greener

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Author: Ruaire Glackin, head of net zero & energy management at Utility Aid 


With the cost of living and energy crisis affecting everyone, especially businesses and charities, one way to decrease costs is to reduce your energy consumption and look at ways to become greener with your usage. Not only can you save money, but by taking little steps, you help to look after our planet and can contribute towards the net zero goal.

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DEC
05

Four ways to alleviate your workforce's money worries this winter

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Author: Hannah Copeland, HR Business Partner at WorkNest


As people’s bills increase, so does the pressure on employers to offer some form of support.

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NOV
30

Cyber Insurance: Five ways councils can safeguard from cyber attacks

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


Almost every local (parish and town) council uses technology in their day-to-day operations — whether simply accessing emails or performing more complex tasks such as handling personal data.

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NOV
28

Warm up Winter with The Big Lunch at Christmas

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Author: Tracey Robbins, head of UK Delivery at Eden Project Communities 


The Big Lunch, an Eden Project initiative, has been bringing neighbours together annually each June since 2009. This year was exceptional, as The Big Jubilee Lunch 2022 was part of the official Platinum Jubilee celebrations. 

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NOV
25

A personal perspective on White Ribbon Accreditation

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Author: Cllr Kay Wesley, White Ribbon Champion for Congleton Town Council


What is Congleton doing and why?

Congleton Town Council has voted to become White Ribbon Accredited. The catalyst for this was a visit to Congleton by Chris Green OBE, the White Ribbon UK President, who was invited to speak at a public event organised by the Congleton Women’s Forum.

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NOV
09

Planning applications in a digital mapping system

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Author: Tristram Cary, chair of Geoxphere Ltd


One of the local (parish and town) councils' essential duties is to analyse and comment on planning applications. This vital task is made much easier if the planning applications can be loaded into a digital mapping system and analysed against all the relevant constraints, such as local plans and flood risk. 

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NOV
02

There’s a climate emergency – what can councils do next?

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Author: Megan Blyth, local and community empowerment project officer at the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE)


Tackling the climate crisis is a daunting task, especially for councils that may not have access to large budgets, resources or staff. But we know more and more local councils have declared climate emergencies and are thinking about plans for positive change in their local area. But what support is available to ensure these plans benefit local communities and the planet? 

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OCT
28

A Co-operative Council response to the cost of living crisis – Stevenage Borough Council

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Author: Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE, chair of the Co-operative Councils' Innovation Network and leader of Stevenage Borough Council 


The United Kingdom is currently facing a cost of living crisis that is directly impacting all households and businesses up and down the country. 

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OCT
18

Cost-of-living crisis

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Author: Martin Buttle, better world lead at CCLA


With the highest rates of inflation in decades and a collapse in the pound's value, the UK is facing a cost-of-living crisis that will affect millions of working people across the UK.

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SEP
28

Contract Works Insurance

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


A new building or extension project sometimes takes months or even years to come to fruition. Designing, planning, funding, and arranging contractors to carry out the works are detailed and time-consuming tasks. By the time you are ready to start in earnest, what thought has been given to what could go wrong? Insurance is almost always one of the last things on people’s minds, and yet a carefully considered insurance programme surrounding the contract works can also take some time to compile.

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SEP
20

No ifs, no buts - CCLA assessment of the latest Bank of England rate decision

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Author: Rob Evans, senior portfolio manager at CCLA


The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has voted to increase its Official Bank Rate by 0.50% to 1.75% - its highest rate since 2008. The Bank’s move was the biggest single increase since 1995, also marking the sixth consecutive rate hike since last December.

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AUG
25

Energy Performance Certificate Data

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Author: Tristram Cary, chair of Geoxphere Ltd

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AUG
31

The legacy of COVID-19 for people living with dementia and their families

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Author: Ian Sherriff BEM, academic partnership lead for dementia at the University of Plymouth Medical School Faculty of Health

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AUG
17

Internal Audit Forum — the voice for local council audit

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AUTHOR: ELEANOR GREENE, SECRETARY TO THE INTERNAL AUDIT FORUM


What was once an informal local grouping of internal auditors is now formalised with a website and a plan.

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AUG
10

A parish council's failings — A cautionary tale from the Smaller Authorities' Audit Appointments

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AUTHOR: MIKE ATTENBOROUGH-COX, CHAIR OF THE SMALLER AUTHORTIES' AUDIT APPOINTMENTS


A complaint was received by the external auditor from a parish council in the southwest that had received a Public Interest Report and invoice for associated charges for 2020/21. The parish council levied a precept of £10k for the past two years.

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AUG
04

Elections Act 2022

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AUTHOR: PETER STANYON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE ASSOCIATION OF ELECTORAL ADMINISTRATORS


What every NALC member needs to know about the Elections Act 2022

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JUL
28

Let’s talk insurance: From indexation and inflation to reinstatement valuations and long-term undertakings

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AUTHOR: KEVIN RICHARDS, TECHNICAL BROKING DIRECTOR AT BHIB INSURANCE


Insurance, in the simplest form, exists as a means of protection. It provides risk management, support, and essential cover during those unexpected moments. It’s there for you when the unthinkable happens, but its complexities can confuse.

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JUL
21

Localising levelling up: Getting the parish voice heard

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AUTHOR: PROFESSOR COLIN COPUS, EMERITUS PROFESSOR OF LOCAL COUNCIL AT DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY


As the Levelling up bill progresses through parliament and as some county deals begin to crystallise, it is clear there is a real need for local (parish and town) councils and district councils to work together to make sure the voice of local communities is heard.  

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JUN
16

Raising the Rainbow

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AUTHOR: LUKE TREVASKIS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AT MORECAMBE TOWN COUNCIL


Pride events are taking place across the country throughout June and local (parish and town) councils can make an impact by showing support for their LGBTQ+ communities.

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MAY
27

Shoestring guide to promoting your town hall and sports facilities  

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AUTHOR: JOHN FAGAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AT SCRIBE


At Scribe we love all the many amazing facilities that parish, town and community councils provide to their communities across the UK, but…

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APR
28

Town Walk app and the Accessibility Regulations 2018 

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AUTHOR: RAFI ILIVITZKY, MANAGING DIRECTOR AT TRAILTALE


With 87% of the adult population in the UK owning a mobile phone, and the advance in mobile phone technology, it is only natural to make Town Walking Trails available for visitors using smartphones. Over the last few years, there has been a growing tendency for town councils to develop mobile apps that feature their town’s heritage trail.

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APR
22

Target your community's climate activity with the Impact Community Carbon Calculator 

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AUTHOR: KEITH HEMPSHALL, DIRECTOR OF LOCAL AND COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT AT THE CENTRE OF SUSTAINABLE ENERGY


Our experience is that all communities are different. It can sometimes be hard to know where to begin and what to prioritise when organising community action around local carbon emissions.

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APR
06

Bringing Ideas to Life: The East Suffolk Community Partnership Annual Forum 2022

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AUTHOR: LUKE BENNETT, PARTNERSHIP MANAGER FOR EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL


Community Partnerships are something fresh that reflects the ambitions of East Suffolk Council and utilise the incredible knowledge, experience and enthusiasm contained right across the wide range of organisations and communities in East Suffolk. The Community Partnerships are based on natural groupings of communities using the East Suffolk Council ward boundaries as the building blocks for each partnership area.

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MAR
31

Practitioners' Guide 2022 – more interesting than you thought 

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AUTHOR: ELEANOR GREENE, SECRETARY TO THE INTERNAL AUDITORS FORUM


Last year the Internal Audit Forum (IAF) — at that time comprised about 30 of us from across England and Wales — revamped section four of the Practitioners' Guide to make it more usable for all internal auditors.

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FEB
21

Thank You Day 2022

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AUTHOR: IAN JEFFERS, INTERIM DIRECTOR AT TOGETHER


The role of local (parish and town) councils across the country is central to our communities, and the fantastic work is not always celebrated or understood. That is why it is essential to capitalise on opportunities to share their work and ensure we are making time and space to thank local councillors, volunteers, staff, and the community.

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FEB
10

Get ready for AGAR 2022

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AUTHOR: JOHN FAGAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AT SCRIBE


Need to get your Annual Governance And Accountability Return (AGAR) plan in order? Not sure where to start? Are you dreading April? Don’t worry, we have got your back.

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FEB
01

Yes, do plant trees & re-wild – but in the right places and the right way

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AUTHOR: CLLR LILLIAN BURNS, NALC NATIONAL ASSEMBLY MEMBER AND PART OF NALC'S CLIMATE CHANGE TASK AND FINISH GROUP


NALC’s recent climate change survey of local councils asked: "What carbon-reducing measures are you working on in the community?"

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JAN
11

Straining every sinew to try and influence the local plan

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AUTHOR: CLLR LILLIAN BURNS, MEMBER OF NALC'S SMALLER COUNCILS COMMITTEE


As statutory consultees, all parish councils spend excessive time considering and commenting upon planning applications (i.e. development planning).

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