NALC works with various organisations where there is shared mutual interests, objectives and values. It is felt that working with these organisations it will bring a greater influence to bear on those in power.
Find out more about our joint project work below:
Improvement and Development Board
The Improvement and Development Board (IDB) develops the strategy for and oversees the operation of, improvement and development initiatives in the local council sector in England, It was established in 2013 by agreement between NALC and the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC).
The core aims of the Improvement and Development Board are to:
Support county associations, SLCC branches and County Training Partnerships by providing strategic direction and a forum for discussion, consultation and collaboration for improvement and development initiatives
Engage with external stakeholders, including central government departments and the local government association, on improvement and development issues affecting local councils
Promote and maintain quality and consistency and develop a sustainable funding model for sector improvement and development initiatives
The work of the Improvement and Development Board
The key programmes overseen by the Improvement and Development Board are the Local Council Award Scheme, Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA) and local councillor training packs.
Agendas, papers and minutes can be found on our governance page.
Joint Panel on Accountability and Governance
The Joint Panel on Accountability and Governance (JPAG) is responsible for issuing proper practices about the governance and accounts of smaller authorities. Its membership consists of sector representatives from the National Association of Local Councils, the Society of Local Council Clerks and the Association of Drainage Authorities. Together with stakeholder partners representing the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, the National Audit Office, and a representative of the external audit firms appointed to smaller authorities. NALC provides the secretariat to the JPAG.
JPAG’s members are as follows:
- Derek Kemp, National Association of Local Councils (chair)
- Phil Camamile, Water Management Alliance
- Alan Mellor, Society of Local Council Clerks
- Karen Daft, Association of Drainage Authorities
- Matthew Hemsley, Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
- Paul Lambert, Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
- Laura Deery, Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy
- Andrew Kendrick, National Audit Office
- Carolyn Rossiter, Smaller Authorities’ Auditors Group
- Mike Attenborough-Cox, Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd (independent member)
- Ja’Neen Day, Warwickshire and West Midlands Association of Local Councils
4 September 2023:
10 October 2023:
Practitioners' Guide 2023
The 2023 edition of the guide has minor updates and applies to Annual Governance and Accountability Returns regarding financial years commencing on or after 1 April 2023.
Practitioners' Guide 2022
The 2022 edition of the guide has had further updates, including section five on the non-statutory guidance for clerks and responsible financial officers. This section leads councils through preparing and taking their AGAR and its supporting papers to the council and then getting through the internal and external audit process. The guidance can be applied to Annual Governance and Accountability Returns from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.
Please complete the form for all comments or questions about the current Practioners’ Guide. All other queries should be sent to .
The Localism Alliance comprises CAMRA, Civic Voice, Supporters Direct, The Theatres Trust and NALC, representing over 200,000 individuals and nearly 10,000 grassroots organisations across England and working together to help their members and communities embrace the powers available to them to protect local community assets.
Over the past decade, many communities have lost local amenities and buildings of great importance to them. As a result, many communities find themselves bereft of the assets that can help contribute to developing vibrant and active communities.
However, the past decade has also seen a significant rise in communities becoming more active and joining together to save and take over assets that are important to them. The Right to Bid (Assets of Community Value) seeks to encourage more of this type of community-focused, locally-led action.
We call on all communities and local parish and town councils to register at least one Asset of Community Value.
You can use the community right via Assets of Community Value to pause the sale of buildings or land you care about and love. Find out how to register.
There is additional information on Assets of Community Value - Policy Statement via the government website.
National Improvement Strategy
The National Improvement Strategy (NIS) represents a national commitment to training and development in the local council sector shared by national, regional and local stakeholder organisations. The strategy aims to offer training and development opportunities to councils for them to make the most of their role and carry out their duties more easily. The strategy has been in place for several years, leading to a significant movement in the sector. We are looking to take the strategy further and expand the work we are involved with.
There are many training providers for our sector and it is the job of the Strategy to harness this experience and streamline the training being provided. The county associations, the Society of Local Council Clerks, Rural Community Councils and the University of Gloucestershire are the most prominent players.
The current strategy outlines a five-year vision for the sector. This strategy first makes proposals for the next few years to meet the challenges ahead. Secondly, it informs the reader of the journey the NIS has taken since its beginning and celebrates its successes.
Qualifications for clerks
Working with a local council really makes a difference in the community. Whether clerk or councillor, qualified and trained people must carry out challenging roles. A council of quality embraces learning and development among councillors and staff. Appropriate training provides a council with the necessary tools to be effective. Clerks and councillors should understand the legal framework, how a council operates, how responsibilities are allocated, and how to manage council activities and finances. There is a range of professional qualifications designed for clerks of local councils within the National Improvement Strategy:
Continuous Professional Development Scheme
The National Improvement Strategy supports the growth of the Continuous Professional Development Scheme (CPDS) for local council clerks and staff. CPDS is a personal conscious commitment to maintaining professional knowledge, skills and standards in a particular role. CPDS helps to develop an individual's competence and capability through their working life and enhances the work of their local council and its services to the community. Although the programme is aimed at clerks, councillors are also free to participate in the programme.
Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA)
CiLCA is a foundation qualification for local council officers and others working with local councils. It is a Certificate in Local Council Administration awarded at Level 3 of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), which is worth 20 credits. The qualification is owned and managed by the Improvement and Development Board (IDB), working on behalf of local (parish and town) councils in England and the National Training Advisory Group (NTAG) representing local councils in Wales. Local councils, in this instance, are parish, town, community and neighbourhood councils. CiLCA is administered by the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC).
For more information about CiLCA or to register, either contact your County Training Partnership or visit SLCC.
Recognised CiLCA trainers
Who are recognised CiLCA trainers?
This is the list of recognised CiLCA trainers . These are the only trainers who can deliver CiLCA training under the National Training Strategy.
If you would like to access CiLCA training your first contact should be your County Training Partnership. Their contact details are available on this webpage under the 'County Training Partnership’ heading.
A key change for CiLCA 2015 is the introduction of recognised CiLCA trainers. These trainers are the only individuals delivering official CiLCA training under the National Training Strategy and are the only trainers who will have access to tailored advice and support from NALC and SLCC. This means that candidates can be confident that the training they choose will be delivered to a high standard. And trainers will be recognised as CiLCA trainers and receive regularly updated resources to support them.
Any official CiLCA training for clerks must be delivered or led by a recognised CiLCA trainer. This means either individual trainers must be a recognised CiLCA trainer, or, if you deliver training as a team, at least one person in the team present at the training must be a recognised CiLCA trainer.
The IDB's goals when setting up the 'recognised CiLCA trainers' approach were:
To provide support, training and resources to NALC and SLCC networks delivering training under the National Training Strategy to clerks – this support and training is funded through NALC and SLCC subscriptions and ultimately delivers an impact back to our respective members through an improved training offer
To build a united offer around CiLCA – such that the national training offer from NALC and SLCC comes together under one umbrella and is stronger for this collaboration
That councils and clerks can be reassured when they choose a trainer they are of a certain quality and are from within the sector through their membership bodies and the National Training Strategy
That clerks have a place to go to if they have an issue with the quality of training they have received – the IDB can then consider how to resolve and improve the situation.
How to become a recognised CiLCA trainer?
To be a recognised CiLCA trainer they must both:
Have the support of both the SLCC branch and county association
Deliver training directly under the brand of the county association or SLCC, or be commissioned/paid by the county association or SLCC. One of these organisations will be the endorser and takes responsibility for the quality of the training delivered
Those who wish to become a recognised CiLCA trainer should contact NALC. They should provide confirmation that the county association and SLCC branch support them, in whatever format is appropriate. For example, an email confirmation would be sufficient. NALC will then provide the trainer workshops where there is sufficient demand (minimum six people) in a region. The trainers must attend one of these workshops to become recognised CiLCA trainers.
How CiLCA training quality assured?
CiLCA – both the qualification and training – is overseen by the Improvement and Development Board (IDB). NALC is responsible for the quality of CiLCA training at a national level. The local endorsement approach means that CALCs and SLCC branches are responsible for the quality of the training locally and NALC will support and work with them to ensure the highest possible quality of training.
If a County Training Partnership, CALC or SLCC branch would like to add new recognised CiLCA trainers then they should contact NALC's Improvement and Development Manager. Train the trainer workshops can be arranged where there is sufficient demand.
If a County Training Partnership, CALC or SLCC branch would like to remove trainers recognised status, eg because they retire or leave the sector, or if their training is not to the quality required, they should submit this in writing to NALC's Improvement and Development Manager.
If agreement cannot be reached between the SLCC branch and CALC around the support/endorsement of a trainer then this can be referred to the IDB. The IDB has the right to deny or remove recognised status from trainers.
Training for councillors
Your local County Training Partnerships (CTPs) will provide training for Councillors. They will have access to materials to deliver a core set of training offers, as well as developing and delivering tailored local training offers. The core set of training materials includes:
What's on the Agenda? DVD and workbook pack - Ideal for introducing new councillors/clerks to parish council meeting procedures
Training in Chairmanship Skills - Course for local council chairs
Being a Good Councillor - Core skills for new or prospective councillors
The Next Step: Making the most of your role as parish and town councillors - Training on a variety of skills needed as a councillor
Being a Good Employer - A guide for parish and town councillors
The Good Councillor's Guide – To access this invaluable handbook for councillors login to the members' area to view or download the Good Councillor's Guide 2016 from the Development Tools section
County Training Partnerships
Your local County Training Partnerships are a group of local training providers who come together to organise, provide, encourage and promote relevant training within the local council sector.
Your local County Training Partnerships should provide you with the following services:
Advice for the Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA) - Learning for CiLCA can vary from using working with your council, being mentored to attending face-to-face training courses
Information on the CiLCA administration and verification process
Local training opportunities for clerks and councillors
Copies of The Good Councillor's guide and other learning materials
The National Improvement Strategy has produced a number of publications and learning materials:
The Good Councillor's guide to being a good employer - A guide for local councillors
Continuous Professional Development for Clerks - the 2015 point scheme can be found under the relevant heading on this page
The Good Councillor's guide - An invaluable handbook for councillors
NALC is part of The Rural Coalition which is made up of the 15 leading organisations which represent rural interests, which subscribe to a vision for a living and working countryside. We are calling on the Government to deliver on its Big Society vision by radically empowering local people to shape the rural places in which they live.
The Rural Challenge: Achieving Sustainable Rural Communities for the 21st Century, published in August 2010, outlines detailed proposals to give local people, entrepreneurs, community groups and councils the ability to bring about positive change that will ensure a thriving future for the countryside. This report is being billed as a blueprint for delivering the Big Society in the small places which are at huge risk unless action is taken now. The report sets out detailed propositions for taking on five key challenges facing the countryside – meeting rural housing need, building thriving economies, delivering good rural services, creating flourishing market towns and empowering local communities. We are committed to following up on the messages of The Rural Challenge.
In most rural towns, villages and communities it has always been more important than the state. Our report is not about central direction, the technicalities of new development, or the necessary size of investment in public services. In fact, it is not about top-down rules and targets at all.
To build the 'Big Society' in rural areas the greatest need is to answer the questions about how government at every level can empower rural communities – to manage and plan for business and residential growth in the countryside over time, to shape and take part in the delivery of services, and to meet the challenges of an age of austerity and climate change – in a way that is:
More sustainable - to meet the challenges of the environment, climate change and community
More attractive - to address concerns about unattractive, badly planned developments gobbling up the green fields around historic rural communities
More flexible - to tackle the diverse needs and the challenges of tailoring services to small rural communities spread across huge geographical areas
The Rural Coalition is calling for recognition of the national importance of the countryside and our rural communities, the Rural Coalition urging Government to address three core areas to support them: the rural economy, affordable housing, and health and social care services.
Smaller Authorities' Audit Appointments
For full information on the work of the Smaller Authorities' Audit Appointments (SAAA), set up by NALC to procure external audit services, please visit their website.
Society of Local Council Clerks
NALC and the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC) have joined forces for further mutual working and cooperation.
The leadership teams of NALC and SLCC have signed a joint protocol at the annual SLCC Conference 2014.
Both organisations agreed to work together to promote the best interests of the local council sector and its employees and their contribution to the wellbeing of communities. These aims will be achieved through regular communication at all levels, mutual promotion and collaboration in representations to Government and other bodies when there is a common interest.
In 2015/16 both organisations will encourage:
Participation in the new Local Council Award Scheme
Take-up of CiLCA (This is the accredited certificate for our sector, designed to test basic levels of competence for the role of parish clerk)
Establish a sector-led Body to procure audit services
Provide joint advice to councils including on part-time working hours
Prepare new model terms and conditions of employment
Work towards a complimentary conference programme and joint events