NALC works to provide a strong national voice and positively influence the external environment on behalf of the parish and town council sector, supported by our network of county associations and member councils.
One of the main ways that we do this is through our policy, political and parliamentary work, which provides a framework for policy determination, developing information and evidence on parish issues, and working to influence government and other decision-makers.
Our areas of activity include:
Holding an annual Lobby Day
Responding to government consultations
Briefing for debates and parliamentary questions
Giving written and oral evidence to parliamentary select committee inquiries
Developing NALC's relationships with parliamentarians, political parties and think tanks
Engagement at political party conferences
Holding roundtables and conducting research
Organising events that bring together parliamentarians and representatives from the parish sector including conferences and the APPG on Local Democracy
What is Lobby Day?
Lobby Day is an integral part of our advocacy programme to promote local councils to parliamentarians.
It takes place annually and involves representatives of county associations and the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) meeting with Members of Parliament (MPs) and peers (Lords).
County associations and local (parish and town) councils play a vital role in helping NALC maintain and increase the sector's influence with government, civil servants and parliamentarians. Talking to MPs about the great things local councils are doing is particularly valuable in getting them to support the changes we are calling for on your behalf.
Lobby Day provides a fantastic opportunity to do just that, building on the foundations laid in previous years to develop and strengthen relations with MPs and peers.
When is Lobby Day taking place?
This year's Lobby Day takes place on 23 March 2022 and we want this year to be even bigger and better! You can arrange meetings with your MPs either remotely or in-person (subject to government guidance).
How to get involved
Here's how you can help us and get involved:
County associations: Contact your MPs requesting a virtual meeting with them on Lobby Day. This will either be by remote video conference call or physically in parliament if the MP and your county association can do this. We have produced an example letter, email template and suggested phone script, located below.
Local councils: Contact your MP requesting an appointment online in the days and weeks before or after Lobby Day or physically in parliament as a fallback. We have produced an example letter, email template and suggested phone script, located below. If you would like to support your local county association on Lobby Day itself, get in touch with them to discuss this further.
The first Lobby Day was held in June 2015 and saw NALC and county associations meet with many MPs, including government ministers. Also, Parliamentary Outreach delivered a workshop on how parliament works and many county associations met with MPs in their constituencies in the days and weeks following Lobby Day.
Since then, Lobby Day has grown, increasing engagement with parliamentarians every year. On Lobby Day 2019, NALC engaged with over 100 MPs, including ministers, shadow ministers and the deputy speaker of the House of Commons. NALC also invited a series of guest speakers on health and wellbeing, improvement and development, and tips on successfully engaging with parliament.
Parish heat map
Our new interactive parish heat map shows how parished each of the English parliamentary constituencies is, based on 2015 data from the Office of National Statistics.
The map measures the percentage of the area covered by parish councils for each constituency, attributing different colour codes. The light colours identify constituencies with none or very few parish councils, progressing to darker colours as the number of parish councils in a specific constituency increase. A fully parished constituency is marked with dark blue on the map. You can find out the percentage of the area covered by parish councils for each parliamentary constituency by hovering the mouse over the area on the map.
NALC hopes that this new tool will facilitate engagement with Members of Parliament, helping visualize the over 9,000 parish and town councils that we represent. With the majority of constituencies being fully parished, we believe that the issues affecting local councils should be on every English MP¹s agenda."
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Debbie Rhodes, the author of this map, for giving us access to this new engagement tool. We would also like to take the opportunity to thank Professor Jane Wills, and Cartographer Edward Oliver from the Queen Mary University of London, for introducing us to Debbie and advising us throughout this project.
All-Party Parliamentary Group on Local Democracy
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Local Democracy is co-chaired by Cherilyn Mackrory MP for Truro and Falmouth, and Richard Holden MP for North West Durham. The group aims to provide a forum for discussing the issues affecting local (parish and town) councils and local democracy. NALC provides secretariat and other support to the APPG.
UK Parliament Week
What is UK Parliament Week?
UK Parliament Week is an annual program of events that connect and engage people across the UK with the UK Parliament and democracy.
It provides an excellent opportunity to engage with Members of Parliament and re-stating the important role of town and parish councils in government and local democracy.
How to get involved
To take part in UK Parliament Week, you need to organise an event or activity. The audience, size and format of the event is for you to decide – the purpose is to engage people across the UK with the UK Parliament and democracy.
Based on the event ideas suggested by the Parliamentary Outreach team we have put together a few examples:
You can invite a member of the Parliamentary Outreach Team to deliver a workshop for your councillors or members of the public. All you need is a venue that can host 15-20 people (minimum attendance is required). The Parliamentary Outreach team provides workshops on a range of topics - from an introduction to Parlament to engaging and influencing – completely free of charge. These events are in high demand, so sessions need to be booked early. For more information, please visit their website.
Organising a panel discussion on a topic of interest to members. This could be an opportunity to share examples of best practice on different issues. Or you can use the opportunity to lobby: invite your local MPs to be part of the panel. Encourage them to state their view about the role of local councils in local democracy and government.
Organise a visit for your MP to local councils in your area to show the important contribution that town and parish councils make to local communities. Mention to them that this is being organised as part of UK Parliament Week as they will be aware of this and it might help encourage their attendance.
For your event to be considered an official part of the UK Parliament Week, you must organise your event any day between 14 and 20 November 2016 and register here by September 2016. If you would like to invite local MPs, our suggestion is to host the event towards the end of the week (ideally on a Friday), as it is more likely for MPs to be in their constituency.
By taking part in UK Parliament Week you help raise the profile of our sector. In return, you will receive a substantial amount of publicity: your event will be listed on the Parliamentary website and you will be given access to the official Parliament Week partner logo, which you may use on all communications, as well as your website.
How NALC can help
NALC can assist county associations in arranging a workshop with the Parliamentary Outreach Team, as well as following up on invitations to your local MPs if you find that they are hard to reach. NALC will also promote your event through weekly bulletins, DIS and on the website, as well as issue a joint press release to maximise press coverage.
Meetings with MPs
NALC routinely meet with ministers and parliamentarians (both MP's in the House of Commons and Peers in the House of Lords) as part of our work advocating and championing local councils.
To help keep county associations and member councils updated on this important aspect of our work we regularly provide updates and summaries in the member's area of the website.
How can I get involved?
Our chairman’s open letter included a call for your help in maintaining our influence with government, civil servants and parliamentarians, especially talking to your MPs and telling them what great things you are doing and getting them to support the changes we are calling for on your behalf.
There are many ways of how you can do this, from sending your MP a letter to requesting a meeting to attend the surgery.
This parliamentary briefing for the House of Commons Library is a note which addresses a range of recent issues affecting local councils.
It includes an explanation of what they are and their place in the local government structure; the powers they can exercise; how they may be established and abolished; and how complaints about them may be pursued.