The First Alternative Support Choice For Local Councils in Fifty Years

Local Council Public Advisory Service

The local council sector is a vibrant and very interesting world. It provides very local services and is served by those who have a wish to help their communities. There really is no one else who cares more about your community, its residents, roads, green space, facilities and air space. Councils and their staff require expert support services, they need reliable legal advice which is consistent and balanced procedural advice and views. It is vital that Councillors and Clerks understand the legal requirements and also receive support for challenging situations. Having access to an expert advisor in person is very important, someone who understands the issues and can offer advice accordingly. It is also a great moral support in trying times to have an actual person to talk over the issues with. We felt it was the most important area so we dedicate 42 hours of manned telephone support per week. We also offer an out of…

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Modern Training for Modern Councils

We all live busy lives and fitting additional events can sometimes be impossible. Parish & Town Councillors give up their time to serve their communities. This involves giving time to meetings, events, attendance  of outside bodies events, representing the communities views at planning committee meetings to name just a few.  Clerks and Officers who serve Councils are often overstretched with the extension of powers, responsibilities and assets being devolved.

Finding the time to attend training although important can be the straw that breaks the camels back!

There are many CiLCA portfolios that lay incomplete in a draw or shelf,  with the Clerk having no time to complete it. It can look like an unsurmountable task, impossible to complete as work and other demands compete for the few available hours per week.

We gave these matters our full attention and looked at possible solutions. Training is vital for both Councillors and Clerks and their communities. It also addresses the risks associated with finances and acting outside of the law.  We assessed the issues around busy lives and finding time to undertake training. This also included taking into consideration travel and having to find upfront cost associated with it.

These were our solutions:

1. A residential CiLCA course over two days to provide expert tuition and distracted time to undertake and complete the portfolio.

2.   Online  comprehensive selection of training modules for Councillors and Clerks.

3. Online training videos

4. Training packages to purchase for council or third party delivery

5. Pre-meeting half hour training hits on chosen topics with trainer, material & equipment or to purchase for council delivery

6. Bespoke training delivered at the councils locality with trainer, material & equipment provided

Much of the training is available now with the others in active development. To find out more contact us ceo@lcpas.co.uk  www.lcpas.co.uk

Click Here to download the Residential CiLCA Course Flyer: 29th

Consultation on Planning & Section 106

Consultation on Planning & Section 106

Section 106 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 sets out the parameters for planning gains. This is in effect a payment made by the developer to offset the negative impact of that development on the community. The amount is set by the planning authority and can be between any affected party along with the planning authority and the developer, or just between the developer and the Planning Authority. The commitment can be made in various ways, money, land, village hall, play areas, affordable housing and is binding. However, in recent times the Government have permitted renegotiation for stalled developments. The consultation sought to change when s106 could be requested by the Planning Authority. Usually, this could affect only one dwelling or up to hundreds depending on the Planning Authorities policy or the impact of that development. This threshold could rise to a minimum of 10 dwellings before s106 can be demanded.

Although the consultation has now ended, you may be interested in its contents and how this may affect your own community in the future. It also very important to know if any such agreements have been made in your area and you can then request information on how this is being used from your own Planning Authority. Section 106 agreements are a public document and anyone can request a copy if they wish. Often these are posted on the Planning Authorities website with the plans.

Parish and Town Councils are statutory consultees (they have the right to request sight of all applications for their area) to their area’s planning applications, this allows the public to view them and if the council have a public forum, to express their views. 

Planning Authorities can be a District Council, County Council or a Unitary Authority

Ever Thought of Standing as a Councillor in 2015 Local Elections

In England we have 10,000 parishes served by parish or town councils or parish meetings. These very local and often very active local authorities draw their members from a very small area, in comparison to their district and county counterparts. This often leads to councillors being returned unchallenged at election time. This vital tier of local government hold villages and towns together with services and assets that are not necessarily  provided by any other authorities.  As the government cuts funding to principle authorities  this army of 10,000 parish and town councils are taking over and saving local facilities. This cannot be undertaken alone and requires their communities support, that includes residents willing to stand for election next year and carry on their valuable work. With the vital addition of a community mandate. It takes courage to stand for election in your own community and the fear of not getting a seat often deters residents from standing. However, the very action of standing , campaigning and even being present outside polling stations greeting voters and being at the count,  lifts interest in your local council. This in turn encourages members of the public to attend meetings and take some ownership over its actions and also leads to greater voter turn out. Greater public interest also leads to better relationships, communication and transparency and more responsive active councils. It also means that there is a fair spread of representation of views across the council,  which better reflects the make up of the parish or town. It is also great to have on your CV and a very rewarding experience. There are opportunities to undertake training and expand your knowledge and your qualifications with the cost met by the council. In some cases there is also a modest meeting allowance and help with expenses, such as ink and paper.  There is no personal liability attached to being a councillor or personal financial risks. This is because councils are corporate bodies responsible for its own action and decisions rather than individual members. Local councils are rarely political with councillors focused only on the best interest of that community. Each parish and town has a set number of available seats (councillors) the minimum in small parishes being five, while larger parishes and towns may have sixteen. For a council to go to election you need more candidates than the number of available seats. The district council returning officer or electoral officers can give you this information. When you see the invitation to get your nomination papers in spring 2015 why not stand for election and join the 100,000 strong members of English communities, willing to express their view and give up their time for their local community,and businesses. I am glad I did which in turn lead to a new career, fascinating experiences and many new friends. Jayne Cole The Local Council Public Advisory Service:  http://www.lcpas.co.uk