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Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils is a not for profit membership organisation, representing, training and advising the parish and town councils of Northamptonshire, who form the grass roots tier of local government in England.
We offer members a resource of vital, operational information and facilitate communication at all levels of the parish network - district, county, regional and national.
As a membership association we are unable to deal with queries from the public, but we are happy to make general information available through this website.
Wed, 30 Nov 2016 11:00 by Danny Moody
The local (parish and town) council sector together with local drainage authorities has successfully taken charge of procuring their external audit saving millions of pounds for some 10000 councils and drainage boards
Following the abolition of the Audit Commission, smaller local authority representatives successfully persuaded government to allow them to collectively procure external audit services for smaller authorities (under £6.5 million) from 2017-18. All but a handful of the 10,000 local councils in England signed up for the collective procurement and appointment of external auditors; this is the first example of such an initiative, which is being replicated for principal authorities. More »
The company established by a consortium of smaller authorities sector bodies (National Association of Local Councils, Society of Local Council Clerks and the Association of Drainage Authorities) and authorised by the department of Communities and Local Governent (DCLG) to undertake this role – SAAA (Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments) Ltd – has today (30 November) issued the following statement on its website (www.saaa.co.uk).
"SAAA Ltd is pleased to announce that it has successfully concluded the procurement process and has awarded contracts for the supply of limited assurance audit reviews for smaller authorities. Three audit firms have been appointed as suppliers for the five-year period commencing 1 April 2017: PKF Littlejohn, Mazars and Moore Stephens. Contracts have been signed ahead of schedule on terms that will enable SAAA to undertake its various tasks including the quality control and monitoring of suppliers without making any further call on public funds. Further details of the audit appointment areas to be covered by the three firms will be communicated in due course."
Speaking on behalf of the consortium, Jonathan Owen, chief executive of National Association of Local Councils (NALC), said: "This is a brilliant example of smaller authorities working together saving local authorities and councils many millions of pounds with the scale of fees set for the next 5 years substantially the same as that has applied to the sector for the last 10 years."
Notes for Editors:
- For more information on Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments Ltd (SAAA) please visit: www.saaa.co.uk
- Smaller public sector bodies are those with an annual turnover below £6.5 million
- The members of the consortium sector bodies are the National Association of Local Councils, NALC; Society of Local Councils, SLCC; and the Association of Drainage Authorities, ADA
- More information about the National Association of Local Councils, please visit: www.nalc.gov.uk
- For more information on the Society of Local Council Clerks please visit: www.slcc.co.uk
- For more information on the Association of Drainage Authorities please visit: http://www.ada.org.uk/
Fri, 04 Nov 2016 18:15 by Danny Moody
Village faced with £1 million bill to clear up MOD bomb site
Live bombs, knives and other military artefacts have been found during remedial excavation work at a popular park in Weedon Bec. The remedial work was originally commissioned to remove asbestos from the site however when the digging began these far more dangerous items were uncovered.
Following the discovery and safe detonation by an army disposal team from the Royal Logistics Corps, specialist explosive experts explored the site and concluded that there are likely to be more bombs present. All work has now stopped as it is deemed too dangerous to continue. The Parish Council are currently using money reserved for essential village facilities to fund 24-hour security to maintain the safety of the site while they investigate a financially viable long term solution. More »
Weedon Bec Parish Council purchased the land, known locally as The Mound, from the MOD when the army depot in Weedon was decommissioned. The Parish Council developed the land for the benefit of the village to include a popular play park and a well-used footpath.
The Parish Council had hoped to receive financial help from the MOD to clear the site and make it safe. Surprisingly, the MOD has stated that there is no proof that the military artefacts found belong to them despite the fact that they had previously owned the land and the nearby army barracks.
The Parish Council is facing an unprecedented situation as Zoe O'Toole, chairman of the Council explains "for the safety of our village we want to remove all the asbestos and explosives from the site and re-create a much loved play space for our children. However, we have been told this will cost in the region of £1 million. A cheaper alternative is capping and landscaping the area, which may look attractive but we won't be able to use the land due to the risk of disturbing unexploded items still in the ground. Unless we obtain funding from a third party we can't afford either of these options and we will be left with no choice but to board up the site and abandon the area. This will result in valuable outdoor recreational space being lost."
The villagers of Weedon Bec are anxiously waiting to hear from the MOD. » Less
Wed, 12 Oct 2016 12:56 by Danny Moody
The 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on Saturday 8 October 2016 at Wootton Hall, Wootton Park, Northampton by kind invitation of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire, Mr Stephen Mold, who was also the keynote speaker.
Over 130 delegates registered for the event and with guests, exhibitors and staff there were more than 150 people in attendance, which is a fantastic effort. That clerks and councillors from across the county give up their Saturday morning to attend the AGM is very much appreciated and we trust that it was a useful and worthwhile meeting for those that attended. More »
The first part of the meeting deals with the business of the AGM and I am pleased to report that Dr Paul Blantern was re-appointed as President of the Association for 2016/17. Paul was unable to be at this year's AGM due to a family commitment so Vice President Mr Jeffrey Greenwell stepped in and did an admirable job of keeping the meeting flowing.The vice presidents and directors were re-appointed as per the recommendations in the paper below.
In his address Jeffrey Greenwell focused on three key areas. Firstly he gave delegates an overview of the debate that has been going on for several years nationally regarding who the members of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) are; is it CALCs, parish councils or both?It is a thorny issue and Jeffrey explained that a motion regarding membership would be debated at the NALC AGM on 20 October 2016 and that the outcome will be discussed further with member councils in Northamptonshire. Next Jeffrey alerted delegates to the government's proposal to introduce precept referendum principles, or capping, to parish councils, whereby if they wish to raise their precept by more than 2% a referendum supporting that would be required.Clearly this would make no sense to parish councils and Jeffrey proposed from the chair that "This AGM reminds Her Majesty's Government of its commitment to localism and urges the government not to pursue a proposal to introduce capping of local councils".Not unsurprisingly the motion was carried nem. con.Finally Jeffrey gave thanks to Richard Lewis, chairman of Northants CALC, who is stepping down from the chair at the end of his three year term.Richard has steered the Northants CALC ship through another busy period and will hand on to the next chairman at the board's annual meeting in November.
The AGM then considered two motions from member councils (see paper below). The first motion called for government to standardise the number of seats on a council based on electorate.Delegates sympathised with the underlying issues but the view emerged that in the spirit of localism it should be up to each council, not government, how many seats they have.Parish and town councils that wish to vary the number of seats on the council can apply to the district or borough council for a Community Governance Review (CGR).Consequently the motion was lost.The second motion called for parish and town councils to be included in the conversation regarding local government reorganisation in Northamptonshire.With a couple of minor amendments to clarify and strengthen the motion it was carried nem. con.
After a break that included tea and coffee and delicious cakes (and, I understand, even more bacon rolls!) the delegates reconvened in the main hall for the keynote address.
Stephen Mold was elected as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northamptonshire in May 2016 and has made a very fast start to his four-year term of office. He said that it was very beneficial to him to be able to meet so many councillors and clerks all at one time.He said that he has one simple overriding priority: to make Northamptonshire safer.He said that he did not have all the answers but by working together great things can be achieved.The Police & Crime Plan will be out for consultation very soon and he urged all councils to read it and send in their views and comments. Stephen said he would welcome input from parish and town councils and said "You are the grass roots of democracy in our county.You are uniquely placed to help us deliver".
Stephen explained the key issues facing the police over the next few years, including the rise in cybercrime which brings new challenges and requires new approaches to deal with it. And all against a backdrop of reducing budgets and ever-increasing pressure on precious resources."The reality is that the days of every village having a Bobby are gone, but every community still has a right to feel safe".Early intervention and working better and smarter together are absolutely key to achieving the aims.
Stephen then took questions from the floor, which ranged from continuity in local policing to mental health funding to increasing collaboration between the emergency services and the highways authority. One particular area of questioning was to do with the enormous housing growth in Northamptonshire, and the need for the police to engage at the very earliest stage with developers to design out crime and then to provide sufficient policing resources for the new community.
Stephen Mold wrapped up by saying that he tries to spend every Friday "out and about" and that he would welcome invitations from parish and town councils. Furthermore he runs open sessions every four to six weeks at Wootton Hall for councillors of any tier, parish, district or county, where any issue can be raised and talked through and he urged parish and town councillors to attend.
The only remaining business was to recognise those clerks who have achieved the CiLCA qualification during the year (Felicity Ryan, Kirsty Buttle, Caroline Holgate and Alison Benson) and those councils that achieved accreditation under the Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS) (Weedon Bec Parish Council, Chelveston-cum-Caldecott Parish Council, Brackley Town Council and Hardingstone Parish Council). The chairman presented a certificate to Hardingstone Parish Council and warmly congratulated all the clerks and councils for the efforts.The prize draw, which was a £100 voucher generously donated by Greenbarnes Ltd (supplier of notice boards and signs), was won by Cllr Martin Flanagan on behalf of Pitsford Parish Council.
Jeffrey Greenwell closed the meeting by giving thanks to Anne Kirkland and her team for putting on such a well-organised event, to the sponsors and exhibitors (see list below), to Stephen Mold for use of the venue and for his speech and most importantly to all the delegates.
It was a very successful AGM with a record attendance. We have quite a lot to live up to next year!
Thank you to our sponsors and exhibitors: