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Northamptonshire County
Association of Local Councils

Empowering Parish and Town Councils

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CEO: Danny Moody
6 Litchborough Business Park
Northampton Road
Litchborough, Northampton
NN12 8JB

Tel: 01327 831482

Northants CALC AGM 2017

More than 160 people converged on Moulton, Northampton on Saturday 7 October 2017 for the 2017 Northants CALC Annual General Meeting. 130 councillors and clerks representing over eighty member councils registered for the event, which is a new record for the Association. The venue was the superb and impressive Moulton Community Centre, a brand new community building opened in June 2017 (http://www.moultonnorthants-pc.gov.uk/community-centre1.html). The capital project was delivered by Moulton Parish Council and is a fantastic example of what parish councils can achieve with the right resources, drive and vision. Visitors were greeted on arrival with hot bacon rolls provided by the excellent Forget-me-Not Café at Moulton Community Centre (https://www.facebook.com/forgetmenotmoulton/).

In a changed format this year, the AGM opened with a BBC Question Time-style panel comprising the MP for Daventry, Chris Heaton-Harris, the Chief Constable for Northamptonshire, Simon Edens, the Chairman of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), Sue Baxter, and the Deputy Leader of Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), Matt Golby. Questions were submitted the week before by delegates and in true BBCQT fashion the panellists did not know what the questions were in advance.

The first question was put by Kevin Nichols of Everdon Parish Council who asked "Does the panel know what happened to Localism?". It gave the panellists an opportunity to give their perspective on how local services are delivered and whether or not there are opportunities for parish and town councils to be part of the solution. The consensus appeared to be that some progress on Localism had been made but that much more needed to be done to drive the delivery of services down to the most local level possible.

Sarah Rodger with the mic

The second question was from Stephen Hiscock of Hunsbury Meadows Parish Council: "With continuing reductions in the number and visibility of local police, are low crime areas now being ignored?", a reference to the perceived lack of [visible] policing outside the main towns in the county. The question sparked a good discussion that addressed the reality of reducing resources and increasing demands, particularly in new areas such as cyber-crime and online safety and child exploitation.

Sam Dobbs of Harlestone Parish Council asked the third and final substantive question: "With cuts in virtually all public services in the county, there is growing opportunity for parish councils to fill in the gaps. What services could be devolved to us and will finance follow function?". Every panellist said they could see opportunities for parish and town councils to be part of the solution, whether it be sponsoring a PCSO or taking over grass cutting. However, in answer to the second part of the question it was clear that it will be up to parish and town councils to fund such services from the precept or from raising income from other sources.

The traditional "and finally…" question went to Sara Homer of Wootton Parish Council who asked "In your role, what one thing would cause you to have a coughing fit?" in a reference to Theresa May's infamous speech at the Conservative Party Conference earlier in the week. The panel gave suitably light-hearted answers, which meant that the session ended on a high note and with warm applause from the audience.

After a thirty minute refreshment break, with tea and delicious cakes from the Forget-me-Not Café, the delegates reassembled for the formal business of the AGM. With the recent resignation of Dr Paul Blantern from Northamptonshire County Council (NCC), the AGM was chaired by Vice President Jeffrey Greenwell and the appointment of a new President of the Association was delegated to the board of directors. The vice presidents and directors were re-appointed as per the recommendations in the paper below. The Annual Report for the year ending 31 March 2017 was received and the subscription fees for 2018/19 were agreed.

NALC Chairman Sue Baxter made a short presentation in lieu of a President's Address. Sue gave an overview of national issues and outlined the NALC Prospectus to government. She called for councils to be fiscally responsible and stressed that where precepts are significantly increased the council must be able to demonstrate that it has engaged with its electorate. She urged councils to be flexible in funding and to look for diverse income sources, such as Community Shares. Sue acknowledged that much needs to be done to build the capacity of the sector but nevertheless encouraged councils to be confident and not afraid to rise to new challenges. Sue took questions from the floor and concluded by thanking delegates for all they do for their communities.

The last part of the AGM consisted of awards and presentations. Recognition was given to the clerks who have achieved the CiLCA qualification since last year's AGM (Josie Flavell from Crick Parish Council, Geoffrey Gill from Yardley Hastings Parish Council and Shirley Wong from Overstone Parish Council) and to Raunds Town Council for gaining Quality Gold accreditation under the Local Council Award Scheme (LCAS). Northants CALC Chief Executive, Danny Moody, then read out the commendation for the Northamptonshire Council of the Year Award, which went to Weedon Bec Parish Council in recognition of the courage, fortitude and leadership of the clerk and councillors in very difficult circumstances. The chairman of Weedon Bec Parish Council, Zoe O'Toole, collected the award, which is sponsored by Came & Co, providers of parish council insurance. The prize draw this year was won by Nicki Phillips, Clerk to Lilford cum Wigsthorpe & Thorpe Achurch Parish Council. The prize of £300 in vouchers and a bottle of champagne was generously donated by Wicksteed Playgrounds and was presented to Nicki by Wicksteed Areas Sales Manager, Jodie Midlane.

Jeffrey Greenwell concluded the meeting by offering thanks to all the sponsors and exhibitors (see list below), to the "unflappable Anne Kirkland" and her team for putting on such a superb event, to Moulton Parish Council for the wonderful hosting and to the four guest speakers for their input and insight. Jeffrey thanked all the delegates for their attendance and participation, and Danny Moody for his diligent and excellent administration of proceedings.

The feedback received at the end of the event and afterwards suggests that the 70th Northants CALC AGM was the best one yet! Roll on next year!!

Thank you to our sponsors, exhibitors and supporters:

• Northamptonshire County Council (http://www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/)

• SLCC (www.slcc.co.uk/branch/northamptonshire)

• Playforce (http://www.playforce.co.uk/)

• 2Commune (http://www.2commune.com/)

• Wicksteed Playgrounds (http://www.wicksteed.co.uk/)

• Northamptonshire Neighbourhood Watch Association (http://www.northamptonshireneighbourhoodwatch.co.uk/)

• NCC Emergency Planning (www3.northamptonshire.gov.uk/councilservices/fire-safety-and-emergencies/emergencies)

Delegates enjoyed hot bacon rolls on arrival and cakes at the interval.

The Question Time format was popular with delegates.

Vice President, Jeffrey Greenwell stepped in to preside over the AGM business.

L to R: Jeffrey Greenwell, Wicksteed Areas Sales Manager, Jodie Midlane, and the Clerk to "Lilford etc" Parish Council, Nikki Phillips with the £300 voucher and bottle of champers for winning the prize draw.

L to R: Jeffrey Greenwell, Chairman of the National Association of Local Councils, Sue Baxter and Chairman of Weedon Bec Parish Council, Zoe O'Toole, with the trophy for Northamptonshire Council of the Year.

2017 AGM Papers

Below is the agenda for the 70th Annual General Meeting of the Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils (Northants CALC) held on Saturday 7 October 2017 at Moulton Community Centre.

Also below are:

  • Item 4 – Appointment of directors for 2017/18
  • Item 6 – Minutes of the AGM held on 8 October 2016
  • Item 7 – Annual Report & Accounts for the year ending 31 March 2017
  • Item 8 – Membership Subscriptions for 2018/19

Northants CALC AGM 2016

Great support from clerks and councillors from accross the county. With thanks to Fiona Baker from Brackley Town Council who took the photographs on the day.

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.

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:

Caroline Holgate (standing in the distance) and Alison Benson (standing) receiving congratulatory applause for achieving the CiLCA qualification.

Cllr Dee Kelk receiving the Local Council Award Scheme certificate on behalf of Hardingstone Parish Council.

Cllr Martin Flanagan picking up a voucher for £100 for Pitsford Parish Council, winners of the prize draw. The prize was generously donated by Greenbarnes Ltd.


69th Annual Conference and AGM

Saturday 8 October 2016

10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.

(Refreshments on arrival from 9:15 a.m.)

Wootton Hall, Wootton Park, Northampton

"21st Century Community Safety"

Northamptonshire is a relatively safe county and rural crime is low, but that doesn't mean that there aren't significant community safety concerns, and where crime is low the impact of a single incident can be very high. But we know that policing must change in response to the changing operational environment and the inevitable financial pressures that all parts of the public sector face. It's a time for good partnership working between the police and the communities they serve and for innovation in service delivery.

The 69th Northants CALC AGM will include a keynote address from Mr Stephen Mold, the Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Northamptonshire. Mr Mold was elected to the position in May 2016 and this is an early opportunity to hear directly from him about his vision for community safety in Northamptonshire and how parish and town councils can play their part.

The meeting will also conduct the business of the AGM, including appointing the board for the ensuing year, setting the 2017/18 membership fees and debating motions submitted by member councils.


Northants CALC AGM 2015

A view from the front!

The 68th Northants CALC AGM took place on Saturday 17 October 2015 at the Forum, Towcester by kind invitation of South Northamptonshire Council (SNC). It was a real pleasure to be in SNC's new building, which provided a fitting venue for the proceedings.

There was a record attendance this year, with 125 delegates representing 78 member councils.

The AGM was chaired by the Association's President, Dr Paul Blantern, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council. In his President's Address Dr Blantern outlined NCC's Next Generation model and indicated how parish and town councils have a part to play in delivering services in the future. He described the proposed future structure of the county council and said that the democratic interface will be the retained "NCC Group". Dr Blantern fielded a number of questions from delegates about the model and said that "NCC is going through the most radical change ever, with unprecedented demand for services and an unprecedented reduction in finances".

The routine business of the AGM was conducted swiftly with the meeting voting in favour of the re-appointment of the existing directors and vice presidents. The AGM also voted to approve a proposal from the board that "membership subscriptions be increased by 0% for 2016/17" in line with CPI. On another recommendation from the board the AGM agreed to discontinue the role of Honorary Treasurer in favour of the newly created role of Internal Controls Director (ICD). Mr Bernard Lock, who had been Honorary Treasurer since 2011 and linked with the Association in one guide or another for four decades was thanked for his sterling service over many, many years.

The AGM received two motions from member councils. Yardley Hastings Parish Council moved that the law be changed so that statutory undertakers have a duty to notify and consult parish councils about proposed street works. Raunds Town Council moved that Class M permitted development, which allows a premises to be converted from a shop to a dwelling without the need for a planning application, be removed. Both motions were debated fully with a range of views expressed but it was clear that both were very well supported and the votes were in favour by a very large majority.

The keynote presentation was by James Kingston from the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG). James followed the theme of "The best councils..." and said that analysis of delivering services locally has shown a Return on Investment of 1:3.4 (Our Place Programme). He said "The best councils are ones that are getting the benefits from being small, neighbourhood-level councils, closest to the people, drawing on their natural strength to represent communities". Talking of the opportunities of Localism James said "People want to be involved in decisions at a local level. The drivers of Localism are leading to a redesign of public services. We want to support parish and town councils because it is a time of change and opportunity and we want you to take those opportunities". In responding to a question on the challenge of capacity building James acknowledged that different sized councils have different needs but said that councillors should see themselves as elected representatives, not volunteers and that clerks were effectively "CEOs of SMEs". He said there was a real challenge around up skilling councillors and clerks but that help is available from NALC, CALCs and principle councils. James also encouraged delegates to visit The My Community Advice Service and also The My Community Network on the Just Act forum.

The meeting then recognised the achievements of Jenny Hodgson, James McKechnie, Deborah Rush, Alison Moses, Tina Charteress and Julia Tufnail in gaining the Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA) and of Higham Ferrers Town Council in becoming Northamptonshire's first council to be accredited at Quality level under the new Local Council Award Scheme.

Sarah Rodger, Clerk to Castor, Nassington, Deene & Deenethorpe, Lilford-cum-Wigsthorpe & Thorpe Achurch and Warmington Parish Councils won the prize draw of £100 Love to Shop vouchers generously donated by Jewson.

Thanks go to all the delegates for their attendance and input, to the sponsors including Jewson, 2Commune, Wicksteed Playgrounds and Northamptonshire County Council, and to all the people who had a part to play in making the AGM a very successful event, not least Northants CALC's Training Manager Anne Kirkland, without whom the event would not happen.

The presentations from the event are listed below.


68th Annual Conference and AGM

Saturday 17 October 2015

10.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.

(Refreshments on arrival from 9:15 a.m.)

The Forum, Towcester

"The Best Councils…"

What makes a good council good? What is "best practice"? Clearly these are subjective questions and there is no one-size-fits-all answer. This AGM will focus on quality and what that actually means for parish and town councils.

The 68th Northants CALC AGM will include a keynote address from James Kingston from the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) to give the national view of what "The Best Councils" could or should look like and there will be contributions from Northamptonshire parish and town councils giving real-world examples of their own "best practice".

The meeting will also conduct the business of the AGM, including appointing the board for the ensuing year, setting the 2016/17 membership fees and debating motions submitted by member councils.

AGM Papers