75th Annual Conference & AGM - 2022

The 75th Annual Conference took place on Saturday 1 October 2022 in Kettering. For our 75th Anniversary we wanted to push the boat out a little bit, and thanks to our generous sponsors and exhibitors we were able to make it a full day event, with lunch provided, in the wonderful setting of the Kettering Conference Centre. In attendance were one hundred and sixty-five delegates representing nearly one hundred parish and town councils.

Doors opened at 0915 for delegates to fuel up on hot breakfast rolls and drinks and to meet the exhibitors. 

The formal business of the Annual General Meeting got underway at 1000 and the Chair, Mike Scott, went briskly through the agenda, with Jeffrey Greenwell re-appointed as President, Kate Brown Accountant re-appointed as auditor, and all eight existing directors re-appointed for another year. The minutes of the 74th AGM and the Annual report to 31 March 2022 were received and noted. An increase in membership fees for 2023/24 in line with inflation (CPIH July 2022 – 8.8%) was approved. The full minutes of the meeting are below.

The next session was awards and recognition, with the Chair calling for rounds of applause for the six clerks who have achieved their CiLCA qualification since last year, and the forty-six councillors who have accredited under the Councillor Development Framework (CDF). Mike also congratulated Irthlingborough Town Council for achieving "Quality" standard in the Local Council Award Scheme.

Danny Moody then read out the commendation for the Council of the Year, which was awarded to Moulton Parish Council. Danny said: "All great councils need three things: a great clerk, a great chair, and a great team of councillors. Moulton Parish Council has those ingredients in spades, with a small staff team that is led by a passionate, dedicated, and exceptional clerk." Danny added: "The parish council will be having a genuine impact on people's quality of life and health and wellbeing. Most importantly, the upstream money that this council is investing will be saving tens, maybe even hundreds, of times more than that further downstream. Just the services it provides that reduce loneliness and social isolation could be saving millions of pounds." The award was presented by Northants CALC President, Jeffrey Greenwell, to the chair of Moulton Parish Council, Cllr David Aarons, and vice chair, Cllr Geoff Paul.

Unfortunately, as Jeffery Greenwell returned to his seat, he miscalculated the step up to the stage and fell backwards landing on the floor to audience gasps and great concern from the top table. It was good to have three senior police officers in the room at the time who leapt in to assist! Jeffrey went off to hospital as a precaution, but I am pleased to report that after extensive checks he was able to return to the venue just as we were leaving to collect his car and drive home. He was very disappointed that he missed some of the 75th Anniversary celebrations, but we are all just so relieved that he was OK. Sincere thanks go to Cllr Donia Harker, a delegate from Roade Parish Council, who is a qualified Paramedic, and Marie Reilly and Mike Scott, who together ensured that Jeffery was well looked after before the ambulance arrived.

Danny Moody made a presentation on Northants CALC Past, Present, & Future looking back over the 75-year history of the Association and picking out the key moments along the way. He then looked at what the next five to ten years might bring for the parish and town council sector and what the Association needs to do to support member councils. At the end of the presentation, he formally launched The History of the Northamptonshire County Association of Local Councils and its predecessors between 1947 and 2012 (Updated 2022), (see copy) which had been specially updated for the 75th Anniversary by erstwhile director, Eric Franklin.

There was then a choice of sessions for delegates. In the main room Danny Moody facilitated a discussion on the cost-of-living crisis focusing on what councils can do directly to reduce their own costs (e.g., energy), what they can do to help residents to reduce their costs, and what they can do to support other agencies who are trying to help residents. Suggestions from the floor ranged from warm rooms to community larders, and from community solar schemes to debt management advice. Danny's introductory presentation and the notes of the session are below. In the breakout room Chief Inspector Nathan Murray spoke on Local Policing & Community Safety – Working in Partnership with Northamptonshire Police and highlighted that to match the geography of the unitary councils in the county, there is now the North and West Local Policing Area, along with a Countywide Community Safety Department. One focus of the force strategy is local policing, and this is partially being fuelled from the Locally Identified Priorities (LIP) surveys. During the questions, the need for communication streams to be centralised was raised – as well as issues relating to speeding and the relevance of Neighbourhood Watch to Northamptonshire Police.

Lunch was then served to all delegates and guests, with a choice of main course and dessert. During the break there was plenty of opportunity to meet the exhibitors and for delegates to network with colleagues from across the county. It being Northants CALC's 75th birthday, a cake had been arranged and, after a few words from Mike Scott, it was ceremoniously cut by Danny Moody for each delegate to have a piece. The cake-cutting was followed by a surprise award to Danny Moody for his fifteen years working for Northants CALC. He was given a glass engraved paperweight, a bottle, and some vouchers.

After the lunch break, delegates were split into two groups for a Question Time-style panel; one for West Northamptonshire and one for North Northamptonshire. The questions had been submitted by delegates in advance and in true Question Time tradition, the panellists did not know what the questions were until they were asked. Danny Moody chaired the panel for West Northamptonshire comprising Keith Stevens, Chair of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), Anna Earnshaw, CEO of West Northamptonshire Council, and Assistant Chief Constable Ash Tuckley from Northamptonshire Police. The questions included the role of parish and town councils in health and wellbeing, rural transport, remote meetings, civility and respect, and parish-sponsored PCSOs. Mike Scott chaired the panel for North Northamptonshire comprising Jonathan Owen, CEO of NALC, David Watts, Executive Director at NNC, and Chief Superintendent Adam Ward from Northamptonshire Police. The questions ranged from considering how to get people involved in the community and that "there is no such thing as a hard-to-reach community, we just don't know what mechanism to use to reach them", to discussions around how traveller sites were policed and when static sites would be provided by NNC (David Watts confirmed that the Travellers Plan will be released soon). A point was raised regarding how councils can partner to support each other and how local bus services are practically non-existent in the rural areas of the county. All the panellists were thanked for taking part in what turned out to be lively and useful sessions.

Delegates then convened together in the main room for the plenary session, a keynote presentation by leading climate champion Ed Gemmell. Ed is a parish councillor and chairman of the Climate Emergency Working Party at Hazlemere Parish Council and is on NALC's climate emergency committee. He is also a Buckinghamshire Unitary Councillor sitting on the Transport Environment and Climate Change Committee and a member of the LGA's Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board. He works as Managing Director of Scientists Warning Europe and has just started a political party called The Climate Party. Ed gave an overview of the climate crisis and described the progress, or lack thereof, that had been made at COP26. He described some of the initiatives that Hazlemere Parish Council has implemented, including Bee Squared (wildflower planting), a Repair Café and advanced recycling, and a series of open talks on climate issues. The council aims to reach net zero by 2030 and has a range of plans in the pipeline, including Electric Vehicle Charging Points (EVCPs) and a food-waste reduction scheme. Lesley Sambrook Smith thanked Ed for his inspirational presentation and reminded delegates about the Northants CALC Climate Conference on 22 November 2022.

Chair, Mike Scott, then bought the conference back to order and asked Danny Moody to announce the winner of the prize draw. Ed Gemmell drew the winner out of the box and £300 in vouchers and a bottle of Prosecco, generously donated by Wicksteed Playgrounds, went to Watford Parish Council. It was presented by Jodie Midlane from Wicksteed Playgrounds to the Clerk to Watford Parish Council, Sue Porter, and Chair, Councillor Peter Incley.

Mike Scott thanked everyone that had taken part in the conference, especially the sponsors and exhibitors whose generous support enabled the event to take place at the Kettering Conference Centre. He also thanked the special guests, speakers, and panellists and the staff at Northants CALC for all the arrangements. In closing, Mike thanked all the delegates for their interaction and engagement with the sessions, which had made the event such a success.

The 76th Annual Conference will take place on Saturday 7 October 2023 at Moulton Community Centre. Put the date in your diary!

Photo Gallery

Click below for a gallery of photographs taken at the 75th Annual Conference. All photos by Peter Rondel Photography.

Annual Conference 2022 Photo Gallery

Papers & Presentations

75th Annual Conference - All Meeting Papers  

 75th Annual Conference - Minutes

75th Annual Conference - Presentations - Past, Present & Future 

75th Annual Conference - Presentations - Cost of Living Crisis 

75th Annual Conference - Cost of Living Crisis - Notes

75th Annual Conference - Presentations - Local Policing