AGM The Best Ever - So Far
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:
Posted: Wed, 12 Oct 2016 12:56 by Danny Moody