It is with great sadness that the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and Warwickshire and West Midlands  Association of Local Councils (WALC) has learned of the death of His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh.

Cllr Sue Baxter, NALC chairman, said

I know that those in the local (parish and town) council sector would join me in extending their condolences to Her Majesty The Queen and members of the Royal Family.

As we emerge from COVID-19 and hopefully move back into a more “normal” calendar year structure for meetings, we would encourage Councils to review their existing policies and procedures and consider when they require review and approval by full council.

Legal Topic Note (LTN) 37 on Freedom of Information has been updated. 

NALC has made the content more practical, relevant and council specific and we have added links to user-friendly guidance. As per the previous version, the LTN contains guidance on the right of access to information, responding to FOI requests and the exemptions that can be applied.

View LTN37 (login required)

A free webinar, held on 31st March 2021, for parish and town councils, offering practical strategies and tactics to manage a crisis effectively, hosted by Breakthrough Communications.  With guest panelist Jackie Weaver

In this webinar our panel of experts will look at how councils can prepare for future crises that may arise, how to manage them effectively from a communications perspective when they happen, and what to do afterwards.

Further to the announcement by Robert Jenrick, MP, regarding the end to powers to hold remote meetings, a Government consultation seeking views on the use of the current arrangements which have allowed local authorities to hold meetings remotely or in a hybrid format has been opened.

Robert Jenrick MP, secretary of state at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), has written to council leaders about remote meetings to confirm the government will not bring forward emergency legislation on this issue at this time. NALC's chairman, Cllr Sue Baxter, has responded to express her disappointment, as has the Local Government Association (LGA) in their statement.

The Parish Borrowing Team (PBT) at MHCLG have developed updated guidance for local (parish and town) councils submitting borrowing applications during the COVID period.

The guidance sets out the process and overview of responsibilities, clarifies communications channels and the contacts for all parish borrowing related enquiries.

According to David Hall, Director of Cloudy IT, writing for NALC, Councils are now moving away from Zoom,  due to its limited functionality. He argues they need a "more robust system... including the ability to safely share large numbers of often sensitive documents, manage legal issues around data security and accessibility, and support remote teams so they feel connected and engaged." 
>The government’s one-off COVID Winter Grant was launched in December to help vulnerable residents who are struggling to afford food and utility bills (heating, cooking, lighting) and water for household purposes (including drinking, washing, cooking, central heating, sewerage and sanitary purposes), or other related essentials. It recently announced that as part of its COVID roadmap, the grant will be extended to the 16 April 2021, providing an additional £59.1 million of targeted financial...

The Government have published its national bus strategy Bus Back Better, which sets out the vision and opportunity to deliver better bus services for passengers across England through reform of how services are planned and delivered.

A Community Speedwatch newsletter is being circulated to Warwickshire Councils. No CSW activity has been able to place place due to the pandemic; however, it is hoped that it will be reactivated as of 29th March, if the roadmap remains on track. No anouncement will be made until the date for the "rule of 6" is confirmed.

 A new pattern of wards is being developed for Stratford-on-Avon District Council by the Local Government Boundary Commission, the independent body that draws these boundaries. It is reviewing Stratford-on-Avon District Council to make sure councillors represent about the same number of electors, and that ward arrangements help the council work effectively.

Latest Parish & Partners Briefing from Stratford-on Avon District Council includes a foreword on local elections, the budget and the latest update on the proposed merging with Warwick District Council.

Exciting news for those currently studying or those considering extending their knowledge further. De Montfort University (DMU) announced in December that a Masters in Community Governance has been successfully validated and will be available to students from April 2021. This qualification will officially be known as the MA in Public Leadership and Management.

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has launched The Good Councillor's guide to cyber security in partnership with Microshade VSM.

The guide aims to help local (parish and town) councils understand the importance of cyber security better and provide practical advice on minimising risks to the council. The guide features information on understanding the most common threats such as phishing, viruses, loss of data and how some simple steps can help protect the council's data and

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The Centre for Sustainable Energy has launched a parish-scale carbon footprinting tool to give town and parish councils data on their carbon emissions that is easy to interpret and easy to share.

It allows non-expert users to see their parish’s carbon footprint, and to compare it to other parishes, or to their local authority, or even to the national average. The website gives further detail on using the Impact tool and advice on how to interpret the results, with links to resources and other

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Chelmsley Wood is in Solihull Borough

Chelmsley Wood Town Council is seeking to appoint a Clerk and Responsible Financial Officer to undertake day-to-day management of the Council's business. The post is permanent subject to suitable references and a 6-month probationary period. The working pattern is a flexible 24 hour week which will include some evening meetings.

Chelmsley Wood is in Solihull Borough

Chelmsley Wood Town Council is seeking to appoint an interim Clerk to cover day-to-day correspondence, issuing meeting agenda and producing minutes etc.  There may also be a requirement to process basic financial transactions.

The post is temporary for a period of 4 to 6 weeks pending the appointment of a permanent Clerk, a role that is currently being advertised. The working pattern is a flexible 10 hour week which will include some evening meetings.

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has announced that it is once again running its awards programme this year as part of its work to recognise the local (parish and town) council sector’s achievements.

The Star Council Awards are the only awards in England to recognise and celebrate the local council sector’s brilliant contribution to its communities. The awards are an excellent opportunity for councils, councillors, clerks, and county associations to showcase how they have made a

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Warwickshire's Country Parks Service is undertaking a survey of visitors and non-visitors to help with a whole service review in 2021. Taking part in this survey will help explore future options for Warwickshire's parks and greenways.

To find out more please click on this link or visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ask.
This survey closes on March 18th.