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Latest HR News from Personnel Advice & Solutions Dec 2023

  1. Don’t go it Alone!

For over 50 years the Local Government Act 1972 (S101) has told Councils that individual Councillors cannot carry out functions of the Council on their own. This was confirmed in case law at the Court of Appeal in 1986 (Hillingdon).

Great Alne community tree planting day volunteers

National Tree Week 2023

Solihull Council is celebrating the 75th anniversary of National Tree Week (Saturday 25 November – Sunday 3 December) by planting over 400 trees across the borough. To celebrate the Tree Council’s ‘Grow a tree in 23’ campaign, Solihull Council is working with Lloyds Banking Group, who have provided trees to be planted at Dorridge Cricket Club and Robin Hood Cemetery. Their staff joined the Council’s Planting Our Future team and the Leader of Solihull Council, Councillor Ian Courts, to help create a small woodland at Dorridge Cricket Club this week.

Biodiversity Duty on Town and Parish Councils

Section 40 of the 2006 Act, in force 1 January 2023, places a duty on all local authorities, including parish and town councils, to from time to time consider what action the authority can properly take to further the general biodiversity objective. The general biodiversity objective is the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in England so all parish and town councils must take biodiversity into account in all their decisions and actions. The government has issued guidance on complying with the duty.

UKSPF Warwickshire Business Energy Advice Service

At the recent Town and Parish Council Reference Group meeting with Warwickshire County Council, Gillian Dale & Jon Stead, Business Growth and Support Programme Managers, presented on plans for business growth in Warwickshire. A review of Business Support in Warwickshire (commissioned by WCC on behalf of all six LAs in Warwickshire) recommended the development and commissioning of six joint, county wide programmes to replace (or extend) those previously funded by European Union Funds.

Low Carbon Warwickshire Newsletter November 2023

Low Carbon Warwickshire has just publised its latest newsletter, featuring Martin Wood from Shrewley and Wroxall Environmental Action Team, who shares some of his low carbon journey

bee on lavender

Empowering local councils in tackling climate change

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) spoke at an event to explore how local (parish and town) councils can identify and plan action towards net zero and address nature depletion.  Other speakers included Tony Blake, director of Shared Intelligence, and Sandra Bell, senior sustainability analyst at Friends of the Earth.

The free online event was hosted by Shared Intelligence, a leading consultancy firm specialising in local governance. It was aimed at guiding local councils in taking effective action against climate change and nature depletion. 

solar panel being installed on a roof

ACRE Proposes VAT Relief on Energy Savings Materials

Buildings used for charitable purposes such as village halls should benefit from VAT relief on the installation of Energy Saving Materials (ESMs).

ACRE believes VAT relief on Energy Saving Materials (ESMs) should be reinstated where these are to be installed in buildings used for charitable purposes. This will encourage and enable many of England’s 10,000+ village halls to make energy improvements to their buildings and in turn create a network of rural institutions that promise to be vanguards of Net Zero in their communities.

This briefing outlines ACRE's response to the government’s call for evidence on the issue, drawing on information supplied to them by village halls, as well as their experience of supporting the volunteer management committees who run these buildings.

Download the briefing

Practical Support in aid of Campaign to End Violence Against Women and Girls

White Ribbon Day is Saturday 25 November.  It marks the start of 16 days of activism aimed at raising awareness around gender-based violence.

This year, the White Ribbon UK Campaign is encouraging all organisations and individuals to #ChangeTheStory for women and girls. NALC is a White Ribbon accredited organisation and WALC backs the campaign which is challenging the seemingly ‘harmless’ attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence against women and girls.

calculator and stacks of coins as a hand types in numbers

New Pay Scales 2023/24 Agreed

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has published a new employment briefing on the national salary pay scales for clerks and other employees employed under the terms of the model contract or Green Book terms.

utility aid logo

Discounted Energy Costs for Local Councils

Many parish and town councils will be considering how to manage their budget with respect to energy costs and finding it difficult to get the best deal. They are also unaware that their excessive bills are sometimes incorrect. WALC partner, Utility Aid, typically recover around £100,000 per month in overpayments due to incorrect invoices.

A First! Wildflower Area in Rural Verge for Hatton Parish

Hatton Parish Council has seen a wildflower area verge blossom in partnership with Warwickshire County Council. The land in question is a bank about 300x10m on Hatton Green.  This verge has been regularly mown, but during lockdown when mowing was suspended, produced a fine show of wildflowers. This planted a seed.

Warwick District Biodiversity Photography Competition

Photography enthusiasts and those with a keen eye for nature are encouraged to take part in Warwick District Council’s new biodiversity photography competition. Parish and Town Councils in Warwick District are encouraged to share posters to inform their communities of this competition which supports the development of the Council’s Biodiversity Action Programme, following the declaration of an Ecological Emergency in October 2022.