John Crossling

Retirement of WALC County Officer

John Crossling writes...

"After 7 years in the post I have decided that it is time to take retirement.  The time has flown by and the job has been enjoyable; challenging; occasionally frustrating but never boring!

I have met or spoken to lots of people during this time both clerks and councillors and have been impressed by their determination to improve things for their communities.

We have slightly expanded our team which has enabled us to offer a greater range of services. The last two years have been particularly challenging for us all but we have responded and evolved and in some ways have come out into a better place. The provision of training on line has been a particular step change with many more clerks and Councillors engaging in our much increased training offer.

We have actively engaged with our principal authorities – especially with our Parish Champions and stronger working relationships have developed. This has still further to go, especially with possible changes in the structures of Local Government in the future but I hope sound foundations have been put in place.

I have found some situations personally challenging when trying to help a council that is in significant difficulties but it has also been great to tell other Councils that they have achieved a local Council Award; they have been drawn out a hat to get a place at a royal garden party; or that they have won some funding from our Community Grant and to be awarding CiLCA certificates to hard working clerks.

WALC is also developing closer working with neighbouring Associations which will shortly open up the range of training opportunities even further so if you miss a topic run by our association you will be able to join a course run by our neighbours and vice versa.

I personally have learned a huge amount while working for WALC not only about Parish Councils and the legislation, but also while trying to find answers to some unusual questions that came my way.  I always remember being asked after I had been in post for just a few weeks if I had a risk assessment for a mole catcher!  Needless to say I didn’t, but within a couple of hours I did – thanks to the wonders of the internet!

WALC is just about to become a Company Limited by Guarantee so it seems an appropriate time to step aside and let my successor Ja’Neen Day lead the next stage in the development of WALC. She has been Deputy County Officer in Leicestershire and will now become WALCs new Chief Executive Officer.  She is not able to start until February so although I was looking forward to retiring at Xmas I have agreed to hold the fort during January and have a hand over period to Ja’Neen in February.

Thank you all for making life so interesting and a special thanks to Cllr. Rosie Weaver BEM, Chair of WALC; the other members of the County Committee including the President and Vice President and last but not least to Alison and Claudine here in the office for all their help, advice and support. They have collectively made WALC a really nice place to work. 

Thank you all."