Tuesday, September 21, 2021

NALC - elections are coming

I am, as I may have mentioned elsewhere, Suffolk's representative on the National Assembly of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC). And, in that capacity, I have received this notice;

Nominations are open for NALC's National Assembly members for the upcoming elections in December 2021.

The primary objective of the National Assembly is to oversee the delivery of NALC’s objectives as set out in the constitution, to represent the interest of the local (parish and town) councils in England to provide support and coordination to as aspects of the work of local councils.

NALC is looking for passionate, committed, enthusiastic local councillors with the right skills to serve on its National Assembly and governing committees and support county associations' work.

Hmmm... my bureaucrat antennae twitch at the thought of running for election in an organisation which might benefit from my organisational skills and sense of process. I am, as bureaucrats go, sympathetic towards the politics of our sector and am lucky enough to benefit from the wealth of knowledge and experience possessed by Ros, i.e. she is perfectly willing to patiently explain why my slightly random musings might be undeliverable, impractical or unnecessary. That is a good thing, let me assure you. Think of it as the difference between a practitioner and a theoretician...

There are a range of roles up for grabs;
  • Chair
  • Vice-chair (finance)
  • Vice-chair (member services)
  • Management Board (six vacancies)
  • Finance and Scrutiny Committee (five vacancies)
  • Policy Committee (seven vacancies)
  • Larger Councils Committee (four vacancies)
  • Smaller Councils Committee (five vacancies)
noting that I'm ineligible to stand for the Larger Councils Committee.

As a relatively new member of the National Assembly, I wouldn't have the audacity to run for Chair or Vice-Chair, and the Management Board, I feel, requires a rather firmer grasp of the culture and environment of NALC than I can reasonably claim at this point.

That rather simplifies the options, although there is a fourth option, which is not to run at all. Organisations need chiefs and Indians, and I'm probably better qualified to be the latter than any other member of the National Assembly - I'm half-Indian, remember. You could, and I would, argue that committees need someone to ask questions of them from the outside, so to speak.

I've not traditionally been a policy wonk, although I have an enthusiasm for ideas and a sense of the possible, whilst my professional background suggests that I could contribute to the Finance and Scrutiny Committee. On the other hand, I am passionate about ensuring that micro councils like mine aren't overlooked in the rush towards local devolution deals and empowerment - there's only so much empowerment that small communities can handle.

Luckily, I've got nearly five weeks to ponder over whether to run or what to run for. It will also be interesting to see if people actually campaign or whether there is any organisation of slates - you can learn a lot about an organisation by how it runs its elections.

First though, I've got an election of my own to deal with...

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