Sunday, October 31, 2021

NALC - it’s election time!

A few weeks ago, I mused upon whether or not to run for one of the various committees of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC).

Nominations closed on Monday, and with all of the three key leadership roles up for grabs (our Chair and both Vice-Chairs are term-limited), it will be interesting to see who emerges to take them on at a time of flux. There are significant challenges ahead as devolution bids roll out across the shire counties - how do town and parish councils sit in terms of service provision, for example? The new leadership will need to make sure that our voice is heard whilst establishing strong relationships with ministers and opposition spokespersons to maximise our influence.

We'll also need to develop our "asks" too. We've been successful in some areas - business rates on public lavatories, avoiding referenda on precept increases - but can we think bigger than that?

The elections take place in two stages;
  • voting for Chair, Vice-Chairs (finance and member services), Management Board and the Finance and Scrutiny Committee will occur between 10 and 22 November 2021
  • voting for the Policy Committee, the Larger Councils Committee and the Smaller Councils Committee will occur between 22 November and 6 December 2021
Results will be announced on 8 December, so I await my ballot papers and may the best candidate(s) win!

In the end, I did dwell on the question of whether to put my name forward but came to the conclusion that I was happy to be in an outer tier both actually and organisationally. I've sat on a lot of committees over the years (and I do mean a lot), and there's a danger that you end up sitting on a committee because you can rather than because you genuinely have something to offer.

Now that isn't to say that I have nothing to offer the right committee, but I'm also a great believer in scrutiny and there has to be someone on the outside willing to do that in a supportive, constructive way. I hope that one of those "someones" can be me, representing the voice of the many micro parishes who, because of their lack of capacity, tend to get overlooked to some extent. The very fact that I don't know everything, but bring my professional curiosity to the arena, will perhaps help.

Whatever happens though, I look forward to working with all of those who have committed themselves to work in support of taking NALC forward over the coming years. It is an organisation that will doubtless continue to play a huge role in terms of strengthening local government, and anyone who is part of that effort deserves my respect.

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