Last Wednesday I took the day off work to attend a conference in Coventry for parish councils. The conference was organised by the National Association of Local Councils, the representative organisation for the 8,500 town and parish councils throughout England. NALC provides support and advice to its members, and lobbies the national government to advance and protect the interests of local councils and the communities they represent.
The Coventry event was one of three regional conferences organised by NALC to provide parish councils with the opportunity to discuss government initiatives and their impact on local councils, the relationships between parish, borough and county councils and how they could be improved, and to share examples of good practice undertaken by parish councils that others may learn from. In all, representatives from almost 30 different local councils took part in the day.
There were a number of interesting sessions led by speakers from the Local Government Association, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Commission for Rural Communities and Buckinghamshire County Council on a range of topics and issues. It was also very useful to network with colleagues and hear of the different approaches that others have taken to similar issues and problems that many parish councils, including Shilton, face. I always find that spending a day amongst people who can demonstrate great examples of where they have improved the services of their own parish council can help to put into perspective the sorts of things that we need to do locally in order to improve the standing of Shilton Parish Council amongst the community were serve.
I shall be reporting back to the parish council on a number of these things at our meetings over the coming months, as well as keeping in touch with colleagues I met during the day.
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