LEGAL, FINANCIAL, PROCEDURAL or GENERAL ADVICE is free of charge as part of your subscription. Throughout the working week advice can be obtained from the Local Councils Adviser, or, in his absence, the Chief Executive (Terry Martin), If neither is available please write or leave a telephone message with Laura or Tricia. The Kent Association will be happy to answer your queries, and give advice, over the telephone BUT if your Council requires definitive advice please put your query in writing. Our written reply will ensure that it has been fully researched and can be referred to with confidence. Please be wary of advice from District Council Officers as Parish Council law differs in minor, but important, ways from the law governing District Councils.
Many Councils in Kent make good use of the Kent Association through their Clerks. The Kent Association tries to welcome all new CLERKS to the world of Parish Councils and enable them to function more efficiently knowing that help from the Kent Association is only a letter, or phone call away.
PARISH NEWS is produced approximately every six weeks (more frequently if necessary) throughout the year. Through this your Council is kept informed of topical matters in Kent, changes to legislation, and other matters relevant to your Council.
The Kent Association offers a full Learning and Development programme of courses, and which are for both Councillors and Clerks. Details of these are elsewhere in the pack. A reasonable charge is made for these training courses, with an added cost to non members, and any surplus is used to defray subscription levels.
Whenever a new issue emerges in Kent that affects more than one Parish Council - be it the New Ethical Framework, Quality Councils, Audit Regulations, Regionalisation, Rail Franchise or general consultation documents - the Kent Association ensures that all members receive full information and advice as part of our service to member Councils. KALC also has extensive networking arrangements with the County and District Councils, the Countryside Agency and other national and countywide bodies, and is a member of the South East County Association Forum.
The KALC website (www.kentalc.gov.uk) provides other services, such as publications etc, available only to member Councils.
Clerks and Councillors are encouraged to play a full part in their own Council and to make a contribution to the Kent Association through Area Committees and the Executive Committee. Please ensure that your Council assists by continuing to send two Councillors to Area Committee Meetings.
With pressures for development at an unprecedented level both nationally and in Kent it is hard for you to provide a full service to your electorate if your Council stands alone without the support of the Kent and National Associations with their professional expertise available to your Council through membership.
The National Association of Local Councils has recently produced a new Development Strategy and a Service Level Agreement as part of an improvement of service to members. The three key objectives of the latter are 'ensuring the highest standards of service', effective promotion and representation of Town and Parish Councils' and 'efficient mechanisms for communication'. The services it provides are Legal Advisory Service, Policy Development and Support, Councils Development, Media and Public Relations, Employment Support, Financial Support, Training Development and Planning. It is likely that the new Service Level Agreement will produce an improved service to member Councils, but at present the following services are available either from or through the National Association.
If legal, financial, procedural, or general advice is needed, please write to the Kent Association. The more complex cases will be referred to the National Association. On no account should you approach the National Association without first having contacted the KALC office. This advice is FREE as part of your subscription.
Details are available from the Kent Association of Local Councils.
Investment Schemes for local term gilts and equities arrangements, negotiated by the National Association, are available through Arbuthnot Latham & Co Ltd. Details can be obtained direct from NALC or from the Kent Association.
Training Courses and other events are being run on a continuous basis both at a National and at a County level. Please refer to the Learning and Development page - Learning & Development
If your Council is contemplating borrowing then you must first of all contact the Kent Association. Despite recent changes your Council still needs a legal authority to borrow, and failure to obtain this approval could have serious consequences.
A fortnightly indexed digest, mailed direct. Covers Acts, Bills, Statutory Instruments, Government Circulars, Legal Cases, Interest Rates and other information arising from the preceding 14 days. Samples and an order form direct from NALC at 109 Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3LD.
Guidance, advice, help is available on a wide variety of matters not covered above. IF IN DIFFICULTY please contact the Kent Association.