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0 votes
It transpires that SLCC gets the majority of its income from  Parish Councils paying the membership fees of its various clerks.  Now I understand the role that NALC plays (but not that we necessarily get VFM)  but what do clerks actually get from their membership of the SLCC and is appropriate that PC should pay their clerk's fees?  Or is it just custom and practice? I am not saying its right or wrong just need to understand  what role the SLCC plays and what in it for PCs .  Come what may these NALC/SLCC fees cost my PC nearly £2k pa and seem excessive
by (2.8k points)

2 Answers

0 votes
In my opinion paying the SLCC membership money is a waste of taxpayers money. I have little regard for them and consider them to be not much more than a trade union for clerks. Unfortunately it has become a 'custom'.

Our clerk has no officially recognised training, such as CILCA. She has attended some One Voice Wales training sessions but made it clear she will not do CILCA. She does however, attend SLCC training courses, which incidentally are more expensive than One Voice Wales. I've seen the agenda for two of those course. Both of them contained a section about bullying. That's councillors bullying clerks not the other way round. And one of them contained a section called 'how to make the most of your powers'. That one was very alarming. Don't get me wrong - she does a reasonable job and has improved her knowledge a lot over the last couple of years. But that is not down to SLCC.
She once showed me a an interesting article in the (monthly?) magazine. I asked if she would save these magazines and give the Councillors an opportunity to read them, after all the Council is paying for them. But that never happened.  I don't think that either the Council or our residents gain anything from the SLCC membership. And I don't believe the clerk does either.
by (2.5k points)
I take it you didn't actually read that article.  I recall it was all about how the council can use legislative powers to undertake activities for the benefit of residents.  An article of particular relevance to councils who don't operate under General Power of Competence and as your clerk is not qualified, that would have applied to you.
She showed me the magazine a long time ago, I can't actually remember what the article was about. As I said, I would be interested in seeing the magazine regularly and from what you've said there is often interesting things to read. But Councillors don't get to see it.
+1 vote
NALC, as you know, is the National Association of Local Councils, membership of which is via a county office.  They support local councils by providing lobbying, advice notes, a national conference, training opportunities for both clerks and councillors and a host of other things.  Membership fees include a national fee element and local fee element and I agree are really expensive.  I my opinion, the support is only as good as the local county office/officer although if, for example, you intend applying for a public works loan, this has to be done via your local county office.  My own council have chosen not to be members of the county association after poor service but this does limit access to the national association so I'm not entirely supportive of that decision.

SLCC is the Society of Local Council Clerks and as the name suggests is an organisation which is supportive of Clerks in particular.  They also provide training and in particular offer the training leading to the Certificate in Local Council Administration which your clerk must have if you intend applying for or operating under General Power of Competence.  They also have an advice service, issue advice notes, run a conference, providing in particular a service updating clerks when there are changes in regulations/legislation, have a forum for clerks, continuing professional development requirement and many clerks (most?) are members and will use the advice and guidance to ensure they provide a professional level of service to their council.
NALC and SLCC work together on a range of issues such as agreeing industry standard employment contracts, pay scales etc.

It is a matter for individual councils to decide whether to pay the SLCC fee for their clerks but without a doubt councils do benefit from having an up to date qualified clerk.  Those who work for more than one council usually ask their councils to contribute.  There is a separate union for local council clerks (called the Association of Local Council Clerks) and the membership fee for that should be borne by the clerk themselves.
by (4.2k points)
Here in Wales we come under One Voice Wales, not NALC. They are excellent, and very professional. All Councillors have access to anything on their website, which has a wealth of information  and templates. As well as the Clerk the Chair is allowed to contact them by phone. One Voce Wales also works with SLCC  re contracts, pay scales etc as you mentioned. But the Clerk doesn't need to be a member of SLCC for us to get the information. As our Clerk has made it perfectly clear she does not want to undertake any formal training to work towards CILCA or any other qualification I just feel that the Council is wasting taxpayers money.

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