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Policies transparency etc

0 votes
I honestly do not know where to start on this one... We commenced a sub committee to discuss adopting polices - NALC model ones basic ones  plus grant policy, reserves policy, co op policy and some HR ones.   We have none at present, even though we are probably the largest Village ins Suffolk.  We had one person who asks why such polices are required.  He joined a policy committee to bring us into the 21st century yet he was did not want to progress.  With another we tried to explain to him the best practice, legal requirement, working within a framework etc etc.  It was painful and argumentative.
Advice please ?
asked by (890 points)

5 Answers

0 votes
Many councils lack everything but the basic policies, as members fail to see the benefits. One solution is for the clerk to add one or two policies to the agenda for each council meeting and to present the NALC models unaltered. It enables the council to publish a list of adopted policies, but doesn't engender a sense of ownership.
answered by (32.8k points)
Would you elaborate some more DavetheClerk on what are the basic policies as there is a confusion that some councillors fail to `get` or just ignore as in the legality of the Transparency Code which states that as an example of clarity to the public to be clear and open, this is construed as a wish list than factual instructions to some.
I would suggest the following are the basic policies:
1.  standing orders and financial regulations
2.  reserves policy - why is the council holding the money it is holding
3.  data protection policies / GDPR
4.  Employment policies eg Health and Safety, grievance, disciplinary
5.  Co-option policy
I think that is the core essentials....
I couldn't have put it better myself!
0 votes
Without policies or procedures the Council must comply with legislative requirements but can leave itself open to challenges over resolutions and many questions which could be very problematic.  For example, if you do not have a grant policy, there would be no upper or lower limit to the amount of grant that can be awarded, no limit to the number of grants that could be awarded  and no means by which to assess if the grant should or should not be awarded. It would be a question of putting grant applications to full council meetings for a yes or no resolution whereas a policy might suggest which committee makes an assessment and shares it with full council.   With no staff development policy, there would be no formal route for staff to seek training or approval to take exams  - any proposals would have to be put to full council and they would have to resolve or reject with no guidelines to work from, e.g. relevance of course, value for money whether or not the training benefits the whole council etc.
answered by (22.3k points)
My PC even has “ policies “ that were agreed years ago but have never been published or reviewed and I am sure many Councillors are unaware of them
I’m in two minds do you aim for policies or flexibility ?
It’s fine having policies and reviewing them regularly but does this activity benefit the community as and more time seems to be eaten up in administration
I often think there should be a permanent and final agenda item “ what have we achieved at this meeting that benefits the community ? “
That might require a one word response on the minutes  "Nothing"  Policies should be clear and concise, only implemented if needed and be fit for purpose. If flexibility is needed build that into the policy!  But I maintain there still should be some.  By all means bin irrelevant policies.
+1 vote
At their most basic format a policy lays down particular rules and procedures under which a specific matter will be dealt with by the council. This ensures matters are dealt with uniformly thus avoiding criticisms of bias or prejudice and leaving the council open to such charges. All policies should be published and transparent to members of the council and community.
answered by (8.9k points)
0 votes
I think it depends what the council does / size I think, but if there is a proposal to have them and its voted though, then they should turn up (and be based on NALC model ones as amended to suit).  However, if the majority on the council do not want them, then good luck!
answered by (370 points)
0 votes
It might be worth looking at the NALC foundation level for a Council - it gives good guidelines on what we should have at a basic level. To be fair if you have a Gold standard Council - we have 2 near me in Essex - they have all the policies already written so its relativley easy to Draft a policy for your own Council. But I agree with other comments - a couple per meeting may be all that the Councillors can stomach. It is hard to keep up with reviewing them every year but we tend to assign a councillor. Were not great but we keep on moving things along.
answered by (1.4k points)

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