A letter from Dave Mitton, SALC Chairman

Dear city, town, & parish councils,

Re: How can SALC better serve your council?

You will have read in last Friday’s SALC newsletter, that our Chief Executive Officer, Justin Robinson, has decided to move on to pastures new, so we will be wishing him a fond farewell in the new year.

This gives the SALC board of directors the opportunity to consider whether the services that SALC currently provides to our member councils are completely fit for the brave new post-unitarisation Somerset Council world. We would like your help in assessing these services and deciding what works, what doesn’t, and what new services we could offer to better serve you.

What we do:

Advice and support – A significant part of the day-to-day function in the SALC office is responding to enquiries from member councils with advice and guidance on a wide range of local council issues. We know that most enquiries we receive are about governance and operational processes, closely followed by requests for guidance on human resources matters.

Q            Do you have any feedback you want to share on your experience with the advice service?

Training – SALC delivers a wide variety of cost-effective training to councillors and officers, from the “essentials” to more in-depth topics including governance and finance, the role of the chair, audit, code of conduct, and specialist topics such as understanding data protection, effective use of social media, responding to planning applications. SALC also delivers training to support the professional clerks’ CiLCA qualification.

Q            Do you have any feedback on our training provision? What other topics might your council value training on?

Workplace mediation – SALC has recently introduced a new service offering workplace mediation with a qualified mediator. Mediation is a voluntary process led by an impartial third party to resolve conflict in the workplace and find solutions for improved future professional relationship. Contact us to find out more.

Health & wellbeing – SALC has been commissioned by Somerset Council to deliver a 3-year programme working with city, town, and parish councils to improve health and wellbeing in their communities. The programme includes a range of training opportunities as well as a grant programme aimed at helping councils work collaboratively with other local bodies. Contact us for more details about how your council can get involved.

Devolution of assets & services – Lastly, but most importantly, Somerset Council has written to all city, town, and, parish councils requesting that they consider which assets and services they might be willing to take more responsibility for in the real possibility that the unitary council could no longer support them.

Q            Is this a matter on which SALC could provide more support to your council? For example, do you want help to develop partnership agreements between groups of councils who wish to join together to deliver certain services? Or do you want help working through the newly established LCNs?

If your council would welcome support from SALC in relation to devolution of assets and services, we want to hear about you support needs.

We are keen to hear about any other services SALC does not currently offer, but which would be of benefit to our member councils.

The SALC board of directors will be most grateful if clerks will share this letter with councillors and include the subject of SALC’s services as an item on the agenda for discussion at your next available meeting.  We would be grateful to hear from councils before January, but if you are not meeting before then, feedback during January would also be welcomed.

Please send your feedback to info@somerset-alc.org.uk marked FAO: Board of Directors


With best regards,

Dave Mitton

Chairman, Somerset Association of Local Councils Ltd (SALC)

November 2023

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