SALC Newsletter 23 February 2023

Section 137 expenditure limit for 2023-2024

DLUHC has confirmed the appropriate sum for the purpose of section 137(4)(a) of the Local Government Act 1972 for parish and town councils in England for 2023-24 is £9.93 per elector.
Section 137 is a statutory power permitting parish & town councils to spend in a single financial year a maximum amount of money, which the council resolves will bring benefit to the community. Members can see the SALC LTNs & Guidance page of the Knowledge Hub for more information. 


The Coronation of His Majesty The King

The King’s Coronation takes place on 6th May 2023, with 8th May 2023 declared a bank holiday. Many parish and town councils have started to plan community events to mark the occasion and NALC has set up a dedicated webpage with information and guidance.

BHIB Councils insurance has produced a risk assessment template to support local councils in planning safe community events. Although the template is a helpful resource, please remember that you must still follow HSE advice and think about the specific hazards and controls for your council. Simply copying an example and adding your council’s emblem will not satisfy the law and will not protect your council and staff.

Public venues preparations for the Protect Duty – Martyn’s Law

On Monday 19 December 2022, the Government announced details for the Protect Duty, now to be known as ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute of Martyn Hett, who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

Martyn’s Law aims to keep people safe from terrorism through the protection of public venues. It will place a requirement on those responsible for certain locations to consider the threat from terrorism and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures. 

The legislation will ensure parties are prepared, ready to respond and know what to do in the event of an attack. Better protection will be delivered through enhanced security systems, staff training, and clearer processes. 

The government will introduce the duty as soon as parliamentary time allows, but it is not yet possible to give a date.

Parish & town councils operate a variety of premises and should be aware of the impending legislation, which will apply nation wide. For more information see the Home Office factsheet 

The Home Office is hosting a series of webinars for stakeholders in industry, the public sector, education, charities, and places of worship. The webinar will involve a presentation on Martyn’s Law along with an opportunity for questions and answers. Councils can book a place at the webinar through Eventbrite.

The £150m Community Ownership Fund is now open!

The Community Ownership Fund is open to communities across the United Kingdom and has been set up to help communities take ownership of assets at risk of closure.

Voluntary and community organisations can bid for match funding, and funding may support the purchase and/or renovation costs of community assets such as pubs, sports clubs, theatres, and post office buildings. Although the fund cannot be used to purchase publicly owned assets where the authority would credit a capital receipt, the fund can work alongside a community asset transfer by funding renovation and refurbishment costs. 

The purpose of the fund is to provide support to voluntary and community groups who want to take ownership of assets. It is hoped that local authorities will play an active role in encouraging community groups to apply. DHLUC see the role of local authorities, including parish councils, as providing essential support to the efforts of local community groups, rather than delivering the projects themselves

COF bidding windows will run for 4 years until 2024/25. Window 3 of Round 2 opened on 15th February and will close on 14th April 2023 at 11:59pm. 

Applicants can now see exactly what they need to include in their applications with the newly published Assessor Guidance.

If a community group is seeking to protect a treasured community asset, it can submit an Expression of Interest now.


FREE SALC health & wellbeing training events  

Come along to any of the free health & wellbeing training sessions to learn about the basics of energy advice, climate change, emotional resilience, and a whole lot more! The SALC health & wellbeing training programme is now available. Please see the SALC website for details or email
Friday 3rd March 2023 – 12:00 until 13:30

Civility and Respect Pledge & e-learning modules

Over 1,000 parish and town councils have now signed up to the Civility and Respect Pledge and many of them are in Somerset.

SALC echoes NALC in urging councils that have not yet signed to do so. The more councils that sign the pledge, the more weight the Civility & Respect Project will have in lobbying the government to re-visit its response to the 2019 Committee on Standards in Public Life report on local government ethical standards.

One of the key aims of the civility and respect project has been to deliver affordable training support for councillors, clerks, and employees who experience difficulties with bullying and harassment, and to start to address some of the causes of poor behaviour.

The project is working with Nimble, an online e-learning platform, to host the first 4 bespoke e-learning modules created specifically as part of the civility and respect project. Each module can be watched in your own time.

Please see the SALC website training page from next week for price and bookings info:

  • Standards in public life e-learning

This e-learning module has been developed by county associations in the South West region and is designed to support councillors and staff to understand the principles of conduct expected of all councillors.  
Information is based on the national model code of conduct produced by The Local Government Association but recognises that councillors must abide by your own council’s code of conduct, and so also provides some generic support for those wishing to better understand the behaviours expected of all councillors.

  • Respectful and Positive Social Media for Councils and Councillors

This introductory e-learning module considers the opportunities and risks associated with social media from a civility and respect perspective & explores a range of proactive and pre-emptive strategies.

  • Leadership in Challenging Situations for Councils and Councillors

This introductory e-learning module will consider different leadership styles in the context of your role at the council, exploring which styles we personally ‘default’ to and which styles can work effectively for different situations.

  •  Personal Resilience for Councils and Councillors

This introductory e-learning module seeks to develop a better understanding of where our behaviour comes from and considers what resilience means for us in the context of our roles within the council. 

NALC calls for change to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

NALC has urged the House of Lords to make essential changes to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill to ensure parish and town councils play their part in levelling up and improving local communities.

NALC’s president, Baroness Scott of Needham Market, has tabled a number of amendments for peers to consider, including:

  • For councils to be able to hold remote meetings
  • Suspension of councillors who breach the code of conduct
  • Access to direct government funding and grants
  • A timetable for the neighbourhood governance review to make it easier to set up new local councils
  • Payment of dependent carers allowance to councillors
  • The extension of the General Power of Competence

NALC has sent a briefing in support of the amendments to contacts in the House of Lords, urging them to support Baroness Scott during the Committee Stage of the Bill over the next few weeks.

Parish & town councils’ rights when dealing with rights of way obstructions

Somerset has over 9000 public rights of way (PROW) totaling 3808 miles (6129 km). The extensive path network is varied and requires careful management by the Highway Authority (currently Somerset County Council).

Anyone can report an obstruction on a right of way by visiting the Explore Somerset mapping tool (Roam), which alerts the wardens and rangers who work in the Rights of Way Team so they can locate and investigate the issue.

Many parish and town councils find that problems on their networks are reported directly to them by the public. The parish clerk is at liberty to report a problem via Roam, but the council also has tools available to it through legislation. The Open Spaces Society has a helpful factsheet detailing the rights of parish and town councils when dealing with rights of way obstructions.    

It is known that the workload of the Rights of Way team is significant and therefore it’s worthwhile if the parish council in the first instance seeks to work cooperatively with its landowners and the county council area warden/ ranger to resolve problems more swiftly. Some parish councils have put together community working parties that lawfully undertake repairs or clearance of paths, enhancing and improving their local network.

If an individual would like to get involved in supporting PROW in your area, the Rights of Way Team has a range of voluntary opportunities where members of the public can get involved. 

Job vacancies

Right now the following councils/ bodies have active vacancies:

Stoke Trister with Bayford Parish Council is seeking a Clerk/ RFO at negotiable pay rate SCP 7 – 17 (£11.63 to £13.95ph) 

Queen Camel Parish Council is seeking a clerk/RFO within the pay range SCP7- 17 (£11.63 to £13.95ph)

Taunton Heritage Trust is an external organisation seeking a part time Administrator/ Compliance Officer at £11,917 ACTUAL

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