SALC Newsletter 17th August 2023

Investment advice for local councils

SALC works closely with The Parkinson Partnership to offer our members expert advice on financial matters, such as VAT. We are delighted that this relationship now enables us to share with our members the advice articles from treasury advisors Arlingclose ltd.

The articles are aimed at improving the availability of investment advice to local councils and the first one: “Parish Councils: how should you invest your funds?”, can be found in the SALC website Knowledge Hub/ LTNs & Guidance


Practitioners’ Guide on council emails & website

Following publication of the 2023 edition of the Practitioners’ Guide, the SALC office has received enquires asking whether it’s now mandatory for councils to have their own websites and to set up linked councillor email addresses (ref: Practitioners Guide paras 1.26 & 5.205).

Q – Can a parish council still be hosted on the village website managed by a parishioner? 

A parish council can comply with the law and have a dedicated section on a website set up by a third party. However, in such cases the council should have some process for swiftly moving its section to another website should the third party website be withdrawn or be taken down.

If a council has an official section on the village website, that website must meet the accessibility compliance regulations. Since September 2020, all public bodies are required to ensure that their websites comply with the WCAG (Website Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.1AA standard so that users with disabilities aren’t disadvantaged when trying to access the content. The village website is not bound by the legal requirements, so the village does not need to meet WCAG 2.1AA standards. However, if your council uses the village site, the whole of that site must meet the WCAG standards (link to NALC publication).

NALC’s advice is that it is best practice is for a parish council to have a website entirely under its control.

Q – Must the clerk and all councillors have an email address set up and controlled by the council itself? 

The council’s main email address will usually be the clerk’s email, which should belong to the council and should not be a personal account of the clerk. A council owned email account can be passed on when the clerk leaves a council, reducing the risk of data loss and giving the council continuity.

It is not legally required that all councillors should have an email address set up by the parish council or linked to an official council website, but this is highly recommended. 

Email addresses set up and managed by the council for all councillors means the council has control and appropriate security over that account, enabling it to remove access to information when a councillor ceases to serve. This ensures that emails sent from former councillors cannot be taken as being from the council.

In NALC’s experience, where a parish council leaves individuals to set up or use their own email account, there can be enormous difficulty in meeting FOI or SAR deadlines, or providing the requested information at all.


FREE Somerset Food & Growing Forum

Food, growing, and gardening projects are vital for the health and wellbeing of our communities, especially in times of economic hardship. That’s why Spark Somerset and Somerset Community Food (SCF) hosting are a free forum on 19th September.

The forum will be of interest to councils involved with allotments, a community fridge, foodbank, or any other initiative that uses food, growing, and gardening to support positive change.

Somerset Wildlife Trust will talk about how people can support wildlife and nature reconnection in their growing space, and Spark will share information on suitable funding opportunities. There will be plenty of time to network and hear updates from other groups in the county.
Book through Eventbrite.

Additionally, save the date for Somerset Community Food’s Nourishing Community Food Conference on Saturday 18 November. Find out more here.


Free support to help farmers in your parish navigate the Agricultural Transition 

Business Information Point is offering a new programme of free support to help farmers in the South West navigate the current Agricultural Transition. 

Please help spread the word of this support programme in your farming community.

The project aims to help farmers understand the changes and adapt to the gradual phasing out of basic payments which will end altogether in 2027. The loss of the direct payments will remove around £883 million of income from the four south west counties during the transition period and puts 65% of farm businesses at risk of closure due to low profitability and high reliance on direct payments.

The Future Farming Resilience programme will play a vital role in making farmers aware of the government support that will be available to replace these payments and includes: 

  • Transition workshops: Local workshops to discuss the changes and look at new funding options, as well as planning strategies for the future.
  • One-to-one support: Accessfree one-to-one support with an experienced agricultural advisor to talk specifically about your farm business and develop an agreed and documented action plan.  
  • Small group webinars: Covering topics such as digital skills, succession planning, woodlands, environmental schemes, soil management, diversification, marketing, business planning and grant schemes. 
  • Digital training: Build digital confidence and gain IT skills to better manage the farm business. The sessions are delivered in a no-nonsense, practical, and supportive manner, free of jargon!  

Full details are available on the Business Info Point website


Commitments to civility & respect gains momentum in Somerset

NALC has announced that over 1200 local councils have signed up to the civility and respect pledge. We are delighted that many of those councils are in Somerset.

The councils that have signed the pledge have made a public declaration to commit to training programmes, they have adopted the Somerset code of conduct and dignity at work policy, and will seek professional help at early stages. They will call out bullying & harassment, and support lobbying for legislation to strengthen standards.

Visit the Civility & Respect page in the Knowledge hub of the SALC website for resources including template policies, a bullying and harassment statement, code of conduct guidance, and guidance on respectful social media use. 


Health & wellbeing grant fund FAQs

We have added a ‘frequently asked questions’ section to the health and wellbeing Grants programme & application page of the SALC website. 

If your council would like to ask a question about the grants process, please email

If your council might benefit from grant funding for projects led by community need, and for issues relating to reducing inequalities in health and wellbeing –
the online application process can be found here.

Your parish can join in Suicide Prevention Day ‘Walk for Life’

World Suicide Prevention Day takes place every year on 10th September to raise awareness of suicide and gives the singular message that suicide can be prevented. Last year, Somerset held a Walk for a Life event to support the campaign locally. 

This year Walk for a Life will be taking place on Saturday 9 September at The Museum of Somerset in Taunton. For more details and a toolkit that includes all the information, see the Walk For Life website

Job Vacancies


Right now the following councils/ bodies have active vacancies:

Leigh on Mendip Parish Council seeks to appoint a Parish Clerk and RFO for 6 hrs per week on SCP13 to 17 (£12.97 – £13.96ph)

Carhampton Parish Council is seeking a Parish Clerk/RFO on 10hrs per week on SCP11 (£12.50ph)

Street Parish Council seeks to appoint a full time Parish Clerk on the salary range  39,493 – £47,573

Bishops Lydeard and Cothelstone Parish Council seeks to appoint a Parish Clerk and RFO in the salary range £14.21 – £15.67 per hour

Ashill Parish Council seeks to appoint a Parish Clerk and RFO for 12 hrs per month £12.50ph

St Cuthbert (Out) Parish Council seeks to appoint an Assistant Clerk (Environmental Focus) for 20 hrs per week at SCP 16 £13.70ph


New autumn councillor training events have been published 

A list of low-cost or free training courses for councillors has been sent to each member council – ask your clerk for a copy or see the SALC website. Sessions include, how to undertake playground inspections, all about the transparency code, engaging with young people, code of conduct explained, recruiting and retaining councillors…and more!  


What would you like to Search for?

Skip to content