SALC Newsletter March 2024

An update on legal support for devolved assets or services

Somerset Council’s budget has been agreed for 2024/25 and we know that matters of devolution are at the top of lots of council agendas.

We recently wrote to all member councils to ask what support, if any, they might need in relation to Somerset Council’s plan for asset & service devolution. You can read the newsletter item here. Thank you to those who have responded. If your council is yet to respond, we will be grateful to hear from you.

SALC has met with representatives of two sector specialist law firms and discussed what they could potentially provide to support our members interested in asset and service devolution. To enable us to progress this work, we have approached Somerset Council for a meeting to establish how it intends to manage the devolution process. Once this  meeting has taken place, we will be able to share useful information with members.


Updated website accessibility requirements

The new accessibility requirements, which change in October 2024 from WCAG2.1AA to WCAG2.2AA, are an internationally recognised set of recommendations for improving web accessibility. The revised requirements go further in terms of improved accessibility and can be read on the government website, here. 


Free support to move to a domain name


Every parish and town council is encouraged to have a website (and email addresses) with a domain name. The main reasons why councils might choose a use another domain extension (i.e., tend to be due to concerns about cost and difficulty of setting up the domain.

The government’s Central Digital & Data Office aims to allay these concerns with the new Parish Council Domains Helper Service. The service promises to equip councils in England with the knowledge to make the transition to easier. Councils engaging with the helper service will receive 

  • Enhanced support from a short list of domain registrars experienced in working with parish and town councils.
  • Access to cabinet office funding of £100 plus VAT to help with the move.

Clerks will receive hands-on support via a series of four sessions that will:

  • Help them get the green light from their council to move to a domain.
  • Help them choose the right domain registrar for their council’s circumstances.
  • Help them get their new domain set up.
  • Help them maintain good working practices.

Visit the Parish Council Domains Helper Service to register an interest in moving to a domain. With questions about domains, email

In SALC’s August newsletter we touched upon issues of local council websites and email addresses, noting that it’s best practice is for a parish council to have a secure, compliant website entirely under its control. We are therefore delighted to be working with Parish Online to bring SALC member councils a 30% discount on new websites.

For more information and to get a quote, visit Parish Online and ask for the Somerset Association of Local Council’s discount (SALC active membership is required).


Flood action guides

Flood Wessex supports communities that are dealing with the immediate aftermath of flooding. If your community has been affected by the flooding in Wessex, or if you want to raise awareness and preparedness in your community about flooding, Flood Wessex can provide printed guides for you to share with your community. They include:

  • Flood Action Guide (adapted for your community)
  • Recovery Flood Action Guides
  • Personal Flood Plan
  • FloodRe leaflet (helpful insurance guide)
  • Flood Warnings (know what to do and when)

Flood Wessex has issued copies of the Recovery Flood Action Guide to all parish and town council clerks, as well as a Flash Flood Action Guide to all communities identified as having a higher risk of flash flooding.  

If you would like this information for your community, please email


Have your say on changes to permitted development rights

Permitted development rights enable certain types of work to be undertaken without the need to apply for planning permission, and the government has announced a consultation on changes to these rights.

The proposed changes are detailed on the consultation page and include further flexibility to householders and growing families so that they can alter and extend their homes without the need to submit a planning application, along with changes to the installation requirements for electrical outlets and upstands for recharging electric vehicles, and the installation of air source heat pumps.

This consultation is open now until 9 April 2024


The Building Safety Act 2022

The HR company, Worknest, has provided guidance on fire safety requirements for non-domestic premises under the Building Safety Act 2022. S.156 of the 2022 Act (in force 1 October 2023) amends the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

The full government guidance is available: Responsible Person and Duty Holder: roles and fire safety responsibilities – GOV.UK (

Councils with buildings should contact their insurers for further advice.


Applications are open to receive a portrait of the King

To celebrate the new reign of His Majesty The King, the Cabinet Office announced a government-funded voluntary scheme throughout the United Kingdom to allow public authorities to apply for a free, framed portrait.

The scheme was launched on 14 November 2023 and is now open for applications from parish, town, and community councils.

If your council falls within the scope of this voluntary scheme, you can view the image and apply for one free framed portrait per council.

Once your registration has been accepted, you can place an order and provide delivery details. The closing date for applications is 28 March 2024. 

Please refer to the FAQs for specific questions about the portrait and the scheme.

D-day 80 Flag of Peace

The Pageant Master’s office has made available a souvenir D-Day 80 Flag of Peace for local councils to consider purchasing and flying from 9am on 6th June for one week. The Flags come in various sizes with the largest being 5′ x 3′ at a cost of £28.80 including vat post and packaging, with the smallest being a 3′ x 2’ at a cost of £22.80 including vat post and packaging.

The Flags can be purchased direct from Tracy Turner at Newton Newton Flags Limited – email


Crewkerne Town Council achieves Quality status


Congratulations to Crewkerne Town Council on achieving the Quality award as part of the Local Council Award Scheme.

Receiving the award is an excellent achievement and a mark of good practices in governance, community engagement, and council improvement. To achieve the Quality award, Crewkerne Town Council has shown it goes above and beyond its legal obligations, leading its community and continuously seeking opportunities to improve and develop further. 

Read more about the Local Council Award Scheme on the NALC website.


Happy 50th Birthday in 2024!


1974 was a significant year for local councils (not least because both Justin and Sam were born), but it was the year the Local Government Act 1972 abolished Municipal Borough and Urban District councils and saw the creation of Somerset town councils. We wish the follow councils a very happy 50th! 

Burnham-on-Sea Urban DistrictBurnham-on-Sea and Highbridge TC
Chard Municipal BoroughChard Town Council
Crewkerne Urban DistrictCrewkerne Town Council
Frome Urban DistrictFrome Town Council
Glastonbury Municipal BoroughGlastonbury Town Council
Ilminster Urban DistrictIlminster Town Council
Shepton Mallet Urban DistrictShepton Mallet Town Council
Street Urban DistrictStreet Town Council
Watchet Urban DistrictWatchet Town Council
Wellington Urban DistrictWellington Town Council*
Wells Municipal BoroughWells City Council

*Thank you to Wellington TC for sharing this auspicious date.


Read about Somerset’s health & wellbeing successes


Visit the SALC website Health & Wellbeing pages to read about the good works Somerset’s local councils are doing to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities.

Read about how Street Parish Council’s Discover Your Community events have been instrumental in offering the local community the opportunity to be introduced to the wonderful facilities in the village, helping to improve residents’ health & wellbeing.

Find out about BickWatch, a project to demonstrate that Community Transport can be low carbon. 


What do you want from SALC’s FREE training events? 

Friday Afternoon Free Events
SALC has been offering regular free remote (Zoom) events on a Friday afternoon. Over the last year these have included:

  • A rights-of-way briefing
  • Insurance: Events risk assessment
  • Insurance: What dose it cover?
  • Tree Safety Inspections 

We would be keen to hear from you about other areas you would like us to cover. To offer the sessions, we would need to find someone with expertise in that field who would be willing to give an hour or so of their time for free, but this is often achievable.

We welcome all suggestions, but we are particularly keen to hear from councillors as to the sort of areas they would benefit from learning about. 

Without exception, those staff and councillors who engage with training are at an advantage over those who don’t. Even the most experienced, long-serving members benefit from lifelong learning and development to remain knowledgeable and effective in their roles.

Contact with your suggestions.


New information about the GPC & CiLCA added to website

An Information section about the General Power of Competence (GPC) has been added to the SALC website on the ‘Council as Employer’ page in the members’ knowledge (login required). Once of the requirements for a council to meet the GPC, is that the clerk must hold an eligible qualification, such as CiLCA.

The Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA) is a Level 3 accredited and recognised qualification for the Local Council Sector designed to test basic levels of competence for the role of parish clerk.

Expressions of interest are invited from clerks, officers, and councillors who have at least 12 months experience within a council and who would like to undertake training to support the CiLCA qualification from September 2024.

For full details and costs, please see our guidance page. Once you have read the guidance, please email with any questions and to receive and complete the CiLCA Training Needs Analysis form.


The importance of our green and blue spaces

A new guidance document has been added to the “Environment” section of SALC website Health & Wellbeing Resources page detailing why our natural landscapes are good for us and what local councils can do to increase access to them – by Ann Diment Health & Wellbeing Officer. 

Connecting with nature supports health and wellbeing in many ways. It can help people feel good, connect with their community, strengthen social connections, improve sleep patterns, have more energy, and can reduce stress which could help manage weight, blood pressure and other long-term illnesses. There is also evidence that these benefits start before we are born as the environment that expectant mothers live in influences their child’s long-term health. 

Looking after our land (green) and water-based (blue) natural landscapes is also important for protecting biodiversity and improving food security and air quality, as well as making our towns and villages more enjoyable places to live and work. SALC has put together a guidance document for local councils to use when making decisions about funding the planning and preservation of green and blue spaces in their communities. 

You can watch a 3-minute video, here, that evidences the importance of accessing green space on lifelong health outcomes. The video was presented in January 2024 to the Department for Levelling Up select committee on built environment. 

If you would like support in developing or funding a project to create, enhance or increase access to natural spaces in your community, get in touch with me at  

Health & wellbeing grants funding – What you can apply for and how to get it.

SALC has revised the guidance for the health and wellbeing grant fund to be clearer on what councils with and without the general power of competence can apply for, see here for the updated grants guidance.

ACRE has reopened the village hall small grants fund for grants of up to £5000 for community buildings. Awards can be made to cover 20% of eligible project costs, up to a maximum amount of £5,000. Visit
Village halls small grants fund – ACRE for full details.

FREE health and wellbeing events for local councils  

As part of SALC’s health & wellbeing project, we are hosting a series of Connect, Share, and Learn events for local councils:

  • 13th March– Climate change and environment, at 3-5pm in the Purple Spoon cafe, with a walk on the meads, Bridgwater. See here for details. 
  • 17th April– online ‘Funding Fundamentals for local councils’ at 11am-1pm. See here for details.
  • 15th May- Creating caring, connected and healthier communities – 11am-1pm, online. See here for details. 

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