ALCA Member Services
- Member Enquiry Service (MES) for straightforward, generic queries
- Free at the point of use confidential advisory service for complex or council-specific enquiries
- Human Resources advice, from recruitment through personnel management to handling the end of the employment relationship
- Financial advice, including audit, governance and accountability
- Funding advice, including how to access external grant funding and administration of borrowing approval applications
- Free access to the Legal Team at NALC for “first instance” advice on legal matters
Training & Development
Membership allows access to events, briefings and seminars at member rates:
- Local Council legal framework and procedures courses for council staff and councillors. Roles and responsibilities, code of conduct etc.,
- Planning in Plain English (how to present influential comments) training
- Finance training for staff and councillors – Finance for Councillors, Internal Controls, budgeting, audit, VAT, etc.,
- Advanced training for those wanting to push their skills or develop specialist knowledge –Social media, chairing virtual meetings, etc.,
- Formal qualifications, including the Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA)
- Bespoke in-house training sessions so that the whole council learns together
- One-off briefings and seminars on topics of particular interest
Member councils rely on ALCA to keep them abreast of all the issues, legislation and developments affecting the sector so that they don’t have to spend their own valuable time and resources doing so.
The information service includes:
- Regular e-mail briefings on topical issues
- Timely e-mail alerts on significant developments
- The monthly “In Short”, e-mailed directly to the council’s inbox
- The Association’s website, with an exclusive Members Only library area for key documents and templates
- Access to NALC bulletins, Legal Topic Notes and Legal Briefings
ALCA is the body responsible for the checking and submission of Loan Sanction Approvals by all parish and town councils to the Secretary of State. In Avon we:
- will ensure that current criteria and implementation information is available to all councils
- advise Local Councils on the submission of loan sanction applications.
- check applications for compliance with government requirements.
- submit applications directly to the Ministry of Housing for Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) for approval.
Voice & Representation
ALCA provides a framework for consultation and arrangements for the effective representation and promotion of local councils at local, regional and national levels. We work to maintain relationships with local government and community organisations to further the aims of Local Councils.
We do this through:
- Regular meetings with county, district and borough council officers and elected members
- Representing parish and town councils on boards and panels whose work impacts our member councils
- As representatives to various outside bodies
- Responding to local, regional and national consultations that affect member councils
- Gathering member councils’ views through the Area Group meetings, seminars and conferences, giving a direct voice to parish and town councillors and ensuring that the diverse nature of member councils is represented
- Representing parish and town councils in Avon at the South West Conference of Local County Associations
- Working with the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) to lobby the government on policy and legislative changes to benefit member councils.
ALCA does not have an office base and all its income goes directly into supporting the services it supplies to the membership as cost-effectively as possible. Subscription fees are currently well below the average when compared to other County Associations whilst services are ranked as good. ALCA consistently “bats above its weight” at a national level.
Post-2014 ALCA had no County Officer for the 3 preceding years and despite only having very modest increases to membership subscription rates for six years the organisation grew markedly and has become more fit for purpose. Naturally, its growth has meant that the capacity of the organisation has had to grow to meet the increased expectations of the members. In 2021 ALCA members agreed to a subscription increase to enable the employment of the CO Assistant and enable improvements in the Associations’ infrastructure, to bring us more in line with our counterparts across the country. ALCA now employs a full-time Chief Officer and a part-time Chief Officer’s Assistant, who both work from home.
Parish and town councils are stronger together, and by collectively supporting ALCA they are assured of quality services, value for money and a strong sector voice.
NALC Member Benefits
There is a county association of Local Councils in each county, a unitary authority (or group of unitary authorities) in England and each one is independent of, but affiliated to, the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) based in London.
NALC provides a national voice for local (parish and town) councils across England. They campaign on their behalf, raise awareness of their work and provide them with a range of services to support their needs:
- Free first-contact legal, accounts and audit advice – Written, telephone and digital advice from NALC’s well-experienced solicitors.
- Publications – A quarterly magazine, LCR, fortnightly DIS, guides on being a good councillor, employer, finance and transparency, neighbourhood planning and a range of toolkits.
- Campaigning – lobby for the issues that are important to local councils and communicate those views to the government and a range of influential organisations, in the private, charity and public sectors.
- Conferences, events and training – NALC’s national events and training sessions are opportunities to bring our diverse membership together to learn about new or topical initiatives and share ideas.
- Publicity – Raise the profile of local councils and the sector beyond a regional level.
- Media – Guidance on how to deal with a media crisis, how to deal with reporters and media outlets and writing a media policy.
- Standards, awards and recognition – Opportunities all year round for local councils to take up the chance to celebrate and be recognised for achievements through the Local Council Award Scheme, Council Spotlight and Star Council Awards.
NALC works through the County Association of Local Council (CALC) network, which are the representative bodies for Local Councils (parish and town) in their area and play a key role in the work of NALC. The CALCs are the first point of call. NALC supports the County Associations to provide the best and most up-to-date information and guidance.
The NALC / CALC membership subscription is combined and it is not possible to join one without the other organisation.