Parish Council going for gold?

A CHANCE to become one of the country’s top performing councils is being considered by Shaw and Crompton Parish councillors.

Clerk Tony Hilton

Just over 300 out of about 9,000 Parish and Town Councils have earned one of three accreditation standards under the Local Council Awards Scheme (LCAS).

The Foundation, Quality and Quality Gold Awards are designed to celebrate the successes of the best councils and to provide a framework to help them improve and develop their full potential.

Parish Council clerk Tony Hilton presented a report on the LCAS to November’s full council meeting.

“My question to the council is do you aspire to want to improve standards as a council as a corporate body with good governance in place that gives local people assurances they are well managed and have the best interests of the local community at heart?” he asked.

“It is an indication we have achieved certain standards in the way we govern ourselves.

“It shows we are well organised, we have plans to improve the local community in the way we engage and it gives us assurance to our precept payers they can trust the Parish Council.”

Mr Hilton recommending the council apply for accreditation of the first level, Foundation Award and supported the adoption of an action plan/timeline and methodology to address any gaps in meeting accreditation criteria.

However, councillors questioned the wisdom of spending money on a scheme that hadn’t been previously budgeted for.

A one-off registration fee ranges from £50-£100, depending on level of accreditation plus an extra cost of between £80-£200.

Cllr Louie Hamblett suggested trialling the scheme for a year and try to meet the Foundation criteria without registering or applying for the accreditation.

Cllr Paul Turner asked: “Is there anything tangible for being accredited?

“Usually you get a benefit for being accredited. What is the incentive?”

Mr Hilton replied: ”It’s more trying to develop a culture across the Parish Council of attaining a particular standard we currently don’t have.”

The council agreed to refer the subject to its Audit and Budget committee for further consideration together with any financial implications.

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