LALC ENews 1st May 2023

Our new monthly training bulletin (April edition) has now published. New training courses have now been released and these are available to book via the portal.

If there is any specific training which you feel would be valuable, and we don’t currently offer it, please let us know and we will investigate

 ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰ ꙰꙰꙰꙰ ꙰꙰꙰꙰ ꙰꙰꙰

Current vacancies


Closing date

Snitterby Parish Council


10th February

Ingoldmells Parish Council


No closing date

Bilsby & Farlesthorpe Parish Council


1st February

Osgodby Parish Council


10th February

Metheringham, Sots Hole and Tanvats Parish Council


19th February

Potterhanworth Parish Council

Temporary Clerk

31st March

Louth Town Council

Town Clerk’s Assistant

17th April

North Kyme Parish Council


15th April

Brookenby Parish Council


28th April

Brattleby Parish Council


12th May

Ruskington Parish Council

RFO/Deputy Clerk

29th May

If we are advertising your vacancy in the eNews and on our website, please let us know when the vacancy has been filled, so that we can remove it. 

If your vacancy has not yet been filled and you are continuing to advertise, please let us know of any revised closing date. If you no longer specify a closing date, please let us know so that we can update the vacancy adverts.

If you need your vacancy advertising and do not have a pre-prepared advert to send us, please complete our Vacancy Template, which can be found in the Members Portal under Document Templates.

The NALC Recruitment Manual (developed as part of the Civility & Respect project) is now available via the portal. Go into Knowledgebase and click on the ‘Employment’ card and enter ‘recruitment’ in the search box. 

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LALC Summer Conference 19th July – Save the date!

The LALC Summer Conference will be held on Wednesday 19th July at the Bentley Hotel, South Hykeham. Speakers and trade stands are currently being booked and we’ll release details soon. This year will be a celebration of LALC’s 50th anniversary and we will also be running our Shining Stars Awards again. Look out for the criteria and nomination forms we’ll be publishing soon.

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NALC Legal Update – April 2023

Rent increases in allotment tenancies

We have had some questions about rent increases in allotment tenancies and whether that necessitates a new tenancy being issued. If a tenancy contains a term allowing the council to increase rents, then it can do so. If there is no such term, the council will need to terminate the current agreement and should issue a new agreement that can have such a term in it. 

If terms need to be added, the council can ask the allotment holders to agree the amendments. If they do then the changes come into effect on a date agreed with the holders. If the allotment holders do not agree the changes, then a notice to quit must be given to each allotment holder giving 12 months’ notice. The notice must be given before 6 April or after 29 September in any given year. The notice cannot be backdated. 

The Subsidy Control Act 2022 

The Subsidy Control Act 2022 came into force on 4 January 2023 and creates a regime covering any financial assistance by a public authority to an outside commercial enterprise. The controls apply to any situation where a local council has provided more than “minimal financial assistance”.

Minimal financial assistance is defined as not exceeding £315,000 in total over the current financial year, and the two immediately preceding financial years.

The official statutory guidance can be found at Statutory Guidance for the United Kingdom Subsidy Control Regime (

A quick guide to the system can be found at Subsidy Control rules: quick guide to key requirements for public authorities - GOV.UK (

A helpful assessment template can be found at Subsidy control principles assessment template - GOV.UK (

A short, animated introduction to the system can be found at The new UK Subsidy Control regime - YouTube.

Councillor attending a demonstration – disqualification?

We were recently asked about a councillor’s enquiry to his council as to whether his planned attendance at an organised and lawful climate demonstration would disqualify him as a councillor. The answer is no. Attendance at a demonstration is not one of the limited and specified reasons for disqualification (see LTN 8). One factor that might arise is that the councillor would have to be satisfied he would not have a predetermined view when it comes to council discussions and decisions on relevant climate issues.

Councillor working for CALC

We have been asked if there is an issue with a recently retired parish councillor undertaking paid work for the county association. Our answer was no. Section 116 of the Local Government Act 1972 provides that a person shall, so long as they are, and for twelve months after they cease to be, a member of a local authority in England, be disqualified for being appointed or elected by that authority to any paid office, other than to the office of chairman or vice-chairman. That would not extend to paid work for the CALC or indeed for another council.

Annual parish meetings where there is one joint parish council

A joint parish council has always held separate annual parish meetings for each parish. One is well attended, one is not. The council asked if they could combine the annual parish meeting. Our answer was no. Section 13 (1) of the Local Government Act 1972 says that the parish meeting of a parish shall consist of the local government electors for the parish. Our view is that each parish would need to have its own annual parish meeting as they have been doing and they couldn’t have a joint parish meeting.

Elections advice

We set out in our December 2022 bulletin that our advice on pre-election publicity is limited to councils ensuring that publicity is in the name of the council rather than any individuals. We updated our pre-elections publicity briefing L01-23 linking to the LGA guidance as communicated in the last bulletin update in February. We note the recent SLCC guidance note advising that council elections are run by the principal authorities and elections questions are best addressed to the returning officer. We agree with this advice that elections questions should be directed to the principal authority. Our role is limited to providing legal advice where matters concern the exercise of local council powers. 

Recent team activity

Since February’s legal update we reissued Legal Topic Note 31 (local council powers) to become LTN 31E, taking account of the diverging regimes in England and Wales. We also updated LTN 76 (energy performance requirements).

We have noted as a team over the last few months a higher volume of urgent requests for advice. As NALC solicitors we always endeavour to meet urgent client deadlines. However, doing so does have a knock-on effect on our service delivery and we have to forgo our standard admin login processes. As a small team of advisory solicitors we are not set up to deal with very urgent deadlines. If members wish us to prioritise individual advices, we will need to reconsider the general advice we can deliver. We’d also welcome your input. 

 With best regards,

 NALC Legal

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Local Council Award Scheme congratulations

Congratulations to Gainsborough Town Council who have been awarded the Local Council Award Scheme at Foundation level in the latest round of assessments.

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Review of model Financial Regulations

The Parkinson Partnership have been asked to review the model Financial Regulations and these will be out for consultation later this year.

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North Kesteven District Council Standards and Code of Conduct briefing video

North Kesteven District Council have released a briefing video on Ethics and Standards in Public Life for local town and parish councils in their district.

The briefing covers:

Importance of standards in public life

Purpose of the Code

General principles of councillor conduct

Application of the Code of Conduct

Social media

General obligations under the Code of Conduct

Registration and disclosure of interests

Summary of interests

Code of Conduct complaints

Employee related matters

The video can be viewed at:

Running time: 55 minutes.

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Long-serving Ingoldmells Parish Councillors retire

Two long serving Parish Councillors, both of whom also served as Chairmen, of Ingoldmells Parish Council have recently retired. Leonard Hemingway (left) and Michael Holyer (right) were presented with commemorative plaques thanking them for 20 and 40 years respectively of civic service. The plaques were given by the outgoing Chairman, Stephen Chamberlain (centre) at the council’s final sitting of this election cycle on 17th April 2023.

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VAT Note – Coronation celebrations 

Briefing from The Parkinson Partnership – 21 April 2023

Many local councils are planning activities to celebrate The Coronation of His Majesty The King and Her Majesty The Queen Consort on 6th May 2023, and are asking about the VAT implications. 

Councils can always recover VAT on their non-business activities – regardless of whether they are VAT-registered or use Form VAT 126. This includes: 

events where the council does not make any charges, like parades and fetes 

providing new or improved freely available public facilities such as gardens, tree-planting, beacons, flags, signage and playgrounds 

giving away commemorative items such as mugs, tea-towels or medals

The rules change whenever a council plans to make a charge for activities and goods. 

Selling commemorative items, or charging for admission to an event, are usually treated as taxable business activities. Councils that are not registered for VAT cannot reclaim VAT on the costs associated with these activities. VAT registered councils can reclaim VAT on the costs but must also charge VAT on the sale or admission fee. Activities generating more than £6,000 of income can lead to a council having to register for VAT (see Section 3.2 of VAT Notice 749). 

Where an unregistered council gives some items away and sells any that are left, it can only reclaim VAT on the items it gave away, not the ones that were sold. 

Calling a payment a ‘donation’ does not take it outside the scope of VAT. If someone has to pay to obtain admission or goods, then it is a business supply for VAT purposes. 

Some councils might mark the Coronation by building or improving council-owned property. Where public buildings are leased or hired out, councils should not assume that they can reclaim VAT on these works. The rules are set out in sections 7 & 8 of VAT Notice 749. 

Community organisations might raise funds for celebrations, and councils should be careful if they are asked to reclaim VAT incurred by others. Councils must comply with section 6 of VAT Notice 749. It is not enough to have an invoice in the council’s name. 


This guidance is issued to assist in finding and understanding the relevant legislation and guidance. It is not a statement of law, nor does it account for individual circumstances. The Parkinson Partnership LLP accepts no liability for any loss arising from situations where councils have not followed the law and HMRC guidance.

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Essentials of good governance for Local Councils

A parish/town council should have in place the following documents: 

Standing Orders 

Financial Regulations 

Employment contracts with the Clerk and other staff

Terms of reference for all committees (Staffing Committee is essential)

Code of Conduct 

Register of interests

Publication Scheme

Complaints Procedure 

Accessibility Statement on website (Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations 2018)

Transparency Code compliance for smaller authorities (below £25,000 and over £200,000)

Employer’s Liability insurance

Approved budget

Asset Register 

Declarations of Acceptance of Office for Councillors and the Chair.

Q. We are a small council – should we have any committees?

A. Yes. You are an employer and should have as a minimum a Staffing Committee with delegated powers to deal with staffing matters (the delegation should be clearly set out in Terms of Reference for the committee).  In accordance with ACAS guidelines, you need to be able to make decisions regarding discipline, grievances, employment changes and the employee may have a right of appeal to either full council or another appeal committee.  Failure to follow ACAS guidelines may leave the council at risk of adverse judgements at Employment Tribunal if a case is taken. 

Q. Our Clerk is self-employed and submits invoices every month so why do we need a staffing committee?

A. Clerks cannot work for a council on a self-employed basis they must be an employee.  HMRC specified this in their Employment Income Manual - EIM67300 - Tax treatment of Parish and Community Council Clerks in England and Wales: assessment of payments to clerks.  Parish Councils must operate PAYE arrangements, be registered as an employer and notifying HMRC through real-time information every time they are paid wages/salary.  They must also be registered with The Pension Regulator.  

Q. How often do Declarations of Acceptance of Office need to be completed?

A. On taking office after being elected or co-opted onto the council as a councillor and this does not have to be repeated again until the start of a new term such as this May’s elections if they stand again.  The Chair must complete a Declaration of Acceptance of Office on taking office as Chair and again every May if elected again each year.  The document is always kept by the Proper Officer/Clerk – it does not need to be sent to the District/Borough Council. 

Q. Do we have to have our own Code of Conduct or can we use our District / Borough Council’s Code of Conduct?

A. The Localism Act 2011 S.27 (3) says you can adopt your District /Borough Council Code of Conduct.

27 Duty to promote and maintain high standards of conduct

(1) A relevant authority must promote and maintain high standards of conduct by members and co-opted members of the authority.

(2) In discharging its duty under subsection (1), a relevant authority must, in particular, adopt a code dealing with the conduct that is expected of members and co-opted members of the authority when they are acting in that capacity.

(3) A relevant authority that is a parish council—

(a) may comply with subsection (2) by adopting the code adopted under that subsection by its principal authority, where relevant on the basis that references in that code to its principal authority’s register are to its register, and

(b) may for that purpose assume that its principal authority has complied with section 28(1) and (2).

Q. Do we need Public Liability Insurance?

A. Every Council should maintain a risk register and within that decide how much of the risk they will self-finance and how much risk is covered by insurance.  Larger councils often do this and can afford to cover amounts that for a smaller council would be impossible to pay without insurance, for example, a person walks on a playing field and injures their leg due to uneven ground and sues for £20,000.  An insurance company will want to know how often you check the land.  Another resident sits on a bench and gets an injury from damage.  The claim for compensation could be passed over to the insurer to deal with. 

Q. Does the Council have to deal with every complaint? 

A. No.  The Council should ensure that the Complaints Policy/Procedure makes it clear that complaints about Councillor Conduct must go to the Monitoring Officer, criminal matters must go to the Police, complaints about errors or concerns about financial matters and lack of transparency should be taken to the External Auditor.  

Q.  An individual is asking for documents and information about a project we are managing.  Do we have to provide the information requested?

A. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to parish and town councils.  LALC recommends that councils adopt a policy and specify that the Clerk is delegated to deal with most requests. Once the decisions are made on what information is held and provided and what is not being provided because it is either exempt or not held then any complaint / appeal is handled by a committee.  If the requester is still unhappy, they can then take it to the Information Commissioner to consider. 

Q. We did a review of the Asset Register and found three things missing bought in 2017, 2019 and 2021 and an asset we disposed of in 2020.  What should we do?

A. Update the Asset Register with the items added from the date of acquisition and remove the item disposed of from the date of disposal.  The new total value will be shown on the latest Annual Financial Return on AGAR form, and you will need to ‘restate’ the previous year’s asset figure to the correct figure for that financial year.  

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Lincolnshire Community Speed Watch

The fee for the passive signs increased in February and Lincolnshire Community Speed Watch now charge £20 per sign.  

They have been charging £10 since 2018 but have needed to increase the price for two reasons:

i) the production costs have increased significantly over recent years and

ii) more importantly we have now purchased signs with significant improvements in the way they are manufactured.  This will ensure they do not fade and weather in the way that some others have previously.