NALC Update 8/4/2020: Coronavirus — information for parish & town councils

NALC has updated its dedicated webpage on the coronavirus. This includes confirmed Zoom discount rates for remote meetings, new regulations to extend audit deadlines, neighbourhood planning, more information on understanding how the new remote meetings regulations affect all local authorities and a correction on the small business grand funding scheme. See the updates below:

Discount for Zoom subscription

NALC is very pleased to have worked with the Crown Commercial Service so that local councils are included in the public sector organisations eligible to access a discounted package from Zoom. This discount means that councils can access the Pro plan for Zoom at £7.99 per month. The normal advertised rate for this package is £12.99. This discount is also available to county associations.

To access this discounted rate please email Zoom at jane.ross@zoom.us and quote contract number CCS 020A33. If asked which department or category you are related to please state the National Association of Local Councils.

Of course, councils can also choose to use the free service from Zoom — set up an account. If you do choose to use Zoom, there is a range of free information and training to help people use the platform which is definitely worth having a look at to help get you started.

New regulations to extend audit deadlines

Regulations related to local council audit timeframes were published on 7 April and will come into force on 30 April. These extend the statutory audit deadlines for 2019/20.  The Joint Practitioners Action Group (JPAG) will also provide an addendum to the Practitioners Guide to layout fully for councils the new time frames that the government has put in place.

Neighbourhood planning

The government has provided guidance where the coronavirus situation impacts on neighbourhood planning including the referendum process, decision-making, oral representations for examinations, and public consultation — find it by scrolling to the very bottom of the neighbourhood planning guidance.

Local Council meetings

For those interested in understanding how the new remote meetings regulations affect all local authorities – not just parish and town councils – Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) and the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO) have also produced guidance on the regulations on how they affect all local authorities – NALC was pleased to contribute to sections related to local councils.

Small business grant funding scheme

We previously included information on government small business grant funding schemes. Unfortunately, this funding is not eligible for organisations which raises a precept, so local councils would not be eligible

This information forms part of a NALC’s dedicated webpage on the coronavirus. It should not be used as a substitute for government advice, however, there are some practicalities specific to local (parish and town) councils where we hope this information will help you plan ahead and manage your risks. If you would like further advice and support on any of these topics for your local council then please contact your local county association. This is a fast-moving situation and we will be updating the webpage regularly.

Posted Sunday, 3rd July 2022