All town and parish clerks will know the story – the council has asked me to look at options and implications of doing … whatever it might be …… procurement of new pavilions, extra playing pitches, can you apply for grants, relocate the skate park, develop a new play area, can we lease the village hall to a CIO, sell the council offices and move somewhere cheaper, can we install new toilets in the old market square, etc. etc.
And you’re thinking; I only work 20 hours a week and I’ve got a stack of invoices to sort, two burials this week, the village hall lighting is on the blink again, VAT return needs doing, and it’s the council meeting again in two weeks, how am I supposed to find time to even think about the implications of putting a new toilet block in the market square.
That’s where LCC can help out, with its bank of experienced local government consultants able to provide bespoke project support for those occasional issues that might only crop up once every five to ten years.
Wootton PC is a good example.
The Parish Council had become concerned about its responsibilities for the condition of and the letting arrangements for the old Memorial Hall in the village. It wasn’t even sure it had proper ownership of it, although it was being expected to invest thousands in its upkeep.
The Clerk’s time was fully occupied on the council’s routine business and she didn’t have the time to investigate the full ownership background of the Hall or the land it stood on. Neither did she have the time to check out the validity of the arrangements with the voluntary group that had run the Hall since the 1960’s.
A quick chat with Angela at LCC identified an outline of the kind of support Wootton needed to give them the reassurance the council was looking for before it invested more time and money into keeping the Hall going. This was quickly followed up by an LCC regionally-based consultant with a phone conversation with the Wootton Clerk to scope-up exactly the nature and extent of support she needed and the end product the council was looking for.
Before the project got underway a written project plan was agreed by all parties detailing the scope of the work involved, a time frame for completing it, the staged and overall costs involved and the required output. Not until all this had been agreed and signed-off (either by resolution of the council or by delegation to the Clerk) was the go-ahead given for the project.
The Wootton project was completed in four days after careful searching of the parish council’s own records and those held at the Bedfordshire Records Office. The end result is that the parish council now has a clear picture of options for the future of the Memorial Hall together with an evidence-base to give it reassurance on what its liabilities and responsibilities are.
Contact LCC for more details or to receive a quote.