Weekly message from John Austin, ADSO Chair

We love talking about the weather in this country so let’s not disappoint. I was going to open this week’s message with the following “Thankfully the storms seemed to have passed” but I’m not so sure now.   Many parts of the country are still flooded and/or are facing a massive clean up operation with more rain expected. If you have been affected, we wish you well and hope things get back to normal as quickly as possible. I have just driven through the Lake District and was met with bright sunshine, sleet, a bit of snow, strong winds and rain all in the space of about 20 minutes.

You will have seen in last week’s Democracy Direct that we have awarded the training administration contract to East Midlands Councils. We are very much looking forward to working with them to develop our training offer. We are currently formalising the agreement and will then be focusing on promoting the 2020 training programme, which should be on the website within the next few weeks. Some of you may know that Susan Biddle, our Director of Training, is currently indisposed following an operation, so please direct any training enquiries to me until further notice. I’m sure you will join me in wishing Susan a very speedy recovery and we look forward to having her back with us as soon as possible.

Susan is planning a trainers’ ‘get-together’ in London on 4th June. If you are a trainer and haven’t responded to her invitation, please do so as soon as you can.

Thanks to all those who have completed the members’ survey.  I have been through the responses received to date and there is a lot of excellent feedback.  The survey is still open, so please complete it if you haven’t already (accessible in the next section below). It is really important that we have your feedback.

One of the messages we received from the feedback was that some members are not aware of the free financial advice service we offer from Lycett Law Wealth Management (please note you will need to be logged in to access this page) https://www.adso.co.uk/financial-advice-members/. Those of you who attended conference may have visited their stand and it’s certainly something we have promoted previously through Democracy Direct.  The service is very useful if you want advice, for example on your pension.  Alastair Lycett had produced a case study on the local government pension scheme, available on our web page here, which members may find useful in setting out the various issues you need to be aware of and take into account when deciding what to do in such circumstances.  Please note that the case study is purely an example and is based on a fictitious individual working for an authority.  If you want to find out more or ask any particular questions, Alastair’s contact details are at the end of the case study.

ADSO Directors attend as many regional meetings as we can.  I have attended a number recently and found them an excellent way to meet members, exchange views, receive updates on topical issues and discuss what you want from your professional association.  My thanks to all the regional representatives who work so hard to organise meetings and put together interesting agendas.  Thanks also to those who host the meetings at their council offices.  I understand the problems with getting time out of the office these days but if you can get to a meeting, I think you’ll find it very worthwhile.  And you get a free lunch!

I have advised previously that ADSO has been working with Lawyers in Local Government and the Society of Local Council Clerks on the recommendations from the Committee on Standards in Public Life Report published 12 months ago.  This has included re-drafting the Toolkit for Parish and Town Clerks and discussing with the LGA the content of the new Code of Conduct.  Some ADSO members attended the LGA consultation events on the new Code in January.  We understand that the LGA now has a draft Code which will be considered by its members sometime in March.  We hope then that stakeholder groups such as ADSO will be consulted on the draft before the intended launch at the LGA Conference in June.  But the process is very much in the hands of the LGA.  Watch this space and I’ll update you further as soon as we have some more news.

Anyway, that’s all from me until next time.

All the best,

John Austin
ADSO Chair


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