Headlines: November 30th, 2007

The number of parish or town councils gaining Quality Status has now reached 500 since it was launched in June 2003, following the Government’s Rural White Paper. The National Association of Local Councils has congratulated Church Stretton Town Council from Shropshire as the latest to achieve the benchmark.

The NALC believes Quality Status offers an important opportunity for power and influence to be given to communities, through neighbourhood vehicles such as parish councils. The scheme has established minimum standards for local councils to enable them to be better at representing the areas they serve. It also aims to improve relationships between the councils, principal authorities and community and voluntary sector organisations.

Ken Cleary, the chairman of the NALC, was pleased that Quality Status had enabled 500 parish and town councils to become more powerful advocates and deliverers of services for their local communities. “We know that there over 2,000 councils waiting to come on stream and become Quality Councils, after they have passed these robust tests,” he added.

Church Stretton has become the 16th local council in Shrophsire to achieve the status and its Clerk, Christine Harvey, said, “The Town Council has worked hard towards this goal, seeking to provide excellent services at best value in order to meet the needs and improve the well being of all the residents of the town.” She added that the council would now be aiming to build on this success to become even more proactive and efficient.