Headlines: September 19th, 2008

A parish council in Shrophsire has become the first to gain re-accreditation under the revised scheme for Quality Parish status run by the National Association of Local Councils. The accolade has gone to Lawley and Overdale council, which has taken steps to give local people a stronger voice in its decisions.

The revised Quality Parishes Scheme was launched in May after being updated and strengthened by the NALC so that it could continue to be seen as the benchmark of a well-managed, active and representative local council. The changes were designed to reflect what the Association saw as the growing dynamism and the enhanced role and influence of the first tier of local government. The scheme also aims to help local councils improve their management systems, communicate with their communities and work more closely with principal authorities.

Karen Roper, the Chief Executive, Shropshire Association of Local Councils, said Lawley and Overdale was one of the first applications judged by the Shropshire panel under the original scheme in October 2003 and she was pleased it was now the first local council in the country to achieve re-accredidation.

Sharon Clayton, Clerk to Lawley and Overdale said it was delighted to lead the way as the first local council to be re-accredited and proud to have been a Quality Council since 2003. ” Explaining their latest success she added, “In response to the new requirements, our council now has a Community Engagement Strategy in place, which outlines how we shall give our local community a better deal on local services and a stronger voice on decisions that affect their day to day lives”

The council, she said, had also adopted a Training Statement of Intent. “We acknowledge that it is equally important to train both members and staff in order to adequately carry out our role in an efficient and professional manner,” she said.