SLCC is proud to be able to congratulate its Academic Leader, Elisabeth Skinner, on her deserved appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the New Year Honours for services to parish councils.
For over 30 years, Elisabeth has helped to raise professional standards in parish, town and community (local) council clerks throughout England and Wales by formulating and delivering sector specific training and qualification opportunities at all levels, from induction to degree level. Working initially as Senior lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire and, more recently as SLCC’s Academic Leader, she has worked closely with sector stakeholders including the National Association of Local Councils, Local Government Association and Department for Communities and Local Government (now MHCLG) and has consulted with stakeholders to develop, write and secure agreement for the new national Local Council Award Scheme, which was launched by the Local Government Improvement and Development Board in January 2015.
She has revised and trained a national team to deliver the Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA) qualification which enables clerks to meet the ‘qualified clerk’ criteria specified in the Localism Act 2011. To date, more than 2,500 local council clerks have achieved the qualification thus permitting their councils to make use of the general power of competence to develop and deliver much needed services for the benefit of their local communities. She went on to tailor the CiLCA qualification to reflect the legislative differences under which community councils operate in Wales which was subsequently approved by the Welsh Government. She has written and developed a new online interactive e-training course (Introduction to Local Council Administration), enabling many part-time clerks to study from home supporting new clerks in the first few months of employment, as well as those hoping to go on and complete their CiLCA qualification. She was responsible for writing and updating the 2013 and 2018 editions of the Good Councillors Guide for England, as well as the 2012 edition of the Guide in Wales.
Commenting upon her award, Elisabeth said, “I have my creative colleague, Laurie Howes, to thank for giving me the opportunity to join him when I couldn’t find a school-teaching job in Gloucestershire in the 1980s. I have appreciated more than anything, the stimulation of helping individual officers and councillors, their councils and their communities to take on the challenges facing them in the 21st century. This award is, without doubt, the icing on the cake.”
SLCC Chief Executive, Rob Smith, added, “This honour is richly deserved recognition of Elisabeth’s long service, significant contribution and immense dedication to the sector, to the SLCC and to her students and colleagues. I know I speak for us all in offering her our warmest and heartfelt congratulations.”