Welcome to your new SLCC podcasts

Our podcasts will offer you the chance to hear interesting stories and relevant insights from sector experts, fellow clerks, and other inspiring guests, with one-to-one interviews, chats and discussions offering thought-provoking content which you can listen to at work, home, the gym, or even in the car!

Choose to listen here, on Spotify or Apple podcasts!

Parish, town, and community councils play a vital role in local governance, and the role of a clerk is central to the success of the council. This podcast episode features Shaun Fishenden PSLCC, Clerk to Meopham Parish Council, and his Deputy Clerk, George Duffort StSLCC, as they discuss their journey into the world of parish councils from a young age. They share their experiences from both the clerk, and councillors perspectives, highlighting the importance of having a comprehensive understanding of both roles. They emphasise the need for clerks to have a deep knowledge of their community and to engage with various groups and volunteers.

The episode also explores strategies for attracting young people to the sector and enhancing community engagement through social media and networking. George and Shaun also highlight how having a network of fellow clerks available through their local branch can provide vital support when facing new challenges.

In this episode we talk to Donna Smith FSLCC, Clerk to Taunton Town Council and Marcus Prouse, Deputy Clerk who provide insights into how the newly created council in Somerset started out through a Community Governance Review, and evolved into what is now a local council successfully working with, and for its community.

The journey involved close collaboration with the principal authority and external experts and despite the lengthy challenges faced, the establishment of Taunton Town Council was successful, leading to a diverse council made up of experienced and new councillors.

In this episode we speak to Shivani H. Menon. Shivani is a Senior Researcher on Onward’s Levelling Up and Social Fabric programmes. She is co-author of the report ‘Levelling Up Locally’, and has worked on topics like philanthropic giving, devolution, vocational education, and economic strategy.

Shivani gives a detailed insight into the ‘Levelling Up Locally’ report and highlights how low cost, fast action policies can be implemented by local leaders with the resources that are already available, despite the financial hardships faced by local councils.

From protecting local community assets, high streets, and town centres to providing support to the most disadvantaged members of the community, Shivani discusses how a range of different policies can be applied to enable local councils to level up.

In this episode, we’re joined by Mark Galbraith, SLCC’s Former Wales Policy Liaison Officer, and Emma Smith, SLCC’s Welsh Advisor who will be taking over the Wales Policy Liaison Officer role.

Mark discusses the wide variety of projects and work he has completed following on from the Williams Commission Report on Public Sector Reform in 2012 that started his formal relationship with SLCC, from writing regular articles for The Clerk Magazine, to taking on the role of Wales Policy Liaison Officer. Mark also offers some advice and guidance to Emma on taking over the role.

At our National Conference last October, we had a chance to chat to the Chairman of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), Councillor Keith Stevens. NALC is a really important partner for SLCC, and here we can listen in on how the organisation works and how its hugely experienced Chairman uses his role to promote the work of England’s town and parish councils and campaign on their behalf.

Reducing serious violence and particularly murder are among top priorities for the government. Following a 30-year career in policing, retired Chief Constable, James Vaughan, has been appointed by the Home Secretary to chair a new national oversight committee, leading Offensive Weapon Homicide Reviews across England and wales, in a structured pilot to understand how we can prevent murder in adults.

In this epispode James will discuss recent upward trends in serious violence and how new measures such as the Violence Duty, Violence Reduction Units and Offensive Weapon Homicide Reviews are contributing to the response. We explore the vital role of local councils in working with other local partners to reduce violence and share some good practice on knife crime reduction from Dorset. James also reflects on the perception that knife-crime and serious violence is only a problem in large cities.

In this episode we’re joined by Tilly Lockey. Tilly is a multi-talented, hardworking rising star who has proven herself time and time again. Making a name for herself since she was 2 years old, overcoming her own battle with meningitis, and losing her hands but coming through with an admirable mindset, her past doesn’t define her at all.

Tilly speaks on her journey, the challenges she has faced and how she found confidence to want to achieve her dreams and beat any obstacle in her way. Far from only thinking of her own severe challenges in life, Tilly draws on the deep resources of her heroism as a woman who refuses to be held back or disadvantaged by physical disability.

In this episode we’re joined by Henry Massey, Chair to Broadclyst Parish Council in Devon. Henry shares his local council journey with us and highlights the wide range of work his and other parish councils are involved with, including local projects, raising the precept and being at the heart of planning and development.

In particular, he champions the importance of having a well-trained clerk to guide the council through the challenges that come with all of this alongside the running of services and facilities – that training is a real investment for the future of our communities.

In this episode, we’re joined by Helen Ball FSLCC, Clerk to Shrewsbury Town Council. Helen discusses her fascinating 25-year career where she started as a part-time clerk to a small parish council to now clerking for one of the largest councils in England. We discuss youth engagement, youth centre provision and working with external agencies, the challenges county lines brings, Martyn’s Law, and putting practices in place to ensure staff and the council are prepared for situations in future.

Meet Jane Olds, SLCC General Advisor, parish clerk and experienced internal auditor who is affectionately known as one of SLCC’s three Charlie’s Angels helping guide us through the world of local council audit.

Jane helps to demystify the Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR), explains the differences between internal and external audit, introduces a new qualification and shows how examining the effectiveness of procedures, controls and governance is fun.  All really useful, especially for those clerks working for smaller councils.

SLCC President, Linda Carter, Andrew Towlerton, National Planning Advisor, and Shelley Parker, External Affairs & Policy Development Manager talk to Sam Stafford, Planning Director at the British Home Builders Federation which represents 80% of the developers of all new homes built in England and Wales. This episode features an in-depth discussion about issues facing local councils and developers and the importance of working together at an early stage.

Various Level 4, 5 and 6 graduates from the 2023 Community Governance (CG) graduation ceremony highlight why they completed their qualification and how it has helped them to work within the local council sector.

Alistair Jones, Associate Professor from De Montfort University, discusses his role within the Community Governance (CG) qualifications, working as a liaison between SLCC and the university. He talks about the importance of the qualifications and how he examines academic standards.

David Preston shares his journey from market trader to Chief Executive of the National Association of British Markets (NABMA), as well as providing an insight into the benefits of markets for local councils and communities. Join this podcast to learn the importance of a Market Policy to detail your vision and to find out why initiatives such as Love your Local Market, are now celebrated by 25 countries around the world.

Shelley Parker FSLCC, SLCC External Affairs and Policy Development Manager, and Naomi Bibi, Head of Member Services, discuss crisis communications with Karen Ainley, lead trainer and CEO of Mosaic Media Training. Karen explains how to recognise a crisis and how you can prepare. We discuss the key components of a crisis communications plan, tips and tricks to creating one, and the skills you need to develop your key messages.

Andrew Towlerton, SLCC National Planning Advisor, discusses planning from the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill (LURB), the latest National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Prospectus and much more.

Ben Fogle is an award-winning broadcaster and adventurer. He has written nine Sunday Times Best selling books and is the United Nations Patron of the Wilderness and now he joins us at the 50th National Conference for local council clerks and senior council employees, to tell us about how action on climate change must move from engaging to enabling.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is a famously charismatic Paralympian and disability rights champion. One in a series of interviews we recorded at the SLCC National 50th Conference in November 2022.

We speak to our Academic Leader, Elisabeth Skinner MBE FSLCC, about the ‘qualified clerk’ and her work with promoting the Certificate in Local Council Administration (CiLCA) for local council clerks. Elisabeth talks about many subjects all of which are vitally important to the modern clerk.

Adrian Corder-Birch and Alan Fairchild talk with us about not only the 50 years of the SLCC, with the growth and challenges of managing clerks from 1972 to today – and touching on how the SLCC is helping clerks & councils tackle climate change.

Condescending comments, demeaning emails, disrupting meetings, reprimanding someone publicly, talking behind someone’s back, giving someone the silent treatment, not giving credit where credit is due, rolling eyes, and being yelled at, are regular occurrences for many councils. This podcast talks about the issues we face in our council roles.

We are facing a Change Challenge. One in a series of interviews we recorded at the SLCC National 50th Conference in November 2022.

Does your council care about the environment? That’s the question we ask Katherine in this episode. One in a series of interviews we recorded at the SLCC National 50th Conference in November 2022.

The inaugural podcast from the Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC), the professional body for local council clerks and senior council employees, and an interview with Rob Smith, SLCC Chief Executive.

If you would like to suggest any topics that you would like to hear, ideas for discussions, or would like to feature in an interview, please email [email protected].