National Association of Councillors Northern Ireland Region
National Association of Councillors Northern Ireland Region Sketrick House Jubilee Road Newtownards BT23 4YH t: 028 9181 9413 e: naoc@btconnect.com
t: 028 9181 9413
I f   you   have   any   problem   or   query   relating   to   your work   as   a   councillor,   if   there   is   anything   you   think would   make   the   job   easier,   if   there   is   any   help   or support   we   could   give   you,   don’t   hesitate   to   get   in touch with us.
The National Association of Councillors communicate and provide information directly to our members by sending regular emails on topics that we feel are relevant to all Northern Ireland councillors.   We aim to assist our members by providing resources that will help them when working within their communities, and for carrying out the roles they may hold within their councils.  We also publish useful information and links here.
Universal Credit Advice NI made a presentation and prepared a Case Study Document for the National Association of Councillors NI in October 2018.  These documents cover many aspects of the scheme and highlight some of the problems that may be encountered by members of the public when making a claim.  This information should be useful for councillors when assisting constituents, within their local communities, with preparing applications and dealing with queries relating to these.  
AILG National Association of Councillors delegates met with the President, Cllr Damien Geoghegan and Co-Director Mr Tom Moylan of the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG) in August 2018.  AILG provided information on the development of their operation and the training and benefits available to the 949 elected members that span their 32 local government councils. They also provided an insight to their views on the possible effect of Brexit.
GDPR Following the introduction of the new GDPR regulations on 28 May 2018 a presentation was made to the National Association of Councillors’ members by Belfast City Councils’ Information Governance Unit.  This covered many aspects of the requirements under the new Data Protection and GDPR regulations. A summary of the Q & A session after the presentation is also available.  
Councillors’ Pension Scheme A presentation on the Local Government Pension Scheme NI was prepared and provided by NILGOSC for the National Association of Councillors.  It and other documents provided covered many aspects of the scheme which may be of interest to members whether they are already in the scheme or considering joining.
Email Sent                 Subject
16 January 2019
REMINDER - GDPR Registration/Renewal
15 January 2019
Social Enterprise NI Social Value Conference
14 January 2019
NILGA/DfC/NIAO Councillor Masterclass
08 January 2019
Local Government Pension Scheme – Consultation
19 December 2018
NAC Newsletter December 2018
11 December 2018
NAC UK Events Information for 2019
USEFUL LINKS
At the NAC UK Conference in January 2019 a presentation was made on Phasing Out Single Use Plastics.  You can view the presentation by clicking on adjacent image
naoc@btconnect.com
Campaigns 
National Association of Councillors Northern Ireland Region Sketrick House, Jubilee Road, Newtownards BT23 4YH Phone/fax: 028 9181 9413 Email: naoc@btconnect.com
028 9181 9413
National Association of Councillors Northern Ireland Region
If you have any problem or query relating to your work as a councillor, if there is anything you think would make the job easier, if there is any help or support we could give you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
Action on the Code of Conduct The NAC has a number of serious concerns about the Councillors’ Code of Conduct and we have been working to progress a review to include the changes that Councillors want to see made to the Code.  Earlier this year we wrote to the Secretary of State, Karen Bradley on this matter and we have recently followed up on this letter with a request for a meeting to discuss the Code of Conduct review process.
Reimbursement of GDPR Fees In our work to attempt to get all Councils to reimburse GDPR fees paid by Councillors, we surveyed all Councillors earlier this year.  At that time there were nine Councils not paying and following letters sent by NAC this has now reduced to five not paying. The six Councils that have agreed to reimburse Councillors GDPR fees to date are Antrim & Newtownabbey, Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon, Belfast City, Lisburn & Castlereagh, Mid & East Antrim and Newry, Mourne & Down.
Achievements
Code of Conduct Insurance Following lobbying by the National Association of Councillors, nine out of the eleven councils have now arranged Code of Conduct insurance for councillors. This means the councils will pay any legal costs incurred in contesting Code of Conduct complaints, provided the councillor is subsequently found not to have breached the Code. If a breach is confirmed however, the councillor will have to reimburse the council. The only two councils who have not yet arranged Code of Conduct insurance are Ards & North Down Borough Council and Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council. We are hoping that in due course all eleven councils will be providing insurance cover, as the financial burden on individual councillors could otherwise be considerable.
Tax exemption on travel expenses Tax exemption for councillors’ travel expenses came into effect from April 2016. The exemption applies to both income tax and national insurance contributions. Please check with your Finance Department if you think the exemption is not being applied.
DCA carers – widened eligibility
The Department for Communities has agreed on a broader definition of eligibility for paid carers under the Dependants’ Carers’ Allowance. Previous guidelines stated that no family member is eligible to be a paid carer. New guidelines permit as paid carer any family member who does not normally live in the household and is  not a parent/guardian of the dependent child. This means siblings, grandparents, non-resident children and other family members are now eligible. This change follows lobbying by the National Association of Councillors.
Items of concern for Northern Ireland’s Councillors are discussed at regular meetings by our Members and Executive Committee.   Decisions taken and unanimously agreed actions are then carried out by us on behalf of our Members.  Current campaigns that we are working on include:
Councillor Equality We are actively working to try to bring Councillors’ allowances and benefits closer to those received by other public representatives such as MLAs and MPs.  We would like to close this gap and have been lobbying for reviews in relation to Councillors’ remuneration, severance pay, pension, office facilities and equipment.  We feel that the current political situation is creating a bigger workload for Councillors as the public deem this to be their first port of call for connecting with government, and that the additional responsibilities that Councillors’ have taken on over recent years should to be given recognition by local government. 
Councillor Training NAC delegates are involved in meetings that relate to a review process which is being carried out for the evolvement of the Local Government Training Group.  We hope to have input on how training budgets will be used going forward so that Councillors can benefit by participating in courses and workshops relevant to the work they are carrying out and also update their knowledge and skills.
Achievements
As a result of Councillors acting collectively for their common interests, we have managed to achieve major improvements to councillors’ pay and conditions, such as:
Increases in Councillors’ allowances and faster payments Implementation of a pension scheme for Councillors Arranged for Councillors’ travel expenses  to be exempt from Tax and National Insurance Represented Councillors’ interests during the local government reorganisation by the formation of an Independent Remuneration Panel with increased councillors’ allowances for the new councils Achieved severance payments for Councillors See further details below: