Chairman's Newsletter :

APRIL 2005

 

1.             This Newsletter updates members about progress made by the Association since March 2000. The Chairman apologises to members for not being able, due to other work commitments, to send out any Newsletters since 2000.Information has, however, continue to be placed on the BALGPS website : www.balgps.org.uk , as it is easier to keep the same up-to-date and relevant for internet users.

 

2.              The Chairman appreciates that not all members will have access to the Internet. This Newsletter, therefore, summarises some of the important information available on the website. Any member wishing to place information on the website should provide the Chairman with relevant details in electronic form, for ease of uploading. Articles of general interest to members are always welcome.

 

3.             Association's membership :  The Association's database now stands at about 110 members. Membership is slow and as we are not a very active organisation – save for website annual charges - I am seriously considering the reduction or total abolition of the membership fee. Your thoughts on this approach would be most welcome.

 

4.             Bar Council News: In May 1999, the Chairman, after a direct approach to Dan Brennan (the then Chairman of the Bar Council), was co-opted to represent the Association on the Bar Council. In addition, the Chairman was also a member of the highly prestigious Working Group, chaired by Lord Alexander, which looked into the future composition of the Bar Council. The Bar Council approved the Working Party’s report and, since 2000, the Chairman has been a member of the Bar Council, as of right. A General Guide has been produced by the Bar Council for employed barristers, along with FAQs. Both are now available to view via our website.

 

5.             AGM & Elections: In addition to the Chairman and the Honorary Secretary, Robert Posner, LB of Bexley, the following members were elected  to the Executive Committee in 2000: Vice-Chairman & Honorary Auditor:  Julie James, Swansea City Council ; Public Relations Officer:  Marina Lipscomb;  Elected Members:  Jonathan Teasdale and Tunji Fahm. Anyone wishing to become an active member of the Executive Committee is encouraged to contact the Chairman and/or Honorary Secretary. Otherwise, it is proposed that the same members continue to be members of the Executive Committee for the foreseeable future. This approach - although not perfect - will assist in ensuring continuity and avoid expenditure on uncontested elections. I am, however, happy to reconsider this approach, if some members object to this proposal.

 

6.             ‘News on the web’ for 2005 - Further details (including the Chairman’s PowerPoint slides used at some of these Conferences) are available for downloading from the website at www.balgps.org.uk ….

 

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2nd & 3rd November 2005, Copthorne Tara Hotel Kensington, London, Association of Council Secretaries & Solicitors Annual Conference -  The Chairman may be a contributor to this conference.

 

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5th & 6th September 2005, ICC Birmingham : Standards Board for England's '4th Annual Assembly of Standards Committees 2005' - The chairman is a contributor to this conference.

 

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22nd June 2005, London : LexisNexis Butterworth's Conference on 'Local Government Law Update 2005' . £100 public sector discount and the Chairman is chairing this Conference.

 

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18th May 2005, London : Local Government Chronicle's Conference on 'Complying with the Freedom of Information Act' . The chairman is a speaker at this Conference.

 

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20-21 April 2005, London : Ark Group's  'FOI SOS - Managing and responding to FOI and EIR requests post-implementation' Conference.

 

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13 April 2005 - 7 December 2005: Applying for Judicial Appointments - Special Courses for barristers.

 

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6 April 2005 : ODPM Parliamentary Committee's Report on 'The Standards Board for England and the Ethical Framework for Local Government' was published today. The full report is at: www.publications.parliament.uk/. The Chairman favours local investigation and determination by local Standards Committees, with more complex or sensitive cases being referred by local Standards Committees to the SBE.

 

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4April 2005 : Birmingham Elections Courts - A High Court Judge, Richard Mawrey QC,  delivered his judgement in the two Electoral Petitions brought against 6 Councillors elected at the local elections in 2004. The Judge found that there had been widespread and systematic postal ballot fraud in the two wards. He disqualified the 6 Councillors and a local agent for corrupt and illegal practices. The Judge praised the Chairman, as follows: -

"...it is hard to imagine a more impressive witness. He is not only a well respected local authority lawyer, he is a member of the General Council of the Bar and the lead officer for the Association for Council Secretaries & Solicitors, which is a national body, representing Chief Legal Officers. I would take his integrity as being beyond question....on the essential questions I unhesitantingly accept his evidence."

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15th March 2005A general update report on the Civil Registration Review was provided by Tony Elwood.

 

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14th March 2005The Chairman's Legal & Democratic Services Department at Birmingham City Council was awarded Local Government Chronicle's 'Legal Team of the Year Award 2005' at a prestigious awards ceremony, in London, hosted by Lenny Henry,

 

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8th March 2005Bar Council issues guidance to the Bar on the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

 

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5th March 2005: A new Frequently Asked Questions has been added to the website. It contains relevant extracts from the Bar Council website's FAQs on Conduct &  Ethics.

 

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1st March 2005Chairman's Guidance to Birmingham City Councillors & Chief Officers on Elections is on the website.

 

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26th February 2005 - Savoy Place, London - OPM / CIPFA / Joseph Rowntree Foundation Conference on "Good Governance in Public Services - Securing public value and the public interest!" -  The chairman was a contributor to this conference.

 

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27th January 2005 : The Chairman was one of the speakers at the 'Ethics in Local Government' Conference in London.

 

          Members' continued support and assistance is most appreciated.

Mirza Ahmad, Chairman

 

c/o Chief Legal Officer,

Birmingham City Council,

Ingleby House, 11-14 Cannon Street,

Birmingham B2 5EN

chairman@balgps.org.uk

0121 303 9991