Innovate and Cultivate Fund Applicant Advice Session

Do you want to talk through your idea for Cambridgeshire County Council’s Innovate and Cultivate Fund before you submit your application? If so, book a place on their Innovate and Cultivate Fund Advice Session on Thursday 8 February, 9.45am – 12pm at Ely Community Centre.

The aim of the fund is to support initiatives that strengthen our communities and reduce pressure on County Council services, thereby giving a return on investment. Council services that are inviting applications include adult social care, children and families services, and the waste service.

So how do you apply?
The fund is open to voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations based in and outside of Cambridgeshire, and public sector organisations in Cambridgeshire.

The Innovate and Cultivate Fund has two funding streams: a ‘Cultivate’ stream for small grants of £2,000 – £10,000 and an ‘Innovate’ stream for larger grants of up to £50,000. Deadlines for the next round of applications are:
• 9 March – large Innovate grants
• 1 May – small Cultivate grants

Applications and further information about the fund may be found on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website.

Book an Innovate and Cultivate Fund application advice appointment
Please book here for a one-to-one application advice appointment to discuss your project ideas with a relevant service expert. You may also book a group advice session on writing a good application or sourcing data to support your application.

Please note, we are expecting the appointments to be in high demand and whilst we are making every effort to fit in as many people as we can, if you do not make an appointment in advance it is unlikely you will be able to be seen by one of our experts on the day.

If you have any queries about the application advice sessions please email Cambridgeshire Community Foundation can answer questions about applying for the Fund

External Auditor Appointments for 2017/18

SAAA, Smaller Authorities' Audit Appointments

External audit for smaller authorities (under £6.5 million).

Under powers set out in Regulation 3 of the Local Audit (Smaller Authorities) Regulations 2015, Smaller Authorities Audit Appointments (SAAA)  is the sector led company appointed by the Department of Communities and Local Government as the ‘specified person to appoint local auditors’ and as the Sector Led Body (SLB) for smaller authorities.

Under the regulations, SAAA is responsible for appointing external auditors to applicable opted-in smaller authorities, for setting the terms of appointment for limited assurance reviews and for managing the contracts with the appointed audit firms.

The external auditor for Cambridgeshire will be PKF Littlejohn.

The Annual Return will now be known as the ‘Annual Governance and Accountability Return’ and will need to be completed in accordance with “proper practices” as set out in “Governance and Accountability for Smaller Authorities in England, a Practitioners’ Guide”, and then published in accordance with the applicable Transparency Codes.

The new forms will be sent out electronically by your appointed auditor at the end of the financial year. The return can either be completed electronically or printed off and filled in by hand. If you are not willing or able to receive the documents electronically you need to specifically advise the SAAA of this by 31st December, 2017.

Advice and assistance is available from the sector specific membership organisations as detailed below.

National Association of Local Councils –                                                            (County Association –

Society of Local Council Clerks –



Local Council Conference Report


The Local Council Conference was held at the Burgess Hall, St Ives on Friday 17th November. There were 165 delegates in attendance from across the County  representing 73 different parish and town councils split across the district. East Cambridgeshire 9 (22.5%); Fenland 6 (37.5%); Huntingdonshire 38 (32.5%); Peterborough 2 (17%) and South Cambs 30 (29%).

The speakers at the event were Jonathan Owen from the National Association of Local Council’s (NALC) gave a presentation on the future of local councils and the role of NALC in working towards national improvement. The presentation is available here. Chief Executive Gillian Beasley gave an address focusing on the work that has been carried out over the last year which has led to the launch of the Local Council Development Plan which is the first of its kind in Cambridgeshire. A copy of the Plan is available here. Councillor Steve Criswell from Cambridgeshire County Council spoke about how the application process for the Innovate and Cultivate Fund has been refreshed, making it easier to apply for smaller pots of funding by splitting the fund in two. Further information about the fund can be found here.

Conference Feedback showed that 85% of attendees rated the Conference overall as ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’ and 81% of attendees rated the content of the Conference as ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’.

Comments from attendees included:

“Nice relaxed event with useful networking opportunities and appropriate, helpful context. Thank you”.

“Continue with these conferences – really useful for clerks and councillors. Thank you”.

“Consideration should be made to making this a full day event including lunch so that delegates can attend all of the workshop sessions”.

“Good range of exhibitors”

“Enjoyed variety of stalls”

Market Place Stalls

15 different companies or organisations were represented in the market place each offering different services which could be of help to local councils. Feedback from attendees on the range of stands was excellent.

Conference Facilities

There were a number of negative comments about the venue leading us to conclude that next year’s event will need to be held in a different location.  The main points raised were:

  • Poor screen quality in the main hall, the Powerpoint presentations were mostly unreadable for both the main speakers and the workshop presenters.
  • Inadequate disabled access to the conference hall and to the upstairs rooms.
  • The main hall and meeting rooms were cold.
  • The refreshments were insufficient for such a long morning.


Four workshops were held during the morning covering the topics ‘Digital Transformation’, ‘Improving the Performance of Your Council’, ‘Involving Your Community’ and ‘Funding Projects’. All of the workshops were well attended and the feedback was very positive.

“I thought the digital presentation was fantastic and insightful”

“Excellent role-play highlighting problems.”

“As a result of the workshop I am hoping we will be able to run Parish Councillor Drop-in surgeries with an aspiration to include District & County Councillors in due course”.

“Good speakers who complimented each other well and engaged the audience”.



On the whole the conference was well received and appreciated by the majority of the delegates and is worth repeating.  With regards to future events, consideration needs to be given to the venue in terms of size, location and facilities or whether to alter the format of the conference.

Thank you to all who attended and contributed on the day!


Cambridgeshire Local Council Development Plan 2017-2022 Realising the potential of town and parish councils to improve the lives of people in Cambridgeshire


The Local Council Development Plan was launched at the Local Council Conference which was held at the Burgess Hall, St. Ives on Friday 17th November 2017. The plan is the first of its kind in Cambridgeshire and acts as a starting point for the sharing of ideas, ambitions and aspirations for Cambridgeshire’s local council sector. Local councils have the power to raise a precept and can make a significant impact on their communities through the use of a number of discretionary powers.

As a result of the surveys which were carried out early in 2017, the development plan  has been written to address the needs which were highlighted by the clerks and councillors who responded. These actions include such things as producing template induction packs for clerks and councillors and holding a series of networking events across the district.

The Local Council Development Plan Document is available to read here.

Diane Bayliss

Town and Parish Council Development Officer

24th November 2017

Local Development Plan Consultation


Over the last year, organisations and representatives from county, district and town and parish councils have been working together to devise a development plan for the local council sector (the first tier of local government). This plan is the first of its kind in Cambridgeshire and acts as a starting point for the sharing of ideas, ambitions and aspirations for Cambridgeshire’s local council sector.

A copy of the draft Cambridgeshire Local Council Development Plan 2017 – 2021 is attached/can be downloaded here.

We now wish to consult with councillors, clerks and others on how well the plan and the actions identified will help support the development of the sector over the next 5 years. All comments will be gratefully received and will be used to inform a final version of the plan. Please visit to access a feedback form to submit your comments to us by Friday 10th November.

The Development Plan will be launched at the Cambridgeshire Parish Council Conference on Friday 17 November 2017. If you wish to attend the conference and have not yet booked, you can register at:

We would be grateful if clerks can circulate this email to all councillors in their parish so they might give their views too.

On behalf of the Stakeholder Group, we look forward to receiving your views and hope to see you at the Conference in November.

Kirsten Bennett

CEO Cambridgeshire ACRE