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Town council gets Quality Status

PUBLISHED: 09:00 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:32 01 August 2010

THE soon-to-retire Beccles town clerk has fulfilled her last goal by helping the council gain Quality Town Council Status.

Berenice Broom, who will retire in May, led the charge to get the accolade and was rewarded on Tuesday when the council was finally presented with the certificate.

THE soon-to-retire Beccles town clerk has fulfilled her last goal by helping the council gain Quality Town Council Status.

Berenice Broom, who will retire in May, led the charge to get the accolade and was rewarded on Tuesday when the council was finally presented with the certificate.

The council is only the second in Waveney to have achieved the award, and one of only 14 in Suffolk. It recognises the council's overall excellence, and will give them more clout to apply for grants.

“It's like passing an exam,” explained Mrs Broom. “You get taken more seriously by the district and county council. But it's also for the town to know that the council is taking its responsibilities seriously. It shows the residents that the council is trying to do its best for the town.

“This was one of the things I wanted to do before I retire and it's happened.”

In order to achieve Quality Status for the council, the town clerks first have to achieve a Certificate in Local Council Administration (CILCA), which Mrs Broome and deputy town clerk Jula Janney passed two years ago.

Then Mrs Broom spent many weeks compiling a portfolio on which the council was tested on a number of subjects, including electoral mandate, qualifications of the clerk, council meetings, training, annual reports, accounts, and the Code of Conduct.

She also had to prove that the councillors were proactive in the community, listening to residents and acting on their concerns.

The council will be tested again in two years' time to ensure it has kept up its standards and that it has fulfilled the goals it has set.

“I'm really pleased for myself that I managed it and really chuffed for the town because it's an accolade for the town,” said Mrs Broom. “They've got a proactive council that cares.”

The Quality Parish and Town Council scheme was launched in June 2003, following the publication of the Government's Rural White Paper, 2000.

Having achieved the accolade, the council will now proudly put a green “Q” on their letter heads.

Mrs Broom and Jack Walmsley, mayor of Beccles, received the award from Shoana Bendix, chief executive of the Suffolk Association of Local Councils, at the town council meeting on Tuesday evening.

She said Beccles was an impressive and active council that thoroughly deserves the award.

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