The original Governance Toolkit was created in October 2005 by a group of Monitoring Officers and Solicitors from the East Midlands Branch of the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors. It was designed primarily as an aide memoire for Parish and Town Council Clerks to help ensure good governance. It also met the authors' vested interest as an essential reference source for Monitoring Officers in their roles charged with promoting high standards of conduct within Town and Parish Councils.
The second version of the Toolkit set itself out to meet these needs in a more comprehensive way. Designed to be practical as well as informative; guidance notes could be down-loaded and given in leaflet format to parish councillors and template documents and forms can be "customised" by the clerk. Always intended to be an electronic document to make it freely available, its content was accessible through a series of interactive menus from which the user could choose to view the entire document or a specific section; this has not changed.
"Version 2" was launched at the Annual Monitoring Officers Conference in London on 2 February 2006 and was made available on websites and through wide distribution as a CD. It was well received across all sectors, winning the Municipal Journal Legal Achievement of the Year Award 2007.
This version is the third edition, now revised, updated and produced as a partnership between the National Association of Local Councils, the Society of Local Council Clerks, the Standards Board for England and the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors and is endorsed by the Local Government Association.
This remains a useful tool (which can be downloaded here) but it is also essential to remember that your Council's own Standing Orders have a wealth of information contained within for the operation of your Council and will always supersede what is written in the toolkit.