The National Council for Lay Associations is consulted by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. The NCLA aims to respond to requests from the Bishops Conference and to bring matters of concern to the laity to their attention. It also acts as a forum for discussion and networking among lay organisations including the Newman Association.
Representitives from 23 lay apostolic member associations, representatives from nine liaison organisations, an Episcopal Advisor, a Chaplain, five officers and three lay advisors, form the council.
This Council convenes twice a year at Wistaston Hall, the OMI Retreat Centre in Crewe, over a two day conference during the first weekends of February and October.
Ideas, insights and experiences are shared on major issues of national concern, raised by the diverse network of organisations or by the Bishops' Conference. These conferences are followed by regional meetings in the north, midlands and south, so that a summary and recommendation can be compliled for the Bishops' Conference as one of its consultative bodies.
The Council fosters co-operation between member associations to strengthen their apostolate, is a member of the European Forum of National Laity Committees and has links with the Pontifical Council for Laity.