Independent Group Leader's Bulletin: 20 September 2019

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

20 September 2019


Dear friends and colleagues,

Working locally in a national melee

I hope you are enjoying the autumn with lots of opportunities to be out and about consolidating your community connections. I see many are out canvassing for a General Election, with an announcement that could be imminent. 

Our regional session in Castle Donnington this week included work on campaigning and explored the subjects you may want to tackle on the doorsteps like housing and infrastructure, transport and climate change. We also heard from Ashfield Council about creating a cleaner environment with big litter pick campaigns, planting 1,000 trees in a community orchard by Christmas, attracting government funding and transforming high streets, a community warden scheme to improve safety, and attracting business and jobs that match what is needed locally. There are lots of initiatives across the country and the LGA will be gathering examples from members to share good practice.

One thing we can all agree on is that national politics is a mess. By contrast, our councillors are working hard to be beacons of what an Independent Group Council can do, focused on the things that matter to local people. At the LGA, we are focusing on getting the best possible arrangements in place for our residents. The ongoing delay in the adult social care green paper to get a secure long term future for children and adult social care is disappointing, along with the vacuum that currently exists as we wait for a new Queen’s Speech next month.

That’s why this week the LGA published our seven point plan to boost public services, including infrastructure and services to match the homes our communities need; greater devolution of powers and funding to our local areas, and giving councils oversight of local transport systems.

The LGA also published a councillor guide to tackling modern slavery, along with some good practice case studies of action taken by councils, which you might find useful.

Setting a vision

With our members in positions of power more than ever before, our latest development seminar is focused on vision setting. Slides will be available on the Resources section of our website next week. The seminar was held in the midst of the worldwide climate strike by youth concerned about the future of our planet.

The message and vision behind today’s action is clear: our councils and groups also need to articulate a clear vision, whether on climate issues, our local priorities, or the change we work to bring about.


As the public-facing Brexit campaign gets underway, my county council now has a Brexit toolkit available on the council's business support website. Earlier this week, Lincolnshire County Council was awarded £50,000 to explain Brexit to the business community, holding events like 'Is your business Brexit ready?' and preparation for exporting. You will be developing your own resources locally but in our efforts to be ready for 31 October you may also find the resources on the LGA Brexit advice hub and Government website useful.

Very best wishes to you all at this busy time. 

Kind regards,

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature
Councillor Marianne Overton MBE

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE
Leader of the Independent Group
Vice Chair of the Local Government Association

Dates for the diary

LGA Independent Group Annual Conference
8 November 2019, London

Join us for a day of insight, debate, workshops and networking. Professor Tony Travers and Nick Golding, Editor of the LGC, are already confirmed as speakers.

Reserve your free place via our conference website.

Information and Development Seminars

Join us in London or via video conference to take part in our workshops, followed by Green Party and Independent Network meetings:

  • 18 October – Managing conflict
  • 6 December – Budget setting

Regional meetings

Our autumn regional meetings begin soon, open to current members and prospective councillors within our membership. Led by our regional chairs and regional peers, these events are regionally focused and include discussion on the key issues affecting our members.

Dates already confirmed are:

  • 11 October – Uttlesford
  • 24 October – Stockton
  • 28 October – Taunton
  • 21 November – Manchester

To find out more or to RSVP to any of our events please email

In other news

Independent Members - share your views

Thank you to those who have already completed the research survey being conducted by academics in Suffolk. If you are an Independent councillor and have yet to respond, please do so. The questionnaire is short and will enable us to to promote Independents and our successes going forward.