Independent Group Leader's Bulletin 25 October 2019

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

25 October 2019


Dear friends and colleagues,

Big issues affecting our councils
On Wednesday desperately sad news broke of the deaths of 39 people in a sealed refrigerated lorry. This tragedy has highlighted some of the real challenges facing our smaller ports.

This week has been especially busy in Parliament with the House of Commons debating the Prime Minister’s deal. Boris Johnson has, after all, had to ask for an Article 50 extension to allow MPs to examine the deal in more depth. With 31 October deadline now looking unachievable, the Prime Minister has requested Parliament call a General Election under the Fixed Term Parliaments Act for 12 December. A two-thirds Commons majority is required and we will find out on Monday if we will have a December General Election.

Managing conflict
Last Friday we held an Independent Group Information and Development seminar on managing conflict, and you can download the presentation from this useful session. The seminar gave suggestions on how to spot and head off causes of conflict, build relationships and create consensus.

We have an ongoing programme of Information and Development seminars. Our next session, on 6 December, will focus on budget setting. Please email if you would like to attend.

Regional events: new leaders in the North East and Uttlesford
This week we enjoyed our North East regional meeting in Stockton-on-Tees and were joined by three Independent council leaders who gave their reflections on their first 100 days as leaders. We also had a session on what effective scrutiny looks like and what councils are putting in their action plans to help tackle climate change.

Also this week we held a mentoring and training day for the new leadership team at Uttlesford District Council. This is just one of the many types of support the LGA can provide. Find out more about our support offers here.

Our Independent Group members are now in control of 31 councils and in administration of 69 councils. We have been particularly successful in areas where our members have been working hard on the ground, gathering solid support and good candidates.

Dwellings refused on air quality
Interestingly, in Newington, Kent, the council refused a development of 330 dwellings and an extra care facility; and the developers were unsuccessful in attempting to overturn this at the Court of Appeal who supported the council’s decision. The development has been rejected based on poor air quality from the resulting extra traffic on a nearby busy road. Independent councillor, Mike Baldock, gave evidence in the case taken on by CPRE. This landmark decision affects our Local Plans and encourages greater efforts in our monitoring of air quality, including particulates.

Sample action plans for your council
A useful new toolkit is online to assist councils in creating a climate action plan. It is important to find things that match your area and look at the whole impact of climate action measures.

Next week
Our Executive members have a busy week and I look forward to seeing many of you at the Annual Independent Group conference at the LGA on Friday 8 November. It is always a really good event. A number of people are coming the evening before and you may like to join us. Can you fit something in your diary?

For those of you yet to sign up, please do register for free here.

Many thanks and 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

Join us on 8 November for our annual group conference. Hear from experts, take part in skills workshops, debate the key issues affecting councils and network with Independent, Green and smaller party councillors from across the country. This event is free for members to attend and includes lunch and a drinks reception.

Register your attendance.

Information and Development Seminars

Join us in London or via video conference to take part in our next workshop on budget setting, on 6 December, 11am-1pm.

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 as follows:

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

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