Independent Group Leader's Bulletin: 14 February 2020

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

14 February 2020


Dear colleague,

This week
Two Green Baronesses were busy on our behalf this week in the House of Lords. I met with Baroness Jenny Jones and with Baroness Natalie Bennett, our newest LGA Vice President, to discuss which issues we can work most effectively with them. Natalie went on to speak in the debate on protecting British woodlands from disease and how to increase woodlands using British stock. It’s a great debate for our councils as well, with some powerful speeches to make.

On behalf of the LGA, I met with the United Nations (UN) British contingency this week. It is 75 years since the UN was created straight after the war, in a bid for a mechanism to encourage world peace. It followed VE Day, working to secure a peaceful future. The 17 sustainable development goals have been adopted by the LGA and by a number of councils, using them to support our work on education, local economies and living sustainably. A series of events are planned to mark UN75, to raise the importance of solving the bigger problems with local actions that are connected globally. To be part of the conversation, please spend a few minutes at

If you would like to organise an event, please let us know. The group is offering UN representatives as speakers or you may want to run a Music for Peace festival. You might want to link your event to VE Day, or run a separate event on Charter Day (26 June), UN Day (21 October) or the final signing date (10 January 2021). Let us know what you think.

We held our Climate Conference today which was excellently attended, with lots of ideas and best practice shared. Slides and updates from the conference will be added to the Seminar page on our website early next week. Thank you to all who attended and contributed to such an inspiring day.

Queen's New Year Honours 2021
Each year councils are invited to make recommendations for the Queen’s Honours. If you know of a councillor who has gone above and beyond their role to make a real difference in their community or region, please consider putting them forward. We are developing a fact sheet to assist you in the nomination process, including advice on how to draft a citation. In the meantime, contact the group office with any queries. You can nominate all year round but for the next New Year’s Honours, the suggested deadline for submissions is 23 March 2020.

Motions library        
We are developing a motions library on our website. If you have any motions you would like us to add to this resource please send the link to your motion on your council website to

We are continuing to liaise with Public Health England, the Department for Health and Social Care and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government regarding the evolving situation with the Coronavirus. I know many of us are being asked about this by our residents so the LGA has created a hub of information and will keep this updated with Government advice.

Government reshuffle 
As you will have seen, there was a Cabinet reshuffle with Rishi Sunak appointed as the new Chancellor – someone we’ve worked with before on local government issues. Robert Jenrick continues in his position as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government but he has a new team made up of Christopher Pincher as Housing Minister, Simon Clarke and Luke Hall. We will be in contact with all of the relevant new appointments, setting out our members’ priorities.

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

13 March 2020, 11am - 1pm: Independent Group Information and Development Seminar, London or via phone/video conference - This factual session will be on electoral law.

15 May 2020, 11am - 1pm: Independent Group Information and Development Seminar, London or via phone/video conference - This session will focus on planning, specifically local and neighbourhood plans.

6 November 2020: Hold for the Independent Group Annual Conference, London.

12 November 2020: LGA Peer Conference, for all peer members, Sheffield