Independent Group Leader's Bulletin: 24 July 2020

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

24 July 2020


Good Afternoon Colleagues,

As we have just one more week to the August break, Government moves on relaxing planning and towards local government re-organisation into mayoral authorities or unitaries are hot issues.

The LGA Chairman’s catch-up this week with leading councillors and Mayors from across the country covered finance and recovery, track and trace data quality, and a call for support of lost income due to the covid lockdown and pace of recovery.


The LGA work on planning is here and PAS’ work is here. It is vital that local voices are not disenfranchised from decisions that affect our daily lives. Planning helps everyone engage in getting the best solutions for our areas and is supporting development. Local Government knows our own areas best and it is vital that trusted councillors are at the heart of decision-making.


We have huge challenges with recovery and rearranging local councils into bigger unitary authorities with a Mayor seems to me a considerable distraction. Councils can, and already do, work together to make savings wherever possible, without losing their identity and local support. The Manchester deal is as they wanted, but presumably we do not want to all be Manchester lookalikes? At the LGA, we have consistently called for devolution of finance and powers to our local authorities. What do you think?

If you are a member of a District Council, you are invited to join the LGA Independent Group discussion on Tuesday 28 July 10.30am on devolution and reorganisation, hosted by our group’s District Council Network Think Tank.

Waverley Council in Surrey yesterday voted against a large unitary. We have saved their motion to our Resources Library in case you want to do something similar.

Election readiness

This week saw the first of our “Be a Councillor” Events, encouraging new people to support or stand, hosted by the Chase Independents, creating an excellent on-line model for a host of events across the country..

National discussions on the practicalities of elections next year have continued.

Think Tank Meetings

Two of our LGA Independent Group Think Tanks held successful meetings online this week; The Fire Services Management Committee Group, chaired by Cllr Ian Stephens, discussed the many facets of its work including building safety and the future role for fire officers. The Culture, Tourism and Sport group, chaired by Cllr Julian German, also met and have discussions ongoing around legacy from big sporting events and the need for a year-round visitor economy, feeding into their Autumn meeting. These help our lead members develop policy for the group and help shape issues and solutions for the LGA to call on Central Government. If you would like to get involved do let the office know, a list of our think tanks can be found on our website.

Code of Conduct

As you know, a draft new code of conduct for councillors is out for consultation now. This is important and includes possible sanctions. Please join our discussions if you can, I am chairing the first webinar on Wednesday 29 July with subsequent events on the 30 July and 5 August. If you are unable to join one of these events do send in your comments.

Wishing you all a nice weekend.

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

Group events

28 July, 10.30am – District councillors are invited to attend a session on devolution and what recent announcements might mean for your area. This session is chaired by Cllrs Jason Zadrozny and Zoe Nicholson, our lead members on the District Councils Network.

29 July, 1.30pm – Member in the East of England and East Midlands regions are invited to join our regional meeting

30 July, 10.30am – Members in the South East and London are invited to join our regional meeting

RSVP to any of the above events by emailing

Other LGA events

LGA events continue online, take a look at the LGA event website and sign up for free. Some events are highlighted below:

Reset, not restart: shaping the future of social care in light of COVID-19, 27 July 2020, 2.30pm - 4.00pm - ‘The LGA are running a webinar examining the legacy for social care coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a tragedy that it has taken a pandemic to put these challenges squarely in the public spotlight. But it has and we cannot allow this to be exacerbated by not taking this moment of national awareness and resolve to finally secure the longer-term reforms that are needed. Confirmed speakers include James Bullion, ADASS President, and Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board. Please click on the above link for further information and to book.’