Independent Group Leader's Bulletin: 30 October 2020

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

30 October 2020


Good afternoon, everyone.


Congratulations to all the councils shortlisted for the LGC Awards, and to the winners announced this week. It is great to spot where some good ideas are well presented and can be harvested. For example, Independent-led, rural Cornwall was short-listed for the Business Transformation Award and Bristol City, where we have a strong Green contingency, was shortlisted for campaigning. Congratulations also to those who just do a great job.

Leadership training

This week saw the start of our seventh cohort on our Independent Group Next Generation Leadership Training. A baker’s dozen of our group’s councillors from across the country have joined forces to test and extend their skills and knowledge, in discussion with some of the best trainers in the country. We seem to have made a successful transition in part to the online version, rather than the Warwick University Business Centre and made good progress, nevertheless. Two more weekends to go! If you would like to attend next year, let us know!

Thanks to last year’s cohort, who are going strong making a significant contribution to the work of our councils and supporting our group and the LGA. Indeed, many of our leading councillors are graduates of the course.

The Leadership Essentials also started this past week, run as a cross-party network, aimed at Council Leaders and Mayors.


COVID-19 continues to spread at an alarming pace. We have fortnightly Independent Group Leaders’ meetings and the LGA cross-party meetings with leading councillors across the country. This has helped us at the LGA keep a finger on the pulse and keep our ministers clear on what we need.

To get support for compliance of the public, we also raised the importance of transparency in the criteria applied to bring a council from one tier to another and back. We all need to be able to see the logic. This week, I also raised the importance of continued consistent messaging, not chopping and changing tiers, before the positive impact of the actions can be seen.

We are seeking further funding, especially in the wake of the refusal to fund children’s food during the school break, where families are below the “breadline”. Support needed for families, because of COVID-19, has outstripped the £63 million provided to councils in the Summer.

Concerns about reliability of a negative test result were raised and apparent lack of consistency in time required for isolation.  Here is the guidance on each COVID alert level as well as the postcode checker to understand the restrictions in your area. There is also new guidance for councils on enforcement in tier 3 areas.

Furlough ends

As furlough ends on 31 October, businesses and councils now need to apply for the new job support scheme. Find out more about support for businesses and the self-employed.

Mark your calendars: #CouncilsCan Day 10 November

The LGA’s second #CouncilsCan Day - an online campaign to highlight the critical role of local government during the pandemic and the urgent need for the Spending Review to provide councils with financial certainty, will take place on 10 November.

As part of the day, we are encouraging councillors and council staff to share the amazing work they have been doing over the past eight months by using the hashtag #CouncilsCan across their social networks. Resources to help councils promote #CouncilsCan Day are now available on our website. Separate information packs for councillors will be available next week. If you have any questions, or stories from your council you want the LGA to share on the day, please email


The Electoral Commission has published a set of resources to support you in raising public awareness at elections and explain the options on how to vote. Councillors standing or supporting others in May across the Country are getting very busy on local social media sites, just with sound information, useful links and positive support. Hopefully you are onto that too! Please copy us in on good news stories, so we can support and retweet them @LGA_independent.

Independent Group Conference: Friday 6 November

I hope to see everyone at our conference on 6 November. Register for our conference by using the link on the home page of the LGA Independent Group. Great speakers as always. Let’s make it the biggest Independent Group conference yet!

Wishing you the best of luck and every success.

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