Independent Group Leader's Bulletin: 6 November 2020

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local government association - independent group

Group Leader's Bulletin

6 November 2020


Dear colleagues,

This week, leading councillors from across the country were invited to question three ministers online about the Test and Trace and the forthcoming lockdown. There is recognition that the national “moonshot” test, trace and isolate has not worked well. Without use of local intelligence, or resources, people were asked to travel great distances, adding to the “no-shows”. You can follow the NHS Test and Trace performance tracker. Our call for more localised approach using the council’s skills is now being taken up in some areas, accompanied by appropriate funding. It is not a targeted approach on those most likely to be at risk, but it is now a localised one.

Lockdown guidance

Latest Lockdown guidance, passed in law today.

With schools and universities open, Lockdown 2 is less restrictive than the last one.

  • Open: food shops, DIY, gardening, anything “essential”, schools, playgrounds and universities, recycling centres
  • Closed: hospitality, but can do takeaway, libraries, leisure, churches

Whether it is in an outdoor market or not, same rules apply. Students are to stay at Uni and not go home.

Extremely clinically vulnerable are in lockdown and the upper tier councils receive a per capita funding of up to £32 million which they should share as appropriate to get the job done.

Local councillors across the country will be getting going again to ensure local support is there. Many of our COVID groups are converting to neighbourhood groups providing longer term support, still registering with the local resilience forum to get insurance and support.

Rough sleepers

Councils will be working to provide safe winter accommodation and wrap around services to support rough sleepers, helped by a new £15 million just announced.

Business grants

We called for support for our small businesses. District and unitary councils will be distributing Government grants of £1.1 billion; that’s around £20/head. Between £1,334 to £3,000 is for each rateable business forced to close for the month by these rules. Thresholds are at the rateable values of £15,000 and £51,000. There is a new grant for businesses who have suffered a reduced demand of 70 per cent as much as closed businesses, backdated to 1 August. It will be important to help make sure your businesses are registered and there may be some who fall between the cracks.

Advice on Remembrance Sunday

Many councils are doing an online version of Remembrance Sunday this weekend. Here are the Remembrance Sunday guidelines for a safe in-person service.

The EU Transition Board

Minister Luke Hall met with leading councillors on the EU transition Board, looking at what councils need in 56 days time.  In particular we are concerned about extra resources needed especially regarding ports, training in trading standards and issuing up to 35,000 fishery certificates. We are also pressing for urgent details on the UK Prosperity fund that will be equivalent of the EU Structural funds, but based on this Government’s priorities, we are told. We called for the funds to be delivered to democratic councils rather than LEPs.

Innovation in our councils tackling climate change

The LGA and the Design Council have set up the Design in Public Sector Programme to equip councils to tackle their toughest climate challenge. After a total of 96 applications across the two programmes and decision panels full of debate, selected Councils include three that are led by members of our group. Have a look at their plans:-

Design in the Public Sector: City of London selected

Net Zero Innovation Programme: Cornwall and Lewes selected

Those who have not been successful this time have been offered the following:

  • The LGA climate change monthly ebulletin
  • Four webinars on climate change design challenges
  • Membership of the LinkedIn Net Zero Innovation Network
  • Membership of the Climate Emergency Knowledge Hub Group
  • Additionally, for the climate topic which the councils applied to the programme on, the councils received any notable practice/case studies/contacts/research/resources from elsewhere/LGA publications and guidance/LGA training which was appropriate

Best wishes and good luck in all you are doing. I look forward to seeing you at the LGA Independent Group conference  this morning and the evening social. Details can be found on our website or by emailing the group office on 

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