LGA Conservative Group bulletin – 8 February 2021

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

local government association - conservative group

LGA Conservative Group bulletin

8 February 2021


Dear Colleague,

Welcome to the LGA Conservative Group’s newsletter, in which we highlight the latest information associated with COVID-19 and other topical issues.

Recently I have received numerous queries from councillors about the issue of extending the ability for local authorities to hold remote and hybrid meetings.

As you are aware, the current regulations remain in force until 7 May 2021. Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, this date cannot be extended without primary legislation, although some suggest that permission to hold remote meetings could be extended through secondary legislation.

Undoubtedly, there are some advantages to remote meetings, and it would be good if the Government could allow councils to determine for themselves whether they would like to hold hybrid, remote or in person meetings (in line with social distaining guidelines).

In light of this, I am interested to hear your experience of how remote meetings during the pandemic have worked out. If you have any experiences that you like to share, as either a member of a majority group or an opposition councillor, or if there is any best practice from your council that you would like to highlight, please email us at lgaconservatives@local.gov.uk.

I am sure that you will join me in congratulating our Government for its sterling job with the vaccination rollout. The UK is now third country in the world for vaccinations per capita, and in England all residents at every eligible care home have been offered the COVID jab.

On vaccination supply, the Government has ordered another 40 million vaccines doses from Valneva and 60 million doses from Novavax. Thanks to the Government forward thinking, the UK has now secured early access to over 400 million total doses of vaccines for 2021 and 2022.

With this in mind, I am pleased to inform you that Nadim Zahawi, Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, has accepted my invitation to speak at our webinar on 12 February at 11am. If you would like to attend, please do email us and a member of the team will send you the Zoom joining instructions.

Until then, please keep safe and if there is anything I or our regional lead peers can do to assist, please do not hesitate to contact us.

You can find more details about our lead peers at the bottom of this newsletter.

Councillor Izzi Seccombe signature

Cllr Izzi Seccombe OBE
Leader, LGA Conservative Group

Councillor Izzi Seccombe


For all the latest news from the LGA Conservative Group please follow us on Twitter at @LGACons

If you’d also like to subscribe to the LGA’s monthly e-bulletin of First Magazine, please visit the dedicated website.

Community Champions

The Government has announced a £23 million funding allocation to 60 councils and voluntary groups across England to expand work to support those most at risk from COVID-19 and boost vaccine take up.

Kickstart Scheme

The Government has announced changes to its flagship Kickstart scheme which creates six month work placements for young people in receipt of Universal Credit and at risk of unemployment.

Councils’ Role and T Level Industry Placements

T Levels are a new technical qualification which give young people (16-19) an opportunity to study alongside carrying out a 45-day industry placement in a workplace. The LGA is encouraging councils to offer T Level industry placements to help provide young people in their area with an opportunity to gain vital work experience in a variety of roles. If you would like to learn more or want to register your interest please visit the LGA website.

Communicating Commercial Activity Masterclass for Councillors

The LGA is running a free Zoom masterclass to support councillors to develop the skills to confidently and appropriately communicate commercial activity to external audiences.

Many councils are refocusing commercial activity that has been impacted by COVID-19 and changes to investment guidance by the MHCLG and CIPFA. It is important that elected members have the skills to communicate key messages about commercial activity to a range of external audiences.

The masterclass includes best practice guidance from a local authority communications expert and council case studies demonstrating how communications teams have worked effectively with elected members to communicate the key messages of council commercial activity to external audiences.

Please book your place via this online booking form or for further information visit the Commercial skills for councillors web page.

Domestic Abuse

The Government has announced an extra £40 million for specialist support services that help victims of rape and domestic abuse.

Housing and Planning

The Government is seeking views with a deadline of the 27 March on the draft revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and draft National Model Design Code for England as part of the planning reforms.

Councillor Cancer Champions Network

Cancer Research UK is marking World Cancer Day this year by launching a new Councillor Cancer Champions network, a platform for English elected members to join together to beat cancer and reduce health inequalities in their communities.

If you’re an elected member at a top-tier local authority in England and are interested in joining the network, or want to find out more, please email LocalPublicAffairs@cancer.org.uk. Further information can also be found on the Cancer Research website.

Best Practice

We are looking for examples of best practice from Conservative-run councils on a range of activities, including local test and trace schemes, supporting local businesses and high streets, as well helping local communities at a neighbourhood level.

The examples highlighted are obviously not exclusive and please do email us any best practice examples that you feel demonstrates how Conservative councils and councillors are supporting their communities during the latest phase of the pandemic.

Conservative Regional Lead Peers

The regional lead peers and the areas they cover are as follows:

Lord Porter of Spalding CBE - National Lead Peer & Regional Lead Peer for the South East

Councillor Paul Middlebrough - Regional Lead Peer for the South West, Hampshire and Isle of Wight

Councillor William Nunn - Regional Lead Peer for the East of England

Councillor Teresa O’Neill OBE - Regional Lead Peer for London

Councillor Glen Sanderson JP - Regional Lead Peer for the East Midlands, North East and Yorkshire & Humber

Councillor Mike Wilcox - Regional Lead Peer for the West Midlands and North West.