Group Bulletin: 17 September 2021

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local government association - independent group

Group Bulletin

17 September 2021


Greetings, Colleagues!

Cabinet reshuffle

As you will have heard, there was a second big Government Reshuffle this week, bringing significant change to the work of the LGA and of our councils. 

As the Planning proposals hit the bumpers with widespread unease, we see a change of Minister. Michael Gove MP, a minister known for getting things done is now the Minister for Housing, presumably taking on the Government pledge of getting 300,000 new dwellings every year. He has in the past recommended affordable housing and campaigned against some developments, pointing out that "the countryside is not renewable."

Kemi Badenoch MP of Saffron Walden, has been appointed the new Minister of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Kemi also retains her job as Minister for Equalities.

Sajid Javid continues as the new Health and Social Care Secretary. Liz Truss, becomes foreign secretary, Nadhim Zahawi moved from leading the vaccine rollout to education - at the expense of Gavin Williamson; and Nadine Dorries stepped up from health minister to culture secretary. We have more diversity and plenty of new or returning faces for us to work with.

Tackling climate change

Our LGA Climate Change Task Group met this week with Rachel Maclean MP, Minister for the Future of Transport and Decarbonisation. Her department has produced a useful and fairly hefty document with an Executive summary on decarbonisation of all forms of transport. It is a mine of useful information, backing up what we are doing in our Councils.

Cllr Sarah Rouse, Independent Group Executive member and Leader of Malvern Hills gave evidence to the Select Committee this week on the “Path to Net Zero” on behalf of the District Councils Network. The Housing and Communities Local Government Select Committee also took evidence from Sustrans, the Royal Town Planning Institute and several councils including Green-led Brighton and Hove on what councils are doing to achieve net zero. It is two hours long in total, but well worth a look. I have made a few notes, if you want them, available from the office along with the DCN’s briefing.

You can join in the special LGA webinar on Local Climate Action Planning on 6 October at 10.00am.

Invitation to participate: COP26 LGA exhibition stand

The LGA will be showcasing innovative climate activity being led by councils at COP26, and we would like to invite councils to participate through our digital photograph exhibition. The deadline for submissions is Friday 1 October 2021. For questions, please email

Adult Care: Build Back Better

We have had a lot to say about the Government’s health and social care plans, which raises tax to make the system bigger and more expensive, without tackling the problems we already have. (See last week’s bulletin) The full LGA cross-party response may be useful for writing your own motions or press releases.

New report on violence against women and girls

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has published a new report calling for 'fundamental cross-system change' to tackle an 'epidemic of violence against women and girls.'

LGA Boards

This week saw the first meeting of our Council Leaders group of the new political year, meetings of the Commercial Advisory Board, People and Places, Children and Young People Boards and the County Councils Network.

Our Lead Member on People and Places, Cllr Emily O’Brien, was quoted in the LGC in an article looking at the possible impact of local government reorganisation on our members, also referencing the report written for us by Professor Colin Copus.

Next week is also busy for our Board members with meetings taking place of the Safer and Stronger Communities Board, Culture Tourism and Sport Board, Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board, Resources Board, City Regions Board and the Fire Commission. Our think tanks are already busy feeding in their comments on workplans and priorities for the year ahead. If you’d like to be more involved with our think tanks, sign up via the form on our website.

Leadership Essentials

There is a whole batch of excellent and mostly free LGA Leadership Essentials workshops that you can join, some in person, some online, these include specific sessions on scrutiny, finance, housing, communication, the climate emergency and social care. 

Tackling homelessness

You might find ideas and back-up data useful in the new LGA report; Voice of the Sector: Supporting rough sleepers in a crisis.  Maybe you can join the launch online on 22 September at 10.30am?

Independent Group Annual Conference

I hope you can join us at our Annual Conference at the LGA, being held as a hybrid meeting online and at 18 Smith’s Square in Westminster, where preparations are in place for a warm welcome and an exciting day. The programme is being finalised but already includes sessions on Doughnut Economics, planning and Building Back Local. Please book your free place , indicating whether you will be joining in person or online.

Next week

I am looking forward next week to speaking on Women in Local Government, Breaking Down Barriers. Have you got any hot tips or good quotes you would like to share? I’m happy to share the final speech with you!

I am also looking forward to meeting our Plaid Cymru members.

Hope to catch up with you at one or other event or online.

Best wishes in all you are doing.


Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature

Councillor Marianne Overton
Leader of the Independent Group
Vice Chair of the Local Government Association

Marianne Overton