Group Bulletin: 8 October 2021

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

local government association - independent group

Group Bulletin

8 October 2021


Greetings colleagues,

I hope you are well in what is now a busy time for us councillors! If you are jumping up and down at the Conservative party conference on TV, please book your place at our 2021 Independent Group Annual Conference to be held on Friday 29 October.

New Government announcements

Announcements this week coinciding with the Conservative Party conference include the green agenda as we approach COP26. New plans have been revealed to decarbonise the UK power system by 2035, reducing the need for fossil fuels and exposure to global volatility. Does it go far enough? Our courts and tribunals are also due some funding to help them cut their emissions, with Government investing £40 million to ‘help them go green’, and £2 million promised to tech start-ups looking to make our transport greener.

You may have seen that the former Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government – and former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – James Brokenshire, has sadly passed away at 53, after a brave battle with lung cancer. He worked well with us at the LGA during his term of office, fighting our corner for us, and we send condolences to his family on your behalf.

Thanks to all involved in the excellent online event on local climate action planning this week – resources from the event are available on the website. Our Independent members are leading significantly, being quoted as good examples in tackling climate change and improving the environment in the LGA training discussions this week. There is a strong programme of free LGA events with cracking speakers – it’s well worth taking a look at these.

Thank you for the excellent debates going on in the think tanks. We look forward to online meetings starting, with a discussion on Universal Basic Income next week. These online sessions are really informative and help us formulate and agree policy positions within our group. If you’d like to be part of our policy think tanks or councillor networks please sign up now.

Mental health

With World Mental Health Day this weekend, the NHS has launched a new campaign – Every Mind Matters – to promote mental wellbeing. Do share with us how your council is marking the day and any local innovations that support the mental health and wellbeing of our communities and councillors throughout the year.


You will have seen the public are being urged to get flu and COVID vaccines with councils being key to ensuring that these reach everyone they need to.

Black History Month

This month is Black History Month and the LGA are keen to hear from councillors and councils who are running and championing projects that promote diversity and inclusion. If you identify with one of those minority groups, please send a 300-word cameo on what you are doing in your community.

City of Culture longlist

You may be interested to see the longlist of places being considered for the UK City of Culture for 2025, revealed this week, including a number of areas where we have very active Independent Group councillors.

Working for funds

At the LGA, we are now ramping up our cross-party work to evidence and present an effective case for proper funding of our councils ahead of this year’s Spending Review at the end of the month.

We have published our Spending Review 2021 Submission and an Open letter calling for investment in local public health at the Spending Review.

We are calling for multi-year certainty, as annual settlements make it a lot harder for our councils to plan in the long term. As you will see in our submission, our analysis estimates councils are facing increased costs of £2.6 billion each year, comprising £1.1 billion for adult social care and £1.5 billion for other services. This is just to maintain the 2019/20 level of quality and access, and it excludes the impact of COVID-19 and pre-existing challenges.

We draw particular attention to the pressures posed by care, the need to tackle health inequalities, climate change, education and children’s services and supporting our recovering economies. We await the Government’s statement on 27 October and will be ready to comment on what it announces.

LGA building safety: leadership essentials

On 3 November between 10.00am and 3.30pm, the LGA is holding an in-person event on the new building safety regime (including the Fire Safety Act) exploring councils’ responsibilities as duty-holders for high-rise (18-metre and over) residential buildings. The event is aimed at members in councils that own or manage high-rise residential blocks of flats, including through arms-length management organisations (ALMOs). If you would like to attend this free event, or find out more about it, contact

Can you attend the 2021 Independent Group Annual Conference?

Finally, it’s less than a month until our annual conference on Friday 29 October. I very much hope you are able to make it. There will be members joining both in person at Smith Square (London), and online. There will be a drinks reception after the conference for those able to make it in person. Speakers confirmed include Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Lord Victor Adebowale, and representatives from the Planning Advisory Service, Standing Together and councils leading on climate change innovation. Book your place now!

Best wishes in all you are doing, and I look forward to seeing you soon,

Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature

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

Portrait photo of Marianne Overton