Group bulletin: 3 December 2021

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

local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

3 December 2021



Wishing you all well in all your good work helping our councils work well for residents.

Group councillors awarded at LGIU & CCLA Councillor Awards

Congratulations to Councillors Kevin Etheridge (Independent, Caerphilly) and Amy Heley (Green, Brighton and Hove) who won awards at the LGIU & CCLA Councillor Awards this week for their fantastic achievements, recognised nationally. The work is a great reflection of supporting communities and implementing green policies.

Adult social care reform white paper

The Government has this week published its long-awaited adult social care reform white paper, which sets out its 10-year vision to improve adult social care and provides information on funding proposals that will be implemented over the next few years. The white paper sets out further details on how over £1 billion for system reform will be spent to begin to transform the adult social care system in England, including new investments in housing and home adaptations, technology and other innovations, workforce training and support for unpaid carers. What it does not do, is give any assurance of long-term funding to support the services we already have; and funding allocated to the new reforms may fall short. The LGA has responded, making clear that while we share the government ambition to improve the system, it needs to be properly resourced and councils must get a fair share of funding directly, not via the NHS. We also continue to inform the Health and Care Bill making its way through Parliament, with many of our vice presidents actively involved with its progress, sharing our concerns, and promoting the pivotal role of local government.

Farming, food and levelling up

Also announced this week was the Environment Secretary’s vision for farming. He spoke of food production and food security, along with priorities to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change – all things we’ve been raising with Government through our People and Places, and Environment, boards. He also spoke about the new Sustainable Farming Incentive scheme which will commence next year. The scheme is open to all farmers in areas with more than five hectares of land. Farmers have the freedom to choose the elements of the scheme that work for them, with incentives for actions that benefit the environment.

Cold weather

With warnings in place across the UK, it is imperative that our councils are looking out for those most vulnerable, including homeless people. If you have any good practice in your areas of how you’re supporting the homeless, particularly during the winter months, please email us at

COVID-19 booster injections

All adults over the age of 18 are now to be offered the COVID-19 booster jab. Residents are being asked to wait until they are called to get their injection. Masks in shops and public transport are also mandatory. In November, Independent Group leaders called on the Government for a swifter response to COVID-19 as cases started to rise; and many feel it’s a shame that the Government relaxed its message as much as they did. We are also hearing, increasingly, from councillors who are concerned about holding in-person council meetings during the winter months – particularly given the prevalence of the new variant. We are doubling down on our efforts with Government to get emergency legislation in place to allow us to meet and vote remotely – a call you can make to your local MPs.

Group events

The Government is finally in ‘publishing mode’ and we are now starting to see policies coming out, many of which we’ve been influencing through our boards and think tanks. As well as being active discussion forums, many of our policy think tanks hold virtual meetings – open to all members – to discuss proposed policies, group positions and local impacts. Please RSVP by emailing the group office at to join us for the following discussions if you can:

Transport post COP-26 – more than just electronic cars | Friday 10 December
10.30–11.30am | Zoom webinar
Chaired by Councillor Loic Rich (Independent, Cornwall) – Deputy Chair of the Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board

Levelling up – what does the white paper mean for local government? | Tuesday 18 January 2022
10.30–11.30am | Zoom webinar
Chaired by Councillors Emily O’Brien (Green, Lewes) and Gillian Ford (Independent, LB Havering), Deputy Chairs of the People and Places and City Regions Boards

(Peers only) political mentoring training | Wednesday 2 February 2022
10am–4.30pm | 18 Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ

Other dates for your diary

Personal safety for councillors | Wednesday 8 December
10.30am–12pm | Zoom
The LGA has launched a series of webinars to help to support councillors’ personal safety. The aim of the session will be to equip councillors with the best tools to help them be, and feel, safe while carrying out their duties as a councillor. The sessions will cover principles of personal safety, risk assessment, use of technology, safe approaches to canvasing, visits, surgeries and travelling, alongside how to manage harassment and stalking incidents. This first session in the series will be introduced by myself and presented by Miranda Smythe of The Baikie-Wood Consultancy, who has 15 years of experience providing personal safety programmes for councillors.

Disability – shifting the focus to ability and accessibility | Thursday 9 December
10.30–12pm | Zoom webinar

Creating resilient and revitalised high streets in the ‘new normal’ | Monday 13 December
10.30–12pm | Zoom webinar

Impact of COVID-19 on black and minority ethnic people | Tuesday 14 December
2–3.30pm | Zoom webinar

Virtual annual local government finance conference | Thursday 13 January 2022
10am–12.25pm | Zoom webinar

Time management for councillors (part of the 'Leadership' series) | Wednesday 19 January 2022
11am–12pm | Zoom webinar
You may also find our group factsheet on this topic useful.

LGA Annual Fire Conference and Exhibition 2022 | Tuesday 15–Wednesday 16 March 2022
Hilton Hotel Newcastle Gateshead, Bottle Bank, Gateshead NE8 2AR

Looking forward to seeing you at an LGA event soon,


Councillor Marianne Overton MBE signature

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

Portrait photo of Councillor Marianne Overton, Leader of the LGA Independent Group