Group bulletin: 10 January 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

10 January 2022



Wishing you all a healthy, happy and successful 2022. We will need to show resilience and optimism as we care for our communities living with COVID-19, support the economy while inflation rises faster than wages, energy costs rise significantly and the tax increase in National Insurance takes a bite. At the same time, we will be working together to tackle the colossal project of protecting our local environments and our planet from harm. No small tasks, then!

Financial settlements

This week, the Government is consulting on money it is giving to our councils. I am drawing on discussions with our council leaders and members to meet cross-party with ministers to push home our key points. COVID-19 impacts on staff shortages within the NHS, schools and councils continue to be felt, raising concerns for the continuity of services.

Remote meetings

We have continued to push for councillors to meet online if they choose, but there is no movement yet. Thanks to our Independent Group Vice President, Baroness Natalie Bennett, for adding her voice on our behalf. Lawyers in local government and the Association of Democratic Services Officers have launched a petition for councils in England to have the choice to meet remotely, which we will be promoting and which you may also wish to promote through your networks.

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Our vice presidents have also spoken up on the impact of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which sets out to limit the right to protest and increase Home Secretary and police powers. The Bill comes before the House of Lords this week. Let me know your view and share it with your local MP if you haven’t done so already.

New Year Honours List 2022

The Independent Group has sent congratulations to the LGA Chairman, Councillor James Jamieson and Chief Executive, Mark Lloyd on their honours in the 2022 New Year Honours List. Congratulations also to residents and colleagues working with you in our many local communities. If you know any councillors you would like to put forward for an honour, you may find the GOV.UK advice on nominating someone for an honour or award helpful. Applications are accepted all year round, with the formal deadline for the 2023 Queen’s Birthday Honours likely to be in March 2022. The Government is looking for impact above and beyond formal duty, with tangible benefits to communities. We will also be sharing dates, once announced, of the training sessions put on by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) to help those making submissions.

LGBT+ History Month

First magazine are seeking contributions for the February edition, to help mark LGBT+ History Month and would love to hear from Independent Group councillors. Last year, Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty (Brighton & Hove Council) contributed an article about how council services make a difference. If you would like to contribute, please email 300 to 400 words to by Monday 17 January.

Independent Group events

Annual budget setting workshop | Tuesday 11 January, 3.30pm

This workshop will take members through effective ways to set and challenge council budgets, whether you are in the administration or opposition.
Email to confirm your attendance

Levelling Up White Paper discussion (to be confirmed) | Tuesday 18 January, 10.30am

If the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper has been published, our People and Places, and City Regions, think tanks will be coming together to digest what it means for local government. If the paper has not been published, the meeting will be postponed.
Email to confirm your attendance

Developing your unique selling points (Candidate School event) | Tuesday 18 January, 3.30pm

This workshop, aimed at those standing for election in May 2022 or 2023, will help you distil your unique selling points (USPs) to inform your campaign activity.
Register online

High streets – death by permitted development? (LGA Independent Group spotlight event) | Tuesday 8 February, 11am

Hear from the Town and Country Planning Association on its research into permitted development, and discuss the impact this is having on your local areas to inform the LGA’s work in this area.
Email to confirm your attendance

I hope you are able to make some of the above events, and I look forward to seeing you there!

Finally, thank you to Councillor Alan Seldon who stepped down as a councillor last week. Alan has been involved with the LGA for much of his 14 years as a Herefordshire councillor. He served his residents and helped colleagues across the country with dedication, most recently as our Regional Peer for West Midlands and North West. Alan continues as a peer for a year, so we will be able to continue benefitting from his expertise for a while longer, but Councillor Mike Haines will take over regional peer responsibilities until a permanent appointment is made. I know you’ll join the executive in wishing Alan all the best for his future plans.

Best wishes,

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