Group bulletin: 21 January 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

21 January 2022


Greetings, Colleagues!

Plan B is out the window!

As the sleaze hits what we thought was rock-bottom, the PM announced that Plan B is out, to a round of cheers in the House, putting him in the position he loves best. He says Omicron has peaked, hospitals are managing and all COVID-19 rules will fall on 24 March. Right away we are no longer asked to work from home nor wear face-masks in class. From next Thursday, any mandatory certification and mask-wearing ends, leaving it as personal choice. Organisations can choose to use the NHS COVID Pass voluntarily, such as for entry to nightclubs. We await to find what that means for thousands of NHS staff that might be sacked for not taking the vaccination. Isolation is down to five days with two negative tests. More lifting is due to follow, but recognising that COVID has not gone away, we are back to Plan A. That seems to mean getting the triple vaccine and making decisions on personal choice.

Government publishes UK’s Third Climate Change Risk Assessment

On Monday, the Government published the UK’s Third Climate Change Risk Assessment. The five-year assessment to 2021 is required under the Climate Change Act 2008 and follows work with the Climate Change Committee (CCC). The report identifies 61 risks that climate change poses to multiple parts of our society and economy. These risks are costly in terms of human loss, agriculture, water, flooding and energy use. The UK has a range of initiatives, but no coherent plan to demonstrate how we are going get to the target of net zero, needed in all councils. The paper states: “While we aim to limit warming to 1.5°C, the evidence shows that we must be prepared for warming up to 4°C.” Those levels would destroy 75% of our land by 2080.

The Valuation Report for the CCRA3 estimates that, for eight of the risks identified by the CCC, economic damages by 2050 under 2°C could exceed £1 billion per year. For 36 of the risks, damages could be at least £10 million per year. Early adaptation investments are highly effective and deliver high value for money, with up to a tenfold return on the investment. We are locking in future damage by some projects that are difficult to reverse, such as new housing and infrastructure. Evidence indicates that we could be “reaching global mean warming level of 2°C could as soon as the late 2020s, while 4°C could be reached from the mid 2040s…”

The Assessment also includes the further work needed, with some of it planned. The National Adaptation Programme is to be laid in Parliament in 2023.

Housing Delivery Test

Last week the Housing Delivery Test was published. The test unfairly penalises councils and communities by failing to take into account the needs of local areas and the limited powers councils have to ensure homes are built once permissions are given.

With over 1.1 million homes given planning permission in the past decade still waiting to be built, and more homes earmarked for development by councils, the LGA argues that councils need to be given the powers to incentivise developers to act quicker and intervene when they fall short. Sanctions in the Housing Delivery Test should be scrapped, as they leave the door open to speculative planning applications outside of the Local Plan.

New Head of the Independent Group Office

Abigial Gallop has now started as the new Head of the Independent Group Office. You can contact her at

LGA National Census of Local Authority Councillors 2022

You should have received on 18 January your personal invitation and link to the 2022 LGA Councillor Census. The deadline for response is 31 January. If you cannot find your personal invitation link, you can use the general link. If you have any questions regarding the Census, please email Stephen Richards.

Holocaust Memorial Day

It is Holocaust Memorial Day next Thursday 27 January. Each year local activities take place across the UK, bringing people together from all backgrounds to learn more about the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and the genocides which followed. Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) supports individuals and organisations in marking Holocaust Memorial Day each year, by providing free resources, historical information and ideas of how to get involved. Let us know if you or your council are doing anything to mark the day by emailing

International Women’s Day

As part of International Women’s Day 2022, the LGA would like to showcase work that councils are doing to support and promote women. This will be developed into case studies that we can share publicly. If you have a story that you would like to be promoted, please email by 21 February.

Virtual council meetings

Lawyers in Local Government and the Association of Democratic Services Officers launched a petition calling for the Government to make parliamentary time to bring in legislation to allow councils to meet virtually on 5 January. It now has almost 8,000 signatories. Please continue to circulate the link to those interested in supporting this petition. Please also be aware there are model letters on the LGA website that members can download, amend and send to the relevant minister and local MPs to support the call for legislation.

Call for evidence of abuse and intimidation

In late October, we launched an ongoing call for evidence of abuse and intimidation of councillors. In the first two months, we received almost four hundred responses, providing invaluable insights into the experiences of councillors and the impact of abuse and intimidation on councillors and council decision-making. Please continue to share the link with any colleagues you think may wish to contribute.

COVID-19 vaccination in your community – webinar for councillors and their staff

On Wednesday 9 February (1.30-3pm), the LGA will be hosting a webinar on COVID-19 vaccination in your community for councillors and their staff. The focus of the session will be to help councillors in discussions about vaccination with their constituents as we move into the next phase of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be opportunity for questions and answers with all of our speakers. This webinar is free to attend. Book now

Personal safety webinars for councillors

The LGA has launched a series of webinars to help to support councillors’ personal safety. The second personal safety webinar will take place on Zoom on Wednesday 16 February, 6–7.30pm. The session will be introduced by Cllr Bridget Smith, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council and presented by Miranda Smythe, The Baikie-Wood Consultancy, who has 15 years of experience providing personal safety programmes for councillors. Book now

Group events

Please email to book any of the following Independent Group events:

Monday 7 February, 3pm
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.

Tuesday 8 February, 11am
LGA Independent Group spotlight event on: High Streets – Death by Permitted Development? Hear from the Town and Country Planning Association on their research into permitted development and discuss the impact this is having on your areas, to inform the LGA’s work in this area.

Monday 14 February, 3.30pm
We will be holding a meeting for Independent Group members seeking election at one of the new unitary authorities this year. Come along to share advice and tips.


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