Group bulletin: 31 January 2022

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

local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

31 January 2022


Greetings colleagues,

I hope you and yours are well, getting stuck into budgets no doubt.

Councils having the option to meet virtually

We’re continuing to keep up the pressure for councils to have the option to meet online and I signed off on behalf of the LGA another cross-party plea this week, going to leaders of opposition parties this time. Some of us have also put the petition from the LGA and partners to our own councils, calling on the leader to write to MPs and ministers in a similar vein. If there is anyone who has not yet signed the petition for councils in England to have the choice to meet remotely, please do so and please forward the link to those interested in supporting this petition. As I mentioned in my last bulletin, you can download the LGA's two model letters for councillors and councils to highlight their support of virtual council meetings to amend and send them to your local MP and relevant government ministers to support the call for legislation.

LGA boards and the Online Safety Bill

Our LGA Board and Executive Advisory Board met cross-party this week to join forces in the key lobbying areas we need to tackle central government on. We agreed the LGA’s key policy positions on the Online Safety Bill, which will inform the LGA’s lobbying going forward. This bill is of significant interest to us, covering a wide range of issues from child protection and public health to abuse, intimidation and free speech.

Government’s 2022/23 Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement

The LGA report on the fourth one-year Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement in a row was also discussed. It gives us an overall increase this year, largely due to the extra funding needed for the Government’s rule changes in care, which I wrote about previously. The settlement remains provisional until Government has concluded the consultation on the proposals, and the final settlement should be published shortly and will be debated and voted on in the House Commons.

Independent Group Executive

Our Independent Group Executive also met this week. Clive Woodbridge spoke on his work as lead member on the Safer Communities Board, looking at legislation and guidance to tackle violence against women and girls, slavery and licensing. New guidance is also being drafted for our group elections and we are reviewing our ongoing engagement work, including your responses to our recent survey and proposals on a universal basic income.

Holocaust Memorial Day and LGBT History Month

Last week councils marked Holocaust Memorial Day with many moving stories. Next month is LGBT History Month and we continue to receive updates from members sharing their personal stories and council initiatives. If you have anything we could promote across the LGA please email

Social Housing Standards

New social housing standards have been published taking into account the need for reduced carbon emissions. The national target is for properties to reach Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating ‘C’ by 2028 on property lets, sooner for new properties. The Housing Delivery Test guidance has also been published recently and the House of Lords Built Environment Committee has published its First Report of Session 2021–22 on meeting housing demand.  

New Head of Independent Group Office

I am sure you would like to join me in giving a warm welcome to our new Head of Independent Group Office, Abigail Gallop. Sarah is a really hard act to follow, but Abigail is quite outstanding. Abigail comes with 11 years’ experience in the LGA policy teams and comes to us straight from her recent secondment into Government. If you would like to contact Abigail, please email her at

Goodbye and good luck to Sarah Woodhouse

This week we said goodbye to Sarah Woodhouse as Head of our Independent Group Office. Incredibly capable, positive and diligent, Sarah is brilliant to work with, and I hope we shall be able to work with her again as she takes on her next role. We wish her every happiness and success in the future.

Reminder – 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 to the 2022 LGA Councillor Census. If you have any questions regarding the Census, please email Stephen Richards at

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.

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 free 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.

Personal safety webinars for councillors

The LGA has launched a series of webinars to help to support councillors’ personal safety. The second Personal safety for councillors 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.

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