Group bulletin: 22 March 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

22 March 2022


Greetings Colleagues,

As Ukrainian families arrive this week with their sponsors in Britain, our councils stand ready to assist. We have signed a letter to The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP and The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP suggesting key areas of focus for joint work across local and central government as a matter of urgency, as agreed by all four UK local government associations. People arriving under this scheme will be able to: a) Live and work in the UK for up to three years and b) Access healthcare, benefits, employment support, education, and English language tuition. You can read more about Homes for Ukraine and register to become a sponsor online. We may find our councils have a significant job to do in finding new homes, schools and more for those that are unable to remain in their sponsored accommodation. The LGA has released information for councils related to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Sanctions against Russia and Belarus are beginning to affect council contracts and our local businesses in unexpected ways, from tourism to fish and chips. Questions can be directed to

The leaders of the political group offices met with Lord Harrington, the new Minister for Refugees, and have consequently clocked a number of questions with Government.

Polling on public perceptions of independent councillors

It’s heartening that the LGA found as part of its Residents Survey undertaken in February that although 74 per cent of respondents said they had not voted for an Independent candidate in previous elections, 51 per cent said they would vote for an Independent candidate in a future local election. The full report will be published on the LGA Independent Group website in the coming week.

At the LGA… 

Last week, Independent Group representatives attended the following Boards.

  • Children and Young People – focus on foodbanks, free school meals and SEND dispute resolution
  • People and Places – looked at Levelling Up and why rural areas and their important contribution to the UK’s economy has been overlooked
  • Culture, Tourism and Sport – also Levelling Up

If you would like to keep up with the work of the LGA Boards and take part in discussions on the papers, please join our policy think tanks.

Cyber Security

The Local Government Association has been awarded £1 million from the National Cyber Security Programme to fund local government officers in England to undertake a professionally certified course, as part of a sector-wide skills uplift. The LGA is inviting all councils to apply for grant funding and the deadline for applications is Friday 1 April, 5pm. If you have any questions, please contact


All UK travel restrictions were lifted from last Friday, while 5 per cent of the population in England had Covid last week. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has updated the guidance to the spring COVID-19 booster offer for those aged 75 years and older residents in care homes.

Standards in Public Life

The Independent Group took lead role in refining and agreeing the LGA Model Councillor Code of Conduct and guidance. The Government Select Committee has published the Local Government Ethical Standards report and on Friday the Government response was published.

Green Heat Network Fund 

The Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF) is a three-year, £288 million capital grant fund that will has opened for applications this month. It will provide support to organisations in the public, private, and third sectors in England who are responsible for the development of heating and cooling networks to change gas boilers to shared heating systems from renewable sources. Email for an application form.

LGA Independent Group climate Change Conference

We had an excellent conference on Climate change conference at the LGA on Friday, with about a third of attendees joining in person, and two thirds online. Huge thanks to all of the speakers for their brilliant contributions, focussed on practical ways in which we can help our Councils do more to tackle climate change and bring people with us.

We are expecting the Government’s Spring Statement tomorrow.

Many thanks in all your continued great work in our Councils and our Communities, with democracy in your hands.

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