Group bulletin: 29 March 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

29 March 2022


LGA helping councils respond to the Ukraine conflict

Across England and Wales, councils and councillors are working hard to support Ukrainian refugees fleeing the dreadful war. In weekly meetings, group leaders are working with the new Minister for Refugees, Lord Harrington. Airlines are offering free flights for Ukrainian refugees and councils are attempting to meet and greet them when they arrive, if they know which flights to meet. Welcome signs were in airports from Sunday.

Many are single women with children, and though the sponsorship scheme is not set up take unaccompanied children we may still see some arrive. The family and friends scheme comes without funding and no data. Councils need to know who has arrived where in order to provide the wrap-around care they need, including school places and health checks.

We are calling for parity in the two schemes to reduce people responding to a social media advert offer of 'sponsorship', then subsequently presenting as homeless or worse. Meanwhile, councils are still working to house and support Afghan refugees, many still in hotels. We have asked for clarity on the extent of council responsibility to check whether the accommodation offered online actually exists and is suitable. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities outlined the responsibilities around Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks for sponsors in a letter to chief executives. To share data between councils, upper-tier councils can register with the Homes for Ukraine Foundry case management system.

On a call last week, local government leaders from across Europe were addressed by Ukrainian mayors. They called for us to pressure our governments for a protected no fly zone, but there were concerns that this would take us into a world war. There were also calls to check that our contracts and pension funds are not breaking any legal sanctions that are currently applied.

LGA Independent Group 'Public perceptions of independent councillors' report

Our ‘Public perceptions of independent councillors’ polling report presents the findings of a round of public polling conducted in February and March 2022. Some of the very encouraging results in the report include:

  • 51 per cent of respondents said they would vote for an independent candidate in a future local election
  • 34 per cent of respondents said ‘knowledge of the local area’ was the most important thing to them when voting for their local councillor/s
  • 33 per cent said the most important thing was a councillor’s ‘interest in changing something locally’.

LGA response to the Spring Statement

In case you missed it, the LGA statement on Spring Statement 2022 was published last Wednesday. A further £500 million comes to councils for targeted Household Support Fund and we are asking for maximum flexibility. It continues to be a tough time for residents and councils, with inflation expected to rise to 9 per cent by the last quarter, energy up in two tranches of 50 per cent on top of the pressures of COVID-19 and settling refugees.

New net zero hub – Net Zero Go – supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

A digital platform has been launched which can be used by councils to create, plan, operate and manage net zero projects. Net Zero Go has been part-funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and was developed with IBM and Salesforce.

LGA Annual Conference and Exhibition

Tuesday 28–Thursday 30 June | Harrogate Convention Centre (in-person)
Join us in Harrogate for the biggest event in the local government calendar, where we’ll be discussing the latest issues affecting local government.


For those of you with elections at your authorities this May, nominations are now open until 5 April. We are back to needing ten names on the nomination form.

Thanks to all who attended the cross-party LGA Be a Councillor online event last week. Also the Welsh Be a Councillor event with Dai Davies in Blaenau Gwent Council and this week’s upcoming event for independent candidates at 18 Smith Square, London, on 30 March at 4.30pm.

Huge thanks to all who are working on getting more candidates elected, either by building your groups or by supporting prospective candidates in attending the LGA Independent Group’s Candidate School events. We are all needed to ensure local voices are heard, putting people first, right in our home patches.

For those who have not got elections this year, it is a great time to help others by connecting with candidates and councillors seeking re-election and supporting their campaigns. I for one, will be enjoying the air and exercise!

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