Group bulletin: 17 May 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

17 May 2022


Greetings colleagues,

Congratulations and thank you

Congratulations to all of our councillors who have been successfully elected this May. Well done indeed. It is this time just after elections that we are most in touch with our residents and I think you will all be busy setting priorities for the next four years.

This year’s increases are even more significant as we had fewer candidates standing in these elections than we will have in the district elections next year. We have seen 837 Independent Group councillors elected (511 Independent or Residents Association, 202 Plaid Cymru, and 124 Green Party). This brings the total number of councillors supported by the LGA Independent Group over the 3000 mark to 3064. We are the third largest group at the LGA in numbers of councillors, though the fourth largest by electorate used in the LGA calculations. At the LGA, we gain extra seats on the People and Places Board and the City Regions Board.

Welcome to all new councillors, and well done to those that were re-elected! All our Independent Group candidates have spoken up for residents on important local issues and influenced thinking in their area for the better. Thank you for flying the flag of democracy. Every communication, leaflet and doorstep conversation is laying the ground for the next election.

Many will be busy consolidating your positions and making connections in your councils. There are councils that came out of the elections with no overall control. If you are in that position, please reach out to the Independent Group Office or contact your Regional Peer, who is trained, accredited and experienced in these matters. It often helps to talk through your ideas.

To join the conversation in the Independent Group, you can sign up to a policy think tank or one of our councillor networks and if you would like to get more involved with the work of the LGA, keep an eye out to apply for a Board or Group Executive position once applications open in the coming weeks. We welcome applications from councillors of different backgrounds. We are a diverse bunch in our thinking and keen to be ever more representative of our membership.

Following elections, the LGA Call for evidence of abuse and intimidation is ongoing and remains open for candidates and councillors to contribute their experience from the recent election period.

Queens Speech

The Queens Speech published last week majors on “Levelling Up” which now includes Planning changes and a move to invite every council to reorganise and take a deal, including new “County Deals”. It is concerning that this centralises more of the power from lower authorities into bigger ones that are harder to influence and further from the electorate. Fewer councillors also means less democratic representatives and therefore less connections with our communities.

Planning changes seem relatively anodyne compared to the previous damaging proposals, which appear to have sensibly been withdrawn. Neighbourhood Plans continue and the pressure of the 300,000 new dwellings every year appears to have diminished, in favour of quality, but we have yet to see this reflected in the housing currently required and incorporated into our Local Plans. Allowing neighbours to vote on and potentially prevent a neighbours extension or loft conversion is an odd one that may not last the course into legislation.

  • The Government call for all schools to be academies, now includes the ability of Councils to run their own multi-academy Trusts. Home Schooling is in the spotlight with compulsory registration.
  • Housing brings a number of new controls on landlords, abolishing “no fault” eviction which could have far-reaching consequences.
  • The Energy bill fails to address support for reduced energy use through insulation and energy efficiency measures, but instead includes more regulation and support of technologies.
  • Transport proposals are ambitious, but lack clarity in how they are to be accomplished.
  • The Crime and Justice Bill does more in tackling slavery and protecting victims, but so far, little on wider action to reduce crime.
  • On the Health Bill, there is more about allowing people to have more say over their mental health treatment and a Women’s Health Strategy. The Health Disparities White paper was missing from the Queen’s Speech.
  • The Online Safety Bill should be helpful but needs strengthening to be sure to include online abuse, harassment and false information.

The LGA produced a full briefing on the Queen’s speech.

Sincere thanks for all your good work and best wishes in preparations for the many local events for the Queen’s Jubilee in early June.

Induction Session for adult social care lead members and health and wellbeing board chairs

10.30 – 15.00, Thursday, 23 June 2022 
Venue: Local Government Association, 18 Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ 

Aimed at new chairs of health and wellbeing boards and new portfolio holders with responsibility for adult social care and health, this free induction session will brief you on the current policy issues, look at the challenges for high profile leadership roles, and relate these to your local context. As well as hearing from a range of participants across the health and care system, you will hear about further support on offer for you and have plenty of opportunity for discussion and networking. 

For more information and to make a booking please contact


Thank you,

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