Group bulletin: 21 October 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

21 October 2022


Greetings, colleagues,

Never in living memory have we seen such a mess as the Conservative party is making right now! It’s bad for democracy, bad for the standing of our country and clearly very damaging for our economy.  Just when we thought it could not get any worse, it did. 

We wrote cross-party from the LGA to the new Chancellor , Jeremy Hunt, making clear our needs and the impact on residents, if we are left short of funds. 

The previous Chancellor was sacked when the banks said they would no longer keep buying gilts to prop up the Government. Liz Truss voiced what the party wanted, which led to disastrous mini-budget, and her resignation. The credibility of the party is shot. Throwing individuals under a bus for following party policy only serves to deepen the sense of mistrust. 

We will have a great deal of work to do on the doorsteps to recover confidence in our democracy and the value of each and every resident vote. 

The strength of our Independent Group councillors, current and future is in working locally, closely embedded in our communities. Many of our members are making sure residents know about our campaigns and what we are doing. The key is to find cracking good candidates at the same time.

This week I shall be representing the Independent Group at the 2022 Annual Conference of Plaid Cymru in Llandudno. I hope to see some of you there!

Letter to the Chancellor

In preparation for October 31st budget, we at the LGA have prepared our case. Thank you to Councils for submitting live examples. 

Letter from the LGA Chairman and Political Group Leaders to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt

MP, signed by all LGA Political Group Leaders.
Letter from the LGA Chairman and Political Group Leaders to the Chancellor of the Exchequer | Local Government Association

Save our Services” Campaign

From our preoared case, we have set up the campaign for you to use, called “Save our Services”, asking the public to help. This makes clear that the Government know our position and have the power to resolve it. If cuts are made, we need to ensure that is seen to be laid at the feet of Central Government. 

'The future financial sustainability of councils is on a cliff-edge. Without Government action, they will have no choice but to significantly cut the local services our communities – and economy – rely on. Join us to help highlight the urgent need for financial sustainability and certainty for councils. We have put together a campaign pack with some ideas and assets to help you do so, which you can access via the link below: Save local services | Local Government Association

If you have any questions about getting involved or the use of the pack, please email LGA’s Campaigns Manager, Anna Morell, on'

Let us know your improvement support needs

The LGA offers terriffic support on every part of our Councillor role; the Planning Advisory Service (PAS), One Public Estate (OPE), care and health improvement, children’s services, culture and sport and cyber security.

We draw on experience of what works for improvement: a strong, representative political and managerial leadership and workforce, support and challenge from one’s peers, the ability to benchmark performance against others, use of comparable data and the sharing of good practice.

Please fill the short survey below to let us know what aspects of this offer you have found most valuable and your support needs for 2023/24. Your feedback will help to inform the future support offer, which will provide tools and resources that will ensure councils can take advantage of opportunities and addresses key improvement challenges.

Please complete our short survey by Friday 11 November to help shape our sector support offer for councils. 

Supporting Independent Group Colleagues

This week our refreshed Independent Executive met in the LGA and on line. It is an exciting time with lots happening and lots of good events for our members. We are supporting regional ‘Be a Councillor’ events or conferences in your area. If you can get Councillors together and would like to host an event to help build your Independent Group base, please let us know. We need a lot more good candidates ready to support or stand, preferably in different seats!

Shaping LGA Policy with you

The LGA Board, the IDEA Board and the wider Executive Advisory Board also met and discussed the new business plan, where I pushed on making sure it is balanced and representative of all our members, which it now is.  

Voter ID - is next May too soon?

The Government is not is a credible position to be making changes to the voting ID requirement which would mean getting the legislation guidance, training, extra staffing and logistics and in place before May. Only the Conservatives are holding to the political line to introduce ID for this May.

Working to get better Planning 

I also spoke up on planning as the LGA is preparing our case to influence the new regulations. There is still a lot wrong in what is proposed. The Government stated intention to dictate the numbers of dwellings required and keep the viability test, which means we have little control. Also to set zones with little planning control, including over protection of the environment and to extend the right to buy. We need to get our teeth into this one. 

Supporting members to attend the AGM

Our Group Deputy and I spoke up on the AGM and conference in Bournemouth next year, pointing out we need to help fund more of our members to attend. Last year the conference did extremely well and made a reasonable profit - as it needs to do to fund our work!  Most importantly, however, it needs to serve our members!

Ninth Cohort of Next Generation sets off

A talented and promising group of councillors started their Next Generation course last weekend, the first of three at Warwick University Conference Centre.  The Leadership academy and graduates have also started in earnest. You might want to jump in! 

Our Independent Group Council Leaders contributing directly

Thanks to our growing number of Independent Group Council Leaders meeting fortnightly on line, bringing on the ground issues to the LGA. In particular we took up the issue of the shortfall in funding, which the LGA is now well on top of. Perhaps ask if your Council has contributed to the survey? Secondly, there are concerns that the Government has taken its eye off the ball in communicating with us properly over the asylum seekers. Some have been placed in hotels without communication, yet some have significant needs. The LGA is taking this up at the highest level. 

Now is the time!

It is a busy time, and I know you will be getting your budgets ready, your campaigns running and keeping close to your teams and your residents. We are growing steadily in number and in effectiveness, it’s our time!

We have secured some fantastic speakers at our upcoming Independent Group Annual Conference next week, with Lord Richard Best delivering our keynote speech "Solving the nation's problems together: an Independent perspective"? We shall also be joined at Conference by Professor Tony Travers of the LSE, a renowned expert in all things local and regional Government as well as former joint Head of the UK Government Economic Service, Vicky Pryce.

Hope to see you at our Independent Group Annual conference on October 28th!


 LGA Independent Group Annual Conference 2022 (Hybrid event)
Friday 28 October 2022, London

The Independent Group conference for all our members will take place at the LGA in 18 Smith’s Square, Westminster. It is always well attended, vibrant and  inspiring, with rich discussion and take-home ideas, focussing on what Councils can do. Please try and join us.

Group Leaders & Opposition Leaders Meeting
Monday 14 November 2022, 12.00 to 2.00pm. Radcliffe House, University of Warwick, off Gibbet Hill Rd, Coventry CV4 7SH

Invitation to a gathering of Independent Leaders and Leaders of opposition groups from councils within the West Midlands This meeting will be facilitated by the Local Government Association’s Independent Political Group and will be a great opportunity to meet and network with fellow Members from across the region. Radcliffe House is easily accessible via public transport (the nearest railway station is Coventry) and there is ample free parking on site. Please contact Cllr Sue Baxter, Regional Peer for West Midlands

Pass the Planet: Showcasing local climate action on the COP27 goals (virtual webinar)

Tuesday 8 November 2022, 10.00am – 11.30am

In the run up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27), the LGA has showcased best practice from councils through our Pass the Planet campaign. In this webinar, four councils present their best practice, each linking with one of the four COP27 goals: mitigation, adaptation, collaboration and finance.  

The social housing regulation bill: information for councils (virtual webinar)

Monday 21 November 2022, 10.30am - 12.00pm

This webinar with DLUHC and the Regulator for Social Housing will provide councils with an overview of the Social Housing Regulation Bill and its implications for stock-holding authorities.

Neighbourhood approach to decarbonising buildings and transport (virtual webinar)

Tuesday 15 November 2022, 10.30am - 12.00pm

This webinar will introduce the LGA’s recent report on Neighbourhood approaches to decarbonising buildings and transport. You will hear from the authors of the report, and council representatives, on the local authority best practice uncovered and the important lessons learnt.

Leadership Essentials two-day programme - Digitalisation

Saturday 19 – Sunday 20 November (in person) |Tuesday 6 – Wednesday 7 December 2022 (virtual meeting)

Our free, two-day Leadership Essentials Digitalisation programme aims to provide councillors with the confidence, capability, and awareness to lead the digitalisation agenda in their local authorities and local areas. There is an option to attend a residential programme or a virtual programme. Please share this with your members who may be interested in attending.

Regional Retrofit Action Planning (virtual webinar)

Tuesday 6 December 2022, 10.00am - 11.30am

The UK’s housing stock will need to be carbon neutral by 2050. Councils are working hard to make their own housing stock more energy efficient, whilst building retrofit skills in the community to strengthen local supply chains. This webinar will share good practice examples from experts and councils who are creating local green jobs in the area of housing retrofit.

Link: Local Government Association

Thank you for all you do in our communities and councils. 

Kind Regards,

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