Group bulletin: 01 November 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

01 November 2022


Morning All,

Huge thanks to all who attended our Independent Group Annual Conference on Friday. Key issues were the cost of living crisis and the impact on our services as demand increases and funds do not. Hence you may want to join #SaveourServices campaign and your council may contribute data to ensure we are making the strongest possible case prior to the budget announcement.

We currently spend less now than we did over a decade ago, yet inflation and demands increase. (Reference figs 5-11 in Audit document last year) Tackling climate change and retrofitting homes is costing £20-50K per dwelling, but every pound spent on tackling fuel poverty, saves 42p on the NHS. The £2.6bn shortfall in long term care remains and it is hoped the U-turn back to increasing national insurance will bring benefits to Councils, not just the NHS. With spiralling inflation, wages and increased demand, Councils are showing a current shortfall on £2.4bn. One Council leader pointed out that means 600 jobs for his Council and the loss of the service they provide. To raise the money from Council tax would require impossible rises.

Rishi Sunak said the ban on fracking would remain after all, but the next day announced that like the King, he was not going to COP27, ending his presidency by leaving a hole in the UK Leadership there.

It seems I shall have to step in for both of them! I am attending and been invited to speak on behalf of local Government from across Europe. Happy to add your most powerful sound bites. I bet we will do a great job between us! Following the recent spate of wildfires, and floods, our conference covered the impact of climate change on the emergency services. Hot discussions also centred on Planning, as the Government are reconsidering their proposals to make it more “streamlined” and centralised, cutting down the local voices. It is the right time to be active in campaigning here and our EEHT think tank is onto it.

Clarence Barrett Award Winner 2022 and Citations Nominations

A huge congratulations to Councillor Gillian Ford of the London Borough of Havering who won our Annual Clarence Barrett Award. The Clarence Barrett Award is our highest award presented to LGA Independent Group Members. The Award recognises those councillors who go above and beyond in their work, to contribute something significant to local government and residents. Gillian has been a Councillor for 20 years this year, and has been a standard bearer for independent politics in the Borough of Havering, and it is in no small measure due to her efforts over many years, that there is now an independent administration in a London Borough for the first time in many years. She is deeply immersed in local issues, campaigning on, for example, the loss of a much loved golf course to development, and is Deputy Leader of the council as well as chair of its Health and Wellbeing Board. She still finds time to represent the Independent Group as Deputy Chair of the LGA City and Regions Board having formally been the Deputy Chair of the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Our Councillors who received Citations Nominations were: Councillors Carole Ann Da Costa, Jason Zadrozny, Denise Carlo, Martin Fodor and Ed Gemmell. My congratulations to them also for the outstanding service they give to their local residents and communities.

Writing to the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak MP

The LGA has sent a joint letter to the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak MP setting out our case so far and released a statement.

UN Emissions Gap Report 2022

The recently released UN report finds that only an urgent system-wide transformation can deliver the enormous cuts needed to limit greenhouse gas emissions by 2030: 45 per cent compared with projections based on policies currently in place to get on track to 1.5°C and 30 per cent for 2°C. This report provides an in-depth exploration of how to deliver this transformation, looking at the required actions in the electricity supply, industry, transport and buildings sectors, and the food and financial systems.

Independent Group Executive, the engine of the group!

Our Independent Group Executive had an awayday last week, getting to grips with what was important to all our members and shaping a business plan. We also looked at our tools and powers and considered how best to use them. Councillors are very busy, but always find we gain so much from working together and the following very successful Annual Conference being a fine example! We are able to attract top speakers and have excellent support from the LGA, from our members and our Vice Presidents in the Houses of Lords and Parliament. Speakers included Lord Best, Baroness Natalie Bennet, Professor Tony Travers, Su Moore from the Jo Cox Foundation and speakers from the Centre for Economic and Business research and Institute of Fiscal Studies who all did a great job. If you know good speakers you think we should hear, please let us know!

Calling for support for Community Care

It will not be a surprise to you that not enough community services means people are increasingly confined in hospital for too long. The growing concern is described by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in their State of Care report 2021/22. The report also warns the recruitment challenge health and care leaders face is going to translate into real difficulty this winter and in the years ahead. The CQC stated 36 per cent of care home providers and 41 per cent of homecare providers said that workforce challenges limits what they can do. 

The LGA response points to urgent action required as we approach winter to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in adult social care, including on staff pay, conditions, skills, training and development alongside a long-term funding plan for services.   

Is the Levelling Up Fund going to level up?

Apparently not. The Institute of Fiscal Studies IFS latest report points out that it is not possible to even see the inequalities in public service funding systems.  The data and the opaque and complex formulas used to distribute funding gives space to political engineering, rather than funds based on need. The report looks at how the £9,650 per person is distributed geographically, showing Central London and some Midlands areas as the biggest winners in England.  (map on page 211)

The report concludes; “Overall, we find that while funding systems for some services are coherent and well designed (such as the main NHS funding allocations) or have improved in recent years (such as schools), others need significant reform (such as for police, local government and public health services). During the 2010s, changes to funding allocations often worked to exacerbate rather than reduce geographic inequalities, with higher-needs, more-deprived areas seeing bigger cuts to funding.”

The LGA has responded and seeks assurance that no council sees its funding reduce as a result. However, we are clear that - regardless of how current funding is distributed - it will be insufficient to prevent cutbacks to the services that will be vital to help the Government achieve its ambitions for growth and to produce a more balanced economy, level up communities and help residents through the cost-of-living challenges. 

Call for information: How does your Council support Councillors against abuse and intimidation?

The LGA has launched a project looking at support for councillors experiencing abuse. We’re calling for councils, police and political parties to share what they offer their councillors to help them manage risks associated with their role, prevention approaches, incident management and aftercare when an incident has taken place. If you can contribute to the project, please send a short summary of what your organisation provides councillors, or send over relevant documents, policies, examples and case studies to our office and copy to

Leading by example; sharing good practice on community engagement – last chance to contribute!

Have you got an example of working to involve disadvantaged and under-represented groups in local decision-making? We are looking for stories from councils, communities and partner organisations of innovative approaches and creative methods of engagement that have been positive for communities before November 4th.

Planning Advisory Service Survey for Councillors

Planning pre-application discussions are notorious for giving the impression that our officers are working directly for the developers, helping them to make the best possible case in the preparation and then presenting it for them to councillors in the planning meeting.  Are Councillors being circumvented?  Please try this short survey to contribute your experience. There is also a workshop you may like to join. The Planning Advisory Service is part of the work of the LGA. More info is here.  

Many thanks indeed for all your inspiring work. It’s the right time to make sure our residents know about it! Finding and supporting good candidates who will stick with us and really make the difference remains a key task before Christmas. Huge thanks to councillors who are not facing elections this year and are helping out.  Our Group Executive have agreed that we will support well-attended local events, so please let us know if you have some plans afoot.

Finally, if you know of an Independent Councillor or affiliated Member who is not on the bulletin mailing list then please do let us know by contacting the Group Office so we can include you in our communications.


Biodiversity net gain and nature recovery update for Councillors (virtual webinar)
1st November, 5:00 to 6:30 pm.

Workshop for councillors to provide an overview and highlight experience of current practice on biodiversity net gain (BNG) and nature recovery. 

Design and Place Councillors Briefing (virtual webinar)
10th November, 12:00 to 1:30 pm 

We are working with Urban Design Learning to delivering a free Councillors’ lunch-time online session on design codes and delivering well-designed places. It will focus on current policy and resources to deliver growth and good design, with speakers from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Neighbourhood approach to decarbonising buildings and transport (virtual webinar)
15th November, 10.30 am – 12.00 pm

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. 

The social housing regulation bill: information for councils (virtual webinar)
21st November, 10.30 am – 12.00 pm

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. If you are a local authority councillor and you would like to attend please email to book a place and

LGA Local Government Finance Conference 2023 (in person event)
10 January 2023 – London

Note this event is getting booked up quickly.

The LGA’s Local Government Finance Conference will focus on the 2023/24 provisional local government finance settlement, look at the longer-term outlook for local government in the current economic climate; as well as cover issues raised in this Autumn’s fiscal events.

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