Group bulletin: 30 November 2022

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

30 November 2022


Greetings colleagues!

I hope you are well and coping with the budget discussions and supporting residents through the cost-of-living crisis. Firstly, I would like to send my congratulations to the Ashfield Independents for their recent by-election win last week! Ashfield Independents retained the Hucknall Central seat with 710 votes; a 16.3 per cent increase from their 2019 result in this ward. A great result and well done for such hard work in keeping the seat and increase your share of the vote!



As promised from my previous newsletter, if you are interested in hearing more about my recent attendance at the COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt, please visit the Lincolnshire Independents Website for more information.

Autumn Statement 2022 LGA briefing

The LGA has released its own briefing in response to the recent Autumn Statement. It summarises the key announcements impacting councils and provides an initial LGA view. Conversations with government continue on the detail and in advance of the Local Government Finance Settlement.  

Enhancing international trade and co-operation

Councils keep half the business rates we collect and give the other half to central Government. What we can achieve locally is directly tied into the physical area used by business.

However, getting money into the country depends on exports. The recent low pound made our exports cheaper and even allowing for a lag in orders, new analysis has revealed that UK export growth has fallen well behind that of other major economies, including Germany and France, despite claims by the Conservative government that Brexit would boost British business abroad. The Great Britain and Northern Ireland Stand at COP27 was utilised to showcase our Green Industry. There are calls from the Institute of Global Change for Rishi Sunak to "revisit" the Brexit trade deal, the Trade and cooperation agreement (TCA) signed by Mr Johnson in 2025. Can we get a better deal?

The Foreign Office last month encouraged us councillors to improve our twinning or partnership arrangements, meeting in Nancy. Some Councils are using their business community and international connections as a basis for trade delegations. Is there more we councils can do? Can you please share any examples where you are increasing trade by not displacing local businesses, but by helping them grow or diversify. Email us:

LGA Independent National Lead Peer applications now open

As you know, Councillor Mike Haines is standing down as National Lead Peer to the LGA Independent Group once his term of office ends as a councillor. The LGA Independent Group thank him for all his hard work, service and dedication over the years, for helping to improve the standards and performance of local government. The Independent Group Office is therefore welcoming applications for a suitable replacement to fill the role of National Lead Peer for the LGA Independent Group. The LGA’s mission is to support, promote and improve local government. The LGA’s Peer Programme is a critical part of the Association’s work on sector-led improvement and innovation. It falls into four categories:

  • Peer challenge (each local authority is entitled to one free corporate peer challenge every three years)
  • Mentoring
  • Bespoke work with council political groups and top teams
  • Internal LGA activity - for example supporting the Leadership Academy.

Along with the LGA Improvement and Innovation Board, Lead Member Peers lead our improvement work from a political perspective, working closely with their respective Group Office.

National Lead Member Peers: accountabilities

  • To ensure that the LGA’s improvement programme reflects political priorities.
  • To work closely with the relevant LGA Group Leader, Group Office, Regional Peers and Principal Adviser to ensure effective management, deployment and development of the peer pool and of individual member peers.
  • To work with the Regional Lead Peers to gather intelligence and understand the political and other issues affecting the performance of individual councils.
  • To develop and maintain networks and channels of communication with council leaders, council group leaders and local government bodies.
  • To identify innovation and best practice that can be shared across the sector.
  • To work with the relevant Group Improvement and Innovation mechanism and Principal Advisers to ensure that intelligence and best practice from councils drives improvement across local government.
  • To work direct with those councils perceived to be most at risk in conjunction with the relevant Principal Adviser.
  • To contribute to the development of the LGA's improvement products and services and to help promote them to local authorities.
  • To encourage councils in membership to undertake a peer challenge. 

Travel and expenses

  • The roles will require attendance at meetings in London and travel across the country.
  • Reasonable travel and subsistence costs incurred by the Lead Peers in the discharge of their duties will be paid by the LGA.


  • £334 per day (for a pre-agreed number of days allocated by the LGA in advance)
  • Expected time commitment: Variable

If this is something you would be interested in doing, then we encourage you to fill out the National Lead Peer Application Form, which can be found on the homepage of the LGA Independent Group website. To be eligible for the role, you have to be an LGA Member Peer already; and we are happy to accept applications from existing regional peers and also those who are not currently regional lead peers. However, we advise that as National Lead Peer, you cannot hold another paid position on an LGA Board, for example, being a member or leader of an LGA policy board. If this is the case, then you will need to step down in order to fulfil your role as National Lead Peer.   

Submission deadline for National Lead Peer Applications is Friday 9 December with interviews taking place in January 2023.

Not an LGA Member Peer already?

If you are curious about what the role of an LGA Member Peer does or are thinking about applying for the role of an LGA Member Peer, please email us at the LGA Independent Group Office: for more information and/or an application form.

Swale Borough Council awarded A-list status

The fifth annual cities A List recognizes cities that have received the highest score for their transparency and bold climate action, and celebrates their achievements, vision and commitment in the fight against climate change. To score an A, among other actions, a city must disclose publicly through CDP-ICLEI Track, have a city-wide emissions inventory and have published a climate action plan. An A List city must also complete a climate risk and vulnerability assessment (CRVA) and have a climate adaptation plan to demonstrate how it will tackle climate hazards. It was a great pleasure to read that one of our Independent led authorities, Swale Borough Council, has been recognised by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) as one of 123 districts across the globe that is taking bold leadership on environmental action! A huge congratulations to Swale Borough Council Leader, Councillor Mike Baldock! We are very proud of you!

Budget setting online workshop for Independents and affiliated Members

Friday 13 January, 11.00am – 1.00pm

It’s a challenging time for local government with a decade of reductions in funding and rising demand, along with the impact of COVID-19 adding pressure to council finances. How better to discuss and prepare for council budget setting than by joining our virtual workshop on Budget setting and effective challenge on Friday 13 January, 11.00am–1.00pm.This timely seminar follows the Government’s Autumn Statement 2022: LGA briefing and pre-empts your council budget meetings. We will have a member of the LGA’s Finance team providing an update on what the autumn statement means and councillors Phélim Mac Cafferty and Gillian Ford offering top tips for setting and challenging council budgets, relevant for those in administration and opposition.

Our group workshops are free, interactive training sessions which give you the opportunity to ask questions and contribute to discussions based on your local experience. If you would like to attend, please email LGA Independent Group colleagues at who will send you the Zoom meeting link.


Leadership essentials, Digitalisation

The LGA is hosting a free two-day programme for councillors on harnessing the power of digitalisation as part of our Leadership Essentials programme of events. You don’t need to have any prior knowledge of digital technologies to attend this programme. The workshop will introduce councillors to our 12 outcomes of digitalisation and the role of leaders in a digital age. If you are a councillor and are interested in finding out how digital tools and services can be used to drive innovation and transformation for your communities than this is the course for you. Our next workshop is taking place online on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 December. To book onto the programme, please email

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.

Devolution: making a successful evidence-led application to Government (virtual webinar)

Friday 16 December 2022, 10.30am – 11.30am

This webinar is a practical session, sharing learning and best practice for councils considering devolution deals on how data can be used to make a case to Government. It will draw on the experience of those who have successfully negotiated devolution deals on developing and presenting a strong evidence base.

LGA Local Government Finance Conference 2023 (in-person event)

Tuesday 10 January 2023, London

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