Group bulletin: 13 January 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

13 January 2023


Greetings Colleagues!

The decorations are down and packed away and this week saw us getting back to work in earnest, wrestling with making the budgets stretch. Casework and communication with residents drives the way we influence the work of our councils and many of us are now gathering candidates, ready for local elections on 4th May.

The PM announced his latest five priorities (to halve inflation, grow the economy, stop the boats, reduce debt and cut NHS waiting times.) They do not  include one of our priorities, tackling climate change and the consequent impacts of fires, floods and the health of residents. On your behalf, I previously wrote to the PM asking for better support for tackling retrofitting of our housing, to reduce loss of expensive heating and other initiatives.

The reply from Lord Callanan-states “continued commitment to net zero by 2050”, but due to changed circumstances, they are reviewing the approach to meeting the target. This review is led by Chris Skidmore MP and reports at the end of 2023. We have an LGA cross-party task group who has met with Lord Callanan, work I intend to continue, with your support through our think tanks and boards.

Our Council lead members have been very clear on the challenge our councils are facing to make ends meet. I attended the LGA Local Government Finance Conference on Tuesday in person. The Minister for Local Government, Lee Rowley MP, answered my question about budget for making homes energy efficient, confirming Lord Callanan’s response of a lack of urgency.  Sarah Owen MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government is a former social care worker and clearly understood those pressures very well. The original offer was no increase at all for local Government, so the LGA work has improved the offer, particularly for social care to protect the NHS. However, I highlighted the fact that despite all the rhetoric about the settlement being more generous than in previous years, this is in fact a decrease against inflation, especially for shire districts. If we do not raise council tax by the maximum amount, we will be left short.

In other news, I continue to meet on a one-to-one basis Leaders from Councils led by Green, Independent and Plaid Cymru members. It is shocking to hear the what some councils are up against and the heart-breaking decisions some are having to make because of a continued decrease in funding since 2010. Some services will either be reduced or in some cases no more, leaving residents with very few alternatives. Again, the message must be clear: this is not our doing but Government ideology being imposed on local Councils.

We continue to welcome new councillors into our Independent Group. Please would group leaders let the office know so we can be sure to include them in invitations and information. A big welcome to the Independent Group and I look forward to working with you all.

Finally, the LGA is continuing to welcome feedback to inform their official response to the recent Local Government Financial Settlement. Please add your voice to ensure we are fully represented and send comments to the Finance Team. At the time of writing, we have just held our ‘Budget setting online workshop for Independents and affiliated Members’ which was attended by Alan Finch of the LGA and also Councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty, Leader of Brighton and Hove Council as well as Councillor Jim Hakewill of North Northamptonshire Council. Thank you to all members who attended and asked questions and I hope you found it useful in your budget setting preparations.

Ministers promise extra £250m to buy care home beds and ease pressure on NHS

The Government announcement of a one off £250m for care is only until April, which leaves us wondering what happens to those staff after that? There is clearly an overdue need to deal with the underlying shortfall in long term funding for essential adult and children’s care.

Revised Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, LGA Privacy Notice and Group elections

At their meeting on 8 December 2022, the LGA Board approved changes to the LGA’s Privacy Notice in response to the revised Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR), that came into effect in October 2022. The changes to PECR affect how the LGA’s political groups communicate with their members and how group elections are conducted. The revised Privacy Notice can be found here Privacy policy | Local Government Association

Retrofit London named Climate Project of the Year

Congratulations to Retrofit London for receiving ‘Climate Project of the Year’ at the UK Housing Awards. The award is in recognition of the fantastic work the organisation does to upgrade London’s housing stock, where currently carbon emissions account for a third of the capital’s total. Retrofit represents 33 local authorities agreeing a plan for London to improve energy efficiency whilst radically reducing emissions.

Ozone layer is recovering!

Earlier this week, the United Nations Environment Programme published a report showing a notable recovery of the ozone layer in the upper stratosphere and decreased human exposure to harmful ultra violet (UV) rays from the sun! If we maintain this good work, then the Ozone layer is expected to recover to 1980 values by around 2066 over the Antarctic, by 2045 over the Artic and by 2040 for the rest of the world.

Leader of the Climate Party on Talking Pints!

You might have seen in GB News recently that Leader of the newly established Climate Party, Ed Gemmell, was interview on ‘Talking Pints’ recently. You can watch the full interview on You Tube. Cheers!


Photographic voter ID requirements May 2023 elections
Date to be confirmed

There will be a webinar briefing for councillors, prospective candidates, and campaigners on the new photographic voter ID requirements for the May 2023 elections. The session will be in early February and will include a speaker from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Electoral Commission. Please keep an eye on the LGA events website as we will announce the date shortly.

Handling online abuse and intimidation
Wednesday 1 February 2023, 6:00 – 7:30 pm

A handling online and abuse webinar to provide councillors with steps to handle online abuse and intimidation will provide attendees with the steps that can be taken to manage trolls and cyber-bullies, including an introduction to the legal framework around social media posts. There will be guidance on how to be safe online generally, as well as tips on how to create a positive online presence.

Personal safety for councillors
Tuesday 21 February 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 pm

A personal safety webinar for councillors who are keen to improve their awareness of personal safety. Built around the role of the elected member, the session is full of practical advice and guidance. Included within the webinar are references to surgeries, canvassing, home visits and managing unexpected doorstep visitors.

Digitalisation Councillor Masterclasses: Exploring the 12 outcomes of local government digitalisation (virtual training)
February 2023

The LGA is hosting four half day masterclasses in February for councillors to demystify digitalisation. The classes will equip councillors with a framework to lead and engage with their council’s digitalisation journey and enable the design of digital services that meet the needs of their local communities. This is suitable for councillors new to digitalisation as well as those seeking to build on their existing knowledge. To register, please complete this booking form.

LGA Behavioural Insights programme: tackling post pandemic challenges and the cost-of-living crisis (virtual webinar)
Tuesday 14 March 2023, 11.15am – 1.00pm

The Local Government Association will be hosting our annual Behavioural Insights event to showcase how councils are using behaviour change techniques to address key challenges. Councils will share learning from projects associated with the cost-of-living crisis as well as those with a focus on improving young people’s mental health.

Age friendly communities
Wednesday 15th February 2023, 10.00am -11.00am

The Centre for Ageing Better is running a webinar to share the WHO  framework for creating an age-friendly community and how places across the UK have made their communities great places to grow old in. To have a conversation about making your borough an age-friendly community contact the AFC network.

LGA Annual Conference – apply by 27 February to be part of our Innovation Zone

Applications are now open for our Innovation Zone 2023 – a vibrant and creative space at the LGA Annual Conference which will take place from Tuesday 4–Thursday 6 July in Bournemouth.

The Innovation Zone enables councils to showcase their new ideas and solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing local government. The theme for this year’s Innovation Zone is ‘Challenge and change’, and we are aiming to share excellent practice that all delegates can learn from and use to create tangible, positive impacts in their own councils and communities.

If you have delivered interesting, impactful projects and are interested in getting involved please see the Innovation Zone application form and information.

Applications are open to all councils (and organisations working with councils) with bold and innovative ideas to share and will close on Monday 27 February. If you have any questions, please email


Wishing you all the very best in what you do. I am continually uplifted by the talent and determination to improve life for our residents.

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