Group bulletin: 06 February 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

06 February 2023


Greetings Colleagues!

LGA Next Generation Graduates

I have just returned from the final module of this year’s ‘Next Generation Programme’ for Independent Councillors and affiliated members. Congratulations to our graduating cohort and we all wish them every success. I know they will be doing a great job and delivering brilliantly for their local communities and in their Councils. If you missed out this time and would be interested in attending other Councillor development events or our Leadership Academy then please do get in touch with either the Group Office or Grace Collins at the LGA. There is something for everyone, whether in opposition or control, BAME, LGBTQ+ or newly elected. The LGA is here to support us and help us be the best possible Councillors and Leaders for the communities we are privileged to serve!

Supporting our Councillors and Councils

Thanks colleagues for our one-to-one meetings with Independent Council Leaders. I am hearing about the difficult decisions having to be made at local level and working to get the right support in place where it is wanted. Please do reach out if you feel your Council could benefit from a Corporate Peer Challenge to make sure it is ever improving and delivering the best value for money. We also do useful short challenges on individual departments of the Council, such as planning.

Responding to the Government’s Settlement for Councils

Earlier this week I met with the LGA’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Lloyd, to discuss issues related to the Provisional Local Government Financial Settlement as well as the LGA Business Plan. We have responded to the Government’s settlement, including my amendments on your behalf. You may recognise them! You may like to use this document for information in your budget speeches. I focussed on the help councils need to remain financially viable and deliver on tackling the crises in climate and cost of living in this highly uncertain time.

Letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer

The LGA also recently submitted a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer ahead of the upcoming spring budget, highlighting the priorities of local government and our demands for improved local services. You will be happy to know the LGA listened to our concerns and incorporated some of our Independent Group amendments within their letter to the Chancellor.

Election Support

The May Local Elections are looming closely now for 247 of our member Councils, around 80% of our members. As you know, Council resources cannot be used for election purposes, so check you have private e-mail addresses etc on your home computer and you or your group may need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (£35pa on direct debit). Purdah begins from Monday 27th March for the LGA, earlier in some councils. You may like us, have submitted press releases on voter ID, cost of living crisis, NHS and ambulance services, so this is a busy time for media.

The national politics is in our favour. Our success will depend a lot on how good we are at securing good candidates and running a good campaign.  Many of our members are out every day or every weekend doing something towards the campaign, whether it is a litter pick, door knocking or leaflet campaign. Every connection we make pays dividends and the more we make, the more votes we get.

With such turmoil nationally, it is a vital time for us to be organised and active. The Independent Network, Green Party and Plaid Cymru are also running sessions, so please get in touch. This is our year to win big-time. Please contact me if I can help.

Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy

The Government consultation is now open and seeks views on their proposed approach to updating to the National Planning Policy Framework. They are also seeking views on the proposed approach to preparing National Development Management Policies, how they might develop policy to support levelling up, and how national planning policy is currently accessed by users.

Deadline is 2nd March. The LGA Independent Group will be holding an online discussion with Councillors and affiliated members, on Thursday 16th February, to share ideas and feedback on the consultation. To register your interest in attending the online discussion, please contact the Group Office and further information will be sent out to you.

Calling for better Emergency Services: New Govt Emergency Care Plan

With emergency services not meeting any of their targets, we met Ben Dyson, the Executive Director of Strategy for NHS Improvement at the LGA Councillor Forum last week and I raised the importance of strong local services. The Government has now published their “Emergency Response Plan”. They propose more ambulance workers and more care in “virtual beds” at home, but with a two-hour response target and only during the day.  However, we already struggle to find enough people to do the care. I have asked whether we are sufficiently funded and able to access any hotel-resident refugees who can be qualified and can work. Locally, it means neighbour support is more important than ever.

Negotiating Staff Pay Claims 2023 – Your views please

On Tuesday 31st January, the LGA received from the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives (ALACE) the 2023 pay claim for local authority Chief Executives. They seek to have a permanent link to staff covered by the NJC, the national pay scale for all other staff, so that they automatically get the same increases as the top of that scale. They also want a set a minimum of 30 days holiday per year.

Similarly, the National Joint Council for Local Government Services have submitted their pay claim for 2023 – 2024. In short, the claim is calling for an increase of RPI + 2% on all spinal column points.

Separate pay claims have not yet been submitted by the Staff Sides representing local authority Chief Officers and Craftworkers.

The National Employers, including our Independent Group members speaking on your behalf, will be meeting on 23 February. Please let us have your comments.

John Pollard RIP

Independent Leader of Cornwall Council, John Pollard did an amazing job. He accessed EU funds for Cornwall, dramatically improved digital and other infrastructure and stood up to the Government on the issue of a Mayor. He was generous with his time at the LGA, always ready to support others. Our condolences to his colleagues, his family and friends.  

John was also a prominent peer with the LGA Group and our Lead Peer, Mike Haines comments; “John was a good friend during his time as a councillor and as a peer mentor for the LGA Independent group. His dedicated service to the people of Cornwall and beyond is an example to us all.”

From the News

LGA Conference 2023 Innovation Zone -Applications now open!

At the LGA Annual Conference in Bournemouth, Tuesday 4–Thursday 6 July 2023, the Innovation Zone showcases outstanding, innovative work of councils across a range of service and policy areas. Have you something to showcase in any of the following? Tackling the cost of living crisis, digital and tech solutions, people services including adult and children’s social care, resettlement, climate change, net zero and promoting sustainability, developing and / or upskilling the local government workforce, economic growth and supporting communities, managing housing pressures.

Sessions should be as interactive as possible, 30 to 45 minutes in duration including time for questions. Deadline for applications is Monday 27th February.

Cost of living hub

We are looking to refresh our cost of living hub to capture new practice as it emerges. A new page of ‘spotlight’ case studies has been included to highlight in more detail just some of the great work councils and partners are doing. If you would like to share an example of something you are working on email

Cost of Living Network  

The LGA’s Cost of Living Network gives councils the opportunity to come together and hear what is being done locally and nationally to help mitigate the impacts of the cost of living on communities. Email if you have a suggested webinar topic or if you’d would like to nominate yourself as a speaker. 

Mental Health Week

It is Children’s Mental Health Week from 6 February. This year’s theme is 'Let’s Connect'. The LGA will be supporting Children’s Mental Health Week, look out for our article in first magazine. If you want to share the great work your council is doing to support children and young people with their mental health, get in touch with

£1 million fund for fresh ideas to boost health at work

The Government has launched a competition for businesses to bid for share of £1m to stimulate innovation in Occupational Health. Successful bidders will receive up to £100,000 from 19 May 2023, with the Government looking for innovative solutions to drive better access for SMEs and the self-employed to Occupational Health (OH) services. Applicants are being encouraged to demonstrate how they would deliver improvements to OH, harnessing technology such as artificial intelligence or data collection, to deliver better health outcomes for employees of SMEs. The fund will be open to applications from 30 January 2023 and run until 15 March 2023.

Fly-tipping: England sees more than 1m incidents in year

As we all know, fly-tipping is a blight on our environment and our communities and we as Independents have a zero-tolerance on this enviro-crime. Whilst the figures just released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs show a 4% decrease of fly-tipping in England, there were still over 1 million incidents reported in the year ending March 2022. At the same time, the number of fixed penalty notices has increased by 58% to 91,000 2021/22. The cuts are having a continued effect on this problem as Councils struggle with depleted resources in order to respond adequately. Nevertheless, everyone has their part to play and can report fly-tipping by going on the Government website.


Bookings now open: DCN Annual Conference 2023

The DCN Annual Conference is back in February 2023. This year it moves to a new location: the beautiful Sopwell House near St Albans, Hertfordshire.

We’re pleased to share our near final programme found here.
You can book your place here.

The Net Zero Innovation Programme 2021/22 Showcase (virtual webinar)
Thursday 9 February 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm

The webinar will be a showcase of the LGA and UCL’s Net Zero Innovation Programme 2021/22 cohort. Attendees will hear from some of the projects that have been delivered and how these can be scaled to help other councils. It will be a great opportunity to learn about partnership working and provide training for councils to use the products created.

Photographic voter identification and raising awareness (virtual webinar)
Thursday 9 February 2023, 2.00pm - 3.00pm

The Elections Act 2022 introduced photographic voter identification requirements for various elections across the UK. Join us and hear more about the new requirements and the Electoral Commission’s campaign to raise public awareness.

Local authority best practice in repurposing shopping centres (virtual webinar)
Wednesday 22 February 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm

This event will share The Growth Company’s initial findings of their LGA commissioned report on Local authority best practice in repurposing shopping centres and stimulate a discussion on the socioeconomic benefits, and costs, of local authorities taking a lead on shaping the future of shopping centres in our towns.

Supporting people with mental health problems back into work (virtual webinar)
Tuesday 28 February 2023, 2.00pm – 3.15pm

This webinar, organised by the NISE network in partnership with the LGA, will highlight how employment is beneficial for our mental health and how organisations can support people with mental health problems getting back into and staying in work.

Let’s talk about… supporting inclusive leadership (virtual meeting)
Thursday 2 March 2023, 10.00am – 11.30am

Our roundtable events invite workforce equalities leads to come together and share successes and brainstorm challenges. At our final event we’ll talk about how our leaders can create working cultures that welcome diverse perspectives and encourage collaboration and ensure that all our employees can put their best thinking to work.

Annual national construction conference (in-person event)
Tuesday 7 March 2023, Leeds

The LGA’s national construction conference will be held in-person in London and Leeds with speakers from local government, BEIS, Cabinet Office and industry and will look at how the combination of climate change, a cost-of-living crisis and global political instability continues to impact the UK’s construction industry and councils’ delivery of construction projects.

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.

LGA Annual Culture, Tourism and Sport Conference 2023 (hybrid event)
Wednesday 15 March 2023, London

The conference will explore the contribution culture, tourism and sport make to the levelling up agenda and the role these vital services play in tackling inequalities and supporting our national recovery from COVID-19.

LGA Annual Conference and Exhibition 2023 (in-person event)Tuesday 4 – Thursday 6 July 2023 | Bournemouth

Join us in Bournemouth for the biggest event in the local government calendar, where we’ll be discussing the latest issues affecting local government.

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