Group bulletin: 24 March 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

24 March 2023


Greetings colleagues!

The damning Baroness Casey review on the Met Police force in London makes us wonder if any of the same issues could be happening across the country. The report talks of misogyny and racism, but it also gets right under the skin of the organisation and points to a number of political choices that have led to a poor performance. This includes the Met being re-organised so that police officers were not linked to a particular Borough, but covering ever bigger areas, “essentially an austerity measure.”  That rings alarm bells for us in local government.

Our Candidate School finished last week with a fantastic presentation from the Electoral Commission talking about Nomination Papers, Agents, Spending, Donations, Declarations and Imprints. If you would like to view a recording of the session, please do get in touch with our Group Office. I would like to thank all our guest speakers who contributed to our online sessions and shared their experiences with our interested candidates.

This will be my last members’ bulletin before the pre-election period begins at the LGA and restrictions begin on communications publicity. The LGA has produced a useful guide to publicity during the pre-election period on the implications this has on day-to-day activity for local authorities. Don’t forget this year will be the first-time electors have to produce Voter ID in order to vote in the May local elections. The Electoral Commission has produced a useful guide on the accepted forms of photo ID.

I wish everyone who is standing the best of luck in the forthcoming May elections. I appreciate this means some of you may be standing against each other in these elections, but in the spirit of the cross-party collaboration that is the LGA, and the diversity that makes up the Independent Group, we will continue to support you all.

Elections and campaigning are busy times when we are meeting members of the public and being tested on our views and ideas. The LGA’s award-winning Civility in Public Life campaign has information on keeping yourself safe during your campaign and I know the LGA’s Debate not Hate campaign has resonated with many of our members.

If you are standing down this year, for whatever reason, may I take this opportunity to thank you for the many years of service given to your local communities. I would like to particularly mention councillors Mike Haines and Paul Woodhead. Paul is stepping down this year as the Group’s Treasurer and Mike has worked with the LGA for over 20 years, serving our Group on LGA policy boards, our Executive and as our National Lead Peer, giving sound advice and guidance to all our councillors, especially new ones on our Next Generation Programme.

Independent Group AGM and LGA Annual Conference

This year’s Independent Group AGM will take place on Tuesday 4 July in Bournemouth at the LGA Annual Conference 2023. This is a great opportunity to learn and network, but if you are unable to attend the whole conference, you can attend our AGM without charge. If you are planning on attending the Group AGM, please contact the Independent Group Office.

The LGA General Assembly will also take place at the LGA Annual Conference and all local authority members have been invited this month to appoint their representatives to attend the Assembly. The deadline for receipt of your nomination form is 7 June. The Assembly is also an opportunity for member authorities to submit motions for debate on issues of national significance with a deadline for receipt by 3 May. For further information, please do contact LGA Member Services.

The Leadership Academy Programme

We are keen to ensure that our Independent Group members take full advantage of the LGA’s Leadership Academy Programme for 2023/34. Local politicians are facing an environment of multiple challenges and opportunities; from reducing budgets and re-shaping services to diverse community challenges and complex political alliances. Developing the skills for effective local leadership is vital to ensure councillors can rise to these challenges and make the most of the opportunities to benefit their communities. The programme is recognised by The Institute of Leadership and Management, the UK's leading award winning body for leadership and management.

Next Generation Programme 2023/24

The Independent Group is looking for expressions of interest for joining the 2023/24 Next Generation Cohort. This prestigious programme offers ambitious and talented councillors an unparalleled political development opportunity – uniquely developed for members of the LGA Independent Group. The programme equips emerging political leaders with the skills and confidence to be bold champions of local government and progress in their political careers. Please contact the Independent Group Office to find out more, express your interest or nominate a worthy councillor.

Infrastructure Levy Consultation

The government has published a technical consultation on the Infrastructure Levy which is being introduced through the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill. It aims to be more effective and transparent than the current system of developer contributions and deliver more affordable housing. Please do contribute before the deadline on 9 June.

National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP)

As a reminder, the deadline for councils to sign up for this year's National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP) is 31 March 2023. The scheme provides an easy and cost-effective way for councils to attract and recruit talented and motivated graduates who add value from day one. In addition, the LGA's flagship two-year management trainee programme offers the opportunity for graduates to fast-track their local government careers whilst allowing councils to develop their workforce. To find out more and sign-up visit the National Graduate Development Programme website or get in touch with the team at

Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF2) Round 2

A reminder that the Brownfield Land Release Fund (BLRF2) Round 2 closes to applications at 23:59 on 31 March 2023. There is £60 million available in this round, with a total of £180 million of capital grant funding available to all English councils over a three-year period to support the release of council-owned brownfield land for housing.

Armed Forces Families Fund – open for new applications from April 2023

The next round of application for the Armed Forces Families Fund will be open from next month. The fund aims to help families of serving personnel (including reservists) with the challenges of life for example, family, education, health and wellbeing as well as childcare to name just a few. Please do visit the website for more information and encourage your local authority to apply!

Nominate your volunteer heroes!

To celebrate the King’s Coronation, the Royal Voluntary Service is launching the ‘Coronation Champions Awards’ for volunteers. If you know someone in your local community who has overcome adversity or has done extraordinary things within one of the following categories: supporting older people, supporting younger people, crisis and welfare, community, sports, culture and heritage, health and care, environment as well as animal welfare, then please do nominate them for this special award. Royal Voluntary Service Nominations close on Sunday 2 April.

Dates for the Diary

Biodiversity and nature recovery show and tell (virtual webinar)
Thursday 20 April 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm

This webinar will showcase notable practice from councils of how to embed and take action to protect and enhance biodiversity in their local areas. It will provide examples of how councils can utilise their green spaces as well as being innovative when it comes to delivering nature recovery activities and preparing for mandatory biodiversity net gain.

Progress on children and young people’s mental health policy in England (virtual meeting)
Thursday 18 May 2023, 2.00pm – 3.30pm

Since 2010, numerous children’s mental health policies have been announced, however, children’s mental health needs remain of real concern. This webinar will explore analysis conducted by the Centre for Mental Health and the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC), commissioned by the LGA, to explore these policy announcements and the impact they have.

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.


With best wishes,

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