Group bulletin: 06 April 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

06 April 2023


Hello everyone,

The pre-election period is now well underway and for many of you the deadline for submitting nomination papers has either passed or is fast approaching!

Voter ID

As many of you know, this will be the first time that voters will have to show photo ID in order to vote. The Electoral Commission has produced a useful guide about what types of ID are acceptable. If someone you know does not have acceptable ID, they can apply for a ‘Voter Authority Certificate’ but please hurry as the deadline for applications is 25 April.

New Regional Lead Peer!

The LGA Independent Group welcomes our new Regional Lead Peer for the North East Region, Yorkshire and Humberside, Councillor Georgina Hill! Regional Lead Peers support the National Lead Peer to ensure the effective management, deployment and development of individual member peers and the peer pool generally. We wish Georgina the very best of luck in her new role, and if you think your council might benefit from the range of sector-led improvement the LGA offers, including a Corporate Peer challenge, you can contact the Principal Adviser for your region.

LGA Board vacancies

We already received a few initial expressions of interest but are still welcoming applications for our LGA Board vacancies. As you know, with some Members either standing for re-election, standing down or completing their term of office as a Board Lead or Member, the Independent Group will be looking for replacements (after the May elections) for vacancies that have been created on the following LGA Boards:

  • Children and Young People – Deputy Chair and Member
  • Community Wellbeing – Deputy Chair
  • City Regions – Deputy Chair
  • Improvement and Innovation Board – Deputy Chair
  • Resources – Deputy-Chair and Member

In addition, there are two vacancies available for District Council Members on the District Councils Network. For more information, please contact the Group Office.

LGA Leadership Academy and Leadership Essentials

The LGA runs two excellent training and development programmes for councillors looking to improve their knowledge and skills within specific portfolio areas and also for councillors in leadership positions. If you serve on a council committee or are responsible for a specific portfolio then the Leadership Essentials course is for you. Alternatively, if you are in a leadership position, whether in leadership or opposition, within your local authority then the Leadership Academy can help you meet the day-to-day challenges and better serve the communities you serve. For further information, please contact the Group Office or the Programme Coordinator Grace Collins.

Next Generation 23/24

The Independent Group is now looking to host its next cohort of councillors to participate in its Next Generation programme this autumn. The programme helps newly elected councillors and established councillors in three areas of training and development: personal leadership, political leadership as well as communication and media skills. To register your interest, please do contact the Group Office.

Time set for UK Emergency Alert Tests

A UK-wide test of the life-saving public Emergency Alerts system will take place at 3pm on Sunday 23 April. Messages will be received on 4G and 5G mobile phones, along with sound and vibration for up to 10 seconds. Emergency Alerts enable urgent messages to be broadcast to a defined area when there is an imminent risk to life, such as wildfires or severe flooding. For the test, the public does not need to take any action – the sound and vibration will stop automatically after ten seconds. All people need to do is swipe away the message or click ‘OK’ on their phone’s home screen and continue to use their phone as normal.

Candidate and campaigner safety 

Campaigning and engagement during the pre-election period can mean handling challenging conversations with residents. We encourage candidates, campaigners and councillors to consider their own safety when campaigning and to use the guide to handling abuse and intimidation, in addition to seeking support from the council and local police to mitigate any risks. 

Future electoral reform 

The Elections Act 2022 introduced a range of other reforms that are being implemented in a phased approach. This includes: 

Postal vote handling and secrecy: Political campaigners will be banned from handling postal votes and a limit will be placed on the number of postal votes a person can hand in at polling stations. The secrecy of the ballot will be extended to postal and proxy votes.

Postal and proxy voting registration: Postal vote arrangements will need to be refreshed with a new application every three years and a new digital application process will be established to include verification of the voter's identity. There will be a limit to the number of electors a person may act as a proxy for to a maximum of four, with no more than two domestic electors.

EU citizens’ voting and candidacy rights: The automatic right of EU citizens to vote and stand in elections will be removed. Exceptions to this include EU citizens with retained rights due to residency before the end of the EU Exit implementation period, or nationals from a country with bilateral voting and candidacy rights treaties with the UK Government.

Overseas electors: The 15-year limit on expatriates’ right to vote in UK Parliamentary elections will be removed. They will be entitled to register with the local authority relevant to their last UK address.

Digital imprints: Currently, printed campaign materials which fulfil certain criteria must have an imprint setting out who has produced the materials and on whose behalf it has been published. These imprint requirements will also apply to digital materials that meet certain criteria. The Electoral Commission is preparing guidance to set out these criteria clearly and in what circumstances an imprint will be required. 

LGA Annual Conference and Exhibition Programme now published!

Check out the latest programme which went live this week and includes a list of our confirmed speakers, including Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Sir Ed Davey MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Alice Tai MBE, Paralympic Swimmer and housing campaigner, Kwajo Tweneboa.

NGDP update

The National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP) is currently recruiting for its 25th Cohort and almost 800 candidates recently completed assessment centres as part of the third stage of the recruitment process. Successful candidates will be interviewing with our partnering councils soon. Thanks to over 100 councils from across the country that have signed up to the programme this year and this includes many that have joined for the first time. A very warm welcome to our new partner councils, and as always, we are looking forward to helping all organisations partnering with us to build capacity and develop the future leaders of the sector through the NGDP.

Funding for Coronation celebration events!

National Lottery Awards for All funding is available to support events and activities that celebrate and commemorate the King’s Coronation on or around the weekend of 6 – 8 May. We can fund a range of activities through National Lottery Awards for All awarding grants from £300 up to £10,000. We expect activities supporting His Majesty’s Coronation to be small scale and driven by the community. Don’t delay…apply now!.

The LGA also has a useful webpage providing a wealth of information and support to local Councils

Debt management

We are working to support councils with their debt management services and would like to capture the ways in which you are supporting your most vulnerable residents in debt. We are looking to produce a series of case studies, focussing on council tax. The case studies will look to demonstrate how debt can be managed and recovered in a way that is fair and produces better longer-term outcomes for disadvantaged households. If your council is interested, please email to find out more about this project.

Dates for the Diary

Cost of Living Network webinars (Virtual webinar)

Friday 12 May 2023, 10.00am – 12.00noon

Attendees will hear from four councils on what they are doing to support residents with the rising cost of living, as well as actions being taken to reduce socio-economic disadvantage and build more resilient communities.

Themes include supporting access to affordable credit, integrating data sets to target households using high-energy medical equipment, and how a public health-led approach can predict, prevent and treat fuel and food poverty.

All network members who have signed up via the online form will receive a calendar invitation. If councils would like to share what they are doing to support residents, email to discuss presenting at one of our 2023 cost-of-living webinars.

Delivering for tenants (Virtual) 

Thursday 13 April 2023, 3.30pm - 5.00pm

The London Housing Directors' Group is hosting an online event introducing the 'Delivering for tenants - The Foundations of an Effective Local Authority Landlord Service’ report alongside a discussion between a panel of social housing providers and housing experts who will take questions from the live audience. The report sets out the foundations that, collectively, London local authorities agree should underpin a high-performing council landlord service. The event which is targeted primarily at London local authorities will include a presentation on the LGA’s Social Housing Management Peer Challenge – a companion piece in the drive to achieve the high-quality landlord services that tenants deserve.

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.

LGA Annual employment law webinar (virtual webinar)

Tuesday 25 April 2023, 9.45am – 12.30pm

Focusing on key cases and employment law issues relevant to the local government workforce, delegates will enjoy an update from Darren Newman, followed by the latest on the Green Book pay negotiations and employment law reforms from the LGA’s experts. This annual event will be held virtually.

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.

And finally…

The LGA Independent Group Office would like to wish everyone a very Happy Easter and a relaxing Bank Holiday long weekend!

Best wishes,

LGA Independent Group Office