Group bulletin: 23 June 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

23 June 2023


Greetings from the Independent Group Office!

A reminder that the Independent Group AGM is taking place at 10am on Tuesday 4 July in Bournemouth at the LGA Annual Conference.

If you are unable to attend the AGM in person, and would like to attend online, please contact the Group Office and the zoom meeting link will be sent to you.

Ahead of our Group AGM, the Independent Group held an information session on the Single Transferable Vote (STV) last Monday. We were pleased to welcome Dr Maarja Luhiste, Reader in Comparative Politics and Gender, at Newcastle University. Maarja gave us a comprehensive breakdown on STV, how it works in practice, examples from around the world as well as its pros and cons. As a reminder, one of the motions being put forward at the AGM is ‘‘That the Independent Group applies the Single Transferable Vote (STV) voting methodology to the Group Elections’. If you missed the STV Briefing session earlier this week, a recording has been made for our members to watch back.

In other news, the LGA also held its national welcome event for newly elected councillors this week. It was a cross-party event for new members to learn more about the LGA, its sector support offer and learn more about the many training and development opportunities, for example our ‘Leadership Academy Programme’ for councillors in leadership positions, ‘Leadership Essentials’ for a specific council portfolio, service area or theme within a local authority as well as those aimed at opposition leaders and deputy leaders, through our ‘Effective Opposition – two day events’. Similarly, as mentioned previously, we have a range of ‘weekenders’ aimed at underrepresented groups such as our ‘Young councillors weekender’, ‘LGBTQ+ Councillors’ as well as ‘Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) councillors’. For any further queries about attending any of these courses, please do contact the Independent Group Office or the lead officer, Grace Collins.

Turning to Wales, the Group would like to congratulate and welcome Rhun ap Iorwerth as the new leader of Plaid Cymru. Rhun was elected unopposed and takes over from former leader Adam Price. We would like to thank Adam for leading the party and wish him well for the future.

In closing, with only a few days of voting left, we would like to remind all members to vote in the LGA Independent Group Leadership elections. If for any reason you have not received your unique ballot link, please check your junk mail, but if you still cannot find anything then please do contact the Group Office. The ballot closes on Monday 26 June at 1700hrs.

So, don’t delay, vote today!

With best wishes,

LGA Independent Group Office


Applications are now open for appointments to the LGA Governance Structures and Outside Bodies 2023/24. The LGA Independent Group have two full places (plus substitutes) on all Policy Boards, including the Fire Services Management Committee. We now have three places on the People and Places and City Regions Boards. We also have one place on most Outside and Workforce Bodies. Allowances are given to Members taking up a substantive role, substitutes do not receive an allowance. Appointments are made for a period of 12 months and reviewed annually. Those appointment will hold their positions from 1st September to 31st August each year. The deadline for submission of applications is Monday 14 July 2023 at 5pm.

LGA Annual Conference app

The conference will be paperless again this year. The conference app is your guide to the conference and can be downloaded via the App Store or Google Play - search for LGA Events and simply tap to download. To access the app:

  • Open the app, tap the name of the event, then tap download to open it. Tap log in to access the content.

Through the app you can:

  • Find out ‘what’s on’ each day – conference sessions, Innovation Zone sessions, fringe sessions, and exhibitor sessions as well as see who’s speaking.
  • See details of all the exhibitors.
  • Visit the sponsors’ section.
  • Personalise your schedule and connect and interact with other attendees, exhibitors and sponsors.
  • Engage with the event via the activity feed icon and via twitter #LGAConf23
  • Check out the resources and LGA campaigns sections.
  • Receive conference notifications.

If you encounter any problems accessing the app, please contact

Already have the app on your device?

If you have downloaded the LGA Events app previously, you may need to uninstall and redownload the app again – as we are using a different app provider this year.

Refugee Week: 19–25 June 2023

As ‘Refugee Week’ turns 25 this year, the theme for 2023 is ‘compassion’. The UK has always been welcoming to those in need and a safe haven for those fleeing from persecution and terror. The LGA Independent Group has continually been at the forefront raising concerns over refugees being housed in hotels, barges and barracks which undermine human dignity and welfare. In addition, we have defended our council leaders who so often have to deal with the Home Office imposing their will by sending refugees and asylum seekers, without prior notification, to local authorities expecting them to find suitable accommodation at the drop of a hat. At the same time, the Group has been calling for those new arrivals to be given work whilst their claims are being processed and assessed. Refugee week has a number of online resources and events organised to show your support.

'Pathways to Planning’ – New Graduate Programme (September 2023)

Alongside the National Graduate Develop Programme (NGDP), the LGA has launched its latest Graduate Programme for those interested in taking their first steps towards a planning career within local government. The programme starts in September and graduates from any degree background can apply. Its aim is to recruit up to 30 individuals who will be placed with councils by March 2024. If successful, graduates will work for the council’s planning team alongside studying for an RTPI-accredited Masters programme. The qualification will be fully funded and there is no cost to councils for the marketing and recruitment of their talent pool. For more information or to submit an ‘expression of interest’ for the programme, please email Anna Buttenshaw with your council name, contact details and the number of placements requested.

Mentally Healthier Councils Network | Centre for Mental Health

Local councils are responsible for places and services critical to people’s safety, health and wellbeing – and are therefore one of the most important influencers of people’s mental health. Now we’re delighted to announce new support to councils by creating a new Mentally Healthier Councils Network open to council officers as well as councillors. We will be supporting local champions (elected or otherwise) to come together, learn, to influence and innovate. Building on the principles of the Mental Health Challenge, we’ll be developing a support offer that includes training, resources, and webinars.

Accelerating adaption action: councils preparing for climate change

Councils are critical in preparing people and places to the impacts of the changing climate. As leaders in communities, they deliver hundreds of essential services to protect public health, manage roads, prepare for floods and provide open space. Local partnerships was commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) for this research piece into local authorities’ preparedness for climate adaptation. Please do take a read!

Community Ownership Fund

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has launched the third round of its Community Ownership Fund. There have also been changes made to the fund, for instance the amount of funding all projects can bid for will be increasing from £250,000 to £1 million. The requirement for match-funding is also being reduced to as low as 10 per cent, making it easier for communities to acquire assets without raising additional private funding. For the first time, parish councils will also be able to apply to the fund, which has previously only been available to charities and community groups. The fund opened 31 May and will close 12 July.

Become a London Borough of Culture

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is inviting councils to apply to become London Borough of Culture for 2025 and 2027 and receive £1.35 million funding. Applications will be open from July 2023, but you can get started by reading the prospectus. It outlines the programme, the criteria and has inspiring case studies to help you imagine how to make culture an integral part of your borough’s future.

Sport England Small Grants Programme

It's your final chance to apply for Sport England's small grants programme. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2023. Awards of £300-£15,000 are available to not-for-profit organisations and local authorities who are helping inactive and less active people become more active and developing skills in young people.

Dates for the Diary!

Anti-Social Behaviour Week: 3 - 9 July 2023

This year’s Anti-Social Behaviour Week includes a day dedicated to helping young people to stay out of trouble by engaging with sport. Coordinated by Resolve with the support of partners including the LGA, the week will take place between 3 - 9 July. Each day of the week will have a different theme, focusing on different issues including the relaunch of the ASB case review, victims, young people and ASB and health. You can sign up for a media pack and join the mailing list for updates.

Handling online abuse and intimidation – for newly-elected councillors (virtual webinar)

Wednesday 12 July 2023, 2.00pm - 3.30pm

As part of the LGA’s support for councillor safety, we are offering this session tailored specifically for newly or recently elected councillors to build confidence around handling online abuse and intimidation, a growing problem faced by many councillors. 

The Commission on COVID-19, Ableism and Racism Report Launch

13 July at Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, London

The Commission on COVID-19, Ableism and Racism was launched by the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) with funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust to explore how the worst impacts of COVID-19 have fallen on disabled people from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups.

Relevant portfolio holders are invited to attend the launch of the Commission’s report on 13 July 2023, starting with lunch at midday and a plenary from 12.30 – 14.30 where the Commissioners will launch the report and then hear reflections and responses.

Please register your attendance here.

The venue is fully accessible. Speech-to-text and British Sign Language interpretation will be available throughout the event. Should you have any additional accessibility requirements, please contact

Health in all deals – putting health at the heart of devolution (virtual webinar)

Wednesday 19 July 2023, 11.00am – 12.00pm

Health is now a growing focus for many local devolution deals. Despite this there remains a degree of uncertainty about how best to bring health into local discussions, including the role for Integrated Care Systems and the health-related powers that might unlock local prosperity and narrow inequalities. Join our webinar, organised by the LGA in partnership with the NISE network, to hear how local leaders are connecting this agenda for their shared populations.

Reducing waste: how to slim the bin (virtual webinar)

Thursday 7 September 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm

Avoiding waste reduces pressure on the environment and saves money on waste disposal. This session will look at what councils can do to lead by example and help businesses and consumers avoid waste. It will feature familiar activities like home composting and pioneering new models of rental and refill.

Empty Properties Report Launch (virtual meeting)

Thursday 21 September 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm

The LGA is launching our report into empty properties, providing an overview of good practice as well as exploring the key ingredients for how to make the best use of housing in your local area. Join us to find out more about the recommendations.

Don’t dispose, reuse (virtual webinar)

Tuesday 12 September 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm

Can we turn trash into treasure? This webinar will look at the role for reuse in keeping valuable material out of the waste stream. It will showcase creative partnerships between councils and the voluntary sector including reuse shops and repair cafes, and examples of waste being turned into new products.