Group bulletin: 30 June 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

30 June 2023


Hello again everyone from the LGA Independent Group Office! 

Next week, the LGA Independent Group will be in Bournemouth for the LGA Annual Conference from the 4th – 6th July. We shall be holding our AGM with several motions up for debate (including the Single Transferable Vote) and if you would like to attend virtually and contribute, please do email the Group Office for a zoom link. At the AGM we shall also be announcing the results of the recent Independent Group Elections for the positions of Group Leader, Deputy Leader and Treasurer. 

Alongside the Innovation Zone, our Group shall be hosting several political group meetings on, ‘Getting to grips with the local plan’, ‘Refugees and Asylum Seekers – a practical approach without the party politics’ and our own plenary session focussing on ‘Key asks and messages from our new Independent and Green Council Leaders, ahead of the General Election’.  


If you are interested in influencing national policy development, including adult social care, housing, planning, children’s services, leisure, etc, please consider applying to be a member on one of the LGA’s Policy Boards or an ‘outside body’. Applications are now open. Allowances are given to members taking up a substantive role. Appointments are made for a period of 12 months and reviewed annually. Those appointed 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.  

We are particularly interested in encouraging any of our members with auditing skills to apply to the LGA’s Audit Committee – this is an important role for the LGA, auditing the LGA’s accounts and leading on our standards and complaints work. Please do consider applying. 

Farewell e-card for former Councillor Mike Haines! 

As many of you know, Mike Haines stood down as a Local Councillor after 35 years in local government. As well as actively contributing to the work LGA for the past 20 years, Mike loyally served the LGA Independent Group as our National Lead Peer for 9 years, acting as a source of advice, guidance and inspiration to many newly elected Councillors throughout the years. In thanking him for all he has done for our Group and the Independent cause, we would like to ask all our members to sign our e-card by clicking on the following link: 

News from the LGA 

Armed Forces Day 

Last week, the UK paid tribute to our armed forces by celebrating Armed Forces Day on 24 June. Alongside Remembrance Sunday, it is an opportunity to remember all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice but also show our support for our active personnel currently serving at home and abroad.  

Local government has a ‘special relationship’ with our armed forces through the ‘Armed Forces Covenant’. This is a pledge made by the local authority to serving personnel, veterans, reservists and their families to treat them as valued members of the community and give them the support needed in areas such as housing, employment as well as schools, health and wellbeing. Another area of support is through the ‘Covenant Fund’ which is government funding for projects aimed at benefitting the armed forces and the community. If you have time, please do take a look and apply!  

More importantly, the LGA supports a network of council officers with lead responsibility for the Armed Forced Covenant. The Network provides an opportunity for councils to feed into LGA policy development, influence Government policy and a space to discuss evolving issues and approaches. If your council would like to join the network please email 

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
  • rreceive 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. 

'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. 

Pride Month: LGBTQ+ councillors – weekender events 

LGBTQ+ councillors are invited to join us at our annual two-day, cross-party weekender event – an excellent opportunity to network and share experiences: 

Dates: 3 – 4 February 2024 

Venue: Warwick Conferences, Lakeside Village, Scarman Road, CV4 7SH 

Fee: The cost for attending one of these two-day residential events is £150 which includes accommodation, meals and all learning materials. Attendees may wish to join us for dinner and stay overnight at the venue on Friday 2 February 2024 (the night before the event) for an additional £50. 

To register, please email Grace Collins. 

Consultation on visiting care homes and hospitals 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced a consultation on proposed legislation which would make visiting a legal requirement for hospitals, care homes, mental health units and other health and care settings. This is in response to reported cases in which visiting access has been denied. The new legislation will strengthen rules around visiting, providing the Care Quality Commission (CQC) with a clearer basis for identifying where hospitals and care homes are not meeting the required standard. The consultation closes on 16 August. 

Partnership opportunity with Bucha, Ukraine 

The city of Bucha in Ukraine is seeking partnership opportunities with British municipalities including in the fields of culture, education, and medicine. Interested councils are invited to make contact directly: 

Working together to safeguard children 

The Department for Education has launched a consultation on changes to the Working Together to Safeguard Children statutory guidance. Proposed changes are intended to strengthen multi-agency working across the system of help, support and protection for children and their families as part of the Government’s plans to transform children’s social care. The consultation will close on 6 September 2023. The LGA will be responding to this consultation on behalf of the sector. If you have any comments that you wish to feed into this response, please email 

Funding to protect faith communities 

The Home Office has announced £28 million of funding for places of worship to help keep them and their attendees safe. The funding should ensure that faith communities in England and Wales are protected from the threat of hate crime and terror attacks and can practice their faith freely. The money is for physical protective security, such as CCTV, intruder alarms and secure fencing to help protect places of worship. Mosques will also be able to access a new security guarding scheme later in the year. To apply for funding, applicants should submit evidence of their vulnerability and experience of hate crime. The application window is open for 8 weeks, and successful sites will be notified from November 2023. 

LGA Cyber 360 Programme 

Having now supported 23 councils, we are calling for councils to take part in a funded exercise which provides an opportunity to explore cyber security through a different lens in August and September 2023. Over two or three days, a multi-disciplinary team of peers and technical experts will provide in-depth, bespoke support to your council, helping you to build your capabilities, and develop a whole-council approach to cyber-security. 

There are some upcoming slots to participate in these exercises: 

  • W/C 14 August 2023 
  • WC 4 September 2023 
  • W/C 18 September 2023  

Over the next few months we aim to support 20 more councils with a Cyber 360. 

For more information and to book a short introductory meeting with the team, please contact 

Dates for the Diary!

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.  

Where next for local climate action? (virtual webinar)  
Wednesday 12 July 2023, 10.00am - 11.00am  

The Blueprint coalition is hosting a cross-party, cross-sector online discussion on the critical role of local government in delivering the UK’s journey to next zero. Join MPs, local government professionals, and leading thinkers from civil society to discuss this critical role, and the national policies that could help accelerate local climate action. Speakers will look ahead to next year’s national elections and beyond, and offer thoughts on the next phase of collaboration between national and local government and how we can all work together to accelerate the UK’s journey to net zero. 

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 

LGA licensing virtual training session (virtual webinar)  
Friday 14 July 2023, 10.00am -11.30am 

The LGA is holding a virtual training session for newly elected councillors who are members of licensing (sub)committees. It will give new members an idea of what to expect and tips to help them work effectively. The session will focus on some key areas of licensing: alcohol and entertainment, taxi and private hire vehicle, and gambling. You can book your place on the LGA’s website. 

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. 

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. 

Licensing Leadership Essentials 
Wednesday 1st - Thursday 2nd November, Warwick University 

A two-day interactive course aimed at chairs and vice chairs of licensing committees, focusing on how good committees are run. The course and accommodation costs £200. For more details, please    

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) councillors – weekender events 

If you're a councillor, building your own 'brand identity' has never been more vital. 

This 24-hour masterclass and facilitated conversation will give you opportunities to: 

  • explore what it means to be a minority elected representative and the difference your cultural identity can make in serving all communities (and racialised communities in particular) 
  • hear from experienced and notable BAME political leaders about how they developed political brand identities to address key challenges 
  • reflect on your personal leadership purpose and style in a discussion about politics and power and the importance of shaping and maintaining your identity in political relationships 
  • gain valuable insights about your own brand identity to achieve maximum results in shaping the political landscape. 

This event will start at 12.00pm on Saturday and finish with lunch at 1.15pm on Sunday. 

To register, please email Grace Collins. 

Young councillors – weekender events
Saturday 18 November - Sunday 19 November 2023. 
Warwick Conferences, Lakeside Village, Scarman Road, Coventry CV4 7SH 

This year’s programme will include plenary sessions – led by leading councillors and other experts in the field of leadership – which will address personal development and some of the key current issues and challenges for all councillors. 

Optional workshop topics will include: 

  • navigating political group dynamics 
  • managing your mental health 
  • decision-making 
  • financing an uncertain future. 

Venue: Fee: The cost for attending one of these two-day residential events is £150 which includes accommodation, meals and all learning materials. 

Attendees may wish to join us for dinner and stay overnight at the venue on Friday 18 November (the night before the event) for an additional £50. 

To register, please email Grace Collins. 


We do look forward to meeting everyone who is attending the LGA Conference next week. Please do pop along to visit our stall and introduce yourself, the office staff will be delighted to meet you and support you in any way throughout the LGA Conference.  

See you in Bournemouth! 

LGA Independent Group Office