Group bulletin: 24 July 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

24 July 2023


Greetings colleagues! 

This week Independent Council Leaders made excellent contributions at their fortnightly meeting with me, raising issues such as asylum seekers and planning, following up from the rich discussions of our Independent Group members at the Annual Conference in Bournemouth. Deputy Carolyn Jackson pressed the LGA Board and wider Executive Advisory Board, on the creation of a new board giving a stronger focus on tackling net zero. The people and Places Board and City Regions will take the strategic transport and housing issues and resources board will do more on improving local economies. I also raised a few useful issues in my regular one-to-one catchup with the LGA Chief Executive, Mark Lloyd.  

New appointments to our LGA Boards 

The LGA Independent Group Executive, including our new elected Treasurer, Andrew Cooper, also met this week and we discussed and agreed the nominations to LGA Board Places for this year. I was greatly impressed with all 44 nominations received – a record number . With such a vast array of talent and expertise on offer the LGA Independent Group has so much to give to our boards. Confirmation of places will be sent out in due course. We were able to match all our applicants to relevant positions, though some are to be substitutes, due to the strength of the field of applicants. It is important that substitutes attend when possible, and play a key role in the work of the boards through the pre-meetings to ensure we have the most effective voice possible. 

Getting fair press coverage 

Our Independent Group Executive also had a useful meeting with the Senior Political Advisor of the BBC and the Liaison Committee, Ric Bailey, to talk about getting fair coverage for our members at election time, and generally, such as on the Politics Shows. We made the case of what significant gains you have made, significant work you are doing and that we have huge support nationally. We are following up this work, also raised by members at our AGM. 


Congratulations to the Independent Group Councillors valiantly flying the flag amidst the recent three by-elections. They were won by the Conservative in Boris’ old seat, by Liberal Democrats in Stroud and by Labour in Selby and Ainsty. Nevertheless, our members distributed tens of thousands of leaflets and spoke to up to a thousand people in each constituency, sharing good values and the importance of our work. Well done and thank you. There will also be new people attracted to our causes and may want to stand as councillors in future. Please let us know, so we can keep them engaged when we start the regional and “Be a Councillor” events and training. 

Next Conference – survey! 

As we look towards our Independent Group Autumn Conference, a survey will be sent out to all our members asking what you would like to see this year. We welcome ideas for content, suggestions for speakers and also would support potential sponsorship opportunities. If you know of anyone who might be able to help, please do get in touch with the Independent Group Office. 

Covid-19 Inquiry 

At the Covid Inquiry, the LGA has given evidence in response to Module 1 of 3. Matt Hancock said Councils were unprepared.The LGA’s council survey showed that 87% of councils said they were prepared for a flu pandemic but were already financially stretched and without the funds to deal with a national emergency.  

Swimming Pool Support Fund 

Finally, please do not forget to apply for the Swimming Pool Support Fund with the deadline for applications on 11th August. 

The Combined County Authorities – Write to your MP! 

Past Vice Chairman on the LGA, Baroness Taylor from Stevenage, has put an amendment to the Levelling Up Bill which was passed in the House of Lords 162-157 votes, which comes back to members of parliament after the recess. The Government’s proposal leaves District Councils with no say at all in the new bodies, but the amendment puts them as full members. Can you ask your MP to support the amendment to keep District Councils involved? The District Council Network writes; “While we fully share ministers’ desire to bring about devolution, we think power will still feel far from our communities if it is concentrated at a county level. We believe it is essential that district councils are properly empowered if we are to ease the feeling of disconnection from power.” 

The Elections Act 2022 introduced rules that require certain digital campaign material aimed at the UK public to include details to show who is responsible for publishing it. These details are known as an ‘imprint’. The draft guidance says the address must be a postal address where the promoter can be contacted. It can be an office or business address or a home address. Political adverts, including pop-up ads, social media posts, adverts in podcasts or on websites, videos and more, will require an imprint according to the guidance. New guidance has been put forward, which is approved by Parliament, will come into force in November 2023. 

Concern has been raised about the guidance allowing sitting councillors to use the council address rather than their home address as their imprint in their campaigning material. Questions are being raised whether this is fair to all candidates, could be considered a use of council resources and the implications for the council. We would be interested in your view on this – please contact 

This year's LGA Annual conference was held in Bournemouth on 4 – 6 July and saw more than 1,650 people from the local government family gather, share best practice, and challenge government on issues relating to climate, health care, housing, transport and much more. If you missed out on any of the presentations, over the three days, they have now been available on the LGA website. 

Green growth opportunities: LGA report   

The LGA have published Green Growth Opportunities: Identifying and promoting green growth opportunities which explores the ways in which councils can use their powers and influence to attract and stimulate a low carbon business base.  

Climate change adaptation 

The LGA has launched Accelerating Adaptation Action with a range of recommendations we hope to see reflected in the third National Adaptation Programme expected to be published later 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. The qualification will be fully funded and there is no cost to councils for the marketing and recruitment of their talent pool. For more please email Anna Buttenshaw with your council name, contact details and the number of placements requested.   

Don’t forget our ‘Councillors Hub’ which advertises upcoming LGA events, aimed at newly elected councillors.

Dates for the Diary!


Health in all deals – putting health at the heart of devolution (virtual webinar) 
Wednesday 19 July 2023, 11.00am – 12.00pm  

Recycling fit for the future (virtual webinar) 
Monday 18 September 2023, 2.30pm - 4.00pm  

Empty Properties Report Launch (virtual meeting) 
Thursday 21 September 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm  

Finance without numbers – An introduction to local government finance (virtual event) 
Thursday 2 November 2023, 6.00pm - 7.30pm  


 Have a good weekend! 

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