Group bulletin: 04 August 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

04 August 2023


Greetings colleagues! 

This week I held my usual fortnightly catchup with Independent and Green Council Leaders and discussed Asylum and Afghan hotel closures ahead of the ministerial meetings which took place on Tuesday and Thursday. The LGA is continuing to work closely with Government officials but significant concerns remain.

Large sites are still causing great anxiety, particularly around age assessment for people claiming to be children when they arrive at the site. Accelerated decisions on asylum for five nationalities meaning large numbers are being granted leave to remain at once in some areas. Safeguarding issues remain a risk, with concerns about the implications of room sharing in hotels for asylum seekers.

In addition, a legal judgment last week is forcing the Home Office and Kent to end the use of hotels by finding placements for all children in councils through the National Transfer Scheme and report back to the court by 18 August. The numbers are within the low hundreds, however, it will pose an ongoing challenge given the lack of placements for children in care.

We also asked for a delay to the 29 August deadline for Afghan hotel closures, although this was denied, the Government will continue to pay for hotel accommodation up until 31st December for individuals with medical needs or those who have accepted an offer of accommodation which will be ready by then. There are some FAQs available published by the Home Office which can be requested through the Group Office.

We also encourage LAs currently with bridging hotels to claim from the £2.5m caseworker funding made available. This funding can be used flexibly to provide casework and support claims must be submitted before 31 August 2023. Further details can be found by emailing the Group Office. If you or your elected members have any further questions or queries on any issue related to asylum, I encourage you to email the Resettlement Engagement Team at the Department for Levelling up.

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.

Don’t forget to consult our online hub for newly elected councillors where you can stay up-to-date with upcoming events and information sessions which will help you in your roles. Events coming up will include scrutiny and handling casework. 

Please do not forget to fill out the survey for our upcoming annual conference in autumn. We want to hear from you about your ideas for content, speakers and any other suggestions you might have!

Calling all London Independent and Green Councillors!

London Councils is holding a consultation into parking and traffic penalty charges which appears to be the first step in an increase across the capital. The consultation on PCN levels relating to parking and traffic enforcement and other additional fees relating to parking, will run for 12 weeks.

LG Challenge – Applications now open for 2024 cohort!

Sitting within the Local Government Association’s leadership development offer, the LG Challenge serves to develop a new generation of local government leaders. With the opportunity to be awarded the prestigious £10,000 Bruce-Lockhart scholarship, the winner will have a unique opportunity to translate their very own ideas into a reality, make a long-lasting impact in their area, as well as give their CV a substantial edge. Local government officers of all levels, grades and backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Leadership essentials  

This is a series of programmes and workshops designed as themed learning opportunities for councillors. Each event concentrates on a specific portfolio or service area or a specific theme. Please do check out what is on offer and for any further questions or queries, please email Grace Collins

Councillors development events – ‘Focus on leadership series’ 

Our ‘Focus on leadership’ councillor development events are designed to support councillors to excel in their existing roles and to provide them with a bridge to senior leadership positions. We host ‘Focus on Leadership’ weekender events for the followings groups: BAME, LGBTQ+, opposition leaders and deputy leaders as well as young councillors (aged 40 and under). To register for, or find out more about, any of our ‘Focus on Leadership’ events, please contact Grace Collins.  

NHS Winter Plan 2023 announced

Care ‘traffic control’ centres to speed up discharge, additional ambulance hours and extra beds are part of wide-ranging plans to prepare for winter.

Some dates for the diary!


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

7 September 2023, 10.30am – 12.00pm
This session will look at what councils can do to lead by example and help businesses and consumers avoid waste.

Recycling fit for the future (virtual webinar)

18 September 2023, 2.30pm – 4.00pm
Looking ahead to the implementation of national reforms to the way recycling services are provided and funded, this session will look at some of the challenges facing councils and what can be done to meet ambitions for increased recycling.

Finance without numbers – An introduction to local government finance (daytime virtual session)

14 September 2023, 2.00pm – 3.30pm
This virtual event is for newly elected members or those just looking for a refresh.  The event will provide an overview of local government finance without any numbers - focussing instead on roles and responsibilities, key terminology and processes.  It will give you an understanding of both what you need to be aware of in your role and what you need to understand about your authority’s role.


 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