Group bulletin: 8 September 2023

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local government association - independent group

Group bulletin

8 September 2023


Greetings, Colleagues!

The LGA was back with a whiz this week. 146 councillors came in person to the Members’ Briefing Day for our board Leads to work out how to be the best possible representatives for you, our members. Some pictures are on my X account (formerly Twitter) and on my official Facebook page. If you do not already follow me, please do and I will follow you too. Mutual support is always enormously useful! In addition, don’t forget to follow the Group’s social media account as well!

Debate Not Hate

Most Councils have either adopted the model Code of Conduct and guidance notes that the LGA developed or incorporated it into theirs.  The LGA had a Parliamentary Launch to help get further Government support. Like a pebble in the pond, I hope you feel the ripples every time a councillor speaks up if a lack of respect is shown in the chamber, when a councillor resists the temptation to show disregard for others, when the police take abuse seriously or a poor post is taken down. The Executive Advisory Board supported more work on tackling abuse on social media platforms, a consistent police approach, and support for the Standards Committees. The Debate Not Hate toolkit produced by the LGA is available to all councillors and the note to pin to your social media setting out your rules can be taken from the toolkit or saved as a picture from my X account.

Dangerous concrete RAAC

The LGA is leading the campaign, with the same team who did a good job on the Grenfell cladding disaster. The Institute of Structural Engineers believe a physical inspection is needed. A working group is being set up to make sure we are at the top of our game.

And finally, and most importantly, I am pleased to confirm our Independent Group Annual Conference will be taking place over two days this year from 24–25November with dinner included. Whilst we are finalising the venue details, we welcome ideas and suggestions for speakers and sessions. Please send your contributions to the Group Office.

Have a great rest of the year ahead!

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

LGA Independent Group Executive – VACANCIES

The Independent Group Executive currently has two vacancies available on its board: South West and North West. Please note to be eligible to apply, you must be an elected member of a local authority from the relevant region. If you are an elected member from the South West Region, we encourage you to fill out an application form. Similarly, if you are an elected member from the North West, please fill out the relevant application form. Deadline for submissions is Friday 29 September.

Apply to be on our Next Generation programme 2023/24

We are still taking applications for our well-regarded Next Generation programme for newly elected councillors or those looking to take on a bit more responsibility. It includes three weekends in Warwick University at the business centre. We cover personal leadership, political leadership as well as communication and media skills. It is an excellent course. Please apply before the deadline of Monday 9 October.

Be a Councillor information evening

The LGA receives funding from central government for the Be a Councillor campaign, and each political group receives a budget from this funding to deliver a bespoke programme. The LGA Independent Group will shortly be calling for tenders to deliver aspects of this programme, including training for prospective candidates and raising awareness communications. Prospective suppliers, which can include networks, associations, sole traders, etc, will need to set out how they meet the tender specification using the LGA’s tendering programme Delta. Before applying we strongly advise prospective suppliers to attend the information evening to understand the application process. Please contact us to request a Teams meeting link.

Affordable housing crisis

Great to see Cllr Hannah Dalton, one of our Independent Group representatives on the District Councils’ Network and their spokesperson for health, housing and hardship, featured in the MJ this week. Her article - The stats don’t lie: we need a plan to tackle the affordable housing crisis - looks at the rise in housing waiting lists as landlords sell up.

News from the LGA

Swimming Pool Support Fund

Phase II of the Government's Swimming Pool Support Fund will be open for applications between Monday 4 September until noon on Tuesday 17 October. It is a competitive fund with a pot of £60 million for capital investment to improve the energy efficiency of public facilities with pools in the medium to long term

LGA bespoke cyber support

If you are looking to strengthen cyber security within your council, The LGA has various bespoke exercises to empower you on all levels. These exercises aim to provide individual councils with tailored advice, support and best practise through a Cyber 360 or Reaction Exercises. The LGA has now supported over 30 councils and over the next few months, are aiming to support 20 more. Slots for the year have now reopened. Find out more about bespoke LGA cyber, digital and technology support.

Birthday honours 2024

Nominations are now open for the King’s Birthday honours 2024 round. This is a fantastic opportunity to recognise the outstanding contribution and service of colleagues. DLUHC is offering training opportunities, including honours workshops and honours drop in sessions. The deadline for nominations, and two letters of support, is Monday 18 September.

Dates for the diary

The benefits of digital connectivity for local authorities (online event)

Tuesday 12 September, 10.00am–11.30am

This information session will provide an overview of the digital connectivity landscape and tops tips on progressing the digital connectivity agenda across local authorities. The webinar is aimed at Chief Executives, Directors and councillors with a portfolio and/or interest in digital connectivity. To register you interest please complete this booking form.

Don’t dispose, reuse (virtual webinar)

Tuesday 12 September, 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.

Defra local air quality symposium (in-person) 

Wednesday 13 September, 10.00am–4.00pm

Defra is hosting an in-person symposium on local air quality. The event will take place in central London and will include speakers from central and local government as well as workshops and networking opportunities. Sign up via the website or email

Reshaping consumer regulation in social housing – consumer standards consultation (virtual webinar)

Wednesday 13 September, 10.30am11.30am

On 25 July, the Regulator of Social Housing launched a consultation on draft consumer standards. The outcome of the consultation will form the foundation of the new integrated regulatory regime for social housing, following the Social Housing (Regulation) Act 2023 receiving Royal Assent. The consultation is open until 17 October 2023. Join us for a webinar with officers from the Regulator to learn more about the consultation proposals. This will be an information giving session with an opportunity to ask questions.