Once a month we produce a newsletter which includes the latest local government news, LGA activities, upcoming events, and more.

LGA Conservatives to ‘beef up’ member peer application process to meet the new challenges of the day faced by local government

October 2023

Conservative peer interview - 23 oct

The peer support package offered by the Local Government Association continues to be the cornerstone of the sector support programme for our membership. From Corporate Peer Challenges to one-to-one mentoring for councillors in leadership positions, the LGA Conservative Group is committed to ensuring that Conservative councillors throughout the country can access high quality peer support which provides them with the confidence and skills required to deliver high quality public services for our communities.

Local government faces new pressures and threats. As a result, the new leadership in the Conservative Group at the LGA has decided to ‘beef up’ and strengthen its member peer application process to make sure that the organisation is sending the very best Conservative councillors into local authorities to carry out our sector support offer.

As part of the ‘rebuilding the road to victory’ strategy published by the LGA Conservative Group this month, it has been agreed that all our current 120 member peers will be expected to go through a reassessment process to ensure quality and appropriate new skills are learnt. The Leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Kevin Bentley, will be leading from the front by being the first to undergo this process.

Councillor Abi Brown, Chair of the Improvement & Innovation Board at the LGA and Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, has committed to exploring options to bring forward a formalised peer accreditation process for member peers as part of our efforts to ensure that peers are best qualified to undertake peer work but also, so member authorities understand that member peers have been through a formalised and intense process to become member peers.

From now on in, all prospective Conservative member peers are to be interviewed by the Conservative Group Executive where the leadership of the group will assess their analytical, objectivity and leadership credentials. Again, this is part of our new process to ensure that the Conservatives are sending the very best councillors into member authorities.

With 93 per cent of local authorities Chief Executives and Council Leaders agreeing that sector-led improvement is the right approach, the Local Government Association remains steadfast in delivering its sector support programme to member authorities. During the 2022/2023 year, the LGA provided 143 peer challenges and remote peer support and 98 per cent of respondents to the LGA’s recent evaluation survey stated they were satisfied with the Corporate Peer Challenges or Finance Peer Challenges that their council received.

Cllr Willian Nunn, Conservative National Lead Peer said “We are committed to continual improvement in our organisation and its why the Local Government Association itself rightfully volunteered to have Corporate Peer Challenge within the organisation last year. As the Conservative National Lead Peer, I will be working hard to make sure the standards in our peer support offer can be strengthened for authorities”. 

Governments plan to cut planning red tape is a thumbs up to turbocharging housing delivery 

29 August 2023

Analysis this year from the Home Builders Federation suggested that nutrient neutrality environmental rules could cut housing supply by 41,000 homes per year. 

Over recent months, Conservative councillors on the ground including Cllr John Fuller, Vice Chair of the Economy and Resources Board, have been lobbying Downing Street hard to get this anti-development defective EU red tape axed.

The debate around nutrient neutrality rules comes after Natural England issued a directives earlier this year around nutrient neutrality which many local leaders said would stall housing delivery. 

This announcement today to reform nutrient neutrality rules is a vote of confidence in housebuilders and the economy. For the last two years, nutrient neutrality red tape has hindered the ability of councils to bring forward much needed housing in their communities. 

In addition, the rules have held back growth in the economy and the forecasts from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities highlight that £18 billion is likely to be released into the economy because of these rules being scrapped. 

Cllr John Fuller, Vice Chair of the Economy & Resources Board at the Local Government Association, said “The moratorium on building new homes caused by Nutrient Neutrality rules as done nothing to reduce river pollution but has put artisan tradesmen out of work, stopped Councils building affordable housing and put the cost of new homes even further out of reach of young families. Today’s announcement places the responsibility for cleaning up rivers on the water companies and frees up Councils to build the homes the country needs and get the economy back on track”.

Watch the video (links to X, formerly known as Twitter)

New leadership of the LGA Conservative Group backs Secretary of State’s plan to streamline funding to local government 

Cllr Kevin Bentley, leader and cllr Cllr Abi Brown Deputy leader of the LGA Conservative group at the LGA annual conference 2023

Following the commitments set out by the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, at LGA Conference last week, the new leadership of the new LGA Conservative Group has backed plans from DLUHC to streamline funding to local government. 

The plans released by DLUHC last week include the creation of a new ‘Simplification Pathfinder Pilot’ to test capital funding delivery across some local authorities. In addition, changes to the Levelling Up Fund, Town Deals and Future High Streets Fund, which will give Councils more flexibility around changing projects. 

The LGA Conservative Group has for many years now been lobbying hard for funding to local government to be more streamlined, recognising that applying for separate pots of grant funding is becoming a resource and capacity issue for several local authorities. We very much welcome therefore the decision of Government to implement some of our calls. 

Commenting Cllr Kevin Bentley, Leader of the Conservative Group, said “When Conservatives work together as one family, we can achieve great things for the communities that we serve. Although more needs to be done on streamlining local government funding, this is absolutely a step in the right direction, and I am convinced that the selected councils that will pilot the Simplification Pathfinder will demonstrate to Government the benefits of streamlining funding to Government”. 

Cllr Abi Brown, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, said “We all welcome the investment put into improving our towns and cities over recent years by the Conservative government, however understanding eligibility and also how the various schemes can fit together are key to truly levelling up communities. The additional impact of inflation means councils are increasingly looking for flexibility to ensure every penny is well spent, and the government’s support in enabling this to start to happen is very welcome.”  

Notes to editors-
Guidance on the simplification of funding landscapes for local authorities issued by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities

Statement by Cllr Izzi Seccombe OBE, Leader of the LGA Conservative Group, on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

It is with great sadness that we have learnt today of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We remember with gratitude and fondness her over seventy years of dedicated service to our country, the Commonwealth and the wider world.

Her sense of duty will be an inspiration to everyone involved in public service for decades to come.

My thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family at this very sad time.

God save the King.

Sir David Amess MP

We have been shocked and saddened by the death of Sir David Amess MP after the horrific events that took place on 15 October.

Our Chairman, Cllr James Jamieson, issued the following statement LGA statement: Sir David Amess MP | Local Government Association. Our thoughts are with David's family and friends at this terribly sad time.

Information on councillor safety from the Conservative Councillors’ Association

We know our members will be shocked and saddened by the tragic and untimely passing of Sir David Amess. At this time, questions are rightly being asked about the safety of our country’s elected representatives. We wanted to bring to your attention the resources and information available to councillors to support you as you work in your communities.

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