This month brought #OurDay, the 24 hour social media marathon that gives everyone who works or volunteers in local public services the chance to share their stories of how they improve the quality of life for residents. Almost one million people work in local government, many of whom undertake jobs the general public are unaware of yet, are vital to keep our councils running. I wanted to express my thanks to all those unsung heroes who help make such a difference to our communities. I have included a few of my favourite stories from twitter below:
- Cheshire East’s Civil Enforcement Officers, delivering successful safer parking initiatives at local primary schools, reminding parents to park sensibly to ensure children get to school safe and sound.
- Basingstoke Council’s Sports Team, who maintain 31 grass football pitches, 5 rugby pitches and 13 rugby training boxes throughout the season.
- Norfolk County Council’s Watch Manager Jimmy Rothwell who coordinates all of Norfolk’s Fire safety work, from school visits to teaching new drivers about road safety.
- South Staffordshire’s Mark, who works in the elections team, helping young people aged 16/17 to pre-register to vote so they have a voice in their local elections.
The LGA’s round up of the stories from #OurDay can be seen here.
I have been working closely with the Group Executive to deliver constructive proposals to government in our key priority areas of adult social care, children’s services and housing & planning. I believe meaningful difference in these areas could be achieved without major funding or legislative implications. I have shared an update in relation to this with your Group Leader and I am keen to hear from all councillors on what priority areas we should be lobbying local MPs on, so that we can get local government’s voice clearly heard.
Whilst the Government is devoting much of its political and administrative capacity to grappling with the complexities of Brexit, as the most efficient part of the public sector we should continue to deliver excellent services to our communities, even in this challenging financial circumstance.
Cllr James Jamieson
Leader, LGA Conservative Group
Conservative Group lead members activities
Our Group Leader, Group Executive and Conservative members of the various LGA governance bodies take time out of their busy schedules to meet with ministers and key policy makers on a regular basis and lobby on your behalf. Here are some of their recent activities over the last month:
- Cllr James Jamieson met with Rishi Sunak MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Housing.
- Cllr James Jamieson met with Maria Caulfield MP and Kit Malthouse MP, Minister of State for Housing respectively across November.
- Cllr James Jamieson has met with various group and council leaders.
- Cllr Ian Hudspeth spoke at the NCAS Conference in November, focusing on the LGA’s adult social care green paper consultation.
- Cllr Roy Perry also spoke at the NCAS Conference, stressing the need to raise awareness of the challenges facing children’s services now.
- Cllr Peter Fleming OBE spoke at the LGA Peer Conference in Nottingham highlighting the successes of the LGA’s sector-led improvement programme.
- Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA Brexit Taskforce, gave evidence to the Commons International Trade Committee, with Cllr Philip Atkins. Cllr Bentley reiterated the importance of the Government continuing to consult with the LGA, so that local government can formalise its future role in the trade negotiations.
LGA Conservative Group briefing seminars
The LGA Conservative Group, in conjunction with the CCA, is organising a series of political briefing seminars across the country. The next seminars will be held on:
- 25 January 2019 in Cambridge – the programme is now available here
- 1 February 2019 in Devon
- 28 February 2019 in Kent
We will be sending out invitations for these events in due course, but if you wish to register now or have any questions please feel free to contact us.
Profit with a purpose: commercialisation conference
Commercialisation is an opportunity for councils to find new, innovative ways in which to tackle social challenges. The LGA is committed to promoting best practice across the local government sector and supporting councils to make robust and appropriate commercial decisions.
This conference, taking place on 15 January at the LGA’s HQ, 18 Smith Square in Westminster, will give officers and elected members the opportunity to present case studies about how they have achieved social value from their commercial projects. The interactive workshops will provide attendees practical assistance to apply their commercial activities.
LGA's green paper: new consultation report
The LGA published its green paper ‘The lives we want to lead’ in July 2018, to start a nationwide debate about how best to fund the care needed for adults of all ages within our communities. The response to the consultation questions received more than 500 submissions from across the general public, service users and significant organisations.
As announced at the NCAS Conference in November, the LGA has published a new report outlining the LGA’s recommendations to the Government, with a particular focus on how to close the funding gap. The report is now available to read here. Thank you to all those who contributed.
Arts Council England funding
The LGA works with Arts Council England to offer councils the opportunity to receive a peer challenge of their cultural or library services. These challenges offer an opportunity for your council to benefit from experts in the field who will help you address the issues you may be facing in your library or cultural services. If you are interested, do have a look on the LGA’s website for more information.
LGA Finance Conference
The annual LGA Finance Conference will take place on 8 January 2019, and James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has just been confirmed as the key speaker.
Post-Brexit England Commission Roadshow
The Post-Brexit England Commission is continuing its work to explore the challenges towns, villages, rural and coastal communities face, and how such councils can develop locally designed solutions to these challenges.
If you would like to share your thoughts and contribute any ideas for the final report, the Roadshow will be at the below destinations:
- 18 December – South East
- 15 January – Yorkshire and Humber
- 5 February – North East
Councillors and candidates: EU citizens
The LGA is continuing to press for clarification on the eligibility of EU citizens living in the UK to stand in future local elections. The LGA has now received clarification that it is the policy intent of the UK Government that candidates who are validly nominated and elected at or before the May 2019 local elections in England and Northern Ireland should be able to serve that term of office in full.
Open Doors pilot: call for landlords
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has started a pilot scheme called Open Doors, matching landlords struggling to find tenants for their empty properties with community groups looking for space. This scheme is open to all landlords, and the deadline for applying is 31 December 2018.