We're all back on duty after the hottest English summer on record and one of the hottest for the UK. I hope you have enjoyed a bit of a break along the way.
A very warm welcome to Sarah Woodhouse, our Head of Group Office, back from a happy maternity leave and quick to get organised in the office. Toby Ganley sends his best wishes and promises to keep In touch from his new job.
One of the first activities underway is promoting and responding to the LGA’s green paper for adult social care. I launched this consultation to the media, including interviews on Sky News, and would ask all members to take a look and respond. With councils spending over £15 billion on adult social care every year and with an impending funding gap of £3.56 billion by 2025, we really cannot afford to keep things as they are. Find out more and complete the online survey.
Aimee, Noleen, Sarah and I spent the summer setting up for a very full autumn of activity, getting all round our two countries. We are focused on listening to you, helping you do a great job for your residents and on helping you get more people to stand and to get elected. Thanks to our area Chairman for agreeing to host the regional events. Please let us know if you have particular speakers or topics that are affecting your area that you want to tackle on your local agenda.
It is important that each of our councillors has a supportive network to work alongside. Some of those supporters may get engaged in the issues and want to assist more directly by being a councillor alongside you, perhaps in the neighbouring ward, adding strength to your work.
You may want to organise an event that inspires and encourages commitment. Here is an offer: if you can get together a dozen people who are either councillors already or good prospective councillors, we will provide support. We offer an experienced councillor speaker, room and simple refreshment costs, materials for promotion, advice and information to support you and your colleagues. If this is of interest please contact the Group Office on Independent.GroupLGA@local.gov.uk
Next May is very significant for the Independent Group as district, metropolitan and unitary authorities have elections as well as town and parish councils. Eighty eight per cent of councillors are not currently members of our Group, so there is plenty of room to expand and we shall do all we can to assist.
Our elected members and Group Executive have also been working over the Summer getting all the appointments in place to support our members inform the national work of the LGA. I would like to congratulate all of our Board appointments and look forward to seeing many of you at the Councillor’s Briefing event on 13 September.
We also have our Annual Group Conference coming up on 23 November in London, so please hold the date and further information will be sent to you. As always the day will be full of opportunities to influence government and discuss the most up-to-date policy developments.
Finally, we are once again organising our Next Generation Programme, a unique development opportunity for aspiring leaders. The programme takes place over three weekends (Friday - Saturday in October, November and February) and everything is funded, except for Members' travel to and from Warwick University. Delegates enjoy a bespoke programme focused on communications, political, community and personal leadership. If you have any bright stars in your group or would like to take part yourself, you can find out more about the programme and apply here.