Agenda and minutes

Board of Directors of the Local Government Association (The Leadership Board)
Wednesday, 5th June, 2019 1.00 pm

Venue: Smith Square 1&2, Ground Floor, 18 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HZ. View directions

Contact: Paul Goodchild (Member Services Manager) 

Items
No. Item

1.

Chairman, Notice and Quorum

To confirm the Chairman for the meeting, that the meeting is quorate, and that adequate notice of the meeting was given.

Minutes:

The Board confirmed Lord Porter of Spalding CBE as Chairman for the meeting, that the meeting was quorate and that adequate notice of the meeting had been given.

 

There were no apologies for absence.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Each Director present to confirm that they have no direct or indirect interest, or declare any interest, in the transactions and other arrangements to be considered at the meeting, or which the Company has entered into which they are required to declare by Section 177 or Section 182 of the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006) as amended, or by the Articles of Association.

Minutes:

Each Director present confirmed that they had no further direct or indirect interest in the transactions and arrangements to be considered at the meeting, or which the Company had entered into, which they were required to declare by Section 177 or Section 182 of the Companies Act 2006 as amended, or by the Articles of Association.

3.

Duties of Directors

Each Director to notethat under section 172 of the Companies Act 2006, they must act in the way they consider, in good faith, would be most likely to promote the success of the Company for the benefit of its members as a whole and in doing so have regard (amongst other matters) to certain factors set out in that section; and that under Section 173 they must exercise independent judgement.

Minutes:

Each Director noted that under Section 172 of the Companies Act 2006, they must act in a way they consider, in good faith, would most likely to promote the success of the Company, for the benefit of its members as a while and in doing so have regard (amongst other matters) to certain factors set out in that section; and under that section they must exercise independent judgement.

4.

Local Elections and LGA Political Balance 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 290 KB

Minutes:

Claire Holloway, Head of Corporate Services, introduced the report which set out the definitive figures for the LGA’s proportionality for 2019/20. The report set out the new proportionality and its implications for the distribution of seats amongst the political groups on the LGA’s governance structures.

 

In particular Members noted that, as in the previous two years, one additional place had been negotiated for each group on the Leadership Board. Therefore the Leadership Board for 2019/20 would comprise of five Conservatives, five Labour, two Liberal Democrats, and two Independents.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board endorsed the proportionality figures for the 2019/20 meeting year.

 

Action

Political groups to agree the allocation of places across all LGA structures (Paul Goodchild).

5.

Local Government Preparedness for Brexit pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Minutes:

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA’s Brexit Task Force, introduced the report which set out local government work on Brexit which had been undertaken to date, and potential key issues following the extension of Article 50 to 31 October 2019.

 

In particular he highlighted that there was little progress on the UK successor to EU funds, UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). The LGA was in discussion with MHCLG and the Secretary of State on this matter which is now urgent. Members also noted that the LGA was working with partners in the devolved nations on this issue. The LGA was also continuing to ask for further devolution below Whitehall and a UK replacement structure for the Committee of the Regions, where decisions with an impact on local government could be considered.

 

In the discussion which followed Members raised the following points:

 

·         It was noted that the LGA policy line was UKSPF to be devolved to councils.

·         It was confirmed that more work would be done on the potential impact of Brexit on migration.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board noted the work which had been undertaken to date, and the work on preparedness for the further work on Brexit.

6.

LGA General Assembly: Motions for Annual Meeting pdf icon PDF 259 KB

Minutes:

Claire Holloway, Head of Corporate Services, introduced the report which set out a Motion which had been received from Bristol City Council on UN Sustainable Development Goals. A copy of the Sustainable Development Goals was tabled.

Members were asked if the Motion should go forward for consideration at the General Assembly and, if so, who would respond on behalf of the LGA and which Board(s) should take forward any future work on the issue.

 

In discussion, members acknowledged the breadth of the topic and the importance of ensuring any LGA response is meaningful and given sufficient priority. Members put forward a number of suggestions for which LGA Board(s) would take forward work following the General Assembly but delegated the final decision to the Chairman and Group Leaders.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board:

 

1.    Agreed that the Motion should be referred for debate at the General Assembly on 2 July 2019;

2.    Agreed that the new LGA Chairman should respond to the Motion on behalf of the LGA; and

3.    Delegated responsibility to the Chairman and Group Leaders to decide which LGA Board(s) would take forward work following debate of the Motion at the General Assembly. 

 

Action

Motion to be added to the agenda for the LGA General Assembly on 2 July 2019 (Paul Goodchild).

7.

LGA President and Vice-Presidents 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Minutes:

Lee Bruce, Head of Public Affairs and Stakeholder Management, introduced the report which set out the Members of the House of Commons, House of Lords, and European Parliament that the LGA would be inviting to be honorary Vice-Presidents for the 2019/20 parliamentary session. It also invited the Leadership Board to endorse the nomination of Lord Kerslake as President of the LGA for a further year. The President would be formally elected at the LGA’s General Assembly on 2 July 2019.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board:

 

1.    Endorsed the nomination of Lord Kerslake as President of the LGA for a further year; and

2.    Noted the nominations of Vice-Presidents by the four political groups.

 

Action

General Assembly to be invited to elect the President for a further year and to note the appointments of the Vice-Presidents by the Political Groups (Lee Bruce).

8.

2019 Annual Report of the Audit Committee DOTX 133 KB

Minutes:

Claire Holloway, Head of Corporate Services, introduced the report which provided an overview of areas reviewed and work undertaken by the Audit Committee in 2018/19, in accordance with the Committee’s terms of reference. The Audit Committee had agreed the report at their meeting on 3 June 2019, subject to one minor amendment to paragraph 11, which replaced the phrase “Performance Improvement Observations” with “recommendations on the audit control environment”.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board endorsed, and commended to the General Assembly, the 2019 Annual Report of the Audit Committee as amended.

 

Action

The annual report to be presented to the General Assembly on 2 July 2019 (Claire Holloway). 

9.

Business Rates Retention and Fair Funding Review Update pdf icon PDF 151 KB

Minutes:

Nicola Morton, Head of Local Government Finance, introduced the report which provided a summary of progress on the Fair Funding Review and Business Rates Retention work programme since the previous meeting. This included a meeting of the officer-led LGA/MHCLG Business Rates Retention Steering Group and the System Design Working Group.

 

Members noted that LGFutures had been commissioned to produce a model showing how the alternative administration model might work, and this would be discussed at the Business Rates Retention and Fair Funding Review Task and Finish Group on 6 June 2019. It would then be presented to the Chairman and Group Leaders for sign off prior to publication on the LGA website.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board noted the report. 

10.

Government's Green Paper on Prevention pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Minutes:

Sally Burlington, Head of Policy, introduced the report which provided an update on the expected publication by the Government of a Green Paper on prevention. The LGA was continuing to lobby to influence the content of the paper through various routes, and would formally respond once it had been published. In the meantime the LGA was building evidence through work on the Spending Review.

 

In discussion Members raised the following points:

 

·         We need to be clear that prevention will deliver savings, but usually not to the service which makes the investment  – so need to make the case that investment should come from the organisations which will benefit rather than having to be funded by councils.

·         We need to embed prevention in local government by suggesting that HWBs sign off local prevention strategies, and also the local implementation plans for the NHS. Need to emphasise public health is a key delivery vehicle for the prevention strategy. But be careful not to ask just for more responsibilities without the funding to pay for them.

·         Effective prevention goes much wider than even public health – for example Troubled Families is a great example which requires council leadership. Youth services are another example.

·         We need to emphasise the available evidence. Recent IFS research on Sure Start should be cited – all the savings accrue to the NHS but councils are having to cut.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board noted the report regarding the expected publication of the Government’s Green Paper on Prevention.

 

Action

Members’ comments to be incorporated into the approach to influence and respond to the Green Paper (Sally Burlington). 

11.

Exit Payments Cap pdf icon PDF 350 KB

Minutes:

Naomi Cooke, Head of Workforce, introduced the report which summarised proposals to cap public sector exit payments as they related to local government, which were now subject to consultation.

 

Members noted the main concerns with the cap, which included legal risks, industrial relations concerns, and potential unintended consequences for employers. Political Group offices would be consulted before a final response was submitted, and the LGA would encourage councils and other administering authorities to submit similar responses.

 

Members agreed that while the consultation was unclear, the LGA was very clear in response. It was agreed that restructuring in local government was a necessary response in current circumstances and this needed to be reflected.  In addition, there were a number of areas where clarity in the consultation should be sought, including the example of schools where the decision maker was not identified and teachers and support staff potentially had difference decision makers.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board noted the update and approved the approach to respond.

 

Action

Consultation response to be developed in line with Members’ comments and submitted following clearance from LGA political group offices (Naomi Cooke).

12.

Performance Reporting 2018/19: Six Month Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 815 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Claire Holloway, Head of Corporate Services, introduced the report which presented a summary of the LGA’s performance against its Business Plan and its internal priorities over the period 1 October 2018 to 31 March 2019. Claire highlighted that all finance and policy objectives were on track to be delivered, that one of the two remaining indicators agreed with MHCLG was now complete, with the other partially delivered and that no major data breaches had been reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office over the period.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board approved the six month monitoring report. 

13.

Gender Pay Gap Report and Action Plan pdf icon PDF 156 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Claire Holloway, Head of Corporate Services, introduced the report which presented the most recent LGA gender pay gap data as at April 2019. Members noted that there was a downward trend in the gender pay gap since 2017, but the median figure of 25.85 per cent was still higher than the national overall median figure of 18.4 per cent. An action plan was in place to address the issue, which had been shared with staff.

 

In response to a question on staff increases over the period, it was explained that this was specifically related to grant funded programmes.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board noted the LGA’s gender pay gap figures and asked for a further update report to be brought in due course. 

14.

Chief Executive's Report - June 2019 pdf icon PDF 577 KB

Minutes:

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive, introduced the report which set out the LGA’s main achievements against the Business Plan since the previous meeting in April 2019.

 

In particular he highlighted recent evidence to the MHCLG Select Committee on financial sustainability of councils, the ongoing work on cladding following the Grenfell Tower tragedy two years ago, continued work by local authorities to best use the apprenticeship levy, the recent EU elections which had been held by local authorities at short notice, and that the Local Government Mutual was now open for business.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board noted the Chief Executive’s report for June 2019.  

15.

LGA Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the Forward Plan, which set out the agendas for the LGA Leadership Board, the LGA Executive, and Councillors’ Forum for the next three months.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board agreed the Forward Plan.

16.

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 3 April 2019

Minutes:

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board agreed the minutes of the previous meeting held on 3 April 2019.

17.

Note of the previous Commercial Advisory Board held on 1 April 2019

Minutes:

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board noted the minutes of the Commercial Advisory Board held on 1 April 2019.

18.

Audited Financial Statements for the Year 2018/19

Appendices A – E are included in a separate agenda pack.

Appendices F – G will be sent to follow on a supplemental agenda.

Minutes:

Jonathan Gratte, Strategic Finance Manager, introduced the report which set out the consolidated financial statements for the LGA Group for the year ended 31 March 2019. The statements were presented for the Leadership Board to agree, prior to their adoption at the LGA General Assembly on 2 July 2019. The financial statements for IDeA, LGA (Properties) Ltd, LGMB, and LGA Commercial Services Ltd were presented for review prior to their presentation to their respective company boards. Separately, it was noted that the unaudited dormant accounts for the new LGA unlimited company for the period to 31 March 2019 will be signed off by Lord Porter on behalf of the Leadership Board.

 

Alastair Duke, Partner at the LGA’s auditor PKF Littlejohn LLP, added that the statements had received an unqualified audit opinion and ran through the Audit Findings report with Members.

 

There followed a confidential discussion.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board:

 

1.    Agreed the LGA consolidated financial statements and approved their submission for adoption at the LGA General Assembly on 2 July 2019;

2.    Reviewed and noted the financial statements for IDeA, LGA(P), LGMB and LGACS;

3.    Reviewed and noted the external auditors’ report to the Leadership Board; and

4.    Approved the Representation Letter.

 

Action

Consolidated financial statements to be presented for adoption at the LGA General Assembly on 2 July 2019.

19.

2019 Spending Review - Update

Minutes:

Sarah Pickup, Deputy Chief Executive, introduced the report which provided an update on the LGA’s planned activity ahead of the 2019 Spending Review.

 

There followed a confidential discussion.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board noted the report on the LGA’s approach to the Spending Review work programme.

20.

Communications Annual Report: Summary of Performance for 2018/19 and Report for October 2018 to March 2019

Minutes:

David Holdstock, Director of Communications, introduced the report which provided an update on the LGA’s communications activity for 2018/19 and progress on the LGA’s corporate campaigns for the second six months of the year.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board noted the communications activity for the year 2018/19 and details for the period October 2018 to March 2019.

21.

LGA Annual Conference and Exhibition 2019

Minutes:

David Holdstock, Director of Communications, and Amanda Spicer, Deputy Head of Events, introduced the report which set out progress made with the arrangements for the LGA Annual Conference and Exhibition which would take place in Bournemouth from 2 to 4 July 2019, including the updated draft programme.

 

Members discussed holding a session at the Conference for female councillors to discuss increasing levels of abuse and intimidation they had experienced. This session would be followed by a session for all councillors the following day, where the LGA’s guide for councillors on handling intimidation, threats and personal safety would be launched. Members shared a number of examples of threats and intimidation, and agreed that it would be valuable for the LGA to undertake a piece of work on practical ways to highlight and address the issues.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board agreed the final programme and activities for the LGA Annual Conference and Exhibition 2019, subject to their comments.

22.

LGA Conference Publication

To follow on a supplemental agenda.

Minutes:

David Holdstock, Director of Communications, introduced the report which included the most recent draft of the LGA’s 2019 annual conference report for Members’ comments.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board agreed that the Annual Conference report should be amended in line with their comments, and that the Chairman and Group Leaders would agree the final version of the report.

 

Action

Annual Conference report to be amended and published at the LGA Conference following final sign off by the Chairman and Group Leaders(David Holdstock).

23.

Committee on Standards in Public Life - Local Government Ethical Standards

Minutes:

Abigail Gallop, Senior Adviser, introduced the report which summarised recommendations from the Committee on Standards in Public Life regarding local government ethical standards, as well as potential LGA responses to the recommendations. This included a recommendation from the CSPL for the development of a new model code of conduct.

 

There followed a confidential discussion.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board agreed the recommendations set out in the report, subject to their comments.

24.

Delegation of Authority in Respect of Nomination of Director(s) to the Local Government Mutual Limited Board

Minutes:

Claire Holloway, Head of Corporate Services, introduced the report which sought approval from the Leadership Board to delegate authority to the Chairman and Group Leaders to nominate one or more LGA representatives to join the Board of the Local Government Mutual.

 

Decision

The LGA Leadership Board resolved to delegate to the Chairman and Group Leaders the power to nominate candidate(s) as they think fit in their absolute discretion for appointment as Member Director(s) to the Board of the Local Government Mutual.

 

Action

A short report will be presented to the Chairman and Group Leaders setting out the number and criteria for nominations by the end of June 2018.

25.

Close of Meeting

Minutes:

The Chairman closed the meeting.

 

Cllr Nick Forbes CBE, Senior Vice Chair, proposed a vote of thanks to the Chairman, Lord Porter, on the occasion of his last LGA Leadership Board meeting. He thanked Lord Porter on behalf of the LGA for his clear focus on delivering for local government over his four years as Chairman and highlighted some notable events which had taken place, including Lord Porter’s leadership following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in 2017. The Leadership Board all expressed their gratitude to Lord Porter.