Agenda and minutes

Executive Advisory Board - Thursday, 3rd March, 2016 1.45 pm

Venue: Westminster Room, 8th Floor, 18 Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HZ. View directions

Contact: Paul Goodchild  Email: / 020 7664 3005

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


No declarations were made.


Housing and Planning pdf icon PDF 220 KB


The Chairman introduced the report, which had been considered by the Leadership Board the previous day. The report updated Members on the work being done to influence the proposals set out in the Housing and Planning Bill, and included information on the cumulative impact of housing reforms on councils’ Housing Revenue Accounts and their local areas.


Cllr Peter Box, Chairman of the Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board, added that lobbying on the Housing and Planning Bill had been discussed at the EEHT Board for some time, and it was welcome that the profile of the LGA’s campaign had been raised to make the most of the opportunity to influence amendments to the Bill.


In the discussion which followed Members made a number of comments, including:


·         Members raised concern at the results of the online survey which had been sent to all 176 housing stock owning local authorities in England. Of those who had completed the survey 78% expected more homelessness as a result of the government reforms, 80% expected to cut the number of new homes to be built, and 80% expected to cut the amount of maintenance spending. This was not in line with the government’s expected aims of the Bill, which was also expected to increase housing benefit bills and impact upon residents’ ability to afford tenancies.

·         It was highlighted that lobbying on the Bill was not a political issue but a practical issue for all types of local authority. The higher profile lobbying was welcomed, and Members agreed that the LGA should continue to press for amendments to the Bill in the House of Lords, but that amendments should have a clear evidence base highlighting the unintended consequences so that they would also be welcomed in the House of Commons and accepted by the government.

·         Local authorities were only allowed to use a third of money from Right to Buy, and as more houses were sold councils would not have the borrowing or capital financing to fund the other two thirds. This would impact heavily on councils’ ability to build homes. Sale of high value assets was also highly contentious as specialised housing, including housing for elderly and disabled residents, was likely to be of high value and so could be at risk.

·         In future there should be a coherent policy on housing across the spectrum. The LGA’s Housing Commission was currently in the process of considering evidence which had been submitted, and an interim report would be published in April 2016. The final report of the Commission would make recommendations for future work on housing.

·         A lot of areas in the report were council-focussed, but the LGA should also reflect on the wider consequences of the Bill, for example residents who were financially excluded from owning their own homes could be targeted by sub-prime lenders. Concerns over the long term supply of housing should also be considered.

·         The District Councils Network had separately made various observations on the Bill, all of which supported growth. District  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Update on NHS Policy Announcements and Supporting Joint Working pdf icon PDF 128 KB


Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chair of the Community Wellbeing Portfolio, introduced the report and highlighted that the LGA had consistently campaigned for a democratically accountable, place-based approach for health and wellbeing, and therefore welcomed the place-based approach that sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) were intended to introduce which had been announced by the NHS.


Integration was fundamentally important for local government and the NHS for a sustainable future for health services. The CWB Portfolio policy group on the future vision for health and social care was currently examining what has been learnt from approaches to integration so far, and how the integration agenda could be influenced in the future.


NHS planning guidance for 2016/17 required the development of sub-regional footprints, which had been welcomed by the LGA as they worked well with the Five Year Forward View and were intended to help improve financial efficiency, the health and wellbeing gap and the equality gap. However, there were some areas of concern; there was a very tight timescale for establishing the footprints, with draft plans required to be submitted by early April and full plans by early June, and guidance had been issued at a very late stage; and each area was required to identify a Chief Executive from the NHS or local government to oversee and develop the footprint, which could potentially draw accountability away from Health and Wellbeing Boards and local authorities and not help with integration.


In the discussion which followed Members made a number of comments, including:


·         Members supported the view that Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) should have oversight of the emerging footprints to provide democratic accountability. HWBs were a strong integration point and if they were not engaged in the process it could not be seen as accountable. Sub-regional footprint geography should match with that of HWBs where possible.

·         Concern was raised that the NHS was not engaging in meaningful consultation on the sub-regional footprints. In some areas these did not match with combined authority footprints. Guidance from the NHS stressed that the plans should be for the whole system, with full involvement of local government and in some areas this had not been the case. Local authorities wanted to bring budgets together with the NHS to innovate and transform services.

·         Local authorities had previously been informed that the announcements on the Better Care Fund (BCF) in the Local Government Finance Settlement would help those areas with a smaller tax base. If the BCF was used for the transformation agenda this would begin to move away from the principles outlined in the Settlement.

·         Local authorities were currently unable to create sustainable solutions for the prevention agenda. There should be a much stronger, clearer and funded commitment from the government for Public Health, so local public health issues could be addressed and councils could work on longer term transformational issues.

·         Members supported the suggestion that a letter should be written to Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, to address issues which had been raised by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


LGA Budget 2016-17 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

Additional documents:


Paul Brack (Strategic Finance Manager) introduced the LGA Budget for 2016/17. He drew attention to the assumptions underpinning it, projections for future years, and noted that adjustments may be required to reflect the final grant notification from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).


Mark Lloyd (Chief Executive) highlighted that the Leadership Board had amended the second recommendation of the report so that approval to make necessary budget adjustments to reflect the final grant notification from DCLG was delegated to the LGA Chairman and Group Leaders, in consultation with the Deputy Chief Executive.



The LGA Executive:

i.              agreed the LGA’s budget for 2016-17 as recommended by the Leadership Board; and

ii.             endorsed the Leadership Board’s delegation to the LGA Chairman and Group Leaders, in consultation with the Deputy Chief Executive, to make necessary adjustments to reflect the final grant notification from DCLG.



Adjustments to the budget to be made by the Strategic Finance Manager following approval by the LGA Chairman and Group Leaders, in consultation with the Deputy Chief Executive. (Sarah Pickup / Paul Brack).


LGA Perceptions Survey 2015/2016 pdf icon PDF 214 KB


David Holdstock, Director of Communications, introduced the report and commented that it was the fourth consecutive year that an independent survey of the LGA’s membership had been undertaken. He drew members’ attention to the key findings and highlighted that it had provided a useful steer on how the LGA engaged with frontline councillors who were less aware of the work of the LGA. The Leadership Board had asked for more detailed analysis of the results of the survey, which would be reported back in due course.


Members agreed that more work should be done to engage with frontline councillors, particularly with reference to sector led improvement work, and other areas where the value of the LGA as a membership organisation could be evidenced.



The LGA Executive:

i.              noted the results of the 2015/16 perceptions survey;

ii.             endorsed the Leadership Board’s decision to continue with an annual perceptions survey of councils;

iii.            endorsed the Leadership Board’s decision that increased efforts be made to engage with frontline councillors; and

iv.           noted that a perceptions survey action plan would be considered at a future meeting of the Leadership Board.



LGA Perceptions Survey Action Plan to be considered at a future meeting of the Leadership Board. (David Holdstock).


Note of the last Leadership Board meeting pdf icon PDF 192 KB


The Leader of the Conservative group drew attention to the discussion which had taken place at the Leadership Board regarding preparation to move to 100 per cent business rate retention. He asked that the decision of the Leadership Board and information on next steps be sent to the Leaders and Chief Executives of all LGA member councils so they were aware of how the LGA was taking the matter forward in partnership with DCLG. Members endorsed this approach.



The LGA Executive:

i.              noted the minutes of the Leadership Board held on 2 March 2016; and

ii.             agreed that the Leadership Board’s decision regarding the move to 100 per cent business rate retention, and the next steps to be taken, be communicated to the Leaders and Chief Executives of all LGA member councils.



Information on business rate retention and next steps be circulated as agreed. (Nicola Morton)


Note of last LGA Executive meeting pdf icon PDF 186 KB



The LGA Executive agreed the minutes of the LGA Executive held on 21 January 2016.


Devolution Update


Ian Hughes (Head of Policy) introduced the report which sought Members’ views on the LGA’s approach to the next phase of devolution through to the summer of 2017. It was proposed that a Green Paper on ‘Devo Plus’ be prepared for the LGA’s Annual Conference in July which would make the case for more extensive devolution of powers and responsibilities  than had been achieved to date. The paper would cover the main themes of financial devolution, public service refrom, public engagement, and areas where the LGA will be refining its membership and improvement offer to take account of the development of Combined Authorities, both Mayoral and non-Mayoral.


In discussion which followed Members made a number of comments, including:


·         Localisation of business rates could not be removed from wider discussions on devolution as it would enable individual areas to improve their economies.

·         The conversation with government should shift from devolution of national functions to place-based public sector reform. The government should be clear on its objectives for devolution so that an open and accountable discussion with the sector could take place. There should be a clear idea of what devolution and the public sector would look like in 5 to 10 years so that there were clear goals for central and local government.

·         Drafting of the Green Paper should allow for reactive decisions on devolution to be made, given the fast paced nature of discussions and announcements on the matter. The City Regions and People and Places Boards would receive regular updates throughout the drafting process in order to have continued Member oversight.

·         The government were looking to reduce publ;ic spending and transfer functions to local government where they could be run more efficiently , so there was a real opportunity to engage on what the future of devolution and local government would look like. The government would be most receptive if LGA presented clear evidence based information on financial frameworks and service provision.

·         Communication with residents and communities was important to explain what devolution would mean for them and what changes there would be to existing services.

·         Although economic matters were important in devolution discussions, the major challenge for local government would be how behaviours, culture and processes changed as a result of devolution.

·         The LGA should engage with councils who have already gone through the devolution process to consider lessons learned as part of their discussions with the government. Engagement with LEPs was also suggested.



The LGA Executive:

i.      endorsed the Leadership Board’s decision that a campaign Green Paper be prepared for the LGA’s Annual Conference, which would make the case for the more extensive devolution of funding and powers than has been achieved to date;

ii.     agreed that City Regions and People and Places Board would be asked to provided the detailed analysis;and

iii.    endorsed the next steps to be taken which were identified in the report.