Agenda and minutes

Executive Advisory Board - Thursday, 20th October, 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


Apologies for Absence


The LGA Executive noted the apologies listed at Appendix A.


Declarations of Interest


Cllr Nicolas Heslop declared an interest in Item 3 as he is an employee of the Edge Foundation, a charitable organisation for technical, practical and professional learning.


Schools That Work for Everyone Green Paper pdf icon PDF 255 KB


Cllr Richard Watts, Chair of the Children and Young People Board, introduced the report which followed the Secretary of State for Education’s launch of the Schools that Work for Everyone green paper in September 2016.


Proposals in the green paper included: the expectation that independent schools would support existing state schools, open new schools, or offer funded places to children whose families could not afford to pay fees; asking universities to commit to sponsoring or setting up new schools in exchange for the ability to charge higher fees; allowing selective schools to expand, or new ones to open, while making sure that they support non-selective schools; and allowing new faith free schools to select up to 100% of pupils based on their faith, and introducing new requirements to make sure that faith schools include pupils from different backgrounds. One of the most contentious proposals was a potential move back to academic selection of pupils at 11 years old.


The Children and Young People Board had discussed the green paper at a previous meeting. Although the decision by the Government to issue a green paper for discussion was welcomed, the Board had discussed that the primary concern of councils was that change should improve educational achievement, attainment and life chances for all children and young people, and that councils should have a central role in ensuring that decisions about greater selection should be subject to democratic decision-making. It was acknowledged that the LGA may not come to a collective decision on the merits of selection, but it may be possible to form a consensus around the role of local authorities in decision making.


In the discussion which followed Members raised the following points:


·         Local authorities should have the ability to tailor the curriculum of schools in their areas towards skills and vocational qualifications which would be useful for the local jobs market. There was also support for a programme which tailored education to the individual and focused on outcomes.

·         Democratically elected councillors should have the ability to help schools to improve and help where problems were identified.

·         There was a difference of opinion on the impact of grammar schools on state schools in close proximity, and on the impact of pupil selection at age 11 or 14. Members raised a number of examples in support of and in opposition to these proposals from their own authorities.

·         Regarding the proposal to ask universities to set up new schools in return for higher fees, it was suggested that universities would prefer to work with a large number of schools to satisfy the criteria set out in the green paper. It was good for universities to have a requirement to help to enhance school education, but they would want to work with a wide range of schools to encourage access.

·         A number of Members raised concern on the proposal for new faith free schools with the ability to select up to 100% of pupils based on faith. Members suggested that this would negatively impact  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Business Rates Retention Update pdf icon PDF 242 KB

Additional documents:


Cllr Claire Kober OBE, Chair of the LGA’s Resources Board, introduced the item which updated Members on progress with the LGA’s work on business rates retention reform, including joint wok with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the LGA’s own policy work, and the work of the Business Rates Retention Task and Finish Group.


Cllr Kober highlighted that the LGA’s official responses to the Government’s consultations on business rates retention had been submitted following comments from Members at the previous meeting. The Government had currently received approximately 500 responses to the main consultation and over 200 responses to the call for evidence on needs and redistribution which were currently being analysed. It was hoped that this was partly due to a great turnout at six regional consultation events organised by the LGA across England. These events had also been attended by DCLG, who would include feedback in the consultation process.


In the discussion which followed the following points were raised:


·         The Business Rates Task and Finish Group continued to meet to discuss various aspects of the reforms on a regular basis. A meeting following the Executive would consider how various commercial properties are assigned and how the Government was progressing with the redistribution review.

·         Members noted that the Government has published a draft list of valuations of individual commercial properties that would come into place from April 2017. This would change the level of business rates in some areas, but the Government would adjust tops-ups and tariffs of individual local authorities to ensure that no council was better or worse off as a result. The LGA would provide a response to the consultation on how this would be achieved.

·         Some Members took the view that a new system for business rates retention could not be designed before the fairer funding element was agreed and a needs assessment undertaken.

·         Others stated that technicalities around the needs assessment should not slow down the introduction of a new business rates retention system, and a needs formula could be applied to the system when it was in place.

·         The LGA Executive would continue to be updated on business rates work, and, through the Task and Finish Group, it was hoped that the LGA would move towards a consensus view on how to progress.



The LGA Executive noted the update on business rates retention work.



A membership list of the Business Rates Task and Finish Group to be circulated to Members following the meeting.


Note of the last Leadership Board meeting - Tabled



The LGA Executive noted the minutes of the Leadership Board held on 19 October 2016.


Note of last LGA Executive meeting pdf icon PDF 220 KB



The LGA Executive agreed the minutes of the previous meeting held on 15 September 2016.