Agenda and minutes

Executive Advisory Board - Thursday, 2nd March, 2017 1.45 pm

Venue: 5th Floor Conference Suite, 5th Floor (South side), Layden House, 76-86 Turnmill Street,. London, EC1M 5LG. 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 Izzi Seccombe declared an interest in the Housing White Paper item as the Chair of a DCLG Housing Panel (CHECK).


Housing White Paper pdf icon PDF 363 KB

Additional documents:


Cllr Keith House, Deputy Chair of the Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board, introduced the report and explained that it requested a steer from the Executive on next steps following publication of the Government’s Housing White Paper, ‘Fixing our broken housing market’ in February 2017. He explained that the White Paper included positive measures for local authorities which would help to accelerate housing supply, but there were concerns on Right to Buy and the necessary leverage required by councils to stimulate companies to build.


There followed a detailed discussion in which Members raised the following points:


·         Whilst Members welcomed certain elements of the Paper, and commended the impact of LGA lobbying on its contents; there were still significant areas of concern and questions raised about the impact of the proposals on house building. 

·         Concern was raised that there was no mention of the New Homes Bonus in the White Paper or in the LGA’s response, and it was suggested that the LGA continue to lobby the Government on this as it represented a reward for growth.

·         The Board identified a number of concerns and issues for specific focus in the LGA’s lobbying.  These included: the availability of affordable housing; risks around housing needs assessments; democratic accountability within a streamlined planning process; the requirement of skills to match the demand for house building; greater flexibilities for Housing Revenue Account; opposition to nationally imposed rent levels; a fast tracked approach for establishing local development corporations for delivering housing growth but opposition to extending right to buy to housing delivered through such vehicles; concern about the implications of a 5 year frequency for reviewing local plans; ability to retain 100 per cent of Right to Buy receipts; that the duty to prevent homelessness be expanded to partners; greater incentivisation for authorities to build; greater emphasis on the bespoke housing requirements of the older population, including supported and extra care housing; and tensions within the paper between high density developments and protecting green belt, as well as localist aspirations with centralised proposals.

·         The Executive recognised that the Government was investing into housing, but that the LGA was an important voice in making sure that the investment was going where it would be best used. Local Government needed more powers to protect affordable housing, and the only method to build in high volume as required was through legislation and State support. The EEHT Board would keep a watching brief on the White Paper, and any further measures to be announced in the forthcoming Chancellor’s Budget.



The LGA Executive discussed the Housing White Paper and agreed that their comments inform the LGA lobbying activity and formal response to the White Paper.


The Casey Review: A Review into Opportunity and Integration


The Chairman introduced Dame Louise Case DBE CB who addressed the Executive on her review into opportunity and integration which had been published in December 2016.


Dame Louise highlighted a number of areas of her review which had particular relevance and importance to local government, in particular around population make up, immigration and integration, and socio-economic exclusion. She highlighted particular examples from various parts of the country where there had been difficulties in integration and community cohesion, and how these had been addressed by local government and partner organisations. She then invited Members’ questions.


In the discussion which followed Members and Dame Louise raised the following points:


·         Some areas had seen a disproportionate increase in some population groups at the same time as a reduction in public spending which had impacted on integration and community cohesion. There should be more funding for classes in English language classes, integration, and women’s empowerment. Dame Louise took the view that additional funding alone would not solve the problem, and the Government would publish an integration strategy to consider all options.

·         In response to a question on school admission policies, Dame Louise highlighted that education policy and local government policy should not be formed separately by the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government as they should be considered together. The LGA had been robust in lobbying the government on the children’s agenda, and there was a debate to be had on school standards. It was Dame Louise’s view that the local authority should run services in local communities, and it was hoped that the report could aid lobbying on this issue.

·         The report had no specific recommendations on how local authorities could take more of a leadership role to improve integration and community cohesion, but the work the LGA was doing through sector-led improvement would be vital in improving services. Although ‘British values’ was a nebulous concept, there should be a focus on law and justice with no exceptions, particularly for community leaders and councillors where things had gone wrong.

·         The Executive agreed that there was a gap in the LGA’s sector-led improvement offer around integration, community cohesion and leadership, and it was suggested that a small group of Members look at the issue and make recommendations. The LGA should make an offer to the Government to lead on these areas of work, and there was a good opportunity if councils were given appropriate and sustainable resources and power, in conjunction with partners such as Police and Crime Commissioners. It was suggested that the Chair of the Safer and Stronger Communities Board and a small group of other Members consider the issues and report back to the Executive in due course.



The LGA Executive:

a)    Noted the publication of the Casey Review and the report by the APPG on Social Integration; and

b)    Agreed that the Chair of the Safer and Stronger Communities Board and a working group of Members consider the issues for local government arising from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


LGA Budget 2017-18


Paul Brack, Strategic Finance Manager, introduced the draft LGA budget for 2017-18 and highlighted that it had been agreed by the Leadership Board the previous day. Members noted that the Direct Government Grant referenced in the report was currently an assumption, and Members agreed that the budget for 2017-18 should only be published when this figure was confirmed.



The LGA Executive:

i.              Agreed that the budget for 2017-18 would only be published once the Department for Communities and Local Government and Department of Health funding for the year was confirmed, with the 3 Financial Plan remaining an internal confidential document;

ii.             Agreed the LGA’s budget for 2017-18; and

iii.            Delegated approval to make necessary budgetary adjustments to reflect the final grant notification from DCLG to the LGA Chairman and Group Leaders, in consultation with the Deputy Chief Executive.



The budget for 2017-18 to be adjusted and published in line with the decisions of the Executive above.


Note of the last Leadership Board meeting - Tabled



The LGA Executive noted the minutes of the Leadership Board held on 1 March 2017.


Note of last LGA Executive meeting pdf icon PDF 171 KB



The LGA Executive agreed the minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2017.