Local Government Association
The Local Government Association (LGA) is an organisation which comprises local authorities in England and Wales. The LGA seeks to promote better local government; it maintains communication between officers in different local authorities to develop best practice. It also represents the interests of local government to national government. 435 authorities are members of the LGA as of 2016, including 349 English councils (out of 352) and the 22 Welsh councils via the Welsh LGA, as well number of smaller authorities including fire authorities and national parks. The Chief Executive is Mark Lloyd.
The LGA was formed on 1 April 1997, in the middle of the 1990s UK local government reform which created unitary authorities. The association is the direct successor to several peer-type associations, most recently the Association of County Councils, the Association of District Councils and the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. There continue to be Special Interest Groups within the LGA representing groups of authorities. These are largely per-type— the County Councils Network, the District Councils' Network, the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities, and UNISIG, representing Unitary Authorities, but also include groups for coastal authorities, authorities with high ethnicity, and authorities with sparse populations, among others.
- Sir Chris Clarke, Liberal Democrat group leader 2001-2005
- Richard Kemp CBE, Liberal Democrat group leader 2005-2011
- Marianne Overton, Independent Group Leader 2011-
Local Government Group
The LGA was part of a wider Local Government Group that also comprised:
- Local Government Improvement and Development (formerly the Improvement & Development Agency)
- Local Government Employers (formerly the Employers' Organisation for Local Government)
- Local Government Regulation (formerly Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services)
- Local Government Leadership (formerly the Leadership Centre for Local Government)
- Local Partnerships (a joint venture between the LGA and Partnerships UK which delivers the services previously offered by 4ps)
These bodies worked with local government organisations (regardless of whether they are LGA members) with the objective of strengthening local government's capabilities and providing support for specific issues that are of widespread importance to local government, for example national pay bargaining. The members of the Local Government Group were rebranded in July 2010 as part of the Local Government Group's 'Getting Closer' initiative. However, in 2011 the decision was taken by the association's new leadership to revert to the original LGA style and brand and by April 2012 the sister organisations had all been folded into the LGA as part of a wider efficiency and restructuring exercise.
The LGA has its Head Office at Local Government House (formerly Transport House) in Smith Square, Westminster, London. Its members are various types of English and Welsh local authorities, including county councils, metropolitan borough councils, London borough councils, non-metropolitan district councils and unitary authorities. The LGA does not cover parish and community councils, which are represented by the National Association of Local Councils and by One Voice Wales. In 2008 the Association published the National Improvement and Efficiency Strategy with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), which saw the creation of a stronger regional presence in the form of nine Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPs) which were given £185m of devolved funding from DCLG to drive improvement in local government.
Associated regional bodies
In addition there are regional bodies such as London Councils (formerly the Association of London Government), Welsh Local Government Association, and Local authority leaders' boards in England outside of London, which bring together local authorities at the regional level. The regional groupings are:
- East of England Local Government Association
- East Midlands Councils
- London Councils
- Association of North East Councils (closed in March 2016; role transferred to North East Combined Authority and Tees Valley Combined Authority)
- North West Regional Leaders Board
- South East England Councils
- South West Councils
- Welsh Local Government Association
- West Midlands Councils (Dormant - secretariat now provided by Wolverhampton City Council.)
- Local Government Yorkshire and Humber (closed in March 2015; role transferred to West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Sheffield City Region Combined Authority; role reassumed by local authorities for North Lincolnshire Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Hull City Council, North Yorkshire County Council, and City of York Council)
The Welsh members are part of the affiliated Welsh Local Government Association, which is a constituent part of the LGA, but retains full autonomy in dealing with Welsh affairs. By contrast in Scotland the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and in Northern Ireland the Northern Ireland Local Government Association are wholly distinct bodies with similar roles to those of the LGA in England and Wales.
Combined authorities are a new form of voluntary association of councils which allow for a single transport authority, as well as power to exercise any function of its constituent councils that relates to economic development and regeneration. They also can receive certain delegated functions from central government in order to deliver transport and economic policy more effectively over a wider area. In some cases these have replaced regional bodies. Current combined authorities are:
- "About the LGA". Local Government Association. 2015-06-19. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- "National Association of Local Councils". Nalc.gov.uk. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- "One Voice Wales". One Voice Wales. 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2017-02-23.
- National Improvement and Efficiency Strategy
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 February 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
- http://www.lgyh.gov.uk/ Retrieved 31 July 2016.