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25 September 2020

Publish date: 25/09/2020

As part of the objectives I set myself for my presidential term I committed to widening the membership of the LLG Board with a view to gaining a wider range of views and influence in connection with the decisions taken at board which affect all members. I'm really pleased to see the new Member Director posts have been advertised with the closing date today and also delighted that so many of you have applied with enthusiasm to get involved in LLG and represent the views of the grassroots members to shape and direct how we develop over the coming years.

We have a number of key work-streams ongoing including a review of membership events in light of Covid-19. This has provided an opportunity to think about what we can do in the short term with Covid and also in the longer term when, as we envisage will happen, the significance of Covid recedes due to a vaccination or effective treatment. As part of this piece of work I'm keen to hear your views as to what type of events would you find most valuable and those you might find more appealing/relevant/useful. Do you think a social element is important or should we focus exclusively on events which include a learning element? Are regional based events preferable to national ones?

Another key role for LLG is to represent our members and to lobby for their interests within external bodies including government and the Law Society. In this regard, I have been lobbying the Law Society to retain the two seats we have on their Council designated for Local Government Solicitors. In our view, the proposed reduction would result in a disproportionately low representation when compared to the number of solicitors in local government, (5000), and we have a campaign underway to persuade the Law Society to withdraw this proposal. I would ask all solicitors to register for the AGM and vote against this proposal.

Lastly, I wanted to draw members attention to the so called £95k cap which is intended to place a limit on the financial value of benefits that local authority employees may receive if they are made redundant. The key issue has been whether 'pension strain', (the cost of topping up LGPS pension), is included. If it is included, then this provision will potentially impact on a much wider group of employees including those of salaries of £40k an above depending upon length of service. Given the possibility of austere times ahead and potential redundancies, this is a particularly unwelcome and some would say, cynical move by central government. We have joined with CIPFA and Solace to campaign against this proposal.

To read my fuller blog on these matters, please click here.

Best wishes

Quentin Baker

LLG President