Changes in political leadership

LGA support to member councils facing change of control, no overall control and changes in leadership.

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Over the past year councils have continued to respond to existing national and local economic, social and environmental issues at the same time as supporting communities through a global pandemic.

With the road map in place and on track to ease us out of lockdown and agreement that the May 2021 elections will go ahead, councils now also have to focus on any potential changes in leadership they may find themselves with come 7th May 2021. This could be a change of control, no overall control or changes to their portfolio members and leader.

With this in mind, we have updated and refreshed our guidance to support member councils through this time. We have split the guidance into the following 3 parts for both members and officers.

  • Pre-election scenario planning
  • Immediately after the election
  • Support for the longer term

Coming to terms with a change in leadership can be challenging for leading members and senior officers alike. Whilst everybody will want and need to respond in their own way and in the context of their own local situation, it can also be helpful to learn from the experiences of others.

We have continued to talk to a range of leaders and chief executives whose councils have experienced changes in leadership to capture their experiences and pass on the lessons they have learnt. Each council differs and relationships vary but we hope that a guide consolidating learning from those prepared to share their experiences will be useful.

You will also find below details and links to the support that the Local Government Association (LGA) offers all councils that anticipate or experience a change in political leadership. This is flexible and tailored free support from our experienced member and officer peers and can include but is not restricted to:

  • support through the leadership transition post election– both formal and informal
  • facilitating workshops and away days with top management and political teams to support and help build relationships
  • support to clarify strategic priorities
  • mentoring for leaders, portfolio holders and CEXs
  • closed webinars to share learning
  • guidance to recognize when systems and relationships are not working and what to do next
  • mediation

You can contact the LGA principal adviser for your area to discuss your support needs.

We have created a peer network for Chief Executives who may find themselves with a change in political leadership following the May elections. If you would like some support from a peer or you have experience of a change in leadership, no overall control, or change of control and would like to support colleagues then please get in touch with ami.beeton@local.gov.uk