Autumn Conference 2023

Motion #21

Association of Green Councillors

Motion passed

AGC Report – creating a learning community

This report updates the AGM regarding the work of the Association Of Green Councillors (AGC). A further report that will examine the political impact of our elected councillors will be available at Autumn Conference.

The AGC is the autonomous organisation for our councillors, prospective councillors, former councillors and other GPEW members wishing to be involved in our work.

Over the last couple of years we have focused on developing a learning community through organising and delivering a wide range of networks, briefings, advice, support and events. This report concentrates on those aspects of our work.


The AGC is supported by two staff members, one funded by the AGC, the other by GPEW. Governance arrangements include an annually elected board of 6, with 2 additional co-optees to improve diversity, plus an AGM held during the GPEW Autumn Conference. Following the retirement of the AGC Co-ordinator earlier this year roles were reorganised. The Co-ordinator role became the Councillor Support and Resources Officer (0.5fte) whilst the GPEW role of Climate Action Officer was redesignated Senior Local Government Political Adviser (0.6fte) and line manages the Support Officer role.

The story of remarkable local election successes, leading to our current number of 750 (at the time of writing) principal authority councillors - is told elsewhere. This report looks at how the AGC supports councillors in a wide range of political situations:

  • Green in power; we are now in the administration in 35 councils, ranging from an overall majority to a single member of the executive. We have 9 council leaders and 7 deputy leaders. More than half of the groups in power are in this situation for the first time in 2023.
  • Greens in official opposition; in some cities and London boroughs we are the main – sometimes the only - opposition to usually Labour administrations.
  • Greens in the room; elsewhere we have groups challenging administrations, usually Conservative, where we are often working with other opposition groups, sometimes with only one or two green councillors.
  • Greens in Local Councils; we have a similar range of experiences in Town, Parish and Community Councils, with some overall majorities in a small number of Town Councils at one end, and individual parish councillors in councils with no tradition of identifying by political party at the other.

Greens in Power

Since 2019 it has been recognised that there was a need to support groups in council administrations. By creating a learning community for Greens in Power we work to support individuals and groups in delivering greener policies, and to create a forum where ‘Green Municipalism’ is defined and refined. Two Weekend conferences were held in 2022, with around 20 participants at each, representing the vast majority of the then 17 or so councils where we held some power. These weekenders produced a series of reports shared with the AGC which brought together our best experiences and thoughts for the future; on local economies, retrofit and ‘doing politics differently’ and on the prospects for local Green transitions. The weekenders also boosted the development of the learning community amongst our leading councillors. A first Greens in Power Impact Report was produced in early 2023.


In 2022 our councillor WhatsApp groups mushroomed. This platform has proved the most popular and useful for sharing ideas. Groups now exist that cover specific policy issues, specific geographies and specific roles. Many are managed by staff; others are self-organised. Sometimes the exchanges will provide a prompt to staff for a specific support need. Otherwise these are now self-powered learning communities. The AGC Conference in July 2023 added to this with the launch of a Councillors of Colour network. Councillors working to impact the Local Government Association are also networking in this way. Members have also contributed to European Green Party’s Local Councillor Network. All this builds on our established zoom call schedule for all, for sole councillors and for Town and Parish councillors.

AGC Conference

In July the AGC held its annual weekend conference in Sheffield. A new feature was a session on the Friday afternoon for Greens in Power. This year’s conference had the highest attendance so far – at 70. Sessions were well received, and the conference has prompted further work picking up from councillors’ and expert guests’ contributions.

May elections aftermath

Significant resources went in to supporting groups who were in a position to help form administrations. Some preparation had been done; a zoom call for prospective portfolio holders and committee chairs was held and recorded and a ‘preparing for power’ pack was produced and shared, but the scale took us by surprise, so the support became stretched. Two experienced Green councillors are funded by the LGA to provide mentoring so this provided the backbone to the support for negotiations, which was supplemented by volunteer help from other experienced councillors and the Political Adviser, plus updates to the support pack. Feedback suggests the level of support was just about sufficient. There hasn’t yet been an opportunity to reflect on this but thought will need to be given as to how to build on this years’ experience.

Tracking our election successes and keeping data up to date was also challenging and this has been addressed over the summer.

The AGC and GPEW

Comms team support for councillors has flourished this year, with training provided on several occasions and a regular sharing of the best councillor stories in the daily press breifing email. Alignment of political responses and positions between leadership, comms and our councillors is developing, with, as an example, useful exchanges on the approach to solar farms. So far this has relied on good working relationships between comms and the Political Adviser plus some consideration at PolComm. The AGC is keen to develop this.

We are also looking to develop accountability between councillors and the party at a range of levels. We are proposing an Annual Impact Report to Autumn 2023 conference and are looking at regional or subregional networks and accountability systems.

Last updated on 2023-10-21 at 11:41