LA Spotlight

As you will undoubtedly be aware, there are resourcing pressures at many levels of local government. The news reports are filled with retirements and news of moves and vacancies. SOLACE as a representative body, have been making the case for a Workforce Strategy for local government in a similar way that exists for example in health and the civil service. We are seeing those pressures in legal teams with requests for assistance. With that in mind we wanted to draw attention to an initiative started by EM Lawshare (but which we are keen to extend) around the concept of a Development Network. This can extend to a variety of initiatives but one that is proving popular with junior lawyers is putting them in touch with colleagues performing similar roles where they can create points of contact for formal and informal support. At the very least it can help create a “phone a friend” relationship. With hybrid working becoming the current norm this offers colleagues a way to start to build a network without cost. If this may be of interest to you or one of your team, please do get in touch.

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Net Zero

UK Government publishes British Energy Security Strategy

On 7 April 2022, the Government published its British Energy Security Strategy. It builds on the Prime Minister’s Ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, and the 'Net zero strategy'.

The aims of the Strategy are to boost UK energy independence, security and prosperity, to reduce reliance on oil and gas, and tackle rising prices.

The Strategy, which sets out new targets to boost new nuclear power, offshore wind and hydrogen, is a long-term plan focusing on energy supply for the future.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of the Strategy in more detail, please get in touch with one of our Net Zero legal and commercial specialists Nadeem Arshad or Nathan Bradberry.

Publications & Guidance

Climate Change Survey 2021

Local Government Association | 5 April 2022

In October 2021 the LGA conducted a survey of the climate change officers of all councils in England. The purposes of the survey were to assess what actions local authorities are taking to combat climate change, to assess their future needs for support in this area, and to evaluate the climate change sector support offer provided by the LGA. A total of 178 responded – a response rate of 53%.

UK electric vehicle infrastructure strategy

Department for Transport | 25 March 2022

This strategy sets out the Department for Trade’s vision and action plan for the rollout of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK, ahead of the phase out dates. The DfT intend:

  • to end the sale of new petrol and diesel petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030
  • for all new cars and vans to be fully zero emission at the tailpipe by 2035

Read the full press release: Tenfold expansion in chargepoints by 2030 as government drives EV revolution

New report calls for “step-change” in ambition of UK’s electric vehicle charging rollout to deliver 2030 petrol and diesel ban | Connected Kerb

Connected Kerb | 22 March 2022

In a new report published on 22 March, industry leaders – including experts from EY, UKPN, Motability, Mitie Group PLC and Connected Kerb – unanimously call for a “step change” in the ambition of the UK’s EV charging rollout to deliver the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars and support the UK’s net zero goals. 

Cutting the cost of living with a green economy | Green Alliance

Green Alliance | 21 March 2022

Inflation is higher than it has been for decades. The price of gas was four times higher in January 2022 than it was a year earlier. Petrol and diesel prices are at record levels. The cost of food is going up too. The action needed to meet the UK’s net zero carbon target will also help to reduce the cost of living, whether through greater efficiencies, cutting demand for fossil fuels or cheaper energy alternatives. This report, outlines how policies that cut emissions can also reduce the cost of living, both now and in the future.

Beta framework launched on nature-related financial disclosures

edie | 15 March 2022

On the 15 March, the first beta version of its nature-related risk-management and disclosure framework was released. The framework, which will be modified over the next 18 months, currently consists of three main components. It outlines key science-based concepts and definitions to help corporates and stakeholders define nature-based risks and opportunities.

Taking charge: selling electricity to Electric Vehicle drivers

Ofgem | 9 March 2022

This guide distils the 8 charging models Ofgem have encountered and clarifies what rules apply. It doesn’t cover technical standards or network connections, but provides links to other helpful resources. Ofgem expect this to be useful for innovators, chargepoint operators, local authorities, EV drivers, fleet operators, trade associations, investors, and innovation support providers.

Independent Assessment: The UK's Heat and Buildings Strategy

Climate Change Committee | 9 March 2022

The UK Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy has laid out important high-level decisions on the UK’s approach to reducing emissions from heating buildings. The Strategy sets a new policy direction, focusing on a rapid scale-up of supply chains through a market-based approach. However, plans are not yet comprehensive or complete and significant delivery risks remain. Consultations need to move forward, followed rapidly by final decisions on policy design and effective implementation if the Strategy’s ambitious goals are to be met.


Shapps launches £10m pilot EV charging fund | Local Gov

Local Gov | 1 April 2022

The Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) pilot will inform the development of the full £400m fund, with £50m resource money, which the Department for Transport (DfT) aims to launch in 2022/23.

Marine Management Organisation defends High Court challenge to variation of dredging licence for nuclear power station works

Local Government Lawyer | 31 March 2022

A judge has dismissed a judicial review challenge to a licence variation connected to the Hinkley Point nuclear power station project, branding some grounds argued as “hopeless" and having “no merit”.

Betts: Government must ‘get a grip’ of energy rebates

Public Finance | 30 March 2022

Clive Betts, chair of Parliament's Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, has demanded answers from Communities Secretary Michael Gove on how councils can administer energy rebates to ensure that nobody misses out on payments.

Consultations launched on measures to help local authorities tackle air pollution

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 28 March 2022

On the 28 March the Government launched two consultations on proposals to make it easier for local authorities to tackle poor air quality in their areas. This builds on wider action to tackle air quality, including the recent announcement of £11.6m for local authorities to deliver projects to improve air quality and the recent launch of a consultation on targets under the Environment Act – including ambitious targets on PM2.5, the pollutant that is most harmful to human health.

Packaging and packaging waste: introducing Extended Producer Responsibility

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 26 March 2022

The reforms will implement Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging from 2024. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA)will focus on producer payments for managing household packaging waste and packaging in street bins managed by local authorities and will appoint a scheme administrator to oversee this system. DEFRA will continue for the time being with the Packaging Waste Recycling Note System in parallel, to demonstrate recycling obligations have been met. 

Boroughs announce knowledge partnerships to tackle climate change | London Councils

London Councils | 25 March 2022

London Councils and London Higher announced on the 25 March 2022 five new knowledge partnerships between five borough-led climate programmes and four universities across London.

UK on track to reach 4,000 zero emission bus pledge with £200m boost

Department for Transport | 25 March 2022

Twelve areas in England, from Greater Manchester to Portsmouth, will receive grants from the multimillion-pound package to deliver electric or hydrogen powered buses, as well as charging or fuelling infrastructure, to their region.

Spring Statement: Rishi Sunak announces VAT relief for home energy efficiency retrofits

edie | 23 March 2022

ON the 23 March Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his Spring Statement, including several measures aimed at alleviating the cost of living crisis but providing little cause for celebration for the green economy.

Mayor redoubles efforts to safeguard London from climate change

London City Hall | 23 March 2022

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has awarded £4m from the Green and Resilient Spaces Fund to projects that will help improve green spaces across London and safeguard the capital from the impacts of climate change. Six large scale projects have received a combined £3.44m in Mayor of London grant funding. 

London borough to launch green community bond

Public Finance | 21 March 2022

A £1m community municipal investment was approved by a meeting of full council last month, and will be issued through crowdfunding platform Abundance. A report discussed by councillors said the council intends to launch the five-year bond this year, with an aim of matching or undercutting the five-year interest rates from the Public Works Loan Board.

Betts demands answers on how 10 million households will receive rebate

Local Government Chronicle | 16 March 2022

Michael Gove (Communities Secretary) has been asked to explain how the £150 council tax rebate will be paid to the 10 million households who do not pay bills by direct debit. The call from Clive Betts (Lab), the chair of the Commons’ levelling up, housing and communities committee, in a letter to the Communities Secretary comes amid mounting concern about the viability of the plan to offer everyone living in band A-D homes the rebate to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

Delivering on the Environment Act: new targets announced and ambitious plans for nature recovery

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 16 March 2022

New, long-term environmental targets have been announced in March by the government. The proposed targets are a cornerstone of the government’s Environment Act which passed into law in November last year. They will drive action by successive governments to protect and enhance our natural world.

City council defends Planning Court challenge over permission for 400-home scheme

Local Government Lawyer | 11 March 2022

Canterbury City Council has defeated a number of judicial reviews brought by a local environmentalist over its decision to approve plans for a development by house builder Redrow. 6 Pump Court Chambers, whose Megan Thomas QC acted for the council, said applicant Camilla Swire had alleged Canterbury approved a masterplan not in accordance with a parameter plan showing access and an indicative road alignment.

40 councils leading the way on climate | Friends of the Earth

Friends of the Earth | 10 March 2022

Friends of the Earth and Ashden launch 40 new case studies celebrating local authority action on climate.  Local authorities are crucial to the delivery of the UK’s transition to a cleaner, greener future. But progress needs to be accelerated in every local area if the UK’s climate and nature targets are to be met, Friends of the Earth and the climate charity Ashden said as they published new resources for councils and campaigners in March.

£11.6m boost for local authorities to tackle air pollution

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 9 March 2022

Local authorities across England have been granted more than £11m in government funding to deliver projects to improve air quality. The money, from the Government’s Air Quality Grant, helps councils develop and implement measures to benefit schools, businesses and communities and reduce the impact of dirty air on people’s health.

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Delivering Value

The Road To Reform Section 10

On 6 December 2021 the Government published its response to the Green Paper on proposed reform to public procurement.

This is an extract from our tenth (and last) in a series of articles which the procurement law team at Bevan Brittan LLP have produced on what the proposed reforms will mean for the public sector and suppliers. You can review the full article.

Below is a menu of what has been covered, with links to each Part:

The Green Paper observed that:
Effective contract management is key to successfully delivering a contract following the completion of a procurement procedure. The regulatory regime must support contracting authorities in managing the project through to delivery, ensuring the contract can flex to meet new demands and opportunities while ensuring the supply chain is treated fairly and paid promptly.

The Government therefore proposed:

  • legislating to further tackle payment delays in public sector supply chains and give small businesses, charities and social enterprises deep in the supply chain better access to contracting authorities to expose payment delays
  • allowing more flexibility to amend contracts in times of crisis, improving the ability of contracting authorities to adapt quickly in these circumstances
  • introducing a new requirement to publish contract amendment notices so that amendments are transparent and to give commercial teams greater certainty over the risk of legal challenge, and
  • capping the profit paid on contract extensions where the incumbent raises a legal challenge.

Publications & Guidance

Guidance on flexible use of capital receipts

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 4 April 2022

This is an updated direction and statutory guidance to extend the freedom for local authorities to use eligible capital receipts to fund the revenue costs of projects that deliver ongoing savings or improved efficiency.

Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child

Department for Education | 28 March 2022

This white paper demonstrates how our education system can deliver on the government’s priority to level up across the country. The economic benefits of meeting the white paper’s ambitions, and the case for a fully trust led system, are also set out. See LGA’s response here: Schools White Paper, 28 March 2022 | Local Government Association.

Integrated care partnerships: engagement findings

Department of Health and Social Care | 23 March 2022

A summary of engagement by the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and the Local Government Association following their 'ICP engagement document: integrated care system implementation'.

Spring Statement 2022: documents

HM Treasury | 23 March 2022

The Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Spring Statement to Parliament on 23 March 2022. This is the Spring Statement in full and supporting documents. Please see the Local Government Association’s response here: LGA statement on Spring Statement 2022 | Local Government Association.

Councils face difficult decisions as spiralling fuel prices impact on school transport services, report warns

County Councils Network | 18 March 2022

England’s largest councils today warn that spiralling fuel prices are impacting on school transport services, with local authorities set to have to pay providers significantly more – or face having potentially thousands of pupils unable to access free transport. The warning comes in a new report from the County Councils Network, which analyses pressures in home to school transport services. The local authorities that supplied data to this study transported 248,000 pupils for free last year, of which 51,000 were young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

New analysis warns government has ‘seriously underestimated’ the costs of adult social care charging reforms

County Councils Network | 18 March 2022

England’s largest councils and care providers today warn that care homes could face widespread closures and a shortage of beds when adult social care reforms are introduced next year, with the government ‘seriously underestimating’ the costs of its proposals by at least £854m a year. The warning comes as the County Councils Network (CCN) releases a new independent report by healthcare market specialists LaingBuisson, which analyses two key aspects of the government’s adult social care reforms: proposals to allow private payers (self-funders) to ask councils to arrange care on their behalf at lower local authority rates and the intention to introduce a new ‘Fair Cost of Care’, which aims to increase care fees paid by councils to make the care market sustainable.

Homes for Ukraine: guidance for councils

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 18 March 2022

This initial guidance on the Homes for Ukraine scheme outlines the role of councils across England in supporting the scheme. Additional advice will be published for councils in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland shortly.

Social care common inspection framework review: interim inspections of children’s homes and residential holiday schemes for disabled children

Ofsted | 11 March 2022

This is a report on the outcomes of the consultation on the proposals for changes to the social care common inspection framework. In particular, the way we carry out interim inspections of children’s homes and the way we inspect residential holiday schemes for disabled children (RHSDC).

Agreeing to disagree? Research into arrangements for avoiding disagreements and resolving disputes in the SEND system in England

Local Government Association | 11 March 2022

The LGA has commissioned Isos Partnership to undertake research into approaches to avoiding disagreements and disputes, including, but not limited to Tribunal appeals, in the SEND system, the factors giving rise to these trends, and what is needed at a national policy level to avoid address those challenges.

Children's social care study

Competition and Markets Authority | 10 March 2022

We have published our final report on our children’s social care market study setting out our findings and making recommendations to the UK Government, Scottish Government and Welsh Government. We have also published individual summaries setting out our findings and recommendations in relation to England, Scotland and Wales.

Report sets out new blueprint for councils to deliver a reshaped children's services

Country Councils Network | 9 March 2022

With councils under significant pressure in delivering children’s social care – with many overspending each year – a report released today by the County Councils Network (CCN), Association of County Chief Executives, and Newton sets out a new way to improve outcomes for young people and make these vital services sustainable. Read the full report.


Health and Social Care Levy to raise billions for NHS and social care

Department of Health and Social Care | 6 April 2022

From Wednesday 6 April, the Health and Social Care Levy will begin to raise billions to tackle the Covid backlogs and reform adult social care. Also see: £500m to develop the adult social care workforce

Over 30% of care jobs pay below living wage

Local Gov | 31 March 2022

The analysis of Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) data, carried out by Citizens UK, shows that 30.2% of jobs in England’s care sector are paid below the real living wage compared to 25.4% in Wales and 10.3% in Scotland.

Young refugees to provide fresh challenge for councils

The MJ | 29 March 2022

As the first unaccompanied young refugees arrive in the UK, councils face extra pressures on their safeguarding and support services to protect them from exploitation and traffickers. The MJ understands two unaccompanied teenagers from Ukraine have already arrived in a county authority area with another two expected to arrive soon, while there are further reports of children arriving in London boroughs.

Ambitious reform for children and young people with SEND

Department for Education | 29 March 2022

The Government’s SEND and alternative provision green paper, published Tuesday 29 March, sets out its vision for a single, national SEND and alternative provision (AP) system that will introduce new standards in the quality of support given to children across education, health and care. The plans to reform the system will be open for a 13-week public consultation, giving families frustrated by the existing, complicated and bureaucratic system of support the opportunity to shape how a new system will work in the future - and give them confidence that their local school will meet their children’s needs so they can achieve their full potential.

Council chiefs warn care guidance burdens ‘overstretched staff’

The MJ | 28 March 2022

Local authority leaders have criticised the Government’s new social care funding guidance which requires overstretched councils to produce ‘detailed’ market sustainability plans.

Local Authorities announced as trailblazers for social care charging reform

Department of Health and Social Care | 25 March 2022

Government has announced that five local authorities in England will implement a new and improved adult social care charging reform system which caps the cost of care. To ensure a smooth transition from the current charging system the five trailblazing local authorities - Wolverhampton, Blackpool, Cheshire East, Newham, North Yorkshire - will put the charging reform plans in place in January 2023 ahead of a national rollout in October next year.

Councils call for extension of local outbreak management cash as COVID-19 cases rise

Local Government Association | 24 March 2022

"With time running out, it is vitally important that the Government extends part of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund. This will allow councils to respond to new variants, tackle outbreaks in at-risk settings and recruit and retain vital public health staff."

Care providers to receive fairer costs for providing care

Department of Health and Social Care | 24 March 2022

Local authorities in England will be supported by £1.36bn from the Health and Social Care Levy to pay a fairer rate of care to adult social care providers. The Market Sustainability and Fair Cost of Care Fund will increase the support available for the care sector as part of the government’s 10-year vision for reform set out in the People at the Heart of Care white paper.

Sunak's extra £0.5bn 'cannot address underlying cost-of-living pressures'

Local Government Chronicle | 23 March 2022

Councils will receive an extra £0.5bn to support vulnerable families through the cost-of-living crisis, the chancellor announced in a spring statement which largely failed to address local government’s biggest issues.

Rishi Sunak announced the doubling of the household support fund – initially introduced in October – to £1bn, which will be paid through councils.

Public health services face disruption as pandemic leaves staff 'exhausted'

Local Government Chronicle | 23 March 2022 

Public health workers are suffering from exhaustion as Covid-19 enters its third year, leaving gaps in the workforce as transmission rates rise, councils warned today. There are concerns among councils that staff have been left exhausted from the strain of tackling the pandemic in local communities over the last two years, with local authorities struggling to recruit and retain staff.

Rising interest on debt blows hole in public finances

The MJ | 22 March 2022

Rising debt interest has knocked a hole in the public finances before Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces a spring statement already under pressure due to the Ukraine crisis. The cost of servicing the UK’s £2trn debt last month rose by £2.8bn to £8.2bn, the highest February figure on record, due to inflation.

Ploughing cash into children's services 'unsustainable,' consultancy claims

The MJ | 16 March 2022

There is no link between needs, results and how much money is spent on children’s services, consultancy iMPOWER has claimed. Throwing more cash at services is unsustainable and will fail to improve lives or cut the demand, its latest report has suggested. 

Local authorities will be able to top up council tax rebate

The MJ | 15 March 2022

The MJ understands guidance due to be issued to councils from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will enable councils to use their discretionary funds to top up the rebate.

Council leaders call for reform of ‘adversarial’ SEND system

Local Government Chronicle | 11 March 2022

A new study by the Local Government Association (LGA) revealed that the 2014 reforms aimed at improving the lives of children with SEND had led to a dramatic rise in the use of tribunals to settle disputes. Appeals to tribunals over SEND disagreements have more than doubled since the reforms, rising by 111% between 2013-14 and 2020-21.

Lords reject government bid to amend care cap

Local Government Chronicle | 8 March 2022

Peers have rejected the government’s proposed amendment to the social care cap which would have seen those on lower incomes pay more towards their care.

Review launched to assess shortfall in housing-with-care options

Local Gov | 8 March 2022

The Associated Retirement Communities Operators (ARCO) has commissioned the review to identify the scale of provision needed from now until 2038. Figures suggest that between 200,000 and 1,500,000 new units will be needed to meet demand.

Council tax reform call as budgets passed

The MJ | 7 March 2022

Director of local government finance and improvement at London Councils, Paul Honeyben, told The MJ it was ‘not healthy in any funding system’ to be so reliant on the tax, which he argued was in need of reform. Councils are now expected to raise a higher amount of their spending power from council tax than before, with the proportion increasing from 49% in 2015-16 to 60% in 2021-22.

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Place & Growth

Multi-property wayleave requests on the increase

With more people working at home than ever as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased pressure to meet telecommunication roll-out targets to extend coverage. The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act (TILP) has been introduced to make it easier for operators to provide faster broadband to large residential buildings. This has led to operators and owners wanting to deal with the legal aspect of multi-property wayleave requests more quickly and efficiently.

If you are approached by an operator to carry out telecommunication works at one or more of your properties, we would recommend getting in touch as soon as possible so that any requests can be dealt with quickly and consistently through our dedicated team. Under TILP, an operator will be entitled to apply to the Tribunal for temporary rights if a freehold owner of large residential buildings fails to respond to a notice request within a certain period of time. Disputing a matter at the Tribunal is time consuming and costly and our approach looks to avoid this by engaging with the operators early on to try and agree mutually beneficial terms

If you own multiple properties that require telecommunications, you should consider dealing with this in one document instead of multiple wayleave agreements. This will not only speed up negotiations and therefore reduce costs but will also mean that your property portfolio and interests are consistently and sufficiently protected. It will also reduce administration. Occasionally operators offer contributions towards legal fees for such agreements. We recommend trying to agree costs coverage with the operator early on.

For help and advice on this subject, please contact David Hobbs.


The Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) Regulations 2022

This Instrument makes amendments to the Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) Regulations 2006, SI 2006/1294 and the Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) Order 2000, SI 2000/706 to enable Local Authorities in England to treat as eligible for housing and homelessness assistance, persons who left Ukraine as a result of the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022 and had resided in Ukraine immediately before 1 January 2022 and who have been granted leave in accordance with Immigration rules made under section 3(2) of the Immigration Act 1971 (IA 1971). The Regulations come into force on 22 March 2022.

Publications & Guidance

Survey of Homelessness Presentations by Ukrainian Arrivals

Local Government Association | 1 April 2022

This report presents the findings of a Local Government Association (LGA) survey of councils to obtain a snapshot of the number of new Ukrainian households presenting to homelessness services.

Levelling Up Fund Round 2: Prospectus
Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 23 March 2022

The prospectus provides guidance on how local areas can submit bids for the Levelling Up Fund.

Supporting our high streets after COVID-19: response to the Select Committee report

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 23 March 2022

A response by the government to the sixth report of session 2021-22 of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee inquiry in supporting our high streets after COVID-19.

Resetting the South East

Localis | 22 March 2022

As one of only three regions of the country to be net contributors to the Exchequer, the role of the South East region in advancing the levelling up agenda for national renewal remains pivotal. Resetting the South East investigates the role of the South East region in Levelling Up, and what is necessary for its constituent local authorities to deliver – individually and collectively – on this multi-layered and ambitious set of environmental, economic, and social transformations.

Traveller Site Fund 2022/23: letter to local authorities

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 21 March 2022

Letter to all local authority leaders from Kemi Badenoch, Minister for Levelling Up Communities bringing attention to the launch of the £10m Traveller Site Fund for 2022/23.

New report examines the digital divide in county areas

County Councils Network | 18 March 2022

Today BT and the County Councils Network releases a new report which examines the digital divide in county areas. The report, released as part of the CCN Dialogues series, captures some of the key themes which emerged from a roundtable at CCN Conference at the end of 2021, attended by county leaders and chief executives alongside BT.

Government response to Preparing for Extreme Risks: Building a Resilient Society

Cabinet Office | 17 March 2022

The House of Lords Select Committee on Risk Assessment and Risk Planning published Preparing for Extreme Risks: Building a Resilient Society in December 2021. This document sets out the government’s response to the recommendations made in the report, and the work already underway to deliver improvements to the way risk is handled.

The Medici Code

Localis | 15 March 2022

The Medici Code is a collection of responses to the Levelling Up White Paper written by Localis research staff and visiting fellows. The six pieces contained within analyse the White Paper from multiple perspectives including:

  • An overview of the paper’s strengths, flaws and the prospects for localists going forward from Joe Fyans, Localis head of research.
  • A planner’s perspective on the white paper from Catriona Riddell, Localis visiting fellow.
  • An analysis of the role of clean growth and decarbonisation in the white paper from Grace Newcombe, Localis lead clean growth researcher.
  • The role of councils in the white paper’s policy programme examined by Professor Colin Copus, Localis Visiting Fellow.

Towns and cities: local power is the path to recovery - government response to the House of Lords COVID-19 Committee’s report

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 7 March 2022

This is the government’s response to the House of Lords COVID-19 Committee’s report “Towns and Cities: Local Power is the Path to Recovery” on the long-term impact of the pandemic on towns and cities, published 7 December 2021.

Supporting modern slavery victims: guidance and good practice for council homelessness services

Local Government Association | 3 March 2022

This new Local Government Association (LGA) guidance on modern slavery has been developed specifically for council officers leading and working in homelessness and housing services.


Planning bill to be dropped

The MJ | 4 April 2022

The Government is to scrap its long-awaited planning bill, it has been reported. Reforms to the planning system will instead be included in forthcoming levelling up legislation expected before the Parliamentary summer recess, according to The Times quoting Whitehall sources.

New fund gives communities power to deliver affordable homes

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 25 March 2022

Over 1,200 new affordable homes will be delivered across England with communities put in charge of where and how they will be built.

Ombudsman calls for stronger regulation of managing agents

Housing Ombudsmen Service | 22 March 2022

Ombudsman calls for stronger regulation of managing agents after unfairness to social landlord residents investigated.

New digital tools to help residents have their say on local developments

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 21 March 2022

Members of the public will be able to use innovative new technology to have a greater say in shaping and regenerating their communities, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) announced today (21 March 2022). Over £3.25m from the Proptech Engagement Fund will be spent on 28 projects across England trailing cutting edge digital tools to make the planning system more open, engaging and accessible.

Business rates advice - Joint statement of the RICS, IRRV and RSA

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors | 21 March 2022

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published a joint statement, along with the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV) and the Rating Surveyors’ Association (RSA), urging ratepayers to only take business rates advice from a member of at least one of these recognised bodies.

Government providing extra £150m to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour

Home Office | 18 March 2022

As part of the government’s commitment to drive down crime and improve public safety, the Home Office has formally launched round 4 of the Safer Streets Fund.

LGA to water down out-of-area protocol

The MJ | 17 March 2022

The Local Government Association (LGA) will water down its proposals for a sector-wide agreement when councils place homeless people outside of their boundaries. A report to a meeting of the LGA’s children and young people board said a consultation on an out-of-area placement protocol was ‘fairly polarising’.

Kerslake Review sets out blueprint for maximising GLA Group housing

London City Hall | 18 March 2022

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has today committed to implementing the recommendations of a new independent report commissioned to increase the speed and scope of housing delivery on land owned by the Greater London Authority (GLA) Group.

Homes England, Muse and Legal & General recommit to The English Cities Fund to develop 6,600 more homes and deliver against Levelling Up agenda

Home England | 16 March 2022

Move enables the £200m joint venture to continue to deliver transformational regeneration schemes, including 6,600 new homes and 2m sq ft of innovation and commercial space in high priority Levelling Up areas, beginning with St Helens and Salford Crescent.

The Levelling Up white paper and the sustainable built environment 

UK Green Building Council | 7 March 2022

Public Affairs & Policy Officer Philip Box shares UKGBC's analysis of the Levelling Up White Paper and what it means for a sustainable built environment.

Planning laws reformed to speed up 5G roll-out

Local Gov | 7 March 2022

Local government leaders have criticised planning law reforms that will enable mobile network operators to make new and existing phone masts up to five metres taller and two metres wider than current rules permit.

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Governance & Reorganisation

Government refuses suspension powers for councillor code of conduct breaches

The Government has rejected many of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL)’s 2019 Report recommendations, including that local authorities should be able to suspend councillors without allowances for up to six months for breaches of the code of conduct. 

The Government’s response cited the lack of a legislative provision sanctioning such a suspension as “a deliberate policy decision by the Coalition Government at the time of the Localism Act 2011 to differentiate from the previous, failed Standards Board regime”  and the importance of “free speech”  as reasons for its rejection of CSPL’s recommendations.

Referencing sanctions already available to local authorities on the “rare occasions where notable breaches of the code of conduct had occurred”, the Government’s response reiterated Council powers to bar Councillors from Cabinet, Committees, or representative roles, and party discipline measures including removal from group or party, citing that “councillors are ultimately held to account via the ballot box.”   

This is not likely to chime well with the increasing number of authorities grappling with poor standards of behaviour on more than the ‘rare’ occasion. In relation to the CPSL’s request for clarification on whether councils could lawfully bar councillors from council premises or withdraw facilities as sanctions, the Government response was that “The criminal law, overseen by the police and courts, provides for more appropriate and effective action against breaches of public order, for anti-social behaviour, and against harassment.” The Government it has stated that it will consider the issue further.

Despite rejecting a large number of recommendations, the Government did agree in principle with the recommendation to amend The Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 to provide greater disciplinary protections for statutory officers which extend to all disciplinary action, not just dismissal. In its response, the Government highlighted the pertinence of such a measure to Monitoring Officers “who may not necessarily be afforded the same seniority in the organisational hierarchy of a local authority as the two other statutory officers (Head of Paid Service and the Section 151 Officer), and who may be subject to personal pressures when conducting high profile breach of conduct investigations”.

The Government recommended that every political party establish their own code of conduct for party members, including elected representatives, and stated that it will seek views on options to strengthen sanctions for breaches of the code which fall below the bar of criminal activity and related sanctions but involve serious incidents of bullying and harassment or disruptive behaviour.

The CPSL, along with key partners in the sector such as SOLACE, has expressed disappointment with the Government’s response. They will not be alone in their views that more needs to be done. The Government has made commitments to seek views and consider issues further so we suspect that there will be further developments to come – watch this space.

For help or advice on governance or reorganisation matters, please contact David Kitson or Victoria Barman.

Publications & Guidance

Local Enterprise Partnerships: Integration guidance

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 4 April 2022

A joint letter from the Minister for Levelling Up, The Union and Constitution and the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets to LEP chairs, combined authority mayors and the Mayor of London.

Combined authorities: Financial freedoms and fiscal devolution

Local Government Association | 31 March 2022

This report assesses how freely English combined authorities are able to raise and spend funding.

Bigger is still Not Better – a report by Professor Colin Copus

District Councils Network | 22 March 2022

This timely new report from Professor Colin Copus, Emeritus Professor of Local Politics, De Montfort University and Visiting Professor, Ghent University is an update on 2020’s ‘Bigger is not Better’. The report refreshes the evidence base on the impacts of changing local government size, and dispels the myth of guaranteed efficiency, effectiveness and cost reduction as a consequence of increasing the size of local government. The report also covers:

  • The vital role districts will play in connecting communities to levelling up efforts
  • The leading role districts have in fostering collaboration between councils and other organisations
  • The further work needed to encourage more inter-council joint working, instead of reorganisation to achieve levelling up ambitions.

Government response to the Committee on Standards in Public Life review of local government ethical standards

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 18 March 2022

The Committee on Standards in Public Life conducted a review of local government ethical standards, published in January 2019. This document outlines the government’s response to the recommendations.

Democracy Made in England: Where Next for English Local Government?

Electoral Reform Society | 9 March 2022

This report by the Electoral Reform Society contains sections on unfinished business, the problems with English Devolution and bringing democracy back into English devolution.

Progress on government reform

Cabinet Office | 7 March 2022

Information provided to the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) about progress on government reform.


Remote and hybrid working to become standard practice, research suggests, as growth of remote working shakes up jobs market

Local Government Lawyer | 5 April 2022

Two years on from the imposition of remote working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the majority of local government lawyers and heads of are set to continue working from home most of the week, new research by Local Government Lawyer has found.

Council set to spend £1m to bolster cyber security

Public Finance | 5 April 2022

Essex County Council is set to invest £1m to help improve its cyber security, after experts warned of heightened risks of Russian interference in public bodies.

Jackie Weaver did not have the ‘authority’ to mute and eject councillors

Local Gov | 30 March 2022

Jackie Weaver did not have the ‘authority’ to mute and eject councillors from the online parish council meeting that went viral during lockdown, an investigation has concluded.

Jackie Weaver: Councils must reach out to the ‘unusual suspects’

Local Government Chronicle | 28 March 2022

Local government must meet people where they go to meet each other if it is to truly reflect diverse communities, writes the chief officer of the Cheshire Association of Cheshire Councils.

City council to ditch ‘Leader and Cabinet’ model for committee system (localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk)

Local Government Lawyer | 25 March 2022

Sheffield City Council has agreed to replace its “leader and cabinet” system from May this year with a number of cross-party committees. The move, which follows a referendum held in 2020, was approved unanimously. Sheffield has become the first of England’s Core Cities to make the switch.

Councils to call for greater devo after White Paper

The MJ | 24 March 2022

The local government sector is to make the case for greater devolution beyond the Levelling Up White Paper. A report to a meeting of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) people and places board said the White Paper had failed to ‘fundamentally alter’ the deal-based model that has been used for the last eight years.

Fears that devolution bill could be delayed until early 2023

Local Government Chronicle | 23 March 2022

Local government leaders have expressed concerns over the speed of the government’s devolution bill, amid fears it will not get through parliament until spring 2023.

Debate, don’t hate as we approach elections, say councils

Local Government Association | 22 March 2022

The LGA, which represents councils across England and Wales, is encouraging everyone to set a positive tone during this election period, leaving behind toxic discourse when engaging with local candidates and representatives.

Council employees set to lose part of pay rise

Local Government Chronicle | 22 March 2022

Local government employees will lose some of their backdated 2021 pay rise - because "protracted" union tactics mean it will be subject to April's national insurance increase. And as the unions begin consulting their members this week on the 2022 pay, there are also concerns negotiations will be “particularly difficult” this year.

Commissioners appointed to tackle failures at Sandwell

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 22 March 2022

Commissioners have been appointed to implement positive and far-reaching changes at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council (22 March 2022). The move comes after an external review revealed a “deeply troubling picture of mismanagement and of ineffective scrutiny and accountability arrangements” at the council.

LLG and Law Society express concern at Government plan to replace Human Rights Act with Bill of Rights

Lawyers in Local Government | 17 March 2022

Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) has said in its response to a Government consultation on replacing the Human Rights Act 1998 with a Bill of Rights that it opposes proposals that “seek to reduce the accountability of public authorities or undermine the rule of law”.

London pension pool issues Russian investment edict

The MJ | 17 March 2022

The pension pool tasked with managing investment funds for London’s local government schemes has instructed all managers to make no further investment in Russia.

Districts criticise devo framework's 'top-down approach'

Local Government Chronicle | 16 March 2022

District councillors have criticised the government’s devolution framework under which "the views of district councils will be able to be ignored". The framework - one of the central points of the levelling up white paper - offers three levels of devolution, with the greatest powers devolved when an area is covered by a single institution with a directly elected mayor. Districts will be unable to veto the installation of a combined authority or mayor.

Heightened threat of cyber-attacks following Russian invasion

Local Government Chronicle | 16 March 2022

Councils are being told they face a heightened threat of cyber-attacks following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and are being urged to take swift action to protect their systems. One cyber advisor for the local government sector told LGC that “without a doubt there has been an increase in activities”.

Sector must 'step up' the case for devolution

The MJ | 15 March 2022

Liverpool’s metro mayor has urged councils offered devolution deals to ‘snap the Government’s hand off’. Steve Rotheram said it would take more time to persuade everyone of the merits of mayors, but added: ‘We are starting to see the fruits of our hard work.’

Gove urges pension funds to add to Russian pressure

The MJ | 15 March 2022

Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove has urged local government pension scheme (LGPS) committee chairs to consider what more they can do to exert pressure on Russia.

Census delay could hit finance reforms

The MJ | 14 March 2022

A delay to the publication of the first results from last year’s census could hit local government finance reforms. The Office for National Statistics previously said it was aiming to publish the first results in May but it is now aiming for early summer.

Minister rules out 'abandoning' devolution framework

The MJ | 11 March 2022

Levelling Up minister Neil O’Brien told the Local Government Association’s executive advisory board yesterday there would be no deviation from the three levels of devolution laid down in the White Paper in the talks currently underway for nine new county deals.

Councillors complain of lack of powers

The MJ | 9 March 2022

More than two out of three (68%) councillors in England feel they lack sufficient powers to represent the needs of their communities, a survey today by the Electoral Reform Society campaign group has found. The survey of almost 800 council representatives also found 65% believe residents should be more involved in decision-making while 70% of respondents said they wanted decisions to be made in partnership with national Government and implemented locally.

LGA under pressure over Russian pension investments

The MJ | 8 March 2022

The Local Government Association (LGA) has come under pressure to push for its pension fund to withdraw its Russian investments. LGA Liberal Democrats have written to the chairman and chief executive of the association after it emerged that the LGA’s pension – administered by the Merseyside Pension fund – has Russian investments.

Croydon, Nottingham and Slough set to balance books after eleventh hour support

Local Government Chronicle | 7 March 2022

Three councils battling huge deficits as a result of recent financial mismanagement look set to be able to set balanced budgets for 2022-23 after the government agreed to their requests for support.

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Contract Management

Procurement: PPN 01/22 – Contract with suppliers from Russia and Belarus

On 28 March 2022, the Cabinet Office published Procurement Policy Note “PPN 01/22- Contracts with suppliers from Russia and Belarus”(PPN).

The explicit aim of the PPN is to encourage public sector contracting bodies, where lawfully possible, to break contractual ties with Russian or Belarusian based entities in order to effect economic sanctions following the recent Russian military invasion of Ukraine. The PPN is aimed at both ‘In-Scope’ bodies (such as Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies, and Non-Departmental Public Bodies) who are required to implement the guidance with immediate effect, and other public sector contracting authorities who should consider its application.

It must be noted that the PPN is not currently applicable to public bodies for whom Section 17 of the Local Government Act 1988 applies. This is due to their obligation to exercise their functions without reference to non-commercial matters such as the location or country of origin of a supplier. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is currently considering amendment of this section via secondary legislation to provide an exception.

The PPN should be applied by In-Scope Organisations with immediate effect to both above and below threshold contracts, where it is “relevant and proportionate” to do so.

What immediate action must In-Scope organisations take?

In-Scope organisations must:

  • Review their contract portfolio and identify any contracts where the prime contractor is a Russian or Belarusian supplier (note that there is no requirement to ask prime contractors to consider terminating subcontracts with Russian/Belarusian sub-contractors at this stage). The focus should be on major contracts and those which could have the most impact and influence on the Russian or Belarusian regimes.
  • Such a supplier is defined in the PPN as:

    • an entity constituted or organised under the law of Russia or Belarus, or
    • an entity registered in the UK or with substantive business operations in the UK, or another country but controlled by an entity based in Russia or Belarus (e.g. a parent company or by ‘Persons of Significant Control’)

    Whilst the PPN does not set out what “control” means for these purposes, the PPN FAQ document refers to the usual corporate test for control as set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1A to the Companies Act 2006. Accordingly, if the situation falls within part b) of the definition, the public sector contractor will be required to undertake in-depth due diligence checks (for example via Companies House or directly with the supplier (which should normally have been capture as part of the selection stage)) to determine whether the extent of significant control hits the relevant 25% thresholds for shares or voting rights, or whether there are any rights to appoint or remove the majority of the entity’s board of directors.

  • Following identification of a relevant contract, the contracting authority must consider terminating that contract (following a legally compliant process, i.e. as per the terms of the contract).
  • Only terminate if an alternative supplier can be sourced in line with value for money, affordability and with minimal disruption to public services.
How should decisions to terminate be taken?

Decisions to terminate should be taken on a case by case basis. HM Treasury consent must first be obtained for any transactions which are novel, contentious or capable of causing repercussions elsewhere. 

Contracting authorities should conduct a risk assessment in the context of effecting contract termination. Factors such as timescales, cost and complexity of switching suppliers, substitution of suppliers without terminating the contract (e.g. via novation, or similar methods), early termination payments and penalties, and the potential knock-on effects on other non-terminable contracts must be considered.  

The PPN provides example methodologies for assessing potential impact. The first considers business criticality regarding a contract termination’s impact on UK services and any potential threat to life or public wellbeing. The second considers any financial implications stemming from termination payments and penalties, and whether these would be prohibitive or counter-productive.

Of particular note is the fact that the PPN stresses the importance of detailed record keeping to cover the reasoning behind any decisions made, and to provide an audit trail for future scrutiny. Accordingly, it is clear that the application of the PPN may cause a risk of litigation, and that the Cabinet Office wishes public authorities to pre-emptively establish their defences to future challenges from sanctioned suppliers.


At present, it is believed the main force of the PPN will apply to public bodies linked to the energy industry; particularly those dependent on oil and gas supply. However, this is likely to also apply heavily to bodies making use of secondary products such as plastics or other hydrocarbon derivatives. Accordingly, the effect of the PPN will likely be widespread as supply chain analysis grows to identify industries reliant on Russian or Belarusian extraction or processing of fossil fuels.

Due to the nature of the industries involved, and the stated intention of the PPN being to implement economic sanctions, this may create difficult choices for public sector entities when deciding whether or not to terminate contracts. The PPN FAQ provides the example of a new fixed three year energy contract with a confirmed price set below the current market price level. In this instance, termination would actually benefit the supplier in the long run as they may obtain both a contractual compensation for early termination, as well as the opportunity to sell their product to a new customer at a higher market price. Accordingly, where the best option would actually be to continue with an existing contract, public bodies need to be prepared to respond to criticism with a structured and persuasive rationale; particularly where such incidents may be subject to media scrutiny.

As a means of avoiding litigation risk, there has been consideration of councils and government entities requesting that the government implement a blanket ban on trading with certain Russian-controlled energy entities that are now based in the UK. This would aim to enable the exercise of force majeure clauses in certain contracts. However, can this be regarded as a true force majeure incident where the situation has been encouraged by the public body itself? Again, this may open up further grounds for litigation, and should be considered.

If you would like to discuss this topic in more detail, please contact Emily Heard.

Publications & Guidance  

Investigation into the management of PPE contracts

National Audit Office | 30 March 2022

This investigation examines the Department’s performance in managing PPE contracts. It provides greater transparency to Parliament and the public around what is being done by the Department when the PPE it bought cannot be used as planned. It includes analysis of:

  • the PPE purchased by the Department (Part One);
  • how the Department is managing the PPE that it has received (Part Two); and
  • contractual issues that have arisen and how the Department is dealing with these (Part Three).

Procurement Policy Note 01/22: contracts with suppliers from Russia and Belarus | Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office | 28 March 2022

This Procurement Policy Note (PPN) sets out how contracting authorities can further cut ties with companies backed by the states of Russia and Belarus. It applies to:

  • all central government departments
  • their executive agencies
  • non-departmental public bodies

Other public sector contracting authorise should consider applying the approach set out in this PPN.

Investigation into the government's contracts with Randox Laboratories Ltd

National Audit Office | 24 March 2022

To increase transparency and accountability, we have carried out a more detailed review of government contracts let to Randox between January 2020 and December 2021. The report focuses on the actions of the Department of Health & Social Care (the Department) in awarding and managing those contracts.  This report sets out:

  • a summary of the Department’s procurement process (Part One)
  • the procurement and performance of the Department’s first contract with Randox for COVID-19 testing services (Part Two), and
  • how the Department awarded subsequent contracts to Randox (Part Three).

Commission highlights "slow progress" on infrastructure plans to deliver levelling up and net zero goals

National Infrastructure Commission | 16 March 2022

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has published Infrastructure Progress Review 2022, which is its annual monitoring report covering the previous year. In the review, NIC warn that the government is at risk of failing to deliver the aims of its National Infrastructure Strategy unless it picks up the pace with detailed policy design and implementation, the UK’s official independent infrastructure adviser has warned.


Loss of profit and wasted expenditure (Soteria Insurance Ltd (formerly CIS General Insurance Ltd) v IBM)

[2022] EWCA Civ 440

The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, allowed the appeal against the Technology and Construction Courts decision that (notwithstanding that the respondent had wrongfully repudiated a contract for the supply of an IT system to the appellant) the appellants £122m claim for wasted expenditure had been excluded by a clause in the contract. On a number of grounds, including that the words ‘wasted expenditure’ were not included in the description of the types of losses excluded, the court held that the judge had wrongly construed the exclusion clause as precluding the appellant from recovering its wasted expenditure.

R (on the application of The Good Law Project Ltd) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care [2022] EWCA Civ 355

24 March 2022

The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, dismissed the Good Law Project’s appeal against the Technology and Construction Court’s decision to set aside its claim form, in relation to its claim for judicial review of the respondent secretary of state’s decision to award a contract for the supply of personal protective equipment to the interested party, in circumstances where the appellant had failed to serve the claim form to the designated electronic service address within the time limit prescribed under CPR 54.7.


External auditor raps council for failing to follow procurement processes when commissioning £30k capability review

Local Government Lawyer | 1 April 2022

The external auditor to North Norfolk District Council has sharply criticised the local authority’s failure to comply with its financial regulations in respect of the procurement of a capability review costing £30,000, with the provider appointed following a recommendation of a member of an incoming administration without formal tender process or additional quotes. The Council also breached its own financial regulations and probably its own procurement guidelines, having backdated a procurement exemption form.

Councils weigh up risks over Gazprom contracts

The MJ | 22 March 2022

Councils caught up in energy deals with state-owned Russian gas company Gazprom have been warned they are ‘caught between the proverbial rock and hard place’ when trying to escape agreements.

Council calls for support after appointing Gazprom replacement provider

Public Finance | 22 March 2022

London Borough Merton this week confirmed to PF that it re-tendered an energy contract extension with Gazprom that had been set to go live next month, and last week appointed Corona Energy as its new supplier.

Authorities seek new solution to ease Gazprom contract exits | Public Finance

Public Finance | 15 March 2022

A number of authorities are seeking to exit energy and gas contracts with Russian state-owned company Gazprom, following the nation’s invasion of Ukraine last month. However, Section 17 of the Local Government Act 1988 prevents councils from taking non-commercial issues into consideration when making procurement decisions. PF understands that, during a recent call with the government, councils raised the option of terminating Gazprom’s energy licence through regulator Ofgem, to help bypass this obstacle.

'Subsidising Russia': Six councils urged to end links to French energy firm

Local Government Chronicle | 18 March 2022

Six councils are under pressure to end their links with French energy supplier TotalEnergies, which is refusing to pull out of its operations in Russia.

Agile contracting in Government

Local Government Lawyer | 11 March 2022

Kay Chand and Aaron Singh examine the benefits and pitfalls of agile software contracting.

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Disputes & Regulatory Support

S117 Aftercare guidance – what does this mean for local authorities?

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman have jointly released guidance on Section 117 Aftercare. Section 117 Aftercare is a joint statutory duty which requires local authorities and NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to arrange aftercare services for individuals who have been detained in hospital for treatment under certain qualifying provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983 and then cease to be detained and leave hospital. “Aftercare services” means services which have both of the following purposes:

  • meeting a need arising from or related to the person’s mental disorder; and
  • reducing the risk of a deterioration of the person’s mental condition (and, accordingly, reducing the risk of the person requiring admission to a hospital again for treatment for mental disorder).

This guidance highlights both the importance of getting section 117 commissioning arrangements right, and areas where investigations have found that such arrangements have not worked well, thereby increasing the risk of hospital readmissions.

The main themes identified in the recent guidance note are:

  1. The importance of effective care planning and record keeping
  2. The importance of establishing which local authority and CCG hold the statutory duty for commissioning S117 Aftercare services for an individual
  3. The importance of understanding the extent of the duty around the provision of accommodation as a Section 117 need, and
  4. The importance of knowing when and how to go about ending Section 117 Aftercare.

The guidance also delivers a number of key messages, including that commissioners should have clear joint working arrangements around Section 117, which should include clearly defined roles about who will commission Section 117 services.

The statutory framework has not changed, but the complaints being made to the Ombudsmen suggest that some public bodies are struggling to effectively meet their joint statutory obligations at a time when there is increased pressure on resources and increased demand on services. The issues that tend to arise reflect the complexity of the legal framework and the way in which this has evolved over time; please contact Anna Davies or Olivia Carter should you have any related queries.

Publications & Guidance

Dispute Resolution in England and Wales: Call for Evidence

Ministry of Justice | 29 March 2022

This report summarises the responses to the call for evidence, including how it will influence the further development of policy in this area.


Average time for care or supervision cases to reach first disposal up six weeks in 2021, government data

Local Government Lawyer | 5 April 2022

The average time for a care or supervision case to reach first disposal throughout 2021 was 45 weeks, up 6 weeks from 2020, according to data published by the Ministry of Justice. The Family Court Statistics Quarterly: October to December 2021 revealed that the average time for the final three months of 2021 was higher still at 47 weeks, up 5 weeks from the same quarter in 2020.

National lottery operator launches legal challenge against Gambling Commission over decision to award next licence to rival bidder

Local Government Lawyer | 1 April 2022

Camelot, which has operated the National Lottery since its inception in 1994, has issued proceedings in the High Court against the Gambling Commission over its decision last month to name Allwyn Entertainment UK as its preferred applicant for the Fourth Licence.

High Court finds council in contempt of court over failure to comply with mandatory injunction on placement planning for autistic young man

Local Government Lawyer | 1 April 2022

A High Court judge has found Cardiff City Council in contempt of court over its failure to comply with a mandatory injunction in a case concerning future placement planning for a young man with a range of diagnoses including autistic spectrum disorder and severe communication and learning difficulties.

Court of Appeal allows appeal over placement order after judicial analysis "fell significantly short"

Local Government Lawyer | 31 March 2022

The Court of Appeal has overturned a decision to make a placement order for an 18-month-old boy after finding that the judicial analysis "fell significantly short". In B (A Child), Re (Adequacy of Reasons) [2022] EWCA Civ 407 (25 March 2022) the boy's parents had contended that the placement order should be set aside as Recorder Sanghera did not conduct an adequate analysis of the evidence and that the judge's welfare analysis was legally in error.

Tribunal rejects legal challenge over non-disclosure of Government submissions to Independent Review of Administrative Law

Local Government Lawyer | 31 March 2022

The First Tier Tribunal (FTT) has ruled that the Government is allowed to withhold from publication evidence submitted by ministers to the Independent Review of Administrative Law. In a case brought by the Public Law Project (PLP) the FTT concluded the public interest in maintaining the section 35(1)(a) exemption outweighed that in favour of disclosure.

Planning Court judge rejects out of time bid to challenge Community Infrastructure Levy liability

Local Government Lawyer | 31 March 2022

A challenge to an East Suffolk Council community infrastructure levy (CIL) liability notice was made so long outside the time allowed for judicial review that there was no reason to vary this, the High Court has ruled. Mrs Justice Lang said in Braithwaite & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v East Suffolk Council [2022] EWHC 691 (Admin) that the case brought by George Braithwaite and Melton Meadows Properties “has been made very late and without good reasons for the delay. In all the circumstances, an extension of time is not justified.”

Council defeats appeal over revocation of premises licence for breach of coronavirus regulations

Local Government Lawyer | 25 March 2022

Stockton Borough Council has successfully defended a decision of its licensing sub-committee to revoke the licence of a premises for contravention of coronavirus regulations. According to Teesside Live, Porky Pint in Billingham served customers in lockdown last January as part of “Great Reopening” protests.

High Court judge refuses asylum-seeker permission for age assessment challenge

Local Government Lawyer | 24 March 2022

An Iranian-born asylum seeker (GB) cannot challenge his age assessment by Leeds City Council, the High Court has decided.  Mr Justice Fordham said in GB, R (On the Application Of) v Leeds City Council [2022] EWHC 465 (Admin) that there was no factual case “taken at its highest which could properly succeed at a contested factual hearing”.

Local authority ordered to pay 85% of costs of wasted Court of Protection hearing

Local Government Lawyer | 22 March 2022

A local authority that was seeking to restrict a woman's access to social media has been ordered to pay 85% of the Official Solicitor's costs after the council was late in submitting assessments and a position statement. In A Local Authority v ST (Costs application) [2022] EWCOP 11 (14 March 2022), Judge Burrows found the council exhibited conduct that fell below a proper standard, was unreasonable in pursuing the social media restrictions, and had failed to comply with a judge's directions order.

High Court strikes out claim council unlawfully made asylum seeker street homeless

Local Government Lawyer | 17 March 2022

A High Court judge has struck out a claim against a local authority that it unlawfully made a failed asylum seeker street homeless for a week in the summer of 2017, on the basis that it was out of time. In Rafiq v Thurrock Borough Council [2022] EWHC 584 (QB) the claimant alleged that the local authority had violated his human rights and caused him physical and mental harm. He sought money compensation.

High Court dismisses challenge to decision by Education Secretary not to ban placements of 16 and 17 year olds in unregulated accommodation

Local Government Lawyer | 17 March 2022

In Article 39, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Education [2022] EWHC 589 (Admin), a High Court judge rejected a claim that the Secretary of State for Education irrationally discriminated against children in care aged 16 and 17 by making secondary legislation which only bans local authorities from placing children aged 15 and under in unregulated accommodation.

Mayor of Greater Manchester defeats High Court challenge over bus franchising and impact of pandemic

Local Government Lawyer | 11 March 2022

Two bus operators have lost a High Court challenge to the decision by Andy Burnham, elected mayor of Greater Manchester, to proceed with bus franchising. Mr Burnham has urged them to drop any further action but one firm wants to take the dispute to the Court of Appeal. Stagecoach and Rotala had objected to validity of Mr Burnham’s decision but in Greater Manchester Buses South Ltd v Greater Manchester Combined Authority & Anor [2022] EWHC 506 (Admin) Mr Justice Julian Knowles said this had been reasonable despite the disruption caused to the process involved by the pandemic.

Neighbourhood plans and draft Local Plan allocation

Local Government Lawyer | 4 March 2022

In Thurston Parish Council v Mid Suffolk District Council [2022] EWHC 352 (Admin, the parish council recently won an important victory over whether a neighbourhood plan prevails over draft Local Plan allocation. Meyric Lewis and Kate Olley examine the ruling.

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