LA Spotlight

It has been another busy month in an already busy year for local government.  Two key developments for day-to-day operation across a range of local authority services include Royal Assent being granted to the Subsidy Control Act 2022 and the publication of the new Public Procurement Bill (see our article in this LA View).  However, in this Spotlight we are returning to the topic of levelling-up.

Following the Queen’s Speech on the 10 May 2022, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill was published. The Bill covers a lot of ground to create a framework for levelling up the UK including:

  • a legal duty on Government to set and report on a number of levelling up missions; 
  • creating a new devolution structure and processes for changing existing arrangements for local government; and
  • changes to planning law.

Generally the Bill builds on the previous white paper without making major policy change.  However, there was one surprise in store for authorities buried in the Bill (see clause 71).  New proposed changes to the capital finance regime in the Local Government Act 2003 could see the Secretary of State able to issue risk mitigation directions that would limit borrowing by authorities and require authorities to take specific action including the sale of assets.  Given the concern expressed in recent years by Government on the level of local authority borrowing and some of the financial difficulties encountered by authorities recently, the Government giving itself further powers is perhaps not completely unexpected.  This is definitely an area to watch especially as the Local Government Association engages with Government on it.

This is still very much the beginning of the legislative framework for levelling up and we await with interest seeing how the Bill develops through the Parliamentary process.  Authorities are strongly advised to look out for and take advantage of Government stakeholder engagement on the Bill.

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Net Zero

Energy Security Bill unveiled

On Tuesday 10 May, an Energy Security Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech to support the country’s efforts to ensure “cheaper, cleaner and secure” energy.

The Energy Security Bill will build on the recent British Energy Security Strategy and will aim to deliver on the government’s commitment to build a sustainable home-grown energy system that is more secure, clean, and affordable.

Some of the main elements of the Bill will be:

  • enabling the extension of the energy price cap beyond 2023
  • appointing Ofgem as the new regulator for heat networks
  • introducing business models for Carbon Capture Usage and Storage
  • giving the Government the power to give directions to, require information from, and provide financial assistance to core fuel sector businesses to ensure resilience and continuity of fuel supply
  • supporting industry to step up investment in growing the consumer market for electric heat pumps by providing a new market standard and trading scheme.

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


Emissions Performance Standard (Amendment) Regulations 2022, SI 2022/467

Amendments are made to the Emissions Performance Standard Regulations 2015, SI 2015/933 in England. These Regulations come into force on 17 May 2022.

Publications & Guidance

Financing Green Ambitions

Local Government Association | 1 May 2022

The LGA and Local Partnerships have produced this green finance guide to provide both practical guidance and examples of good practice to support councils in England to find the most appropriate and affordable ways to finance their green ambition.

Smoke control area enforcement: local authorities in England

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 1 May 2022

This guide covers the rules thatlocal authorities should apply in smoke control areas under the Environment Act 2021. and what enforcement action can be used  if a local authority considers a smoke emission to be substantial.

Imports of energy from Russia

House of Commons Library | 22 April 2022

Imports of Russian gas made up 4% of UK supply in 2021. Oil and coal were higher at 9% and 22%. How have these imports changed in early 2022?

Heat networks and energy prices

House of Commons Library | 19 April 2022

Heat networks customers have reported price rises of up to 700% since late 2021. Heat networks are not currently regulated, and most customers are not covered by the energy price cap. This briefing looks at existing and proposed regulation, and support for constituents struggling with bills.

Hydrogen investor roadmap: leading the way to net zero

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 8 April 2022

This roadmap summarises the government policies designed to support the development of a thriving UK low-carbon hydrogen economy.

AR6 Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change

IPCC | 4 April 2022

The Working Group III report provides an updated global assessment of climate change mitigation progress and pledges, and examines the sources of global emissions. It explains developments in emission reduction and mitigation efforts, assessing the impact of national climate pledges in relation to long-term emissions goals.


BEIS in the 2022 Queen's Speech - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The speech set out the government’s legislative agenda for this parliamentary session and affirmed the government’s commitment to focus on the priorities of the British public and how the government is growing the economy to address the cost of living. This includes building a sustainable homegrown energy system, strengthening consumer rights, tackling illicit finance, reducing economic crime and helping businesses grow.

The Queen’s Speech includes key measures that will deliver on the promises the government made at the start of this Parliament, and BEIS will be at the forefront of delivering.

LGPS pool launches £1bn sustainable investment fund

Public Finance | 4 May 2022

A Local Government Pension Scheme pool hopes its new sustainable investment fund will help protect its portfolio from climate change risk.

£200m falls short of saving Johnson's zero emission target

Local Gov | 4 May 2022

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to fail in his pledge to deliver 4,000 zero emission buses to England's roads, despite the Department for Transport having another £200m to spend. The DfT confirmed that there remains more than £200m of dedicated funding for zero emission buses over the Spending Review period (i.e. up to and including 2024-25), but would not give any details on how the cash will be used.

How can councils address the rising cost of energy?

The MJ | 3 May 2022

Prices of day-to-day essentials such as food and fuel are climbing, inflation is at dizzying heights and there is an overall cost-of-living crisis going on in the UK. Life is getting more expensive, a worrying premise for millions of families across the country.

Enfield Council: Council housing heat pumps

Local Government Association | 29 April 2022

Enfield Council have worked in collaboration with Kensa Contracting and Engie to deliver England’s largest shared ground loop array heat pump programme replacing electric heating, all in under one year and whilst the flats remained inhabited. The project serves 400 flats in eight tower blocks in Enfield was named District Heating Project of The Year at the 25th annual H&V News Awards in 2019.

97% of UK addresses breach at least one WHO limit for air pollution

AirQualityNews | 29 April 2022

Analysis by the Central Office of Public Interest (COPI) reveals nearly 3 in 4 UK addresses breach the World Health Organization (WHO) limits of three air pollutants, while almost all UK homes breach at least one WHO limit for toxic air.

Committee calls on government to bring forward air quality target

AirQualityNews | 28 April 2022

The Chair of the House of Commons Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Neil Parish MP, has written to the Secretary of State about air quality standards, calling on the government to reach its air quality target sooner than currently planned.

Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme, Phase 2: funding allocated to Local Net Zero Hubs

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 25 April 2022

£500m funding is being allocated to local authorities through the Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme, to improve the energy efficiency of homes of low-income households, helping reduce fuel poverty, phasing out high carbon fossil fuel heating, and delivering progress towards the UK’s commitment to net zero by 2050.

Mandatory digital waste tracking

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 25 April 2022

DEFRA plan to introduce mandatory digital waste tracking across the UK, as they committed to in the Resources and Waste Strategy for England. This paper outlines DEFRA’s visions and mission, as well as the key strategies the service will contribute to. It also looks at the benefits of the change, how the service is being developed, and the expected delivery timelines.

HM Treasury launches UK Transition Plan Taskforce

HM Treasury | 25 April 2022

On 25 April 2022, HM Treasury launched the independent UK Transition Plan Taskforce (TPT) aims to develop a gold standard for climate transition plans (also known as net zero transition plans) that selected financial institutions and listed companies will be expected to publish in 2023. The TPT has a two-year mandate and brings together leaders from industry, academia and the regulators. The UK Centre for Greening Finance and Investment (CGFI) and E3G are providing its secretariat. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is formally involved. 

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea: Local Listed Building Consent Order

Local Government Association | 22 April 2022

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) is the first council in the country to introduce a new listed building consent order, giving permission for solar panels on most Grade II and Grade II* listed buildings, without the need for individual listed building consent. Previously, residents of listed buildings had to obtain individual consent to install solar panels on their property. This was difficult and time consuming, which put many residents off.

Council supply chains responsible for 10% of UK emissions

Local Gov | 22 April 2022

The new data released by Oxygen Finance has found that typically 96% of carbon emissions from local councils comes from their supply chain, with only 2% coming from the council's own operations, and another 2% from indirect emissions from purchased energy.

Getting the most out of carbon literacy training

The MJ | 20 April 2022

Hazel Graham and Cara Jenkinson explain how councils can deliver informative, inspiring and well targeted carbon literacy training on a limited budget.

Options for funding the retrofitting social housing  

Public Finance | 20 April 2022

The case for retrofitting social housing stock to reduce carbon emissions and make it more energy efficient is clear if the UK is to achieve net zero by 2050. Domestic energy use makes up a fifth of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of the homes we will be using in 2050 have already been built.

Lack of political support for onshore wind could add £125 to household energy bills

edie | 20 April 2022

Research from the ECIU has found that a repeat of the current gas crisis – which has pushed energy bills up in the UK – could be alleviated if the UK were to back the onshore wind sector. Currently, the UK has 14GW of onshore wind capacity, which is expected to rise to 20GW once projects under construction become operational. However, the ECIU warns that this would not be enough to limit energy costs for households.

Inspiring local councils to take further action on net zero

Local Gov | 13 April 2022

Most local authorities have declared a climate emergency and an estimated 85% have formulated climate action plans. ‘Decarbonisation’ is the buzzword of the moment. In reality, however, the journey to net zero is a mixed picture. As a recent report by the climate charities Friends of the Earth and Ashden put it ‘the quality and scale of ambition still varies greatly.’

UK's energy security strategy is missed opportunity 

The MJ | 12 April 2022

In an attempt to urgently puzzle out how to tackle an energy price crisis, the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the stark ‘now or never’ IPCC report on climate change, the UK government issued its new Energy Security Strategy.

Over 314,000 homes better protected due to flood protection work

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 12 April 2022

A £2.6bn, six-year programme of work dedicated to improving flood and coastal defences has exceeded its original targets by 14,000 – with over 314,000 homes now better protected from flooding since 2015. More than 850 new flood and coastal erosion defence projects have been completed during this period.

Government announces new crackdown on fly-tipping

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 11 April 2022

Households will no longer have to pay to get rid of DIY waste under plans set out by government to change the rules that currently allows some Local Authorities to charge for DIY waste from households. Under the proposals, household DIYers would not be charged to get rid of waste including plasterboards, bricks and bath units.

The energy crisis: what can councils do to protect their communities?

The MJ | 8 April 2022

Whether you’re watching the news or the numbers on your meter tick up, the impact of rising energy costs are impossible to ignore.  As ever, it’s the people with the fewest resources who feel the worst effects, and the crisis is growing: research from Citizens Advice found that five million people will be unable to afford their energy bills after April’s price rise, with 14.5m likely to be unable to pay when the price cap rises again in October.

Lancaster City Council: Housing Retrofit Action Learning Set

Local Government Association | 8 April 2022

Looking to retrofit housing stock, engage with residents to explain the benefits and encourage more local contractors to bid for tenders.

South Somerset District Council: Retrofit in Rural Somerset and the Action Learning Sets

Local Government Association | 8 April 2022

Embarking on retrofitting council properties and supporting the community to retrofit their homes to save money, carbon and increase comfort and wellbeing.

Worcestershire County Council: Potential conflicts between net zero and fuel poverty

Local Government Association | 8 April 2022

The challenge to meet net zero ambitions relies on a shift towards electrically heated properties. A key issue is how to bring fuel poor households along on this journey to net zero without making heating their homes even less affordable for them.

LGPS pool launches £4bn programme with focus on climate

Public Finance | 8 April 2022

A Local Government Pension Scheme pool that handles assets for 11 local government pension schemes has launched a second series of its private markets programme, including a distinct climate-related offering. Border to Coast Pensions Partnership announced the £4bn of commitments, involving partner funds Bedfordshire, Cumbria, Durham, East Riding, North Yorkshire, Surrey, South Yorkshire, Teesside, Tyne & Wear and Warwickshire, this week.

Ombudsman makes first referral to Parliament in eight years over Environment Agency failure to implement recommendations  

Local Government Lawyer | 7 April 2022

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has taken the rare step of referring a report to Parliament after a seven-year dispute in which Ombudsman Rob Behrens said the Environment Agency had failed to follow his recommendations.

Dorset Council: Low Carbon Dorset – Helping Dorset’s businesses, community groups and public sector reduce their carbon footprints

Local Government Association | 7 April 2022

Low Carbon Dorset is a five-year programme of activities led by the Dorset Council to help reduce carbon emissions in Dorset. The programme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), focuses on supporting businesses, community groups and public-sector organisations to reduce their carbon footprints through improving energy efficiency, increasing the production of renewable energy, and aiding the development of new low carbon products. 

Cheaper and better buses in £7bn package to level up transport outside London

Department for Transport | 7 April 2022

Funding for major local transport schemes across the UK will speed up journeys and make services more reliable and greener.

Government invests in innovation with £30m for cutting-edge highway decarbonisation projects

Department for Transport | 7 April 2022

Funding will support pioneering projects to decarbonise local highways infrastructure across the UK.

Reform would help more councils achieve their ambitious targets and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels

The MJ | 6 April 2022

Stroud District Council are one of many councils taking legal advice about extricating themselves from the remaining few months of their energy contract with the UK arm of Gazprom. Six weeks ago this represented value for money, but now is politically and morally unacceptable in the face of the invasion of Ukraine.

Councils ask for powers to fine unlicensed skips

MRW | 5 April 2022

Councils are seeking powers to impose fixed penalty fines on those who park unauthorised skips on roads. These powers are for historic reasons available to London boroughs but not elsewhere in England.

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Delivering Value

What does the Health and Care Act mean for your local authority?

The Health and Care Bill has now received royal assent and comes into force on 1 July 2022 as the Health and Care Act 2002. Where does this leave local authorities grappling with the implications of putting in place appropriate governance arrangements with their NHS partners?

Whilst the proposals for health and social care outlined in the government’s Health White Paper acknowledge the importance of local government, the extent to which local authorities are to be given a meaningful seat at the table will depend on the scope of local arrangements.

There are still a number of gaps which forthcoming regulations should in theory seek to address. In the meantime, the timeline leading to 1 July 2022 is fast approaching and a number of local authorities are considering the merits of having interim or transitional arrangements whilst the remaining details become apparent.

New statutory Integrated Care Systems and Integrated Care Partnerships

The statutory Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) will bring together NHS, primary care, local government and other stakeholders. This will replace the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) introduced in 2012.

The ICSs will be comprised of an ICS Health and Care Partnership (ICP), which will bring together systems to support integration and develop a plan to address health, public health and social care needs and the ICS NHS Body, which will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the ICS. Local authorities should already be engaged in the development of the ICP joint committees.

Concept of Place

A key interface for local authorities will be through the ICSs promoting system-working at ‘place’ level. We are working with a number of authorities in developing the local governance arrangements at place level from the myriad of options available. The Act provides scope for the formation of new forms of governance, most prominent being the new Section 65Z5 joint and delegated arrangements, however, regulations setting out the scope of the same will require due consideration.

The Act provides for the formation of new joint committees between local authorities and ICB, however, there are restrictions on direct delegation by local authorities to these committees. There will be a need to review the detail of the pending regulations.

Please do get in touch if you’d like to touch the implications of the Health and Care Act 2022 for local authorities Kirtpal Kaur Aujla.


Health and Care Bill granted Royal Assent in milestone for healthcare recovery and reform

Department of Health and Social Care | 28 April 2022

The Health and Care Bill has today received Royal Assent by Her Majesty The Queen, enacting the most significant health legislation in a decade into law.

Publications & Guidance

New report highlights county authorities' innovative work in public health

County Councils Network | 4 May 2022

A new report released today from the County Councils Network (CCN) showcases how county authorities stepped up to the national effort during the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as the innovative public health initiatives they are rolling out locally to improve the health and wellbeing of their residents.

The Standards for Employers of Social Workers: National report summary 2021

Local Government Association | 4 May 2022

The Employer Standards for Social Workers in England set out whole system approaches to help develop a working environment where social work practice and social workers can flourish.

Neighbourhood services under strain

The Institute for Government | 29 April 2022

This report analyses how local authority spending and the quality and accessibility of local services changed during the 2010s. It finds that the most deprived areas received the biggest grant cuts, resulting in bigger reductions in bus mileage, more library closures and smaller increases in recycling rates. It argues that the government lacks a good picture of what is happening in two thirds of neighbourhood services and should collect better data to understand how and why local authority performance varies.

Proposed reforms to adult social care (including cap on care costs)

House of Commons Library | 27 April 2022

This briefing provides information on the Government's proposals for adult social care reform, including the cap on care costs.

‘Lack of collective knowledge’ on needs of children in care

Ofsted | 13 April 2022

There is a ‘lack of collective knowledge’ around the needs of children in care, according to a study by Ofsted, published today. The report ‘Why do children go into children’s homes?’ draws on responses to surveys and discussions between inspectors and children placed in children’s homes, staff and others to provide insights into the diverse and complex needs of children who go into children’s homes, and the life experiences that led to them living there.

Review of local government finance statistics

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 11 April 2022

An overview of findings and recommendations from a comprehensive review of the local authority expenditure and borrowing statistics published by DLUHC.

Social care charging for local authorities: Homes for Ukraine scheme

Department of Health and Social Care | 11 April 2022

This document advises local authorities of the social care charging arrangements for the Homes for Ukraine scheme. It outlines that sponsors should be considered to be volunteers engaged in a voluntary activity as a host, when carrying out financial assessments in relation to adult social care.

Combined authorities: Financial freedoms and fiscal devolution

Local Government Association | 8 April 2022

This report assesses how freely English combined authorities are able to raise and spend funding. These ‘financial freedoms’ were researched in late 2021/early 2022, updating research conducted at the beginning of 2018 (the report describing the research is available on the Local Government Association’s website).

Ombudsmen release joint guidance to tackle common mistakes in aftercare of mental health in-patients 

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman | 8 April 2022

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) have released new guidance to tackle common and repeated mistakes seen in the aftercare of patients receiving support under the Mental Health Act. PHSO and LGSCO work together on complaints that involve both health and social care bodies. The guidance brings together common themes seen in their joint investigation work. 


New poll: Only 14% trust Government to solve cost of living crisis

New Local | 8 May 2022

Two thirds of people do not have confidence in national politicians to address the mounting cost of living crisis, with 68% arguing more power should be given to local communities to tackle the issue themselves.

Children ‘bounced around’ care system

The MJ | 6 May 2022

Children in care are unable to form lasting relationships as they are being ‘bounced around’ the system, a report published today has found. The research by the charity Barnardo’s has found young people are facing frequent changes of home, school and social workers.

Authorities learn their council tax rebate funding level

Local Government Chronicle | 5 May 2022

The government has revealed the amount of money every billing authority will get to help it deliver the £150 council tax rebate. The Department of Levelling Up, Housing & Communities has written to all authorities to announce the £28m of grants, which range from £14,557 for City of London Corporation to £525,034 for Birmingham City Council.

Refugee funding to depend on data returns

The MJ | 5 May 2022

The Government will not provide funding to councils to support refugees arriving under the Homes for Ukraine scheme if they fail to supply timely data. A letter to council chief executives said the funding of £10,500 for each refugee was subject to conditions, including data returns on the number of beneficiaries and when checks have been carried out.

MPs voice ‘concerns’ over lack of funding for Ukrainian refugees

The MJ | 4 May 2022

MPs have joined local authority leaders in calling on the Government to provide councils with extra funding to support Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK via the family visa scheme.

Councils need support to protect refugees from exploitation, say experts

The MJ | 29 April 2022

A new report has called on the Government to take ‘urgent measures’ to support hosts, local authorities and businesses in their response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis in order to tackle exploitation.

Inflation to ‘make or break’ council budgets

The MJ | 29 April 2022

Councils are facing soaring costs to re-procure outsourced services as new financial pressures begin to bite. Suppliers are hiking prices, leading to warnings that inflation will ‘make or break’ council budgets this year.

Send funding crisis sees 43,000 children educated out of area

Local Government Chronicle | 29 April 2022

Tens of thousands of children with special educational needs are being sent to school outside of their home area because of a nationwide funding crisis - including more than 100 travelling 200-plus miles away. Numerous councils are being hit by the financial squeeze and pressure is growing to cut costs - threatening vulnerable children's access to vital support.

Inflation 'double whammy' for public sector

Public Finance | 28 April 2022

Public bodies could face pressure from growing direct costs alongside impacts from inflated prices for third party suppliers, according to the Office for National Statistics. The government set departmental budgets for 2022-23 in October 2021 with an expectation that inflation would peak at 4.4%.

Local authority resources surplus falls

Public Finance | 26 April 2022

Councils received £700m more than they spent last year, down 90% on the 2021-22 surplus, while the overall public sector deficit fell by more than a half. The gap in local government income and spending fell by £6.4bn from the £7.1bn surplus in 2020-21, according to end-of-year net borrowing statistics published by the ONS today.

Councils 'under huge pressure' to meet social care fair funding deadline

Local Government Chronicle | 26 April 2022

Local authorities will struggle to meet a government deadline to submit evidence about social care fair funding to Whitehall, senior figures in the sector have warned MPs. Sarah Pickup, deputy chief executive of the Local Government Association, was among those raising concerns while giving evidence to the Commons levelling up, housing & communities committee's inquiry into the long-term funding of adult social care.

Experts criticise lack of clarity in social care funding

Public Finance | 26 April 2022

Local authorities will receive £5.4bn from the Health and Social Care levy up to 2024-25, but it is unclear how the government will allocate £1.7bn of that pot which is currently unallocated, Adrian Jenkins Director at advisors Pixel Financial Management said.

Councils ‘cannot afford’ government’s waste disposal shake-up

Public Finance | 12 April 2022

The local authority sector has warned that government plans to ban charges for disposing of DIY waste from households threaten to pressure council finances further “beyond breaking point”.

LEP growth hubs face difficult decisions after funding halved

Public Finance | 7 April 2022

The government's has slashed Local Enterprise Partnerships' growth hub funding by half this year, a move which could lead to redundancies and cutting of business support services, according to experts.

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Place & Growth

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – Vacant High Street Premises

Part 8 of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill gives local authorities powers to force landlords to rent out vacant premises in designated high streets or town centres in England. In order for an area to be designated it must be important to the local economy because of the concentration of high street uses (including shops, offices, restaurants, bars, cafes and light industrial) and a property will qualify as vacant if it has been unoccupied for a year or for at least 366 days in the last two years. If these conditions are met, the local authority will be able to intervene if it considers occupation would be beneficial to the local economy, society or environment.  

Before a local authority can conduct a rental auction, the Bill sets out a two-stage notice procedure with a landlord's right of appeal. Future regulations will provide more detail about the auction process and identification of the successful bidder. Local authorities will be able to enter into a contract with the bidder as if they were the landlord to grant a tenancy for between one and five years and the contract can include provisions for works on behalf of the landlord or the tenant. The landlord will not be involved in the negotiation process but the local authority must have regard to the landlord’s representations.

There is tension between those who are hoping this will breathe new life into town centres and landlords who are concerned this gives too much power to local government and pays no regard to the fact that properties are vacant due to lack of demand. It will be very interesting to see whether the balance of power shifts during the Bill’s passage through Parliament.


Building Safety Act 2022

The Act makes provision about the safety of people in or about buildings and the standard of buildings, to amend the Architects Act 1997, and to amend provision about complaints made to a housing ombudsman. The Building Safety Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022.

Publications & Guidance

Business rates revaluation 2023: the central rating list

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 6 May 2022

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has published the summary of responses and the government response to the consultation on the changes to the central rating list for the 2023 business rates revaluation.

The future of rail

House of Commons Library | 27 April 2022

This briefing provides an overview of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, the Government's White Paper on rail reform, and some of the key challenges ahead for the railway in Great Britain, along with an explanation of the arrangements the Government has put in place to ensure services continued to run during the Covid-19 pandemic. This briefing also provides an overview of the current system and how the railway in Great Britain has been structured over the last 30 years.

Rough sleeping (England)

House of Commons Library | 23 April 2022

This paper provides information on the number of rough sleepers in England and policies aimed at meeting the Government’s target of ending rough sleeping by 2024.

Building Safety Bill: Lords amendments

House of Commons Library | 14 April 2022

This briefing paper covers amendments to the Building Safety Bill made in Grand Committee, on report and at third reading in the House of Lords.

UK Shared Prosperity Fund: prospectus

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 13 April 2022

This page provides further information to local authorities and other partners across the United Kingdom on:

  • the aims of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund
  • its contribution to our shared objectives
  • the delivery roles of the UK government and local partners across the UK.

Shopping for health: putting health assets into the heart of local communities 

Local Government Association | 11 April 2022

Councils have already been working hard to repurpose their town centres and respond to longer-term trends in how our high streets are used. They recognise that the pace of change and intervention will need to quicken as a result of the COVID pandemic.


Quarter of most deprived authorities ‘miss out’ on ‘levelling up’ funding

Public Finance | 9 May 2022

More than a quarter of the most deprived authorities in England had bids rejected for funding from the government’s Levelling Up Fund, according to reports. In October, the government allocated £1.7bn in the first round of the Levelling Up Fund, which aims to reduce regional inequalities across the UK.

Over 18,000 affordable houses lost in office-to-residential conversions

Local Government Association | 9 May 2022

The LGA, which represents 350 councils in England and Wales, said that permitted development rights should be removed to ensure all conversions and new developments contribute to the delivery of desperately needed affordable homes across the country.

Embrace the summer spirit with permanent outdoor seating regime that works for everyone, says councils

Local Government Association | 7 May 2022

Local cafés, bars, pubs and restaurants should be allowed to continue hosting patrons outside on pavements with the introduction of a permanent but locally led pavement licensing regime, councils say ahead of the Queen’s Speech.

Councils 'need clarity' over business rate funding change

Public Finance | 6 May 2022

Councils have called for clarity over proposed compensation levels after the government announced it will press ahead with plans to remove large telecom companies and railway services from local authority business rates billing lists.

One in six private renters live in poor conditions

Local Gov | 6 May 2022

More than one in six private renters in England – equivalent to two million people – were forced to accept poor conditions to find somewhere they could rent, housing charity says. Shelter’s YouGov poll reveals millions of private renters have endured dangerous conditions in their current home, such as mould (42%), broken boilers (31%), pests (14%) and electrical hazards (11%), within the last year.

England’s poorest areas hardest hit by austerity  

The MJ | 3 May 2022

Residents living in England’s most deprived areas were hit hardest by the largest local authority spending cuts during a decade of austerity, a think-tank has found. A new report from the Institute for Government (IfG) revealed how grant cuts and the rising demand for social care shrunk the scope of local government in England.

Government looks set to expand right-to-buy 

Local Government Chronicle | 3 May 2022

The government is looking set to expand the right-to-buy scheme to give tenants of housing associations the right to purchase their homes. Reports by The Telegraph said the prime minister, Boris Johnson, had told officials to look into plans to make it an option for more people.

Up to 100,000 new homes delayed by nutrient neutrality regs

Local Government Chronicle | 3 May 2022

The government’s promise to build 300,000 homes per year could be placed in jeopardy by new regulations put in place by Natural England. A report by The Times said that as many as 100,000 homes have been delayed due to new ‘nutrient neutrality’ regulations.

Investment in countryside could add over £40bn to economy

Local Gov | 27 April 2022

Policies focused on improving the economic and social potential of the countryside could add £43bn to the UK economy, report finds. The All Party Parliamentary Group on The Rural Powerhouse has published a blueprint for economic growth in the countryside.

Future homebuyers to be freed from expensive ground rent bills on 30 June

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

Future homebuyers will see their prospective property bills reduce in just over two months, when the government’s ban on charging ground rent on new leases in England and Wales comes into force.

Gove calls for more social housing

The MJ | 22 April 2022

Housing secretary Michael Gove has pledged to ‘tilt’ Government funding to build more homes for social rent.

Britain moves closer to a self-driving revolution

Department for Transport | 20 April 2022

Changes to The Highway Code will help ensure the first wave of self-driving vehicles are used safely on UK roads.

Gove to axe section 106 and bring in infrastructure levy

Local Government Chronicle | 19 April 2022

The government is to introduce an infrastructure levy aimed at helping councils to build more affordable housing. According to The Sunday Telegraph and confirmed to the LGC by a source, levelling up secretary Michael Gove is looking to axe section 106 of the Planning Act 1990.

Manufacturers call for more local control of levelling up funds

Local Gov | 19 April 2022

Nearly a quarter of manufacturers say that regional mayors and local councillors should be given more responsibility for driving the levelling up agenda. A new report Levelling up: Bridging the gap between policy and progress, published by Make UK, reveals a significant number of manufacturers (30%) are not convinced levelling up has delivered any tangible benefit to their business.

All regions told to take asylum seekers

The MJ | 14 April 2022

All regions of England, Scotland and Wales will be expected to take a share of asylum seekers under a new system of ‘full dispersal,’ the Government has told councils. The Home Office hopes the move will allow it to reduce the number of asylum seekers – thought to be more than 25,000 - currently living in the likes of hotels by moving them to ‘less expensive and more suitable dispersed accommodation’.

Ombudsman launches call for evidence on noise complaints

Housing Ombudsman | 13 April 2022

We have launched a call for evidence to support our next systemic investigation which will look at noise complaints. The investigation will explore how social landlords manage reports of noise nuisance and what drives complaints about how those are handled. It will enable the Ombudsman to make recommendations and share best practice across the sector – helping landlords to develop their services and improve the experience of residents.

Councils pay out £12m in pothole compensation

Local Gov | 13 April 2022

Councils and road authorities paid out more than £12m in compensation to motorists whose cars were damaged by potholes between 2018 and 2021, new research reveals.

Communities across UK handed control of £2.6bn levelling up funding

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 13 April 2022

Communities across the United Kingdom will benefit from £2.6bn of funding being allocated today to help spread opportunity and level up the country. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will see places that need it most draw up plans this year to deliver on their local priorities, based on a conditional allocation of funding over the next three years. 

Levelling up ‘dead on arrival’ without cost-of-living help

Public Finance | 13 April 2022

The government will fail in its ambitions to ‘level up’ left-behind areas of the country if it does not introduce measures to address the spiralling cost of living, a think-tank has said. The Centre for Progressive Policy said better support could come in the form of increasing universal credit payments to cover the April rise in the energy price cap.

Consultation launched on replacing the outdated Vagrancy Act

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

The government is set to repeal the Vagrancy Act as part of plans to end rough sleeping for good.

Call for evidence launched to understand people’s experiences of extremism and its impact on social cohesion

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

Victims and communities are being urged to share their experiences as part of a major independent review into the impacts of extremism. Dame Sara Khan, the government’s Independent Adviser for Social Cohesion and Resilience, today (7 April 2022) launched an eight week call for evidence that will help examine the impact, harm, and response to extremism at a local level.

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Governance & Reorganisation

Sexual offences to be formally included as disqualification criteria for local authority members…

The Local Government (Disqualification) Bill was granted Royal Assent on 28 April 2022, meaning that the Local Government (Disqualification) Act, will come into force in two months on 28 June 2022. 

The Legislation updates the disqualification criteria for local authority members (Councillors, Mayors of combined authorities, the Mayor of London and London Assembly Members) to disqualify individuals who are subject to relevant notification requirements or orders due to sexual offences from standing for or remaining in office.


The current disqualification criteria for Councillors, directly elected Mayors, and London Assembly members are set out in the following legislation: The Local Government Act 1972, The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009, and The Greater London Authority Act 1999. They do not refer to sexual offences as disqualification criteria.

In 2017, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, now Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities, consulted on proposals to update the disqualification criteria for councillors and mayors.

The Government published its response to the consultation in 2018. The Ministerial Foreword stated that the purpose of the proposals was to “update the disqualification criteria for councillors and Mayors to bring it into line with both modern sentencing practice and the values and high standards of behaviours the electorate have a right to expect of the elected members that represent them.”

The Legislation

The Legislation extends to England and Wales but has effect in England only. As a result, councils in England will have the power to prevent individuals from standing as a councillor or Mayor at the point they trigger the revised disqualification criteria.

Its provisions include disqualifying a person who is subject to “any relevant notification requirements” or “a relevant order” (defined at Sections 2 and 3 of the legislation) and depending on the status of the relevant order or notification (to include time periods for appeal), from being elected or being a member of a local authority or the mayor for the area of a combined authority in England.

An individual can become subject to notification requirements by committing certain criminal acts or being issued with certain types of civil orders:

  • Being subject to sex offender notification requirements is an automatic consequence of being cautioned or convicted of sexual offences listed in Schedule 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.
  • Sexual Harm Prevention Orders are civil orders intended to protect the public from offenders convicted of sexual or violent offences and result in notification requirements.
  • Notification Orders are civil orders intended to protect the public in the UK from the risks posed by sex offenders who have been convicted, cautioned, warned or reprimanded for sexual offences committed overseas. Notification Orders result in notification requirements.


In terms of organisational reactions to the Legislation, the Local Government Association (LGA) have supported its objective, to ensure the highest standards of integrity and conduct in public life and agree that individuals convicted of sexual offences should be disqualified from running for public office or retaining their seat if already elected.

However, they have expressed their concerns that the proposals will not include Police and Crime Commissioners and Members of the House of Commons and House of Lords. They have urged the Government to bring forward separate legislation to include Members of Parliament and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).” and warned that “The Bill would create further discrepancies in the disqualification and standards regime that applies to local and national politicians.”

The Government has not provided details of any bill which will follow to include Members of Parliament or PCCs, and we imagine that additional reactions to the Legislation will be incoming.


Greater protections for voters as government’s Elections Bill achieves Royal Assent

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 28 April 2022

Voters across the UK will benefit from greater protection against election fraud, more support for disabled people at the polling booth, and measures to prevent intimidation at the ballot box. The Act received royal assent on 28 April 2022.

Publications & Guidance

Directly-elected mayors

House of Commons Library | 9 May 2022

This briefing paper explains the status of directly-elected mayors in English and Welsh local government, and the routes to establishing them, including the use of local referendums. It also includes an up-to-date list of elected mayors and statistics on previous referendums.

Queen's Speech 2022

House of Commons Library | 5 May 2022

This Library briefing identifies issues and bills that may appear in the Queen's Speech on 10 May 2022 or require legislation in the forthcoming parliamentary session.

Voter ID

House of Commons Library | 4 May 2022

The Elections Act 2022 will introduce the requirement to show photo ID at UK Parliamentary elections, police and crime commissioner elections and at local elections in England. This briefing looks at the background to voter ID in the UK.

Who can vote in UK elections?

House of Commons Library | 4 May 2022

This briefing summarises the voting rights for different types of elections in the UK.

Elections Bill 2021-22: Progress of the Bill

House of Commons Library | 4 May 2022

The Elections Bill 2021-22 was introduced in July 2021 to fulfil Conservative Party manifesto commitments to “protect the integrity of the UK’s democracy”. It has now completed all its stages and received Royal Assent. This briefing summarises the Parliamentary stages of the Bill up to Royal Assent.

Overseas voters

House of Commons Library | 28 April 2022

This Briefing Paper provides information on the eligibility to vote in UK Parliamentary elections for British citizens living overseas and the government's plans to end the 15-year rule - it's 'votes for life' policy.

Letter from Lord True about the Elections Bill

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

Lord True, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office has responded to a letter from Lord Evans, Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life about the Elections Bill.

Parliamentary boundary reviews: public consultations

House of Commons Library | 22 April 2022

Constituencies are reviewed periodically by independent Boundary Commissions, one for each part of the UK. This briefing outlines how the public can get involved in the consultation stages.

Security guidance for elections

Cabinet Office | 22 April 2022

The Electoral Commission has updated its core guidance for Returning Officers to support the delivery of the May 2022 polls.

Committee backs Lords amendment to scrap Government proposals for new powers over elections watchdog

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee | 21 April 2022

In a letter to Michael Gove published today, the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has strongly urged the Government to scrap its proposals for new powers over the elections watchdog, the Electoral Commission, and to accept an amendment to the Elections Bill when it returns to House of Lords on Monday 25 April.


Conservatives lose nearly 500 seats in local elections

The MJ | 9 May 2022

The results are in for all 200 councils up for election, with the Conservatives losing 11 local authorities and Labour and the Liberal Democrats gaining five and three respectively.

EXCLUSIVE: Councils warned to budget for 4% pay increase

The MJ | 5 May 2022

Councils have been warned by local government employers to budget for pay rises of at least 4% this year, The MJ understands. A senior local government source said they had been told to factor in the rises covering the pay settlement for the year 2022-23.

Government criticised over remote meetings inaction

Public Finance | 4 May 2022

Central government inaction on giving councils in England the ability to hold remote meetings is preventing authorities from reducing the financial and environmental cost of transport, according to two industry bodies.

Call for remote meetings after COVID controversy

The MJ | 4 May 2022

Calls for new powers enabling councils to hold remote and hybrid meetings have been renewed after a meeting was aborted over COVID concerns. The full meeting of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council was abruptly adjourned last week mid-debate on health and safety grounds.

Whitehall risk warning over election reforms

The MJ | 3 May 2022

Whitehall officials have privately admitted councils could be overwhelmed by one of the largest sets of electoral reforms ever seen by local authorities, The MJ understands.

UK comes under pressure to adopt rights charter

The MJ | 28 April 2022

Local leaders will continue to be ‘heavily constrained’ until the UK follows through on its promise to guarantee the rights of local government in law, a sector expert has warned. The intervention from emeritus professor of local politics at De Montfort University, Colin Copus, came after levelling up minister Neil O’Brien said he was ‘not able to give a timeframe’ for when the additional protocol of the European Charter on Local Self-Government would be ratified – more than 12 years after the UK first signed the pledge.

Supreme Court rejects appeal over introduction of voter ID pilot schemes in May 2019 local government elections

Local Government Lawyer | 27 April 2022

The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal over the lawfulness of pilot schemes that introduced a requirement for voter identification in the May 2019 local elections for ten council areas. In Coughlan, R (on the application of) v Minister for the Cabinet Office [2022] UKSC 11 the claimant sought to challenge orders made by the minister in respect of Braintree and nine other local authorities.

New public bodies review programme launched

Cabinet Office | 26 April 2022

The launch of the Public Bodies Review Programme will set out how departments should assess their public bodies.

LGPS invest £1.2bn in UK infrastructure fund

Public Finance | 25 April 2022

A Local Government Pension Scheme investment pool is set to plough £1.2bn into a fund investing in UK infrastructure.

Minister wades into flexible working debate

The MJ | 21 April 2022

Civil servants have been told to get back to the office even as local government increasingly moves towards flexible working.Minister for Government efficiency, Jacob Rees-Mogg, this week told his Cabinet colleagues to monitor civil service staff attendance fortnightly, claiming not enough are returning to Whitehall three months after working from home guidance was lifted.

LGA calls for beefed-up Online Safety Bill to protect councillors from abuse

Local Government Lawyer | 20 April 2022

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for better protections in the Online Safety Bill for councillors subjected to abuse from the public. It said in a briefing on its views on various parts of the Bill that some people could leave local politics due to online harassment. 

Op Hillman Covid-19 regulation breaches update

Metropolitan Police | 12 April 2022

The investigation into allegations of breaches of COVID-19 regulations in Whitehall and Downing Street continues to progress.

LEPs due for integration into combined authorities by 2030

The MJ | 7 April 2022

Local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) will be integrated into combined authorities by 2030, tracking the pace of the Government’s devolution agenda. Guidance issued to LEPs has confirmed that, where devolution deals have already been implemented, LEPs’ functions and roles can be integrated with combined mayoral authorities within a year.

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Contract Management

The Procurement Bill has landed

The government has today introduced the keenly awaited Procurement Bill 2022 into Parliament.  The Bill sets out the government’s vision for a faster, fairer and more effective public procurement regime following on from the Green Paper on procurement reform and the consultation response issued in December 2021.  The Bill will now pass through the Parliamentary process before its expected implementation in 2023. 

In recent months we have been looking at the proposed procurement reforms in the Green Paper consultation response and what they mean for the public sector and suppliers in our Road to Reform series of articles.  Over the coming weeks we will share further practical commentary on the Bill itself, any significant changes which have been made since the response to consultation was published and any amendments which are made to the Bill as it travels through the parliamentary stages.

The Cabinet Office intends to roll out a learning and development programme across the public sector on the new regime.  More information will be available on the Transforming Public Procurement webpage.

It is unlikely that any reforms “on the ground” would need to be made before mid-2023, which will give contracting authorities and suppliers alike opportunity to digest the changes and get ready for them.

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


The Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2022

The government has laid the draft Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 before Parliament, which implement the EEA EFTA Agreement between Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and the UK and, in particular, a provision in the Agreement concerning abnormally low tenders. The Regulations amend the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/102), the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/274) and the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/273).

Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill | UK Parliament

The Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill has now been published and has passed its first reading in the House of Commons. A ‘capital finance risk management’ clause (Clause 71) has been included, which equips the Secretary of State with wide ranging powers, including the ability to cap individual councils’ borrowing and force them to sell particular assets. The addition of this clause has taken the Local Government Association by surprise. The Association are now talking to the Government about what this will mean in practice. More information can be found here.

Publications & Guidance

Welsh Government issues procurement policy note on publishing information about awards over low value thresholds

Welsh Government | 3 May 2022

The new procurement policy note sets out the Welsh Government’s commitment to publish information about awards over certain low value thresholds on Sell2Wales (S2W) and to promote this approach as best practice to Welsh Public Sector bodies. The note is intended to support changes being introduced within the Welsh Public Sector to enable Welsh contracting authorities to meet upcoming transparency requirements, and to introduce the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) throughout the procurement lifecycle.

Model Services Contract

Cabinet Office | 11 April 2022

The Cabinet Office has published the ‘Model Services Contract Guidance’ version 2.0 reflecting developments in government policy, regulation as well as the market. The template Model Services Contract is for high value, complex services.

Guidance on the Mid-Tier Contract

Cabinet Office | 8 April 2022

Cabinet Office guidance which accompanies the Mid-tier Contract v 1.1 (2022), a template contract for high value (under £20m) non-complex goods and services intended for use by procurement specialists and lawyers, gives context to the clauses, schedules and the important areas for consideration.  

Randstad episode shows government has still not learnt lessons from past procurement failures

The Institute for Government | 5 April 2022  

The Department for Education (DfE) has terminated its contract with global HR services firm Randstad, which in 2021 won the bid for the National Tutoring Programme (NTP). The NTP, which sought to use tutoring to help pupils who had fallen behind during the pandemic catch up with their peers, was beset by failures from the start. Just 25% of the targeted tuition partner courses had started by the end of the Easter term, while Randstad abandoned its target to reach 65% of children eligible for the pupil premium. Perhaps most damning, it encouraged schools to run tuition sessions without pupils in them.[2] While questions will rightly be raised about Randstad’s performance, the episode also shows that government has still not fully learnt the lessons from Carillion and other contracting failures.

The Digital, Data and Technology Playbook

Digital, Data and Technology Profession | 28 March 2022

The Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) Playbook provides guidance on sourcing and contracting for digital, data and technology projects and programmes. There are 11 key policy reforms for how the government should assess, procure and deliver digital projects and programmes which all central government departments and their arms length bodies are expected to follow on a ‘comply or explain’ basis. A guidance note on dealing with legacy IT has been published alongside the playbook.


City council sets up independent audit into energy decision failures

Local Government Lawyer | 12 May 2022

Liverpool City Council is to commission an independent audit after admitting that “various errors” had led to an increased cost in energy, with a report to the local authority’s Cabinet requesting the council transfer to a new electricity supplier, Crown Commercial Services, while a search is underway for a new longer-term electricity and gas supplier. This comes after the council’s existing energy supplier, Scottish Power, changed its position on a contract extension and was no longer supplying commercial customers.

Quality LGPS service procurement hailed as ‘vital’ on new framework launch   

Public Finance | 6 May 2022

A new procurement framework for Local Government Pension Schemes has been launched, with the organiser saying the ability for funds and pools to procure quickly and efficiently has “never been so vital”.

Covid-19 points to need for better governance on procurement

Public Finance | 6 May 2022

Public bodies must learn the lessons from Covid-19 to ensure that clear audit trails exist for all procurement decisions.

Government’s contracts with Randox Laboratories Ltd

Public Accounts Committee | 26 April 2022

Following the National Audit Office's finding that, even taking the exceptional circumstances into account, the Government did "not document key decisions adequately when awarding a contract to Randox Laboratories Ltd for COVID-19 testing services" and that the "documentation of the decision-making process for such large contracts was inadequate", the Public Accounts Committee is to question senior officials at the Department of Health and Social Care and the UK Health and Safety Agency. The inquiry is accepting evidence on these issues by 18.00 on 11 May 2022.

Auditors criticise council for trading with dormant company  

Public Finance | 22 April 2022

External auditors for Herefordshire Council have criticised its contract management, after it emerged the authority has traded with a dormant company. Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP) has operated a facilities management contract since 2013, but Grant Thornton’s 2020-21 audit report found that the firm has been dormant through the duration of the agreement.

Combined authority unveils measures to maximise local benefits being written into contracts and funding agreements

Local Government Lawyer | 20 April 2022

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority is to give greater weight to local social value in its £100m-a-year major procurements. Under its new social value framework, benefits to the local community will become a more important factor in contract awards, for example training and employment of local people, use of local suppliers or the offer of apprenticeships.

Local authorities’ pivotal role in levelling up through collaborative, value-led procurement 

Local Gov | 20 April 2022

LHC Group’s recently published report, How public sector procurement aids the levelling up agenda, looks through a public sector procurement and housing lens to identify low carbon new homes, major retrofit programmes and an increased use of regional and local supply chains as catalysts to effective levelling up across England.

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Disputes & Regulatory Support

Asbestos in Schools

The recent case of Scarborough College Ltd v Winner [2021] demonstrates the potential risks that all schools with asbestos may face after a claim by a boarding pupil, who attended Scarborough College between1969-1973, established liability against the College at a preliminary hearing, without a full liability trial.

When the Claimant attended the school, the pupils dried their sports kits on asbestos lagged pipes. The Claimant claimed that there was accumulated dust in the room, which transferred onto clothes, and caused the Claimant to develop mesothelioma.

During the preliminary hearing, it was established that the defendant knew or should have known of the risk that this may have to pupils because:

  • A Department of Education memo, circulated to all schools in 1967, confirmed that asbestos dust inhalation causes disease, including mesothelioma.
  • There was a well-known 1965 article in The Sunday Times, highlighting the danger of contracting mesothelioma from low level asbestos exposure.
  • Preliminary expert evidence, from a health and safety practitioner stated that the pipe lagging was likely to have contained asbestos.

As a result, it was found, that the school had no real prospect of defending liability and the Master entered judgement on liability for the Claimant.

This was appealed on the grounds that the standard set was too high, in deciding whether or not there was a ‘real prospect of success’ in defending liability. The judge in dismissing the appeal, found that the Department of Education memo should have put the school on notice of the risk. The lower court was correct that the school should have taken reasonable steps to establish that the harm was not reasonably foreseeable.

Sadly cases of mesothelioma amongst teachers and pupils continue to occur from historic exposure, due to the long latency period for the disease to develop.

The case demonstrates the importance of the dissemination of the 1967 guidance note, in fixing schools with knowledge of the foreseeable risks from low level asbestos exposure, an essential element for establishing liability.

If you would like advice around exposure to asbestos, whether recent or historic, please get in touch with one of our Regulatory Team. 

Publications & Guidance

The Government's judicial review reforms and the Judicial Review and Courts Bill

House of Commons Library | 20 April 2022

The House of Lords has proposed changes to the Government's judicial review reforms. MPs will consider them on Tuesday 26 April 2022.

Judicial Review and Courts Bill: Lords Stages and Amendments

House of Commons Library | 20 April 2022

The House of Lords amended the Judicial Review and Courts Bill. On Tuesday 26 April 2022 MPs will be asked whether they agree to those amendments.

Supporting families after care proceedings

Department of Education | 31 March 2022

This report is a qualitative study into the parental perspectives of supervision orders and care orders at home. It was carried out by Professor Judith Harwin and Lancaster University for professionals in the children’s social care and family justice sector. Parents who participated in the study provided insight into their experiences of these orders and shared recommendations to improve the experience of children and families.


Court of Appeal issues judgment on nature of s.193(2) owed by local housing authorities

Local Government Lawyer | 5 May 2022

The Court of Appeal has handed down a significant ruling on the nature of the duty owed by local housing authorities to homeless persons under section 193(2) of the Housing Act 1966, which provides that a local housing authority “shall secure that accommodation is available for occupation by the applicant”. The judgment in Elkundi, R (On the Application Of) v Birmingham City Council [2022] EWCA Civ 601 concerned appeals in cases involving Birmingham City Council and the London Borough of Croydon.

Discharging patients into care homes was 'unlawful,' High Court rules

The MJ | 27 April 2022

The High Court today ruled the Government’s policy of discharging patients from hospitals to care homes at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was unlawful. Former health secretary Matt Hancock and Public Health England (PHE) were taken to court by two women who said patients with coronavirus were discharged from hospitals back to care homes without testing.

Campaigners send fresh pre-action protocol letter amid claims council offered no opportunity for public consultation over planned transfer of leisure centre site

Local Government Lawyer | 5 May 2022

A campaign group has sent a second judicial review pre-action protocol letter to Winchester City Council over plans to transfer the former River Park Leisure Centre and some of the surrounding land, including a skate park and an indoor bowls club, to Southampton University.

Supreme Court to consider rent repayment order regime and superior landlords

Local Government Lawyer | 4 May 2022

The Supreme Court has granted permission to appeal in a case concerning the Rent Repayment Order regime in the Housing Act 2004 and Housing and Planning Act 2016, it has been reported. Landmark Chambers said the case of Rakusen v Jepsen would be the first occasion on which the Supreme Court considers the “rogue landlord” provisions in those Acts.

Big win for rule of law: government retains judges’ discretion in judicial review reform

The Law Society | 29 April 2022

The government accepted a key Law Society recommendation and agreed to remove the statutory presumption from what is now the Judicial Review and Courts Act, in a major win for justice and the rule of law.

Judges dismiss legal challenge over use of WhatsApp and other non-government communications systems for government business

Local Government Lawyer | 29 April 2022

The Divisional Court has rejected a legal challenge over the use by ministers, civil servants and unpaid advisers of non-Government communications systems such as WhatsApp, Signal and private email for Government business. However, the Court granted the claimants – All the Citizens and the Good Law Project – permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal “in view of the importance of the issues”.

Government data reveals sharp rise in no-fault evictions

Local Government Lawyer | 29 April 2022

The number of households threatened with homelessness due to service of a Section 21 notice to end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy was 168.4% higher between October and December 2021 when compared with the same quarter last year, according to the latest data released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

Council to take legal action against asylum centre

Local Gov | 28 April 2022

Hambleton District Council is taking legal action against government plans to create a centre for asylum seekers at Linton-on-Ouse. Under the plans, more than 1,000 men aged between 18 and 40 would be housed at the former RAF base while their applications are processed.

Covid guidance on discharge of hospital patients to care homes in early stage of pandemic unlawful, High Court rules

Local Government Lawyer | 27 April 2022

Government policy issued in the early stages of the pandemic which let patients be discharged from hospitals to care homes without Covid-19 testing was unlawful, the High Court has ruled. In Gardner & Anor, R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care & Ors [2022] EWHC 967 (Admin), Lord Justice Bean and Mr Justice Garnham found that government policy in March and early April 2020 was “irrational” because it failed to take into account the risk to elderly and vulnerable residents from non-symptomatic transmission.

Upper Tribunal ruling reveals eight cases where contempt applications made to First-Tier Tribunal over alleged failure to comply with earlier FTT freedom of information decisions

Local Government Lawyer | 25 April 2022

A recent Upper Tribunal ruling has revealed the existence of eight cases where the First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber) (Information Rights) joined the Information Commissioner as a respondent to contempt applications made in respect of alleged failures by a party to meet obligations imposed on it by earlier FTT decisions, it has emerged.

Courts to work at full capacity for second year to deliver swifter justice for victims

Ministry of Justice | 21 April 2022

Courts will continue working at full capacity to speed up justice as the cap on sitting days is lifted for another year, the government announced today (21 April 2022).

Upper Tribunal judge finds refugee to be 17 years old, rejecting assessments by different councils that he was 22 or older

Local Government Lawyer | 20 April 2022

An age assessment carried out by the London Borough of Brent, which found an asylum-seeking person to be approximately 23 to 24 years old, was wrong, according to an Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) judge who concluded that the boy was 17 years old.

Court judgments made accessible to all at The National Archives

Ministry of Justice | 19 April 2022

In a boost for open justice, court and tribunal judgments are now freely available from The National Archives.

Cafcass sees fall in new public law children’s cases in 2021/22 but number of open active children’s cases overall remains 17.6% higher than at start of pandemic

Local Government Lawyer | 19 April 2022

Cafcass saw a 6.2% reduction in public law children’s cases between April 2021 and March 2022 compared to its previous financial year, it has emerged. There was a similar reduction in private children’s cases (7.2%) leading to a decrease in total case demand overall.

Councils and road authorities paid £12m+ in compensation over potholes between 2018 and 2021, research claims

Local Government Lawyer | 14 April 2022

Councils and road authorities across Britain paid out more than £12m in compensation to motorists between 2018 and 2021 for damage caused by poor road surfaces and potholes, it has been claimed. A What Car? investigation also showed that motorists logged more than 145,000 compensation claims for vehicle damage during that period.

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Resource Library

All Bevan Brittan articles and news

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Contract disputes: tips, tactics and knowing your rights

21 June, 2-3pm

This seminar aims to guide local authority lawyers through some of those pitfalls to provide tips for managing a contract dispute, including:

When is a breach a repudiatory breach that entitles you to terminate? When should you terminate and when should you affirm?

What is the difference between terminating at common law and pursuant to the contract terms?

How can you best protect your ability to recover damages for losses you suffer as a result of the breach?

What losses are you able to recover?

Register you place

All forthcoming webinars

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