LA Spotlight

Levelling Up Fund Phase 2 – Subsidy Control Compliance

The successful applicants in Round 2 of the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) have been announced and we’re delighted that several of the projects which the Bevan Brittan subsidy control team helped with have been awarded funding. We have no doubt that these projects will each be truly transformational in their localities.

As the winners bring their projects into the planning and delivery phase, some further thinking around subsidy control will be required. The Government published its Levelling Up Fund Subsidy Scheme on 22 December 2022, ensuring that LUF funding will be governed by the previous subsidy control rules in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA rules), rather than the subsidy control requirements in the Subsidy Control Act 2022 (SCA 2022).

This timing is significant for two reasons. Firstly, the changes introduced by the SCA 2022 in terms of examining the effect a subsidy has on competition and investment within the UK will strictly not apply, although the Government did require this to be addressed as part of the LUF application process. This means that it may be easier to establish that a proposed use of LUF monies is not a subsidy, or that any subsidy complies with the narrower set of subsidy control principles which apply under the TCA rules.

Secondly, the fact that the Levelling Up Fund Subsidy Scheme is a legacy scheme governed by the TCA rules means that authorities will not be able to take advantage of the very useful rule in section 12 of the SCA 2022 that it is not necessary to apply the subsidy control principles every time a subsidy is given under a published subsidy scheme, because the principles will already have been considered at the scheme level. There is no equivalent rule in the TCA rules and, on a strict interpretation, there is still a requirement to consider the subsidy control principles each and every time a subsidy is given under a legacy subsidy scheme.  Fortunately, it is at least clear under the TCA rules that the one month limitation period for seeking a recovery order in respect of a subsidy given in accordance with the terms of a published subsidy scheme runs from when the scheme is published. 

In practice, this appears to mean that an assessment against the subsidy control principles will technically be required each time a subsidy is given under the Levelling Up Fund Subsidy Scheme. However, provided the subsidy fits within the terms of the Scheme, the window of opportunity for potential challengers to seek an order for recovery of a subsidy will probably expire on 3 February 2023.

Authorities should keep a careful record of the detailed subsidy control analysis which they carried out when completing their application, including where relevant the assessment against the subsidy control principles.  We would also recommend that authorities check that the subsidies they will receive, or give, in connection with their projects all fall squarely within the terms of the Levelling Up Fund Subsidy Scheme, in order to be able to take advantage of the limitation period for the scheme.

If you’d like to know how Bevan Brittan could help with the delivery of your LUF project, please do get in touch. We’d be delighted to hear from you.

Bethan Lloyd, Partner


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Net Zero

The Government announces the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES)

On 16 December 2022, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DEFRA) announced the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme (HNES), aimed at providing financial support for performance improvements to existing district heating or communal heating projects.

The HNES is a £32m grant support programme that will span from 2023-2025 and is available to public, private and third sector applicants in England and Wales. To be eligible for the funding, applicants must be responsible for operating or managing existing district heat networks or communal heating system that are operating sub-optimally and resulting in poor outcomes for customers and operators.

The HNES will run multiple funding rounds and application submissions for the first round of funding will open in February 2023, with a submission deadline of 31 March 2023.

You can obtain further details regarding HNES via this link.

If you would like to discuss the Heat Network Efficiency Scheme and how it may benefit you, please get in touch with one of our Energy and commercial specialists Nadeem Arshad or Nathan Bradberry.

Publications & Guidance

National ‘war effort’ mobilisation needed to improve energy efficiency, install solar panels on new developments and set clear date to end oil and gas licensing

UK Parliament | 5 January 2023

The UK remains dependent on fossil fuels for 78% of its energy needs. As a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK has been exposed to the biggest global fossil fuel price shock since the 1970s. While the Government’s British Energy Security Strategy sets out ambitions for low-carbon electricity generation, there remain significant gaps.

The Environmental Audit Committee report, ‘Accelerating the transition from fossil fuels and securing energy supplies’, sets out how the UK can accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and secure energy supplies to tackle the energy affordability, security and sustainability crises facing the UK.

Locked out: helping low to middle income households benefit from net zero

Green Alliance | 28 December 2022

Low to middle income households are being left out of the green transition. The government currently offers support that enables uptake of green technologies to the two ends of the income spectrum but offers little to those in between. For the net zero transition to be successful, it must be built from the middle out.

Getting to the Point: Accelerating EV chargepoint rollout through geospatial data

Cabinet Office | 20 December 2022

To build an electric vehicle (EV) chargepoint network that can work for everyone, chargepoints must be rolled out where they are needed for today and tomorrow. Location data is key to building the right infrastructure in the right places, giving confidence to current and future EV drivers that they can efficiently reach their destination. This report from The Geospatial Commission demonstrates how location data can help build an electric vehicle chargepoint network that works for everyone, everywhere.

Hydrogen is not a panacea for reaching Net Zero, warn MPs

UK Parliament | 19 December 2022

Hydrogen is not a panacea for reaching the Net Zero emissions reductions by 2050 but can grow to become “a big niche” fuel in particular sectors and applications, the Commons Science and Technology Committee concludes in a new report.

New legally binding environment targets set out

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

Legally binding targets to protect our environment, clean up our air and rivers and boost nature were published on Friday 16 December.  These came following extensive consultation as part of the government’s commitment to leave the environment in a better state for future generations. 

Experimental Statistics on the carbon impact of waste from households managed by local authorities in England

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 14 December 2022

This publication covers annual provisional estimates for the carbon impact of local authority collected waste from households in England. These statistics are based on data submitted by all local authorities in England to WasteDataFlow on the waste they collect and manage and “Carbon WARM” emission factors calculated for Defra by WRAP.

New analysis from UKGBC shows 3 key opportunities for Government to put UK back on track to net zero

UK Green Building Council | 13 December 2022

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC)scorecard assesses the progress made since the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy launched in October 2021. It compares the policies that have been announced or are in delivery against the comprehensive set of policy recommendations made in UKGBC’s Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap for the Built Environment – a science-based, industry-backed pathway, launched at COP26 in Glasgow,that has become a common vision and benchmark for the sector.  

A new scorecard from UKGBC shows that the Government has made an alarming lack of progress in decarbonising the built environment over the past year.

Chief Medical Officer’s annual report 2022: air pollution

Department of Health and Social Care | 8 December 2022

Last year’s report from the Department of Health and Social Care lays out the scale of the challenge of reducing air pollution, the substantial progress that has been made and highlights achievable solutions.

COP27: Key outcomes and next steps for the UK

Climate Change Committee | 1 December 2022

The UN COP27 climate summit restated the global commitment to tackling climate change in the face of the current energy crisis. However, global emissions remain at record high levels and the world is on track to warming well in excess of 2°C, with intensifying climate damages. This briefing takes stock of global progress after COP27 and identifies key actions for the UK in response, both at home and internationally.


Whitehaven coal mine: Friends of the Earth to launch legal fight

BBC News | 4 January 2023

Friends of the Earth is to take legal action against the government over its decision to approve the UK's first major coal mine in more than 40 years.

Lewisham Council: Vegan catering, a local approach to global emissions

Local Government Association | 20 December 2022

Responding to the global climate emergency at a local level is a challenge faced by all local authorities.

First Green Heat Network Fund awards for cutting-edge low carbon energy projects

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 20 December 2022

More than £30m of funding will benefit homes and businesses in three communities to deliver low carbon heat and help consumers move away from costly fossil fuels as part of the government’s push to cut emissions.

Projects in Hull and Peterborough are the first to secure funding through the Green Heat Network Fund (GHNF), a £288m government funding scheme launched in March this year.

Councils want to prioritise retrofits to combat energy costs, but face funding gap

edie | 16 December 2022

A survey of more than 500 councils across England and Wales on behalf of construction company Willmott Dixon found that councils are facing unaffordable energy bills unless measures are taken to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings.

Government to launch consultation on local support on onshore wind

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 6 December 2022

The government commits to launching a technical consultation to explore how local authorities demonstrate local support and respond to views of their communities when considering onshore wind development in England.

Home Decarbonisation Skills Training Competition: successful projects

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 1 December 2022

Successful projects offering training for people working, or who want to work, in the energy efficiency, building retrofit and low carbon heating sectors.

Zero Carbon Communities Programme, South Cambridgeshire District Council

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

South Cambridgeshire District Council have set up the Zero Carbon Communities (ZCC) Grant scheme to harness local action and enthusiasm, build local community networks and to enable this through a consistent and sustainable funding approach.

Domestic Energy Efficiency Upgrades, Netherfield, Milton Keynes City Council

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

The Social Housing Decarbonisation Funding (SHDF) provided an opportunity for Milton Keynes City Council to develop a methodology for energy efficiency upgrades that would be scalable whilst utilising a street-level approach with Mears Group plc. A key challenge for domestic retrofit work is delivering on a ‘least regrets’ basis and to avoid unintended consequences for homes, as set out in PAS-2035.

Hard to Treat Housing Retrofit, Intake Suburb, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

Housing retrofit is a highly important and effective programme of work and Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) has been undertaking insulation work over the last two decades in response to government funding.

Retrofit Project in Low Socio-Economic Status Areas, Leeds City Council

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

Some areas of Leeds fall within top one per cent of deprivation nationally, as measured by the Index of Multiple Deprivation. Leeds City Council developed the ‘Priority Neighbourhoods’ approach, to prioritise and then address the multitude of issues these areas had. The priority neighbourhoods were defined as extremely deprived, coupled with poor housing, empty homes and social issues.

Energy Heroes: Smart Energy Devices and Communities, Royal Borough of Greenwich

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

The Royal Borough of Greenwich was commissioned as part of the European Sharing Cities programme to demonstrate the potential of innovation and technology in the areas of citizen engagement, mobility, energy, housing and city data platforms to benefit the environment, the city and its citizens.

Community Orchards, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

Community development officers working for Redcar & Cleveland Council have developed community orchards in East Cleveland. As part of this scheme, members of the community are trained to graft and care for trees. This is part of a scheme to provide nature-based solutions as part of the decarbonisation challenge.

Schools Incentive Scheme, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

Since 2021, Redcar & Cleveland Council has been targeting schools to be greener through an incentives scheme that incorporates league tables and minor prizes to students.

Community Building Energy Efficiency, Redditch Borough Council, Midlands Net Zero Hub

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

Climate emergency has been declared by councils in Worcestershire. This created an opportunity to bring together a unified set of targets that were shared across the districts of Worcestershire through the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Energy Strategy. One solution was the creation of The Midlands Net Zero Hub.

Effective carbon reduction approaches for large developments, Worcestershire councils, Midlands Net Zero Hub

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

Local electricity grid quality can be a key barrier whether it is mid-level generation for solar, heat pumps or combined heat and power. Councils often do not have visibility of grid quality and it is therefore considered with District Network Operators (DNOs) on a development by development basis. A main role of the Midlands Net Zero Hub is to provide resource capacity and support to meet council gaps in expertise and time.

Electric Vehicles - Revive Network, South Gloucestershire Council

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

The ‘Revive Network’ runs across authorities in the West of England, as a council-owned network with its operation and management completed by Bristol City Council on behalf of all the participating local authorities. This ensures the council oversees the maintenance, management and energy retailing responsibilities that go into the EV charge network.

East Lindsey District Council, Phase 1b Green Homes Grants delivery

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

In December 2020, the East Lindsey District Council successfully secured £2.2m from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for Green Homes Grants. Over the next 18 months, a team was built, contractors were procured, and 192 properties received energy efficiency upgrades to help make them warmer, more affordable to run and less impactful on the environment through reduced carbon emissions. This article looks at the impact the £2.2m funding has had and the overall success of the project.

Salt Ayre Leisure Centre Decarbonisation, Lancaster City Council

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

Lancaster City Council declared a climate emergency after councillors unanimously voted to work towards creating a zero-carbon district by 2030. The purpose was to prioritise resources and enable a data-led approach to tackling emissions.

Sustainable Warmth - Community Energy Groups, Devon County Council

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

Retrofit is a key part of the decarbonisation agenda, and there has been a push by Devon County Council to increase uptake for the ‘able to pay’ market as well as to best use and target grant funding for households who are ‘unable to pay’ for such home upgrades.

Homes Retrofit Measures within a Holistic Approach, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council have brought together environmental, sustainability and carbon reduction objectives together under one strategy. The authority has agreed to a net zero target of 2032 and for the borough to achieve net zero by 2050. Domestic home decarbonisation is a key part of the wider 2050 net zero aims and assists with addressing fuel poverty whilst tackling inequalities.

Decarbonisation of Public Sector Buildings, London Borough of Barnet

Local Government Association | 1 December 2022

The London Borough of Barnet secured Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) funding (PSDS1 and PSDS3) from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures in public buildings, including offices, schools, libraries and community services, with a focus on heat pumps.

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Delivering Value

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities published its annual provisional local government finance settlement on 19 of December 2022, which outlines its proposals for the funding to be provided by central government to local government for the 2023 to 2024 financial year.

The provisional local government settlement has unsurprisingly been met with a mixed reception and somewhat clouded by the more recent outcome of the Levelling Up Funding applications. Key headlines include:

  • a proposed increase to local authority core spending power, which measures the overall revenue funding available to local authority services, to 9.2% or almost £5bn
  • a proposed core referendum limit for increases in council tax to 3% per year for most local authorities, with the ability for social care authorities to retain an additional adult social care precept of up to 2% without a referendum
  • a proposed repurposing of the Lower Tier Services Grant to create a new one-off Funding Guarantee to provide authorities with at least a 3% increase in their core spending power before any decisions are made about organisational efficiencies, use of reserves and council tax levels
  • a proposed increase to the Revenue Support Grant in line with the September 2021 to September 2022 change to the Consumer Price Index
  • a proposed re-evaluation of business rates and business rates retention in 2023, with proposals to compensate local authorities for the freeze in the small business rates multiplier
  • a proposed increase of up to £2bn in additional social care funding,  which include an increase to the Social Care Grant by £1.345bn before accounting for the rolling in of the Independent Living Fund, £400m in new adult social care grant funding and £300m of additional funding to facilitate reduced delays in discharges from hospital
  • a proposal to maintain the current approach to the New Homes Bonus
  • a proposal to roll forward the 2022/23 allocations of the of the £85m Rural Service Delivery Grant for 2023/24
  • a proposed decrease to the Services Grant to £464m due to the current freeze on national insurance contributions and to increase the funding for the Supporting Families programme and pay for other parts of the proposed financial settlement.

The Department’s consultation to seek views on its proposals which closed on 16 January 2023. The Government is currently in the process of analysing the received feedback and it is expected that a final version of local government finance settlement will be brought to the House of Commons for approval shortly.

In the meantime, authorities will be working to reconcile the outcome in preparation for finalising budget setting plans. Adult social care funding is one example of the ongoing risks to the sustainability of current funding approaches – whilst short term and limited increases in spend for the coming year are welcome, the long term reform of funding is still delayed leaving ongoing uncertainty for spending projections.

Publications & Guidance

1/2023: Council Tax information letter - 13 January 2023

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 13 January 2023

This letter sets out the impact on Local Council Tax Support schemes of legislation which has recently been laid before Parliament.

Get in on the Act: Mental Health Act 2022

Local Government Association | 4 January 2023

Information for councils to get ready for the Mental Health Act 2022.

Council tax: local referendums

House of Commons Library | 4 January 2023

This briefing note explains the system of referendums on council tax increases in local authorities. It sets out the legislative framework and the thresholds that have been set in previous years.

Council Tax Support Fund guidance

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

Guidance to councils on the Council Tax Support Fund scheme.

16/2022: Council Tax information letter - 23 December 2022

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

This letter supports guidance to councils on the Council Tax Support Fund scheme.

New report shines the spotlight on councils innovative work in adult social care, as councils gear up for one of their toughest winters yet

County Councils Network | 20 December 2022

The County Councils Network (CCN) has released its latest County Spotlight publication, which shines a light on best practice across the CCN membership on adult social care.

Draft local government finance report 2023 to 2024

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 December 2022

Provisional local government finance settlement 2023 to 2024: draft local government finance report.

Provisional local government finance settlement 2023 to 2024: draft policy impact statement

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 December 2022

Draft policy impact statement assessing the potential effects of the 2023 to 2024 settlement.

Key information for local authorities: provisional local government finance settlement 2023 to 2024

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 December 2022

Key information for local authorities on the provisional local government finance settlement 2023 to 2024.

Authorities with increased business rates retention arrangements: provisional local government finance settlement 2023 to 2024

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 December 2022

Key information and explanatory note for authorities with increased business rates retention arrangements for the 2023 to 2024 financial year.

Key information for pools: provisional local government finance settlement 2023 to 2024

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 December 2022

Provisional local government finance settlement 2023 to 2024 key information for non-domestic rates pools.

Protecting Human Rights in Care Settings: Government Response to the Committee’s Fourth Report

UK Parliament | 16 December 2022

This is the government’s formal response to the recommendations made by the Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) in its report ‘Protecting human rights in care settings’ published on 22 July 2022.

15/2022: Council Tax information letter

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 16 December 2022

This letter introduces an updated council tax collection fund deficit spreading tool, to help billing authorities undertake the calculations required in January 2023 by the Local Authorities (Funds) (England) Regulations 1992.

Local government finance policy statement 2023-24 to 2024-25

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 12 December 2022

The local government finance policy statement sets out the government’s intentions for the local government finance settlement for the next 2 years, providing councils with greater certainty on key aspects of their funding to inform their budget setting process and help them to plan for the future.

House of Lords - A “gloriously ordinary life’’: spotlight on adult social care

UK Parliament | 9 December 2022

The House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee has published a spotlight report on the future of adult social care, entitled ‘A gloriously ordinary life’. The report considers the value of adult social care, invisibility within the sector and the current state of care including discrimination, local authority gatekeepers and the role of unpaid carers. The report also sets out recommendations for the future of adult social care, such as funding the workforce, investing in skills, revisiting the Care Act 2014 (CA 2014) as well as considering case studies and international examples.

Government Shared Services

National Audit Office | 30 November 2022

This report examines whether the government’s latest Shared Services Strategy is on track to deliver. It aims to answer the following questions:

  • Has the government made progress since we last reported on shared services in 2016? (Part One)
  • Are the right conditions in place for the government to deliver its proposed efficiencies and savings? (Part Two).
  • Has the government put in place mitigating actions to address the future challenges it faces in delivering its strategy? (Part Three)

Health and wellbeing boards: guidance

Department of Health and Social Care | 22 November 2022

This guidance sets out the role of health and wellbeing boards following the Health and Care Act 2022. It replaces previous draft guidance.

Risk that ‘optimism turns into disengagement’ from local authorities in Integrated Care Systems, a new report analysing their early progress finds

County Councils Network | 21 November 2022

IMPOWER’s new report, The Evolving Role of County Authorities in ICSs analyses the new systems which replaced Clinical Commissioning Groups this year from the perspective of councils. The study, commissioned by the County Councils Network (CCN), is based on a detailed survey and interviews with local authorities in county areas and senior health officials.

Local authorities having to find homes for children at the ‘last minute’

Ofsted | 18 November 2022

An Ofsted report has found that local authorities are struggling to find homes for children coming into care.

Autumn Statement 2022: documents

HM Treasury | 17 November 2022

This is the Autumn Statement 2022 in full. You can find supporting and related documents below.

Autumn Statement 2022: A summary

House of Commons Library | 17 November 2022

A summary of the announcements in the Autumn Statement of 17 November 2022 and an overview of the latest economic forecasts.

Breaking point: Securing the future of sexual health services

Local Government Association | 15 November 2022

This report comes at a time when commissioners and providers of sexual health services have been making repeated calls to the government to address the long-term funding and capacity challenges across local authority commissioned sexual health services.


Free PPE to health and social care sectors extended

Department of Health and Social Care | 10 January 2023

Offer of free personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health and care staff extended until 31 March 2024.

Government introduces laws to mitigate the disruption of strikes on the public

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 10 January 2023

New laws will allow government to set minimum levels of service which must be met during strikes to ensure the safety of the public and their access to public services.

The government unveils new “Energy Bills Discount Scheme” for businesses

HM Treasury | 9 January 2023

The government announces the new “Energy Bills Discount Scheme” for UK businesses, charities, and the public sector from April. For LGA’s reaction, please see: ‘Leisure centres and public pools still at risk’: LGA statement on energy bills support announcement.  

Up to £250m to speed up hospital discharge

Department of Health and Social Care | 9 January 2023

The NHS will buy thousands of extra beds in care homes and other settings to help discharge more patients to free up hospital beds.

Underfunded social care struggling to help mitigate growing demand on NHS

Local Government Association | 6 January 2023

“A sustainable NHS depends on a sustainable social care system. Instead, the social care system is suffering from long-term underfunding and high vacancy levels across the workforce.”

Children's social work agency spending soars, research suggests

BBC News | 28 December 2022

A growing shortage of children's social workers in the UK means councils' spending on agency staff has increased sharply in five years, BBC News research suggests.

£3.6m social prescribing funding for mental health support

Department of Health and Social Care | 23 December 2022

More than £3.6m of government funding awarded to the National Academy of Social Prescribing to support wellbeing, including impacts of loneliness.

District concern in wake of finance settlement

The MJ | 20 December 2022

Concern over funding for districts has been voiced following the announcement of the provisional local government finance settlement for 2023-24.

Provisional local government finance settlement 2023 to 2024: consultation

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 December 2022

This consultation seeks views on proposals for the local government finance settlement for 2023 to 2024. The consultation closes at 11:45pm on 16 January 2023.

£60bn funding package for councils in England to deliver vital services

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 December 2022

The provisional local government finance settlement has confirmed an almost £60bn package for councils in England for the next financial year.

Fears as ministers eye rising council reserves

The MJ | 15 December 2022

New Government plans to scrutinise council reserves have sparked fresh fears ministers are encouraging local authorities to ‘sail close to the wind’ with their finances.

Mask and outbreak guidance updated in care settings

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 15 December 2022

Guidance on the use of face masks in all care settings and on outbreaks in care homes has been updated.

A quarter of councils needed more time to pay council tax rebates

Local Government Chronicle | 14 December 2022

Almost a quarter of councils needed an extension to the deadline for paying council tax rebates to their residents to help with rising energy costs, the government has disclosed.

New over £650m support package for Ukrainians sees increased ‘thank you’ payments for longer-term hosts

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 14 December 2022

Thousands of families who opened their homes to Ukrainians fleeing Putin’s illegal war will now receive a package of further support.

Fears gritting services could be cut back in future years

Local Government Chronicle | 13 December 2022

The body representing council directors of transport has expressed concerns that gritting services could be cut back in future years, as some local authorities prepare to do this.

Worsening audit backlog revealed

The MJ | 8 December 2022

Councils are making decisions, managing multiple financial challenges and planning for the future with ‘limited assurance about their underlying financial positions,’ the chair of Public Sector Audit Appointments (PSAA) has warned.

Government turbocharges efforts to tackle COVID-19 backlogs

Department of Health and Social Care | 7 December 2022

The government is setting up an Elective Recovery Taskforce to help the NHS deliver on waiting list targets, bringing together a range of healthcare experts.

Patients to carry out health checks in comfort of own home to ease pressure on frontline services

Department of Health and Social Care | 5 December 2022

Cornwall is the first area in England to trial the NHS Digital Health Check as part of government plans to digitise existing face-to-face health check.

New CIPFA group to look at streamlining accounts

The MJ | 30 November 2022

A dedicated group will be formed to provide advice to councils on how to streamline the information in their financial statements. The move by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) to create a nine-member financial reporting hub comes weeks after the Financial Reporting Council raised fresh concerns about the timeliness of local audits in England.

Independent review of integrated care systems

Department of Health and Social Care | 18 November 2022

The government has announced a new independent review into oversight of ICSs to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes across the country, following record investment in health and social care.

The review will be led by former Health Secretary the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt who is currently chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board, and will explore how to empower local leaders to focus on improving outcomes for their populations.

'Significant weaknesses’ in two-thirds of SEND services

The MJ | 18 November 2022


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Place & Growth

Fire safety in residential buildings - changes to be implemented from 23 January 2023

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) provides a framework for regulating fire safety in all non-domestic premises (in England and Wales), including workplaces but also the common parts of multi-occupied residential buildings.

In the case of residential buildings, the “Responsible Person” on who the duties under the FSO fall will be the person who has control of the premises in connection with carrying on a business.  This will typically be the freeholder or the managing agents.

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry identified some misunderstanding in how the FSO applied to residential buildings, including which part of the buildings it applied to. The Fire Safety Act 2021 has already clarified that the FSO applies to 1) the external walls of the building, including cladding and balconies and 2) individual flat entrance doors between domestic premises and the common parts of a multi-occupied residential building.

The Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 (FSR), announced on 18 May 2022 and coming into force on 23 January 2023, take things further and extend the obligations on Responsible Persons under the FSO. The Government published guidance to assist Responsible Persons to comply with these duties on 6 December 2022 (available here - Check your fire safety responsibilities under the Fire Safety (England) Regulations 2022 - GOV.UK) (the Guidance).

The new duties apply to any building which contains two or more sets of domestic premises and contains common parts through which residents would need to evacuate in the case of an emergency. Whilst the FSO does not apply within individual flats, the FSR does make Responsible Persons responsible for fire safety systems installed within individual flats if they are connected to communal systems (sprinklers, smoke detectors connected to a communal fire alarm system, etc.).

From 23 January 2023, Responsible Persons must:


In all residential buildings of any height with at least two sets of domestic premises:

In residential buildings over 11 metres in height:

For high-rise buildings (those above 18 metres or 7 storeys):

·        Provide fire safety information and instructions to residents in a conspicuous part of the building, including the evacuation strategy for the building, how to report a fire and other guidance setting out courses of actions once a fire has occurred. These should be re-issued to all tenants annually and provided to new tenants as soon as reasonably practicable.

·        Provide fire door information to residents to the effect that fire doors should be shut when not in use, residents or their guests should not tamper with self-closing devices on fire doors and residents should report any fault with, or damage to, fire doors immediately to the Responsible Person.


·        Comply with the obligations in the first column.

·        Undertake annual inspections of flat entrance doors (and keep records of such checks)

·        Undertake quarterly checks of fire doors in common parts.

·        The Guidance confirms that these checks should include checking doors are self-closing correctly and not damaged, with defects being rectified as soon as possible. The Guidance also confirms that the checks do not have to be completed by specialists.


·        Comply with the provisions in the first two columns.

·        Provide electronic floor plans to Fire and Rescue Services identifying all lifts, key fire-fighting equipment, and to keep a secure information box on site which contains a hard copy of those plans alongside a building plan which identifies firefighting equipment. The box must also contain the name and contact information of the Responsible Person.

·        Provide information about the design, materials and any known defects of external walls systems to Fire and Rescue Services, and to inform them of material changes to external walls. Which guidance states may need specialist input.

·        Undertake (and keep records of) monthly checks on lifts intended to be used by firefighters, on evacuation lifts, and on functionality of other key pieces of firefighting equipment. Defects must be reported to Fire and Rescue Services if the defect cannot be remedied within 24 hours. Information on defects and repair outcomes must be made available to residents.

·        Install wayfinding signage visible in low light or smoky conditions which identifies flat and floor numbers in stairwells of relevant buildings.


Breaching the above requirements is a criminal offence that can lead to enforcement action by the fire and rescue service, including prosecution (against organisations and / or individuals) with unlimited fines and possible imprisonment, notices requiring Responsible Persons to take action to address breaches, and / or notices prohibiting or restricting use of premises (which could require tenants to be relocated until breaches are remedied).

There are no transitional provisions within the FSR, meaning these additional duties will apply to all Responsible Persons and all relevant buildings from 23 January 2023.

If you require support in understanding or complying with your duties in relation to fire safety, please contact Louise Mansfield.


Supported Housing (Regulatory Oversight) Bill

A Bill to make provision about the regulation of supported exempt accommodation; to make provision about local authority oversight of, and enforcement powers relating to, the provision of supported exempt accommodation; and for connected purposes.

Publications & Guidance

Don’t let complacency jeopardise the creative industries

UK Parliament | 17 January 2023

The Communications and Digital Committee publishes its report At risk: our creative future.

Local Growth Deals

House of Commons Library | 13 January 2023

This note looks at the creation of the Single Local Growth Fund and the process of allocating Growth Deal funding to Local Enterprise Partnerships.

RSH publishes implementation plan for new consumer regulation and launches pilot consumer inspection programme

Regulator of Social Housing | 12 January 2023

The Regulator of Social Housing published Reshaping consumer regulation: our implementation plan. This sets out the steps RSH is taking to get ready for the landmark Social Housing Regulation Bill, which has nearly finished its passage through Parliament.

Local growth funds

House of Commons Library | 4 January 2023

This briefing is a short summary of current government administered funds designed to support local economic growth.

Helping tenants with damp and mouldy housing (England)

House of Commons Library | 4 January 2023

A short guide to tenants’ rights when living in damp and mouldy homes and Government action to address this issue.

Leasehold and commonhold reform

House of Commons Library | 22 December 2022

This paper considers trends in leasehold ownership, ongoing problems associated with the sector, and Government plans for future legislation.

Revised guidance issued under section 182 of Licensing Act 2003

Home Office | 20 December 2022

This revised guidance issued under section 182 is effective from 20 December 2022.

Ukrainian refugees and risks of homelessness - Chair, writes to Government Ministers

UK Parliament | 20 December 2022

Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee has written to Levelling-Up Ministers about concerns that a rising number of Ukrainian families may find themselves homeless this Christmas.

Technical adjustment to the Business Rates Retention system: Consultation

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 December 2022

The 2023 business rates revaluation and the transferral of a number of large telecom networks and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link will affect business rates income collected by local authorities. It is government policy that income from the business rates retention system should, as far as practicable, be unaffected by these changes.

This publication summarises the responses to the consultation on the government’s proposed technical adjustment to the business rates retention system to mitigate these changes, sets out the government’s response, and confirms the method that will be used to make the adjustment.

Direction on the rent standard

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 14 December 2022

The newly added Direction on the rent standard 2023 requires the regulator of social housing to set a rent standard for registered providers of social housing with effect from 1 April 2023. The Direction on the rent standard 2023 will operate alongside the Direction on the rent standard 2019. They are accompanied by a new policy statement which sets out the government’s policy on rents for social housing from 1 April 2023 onwards.

Cornerstones of Culture

Local Government Association | 8 December 2022

This publication is the final report of the Commission on Culture and Local Government, exploring the contribution of local culture, the barriers it faces and the four cornerstones that are essential to a healthy local cultural ecosystem.

Government set to miss its targets for the number, area and type of new homes

UK Parliament | 7 December 2022

Government is likely to fall short on its affordable homes housebuilding targets says the Public Accounts Committee in its report. Government is likely to deliver 32,000 homes short of the aims of its 2016 and 2021 affordable homes building programmes. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities admits it does not expect to deliver the intended benefits of the 2021 programme and has already downgraded its forecast, expecting to achieve 157,000 new homes in its 2021 programme of house building against a public target of up to 180,000. The Committee says that DLUHC does not seem to have a grasp on the considerable risks to achieving even this lower number of homes, including construction costs inflation running at 15-30% in and around London.

Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme

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

Prospectus and application guidance for the Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme (SHAP).

Building for 2050

5 December 2022 | Building for 2050 is a study of the construction of low-cost, low-carbon buildings. It aims to understand:

  • the attitudes towards and challenges of this type of home
  • the costs and cost drivers associated with their construction
  • their energy performance once occupied

Ombudsman writes open letter to social landlords urging renewed focus on damp and mould approach

Housing Ombudsman | 29 November 2022

The Housing Ombudsman has written to social landlords about complaints relating to damp and mould asking them to renew their focus on the recommendations in its Spotlight report on the topic published last year.

Flash flood plans should touch on surface risks, Localis report warns

Localis | 21 November 2022

Responsibility for tackling the growing prevalence of flash surface flooding should be gripped by central and local government to prevent needless damage to property and human misery, the think-tank Localis has argued.

In a report published entitled Surface Tensions – working together against flash flooding’   the place experts argued the connection between increased urbanisation and surface water risk demand greater coordination between the public sector, developers and wider society.

County leaders tell government to ‘unshackle’ their areas as new report reveals foreign direct investment is unevenly focused across England

County Councils Network | 21 November 2022

Foreign investment is unevenly focused across England, with county and rural areas lagging far behind the major cities and London, a new report reveals.

Leaders of England’s county local authorities have urged the government to ‘unshackle’ their areas as part of its levelling-up drive. The call coincides with the publication of EY research, commissioned by the County Councils Network (CCN), which reveals that the per-capita ratio of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in England’s 36 county areas over the past four years is just half of that of England’s big cities  that have access to devolved powers, and seven times fewer than London.

Secretary of State calls for action on housing conditions

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 20 November 2022

The Secretary of State has written to council leaders and social housing providers calling for action on housing conditions.

An update on the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

UK Parliament | 17 November 2022

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), Michael Gove MP, made a written ministerial statement regarding the amendments tabled to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill on 17 November 2022.

UKGBC empowers local authorities to develop nature positive, climate resilient communities

UK Green Building Council | 14 November 2022

As households are told to prepare for widespread flooding this winter, the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has published a new toolkit to empower local authorities and planning officers to enhance climate resilience and better protect nature across their local area.

Post-legislative scrutiny of the Licensing Act 2003: follow-up report

Home Office | 8 November 2022

Government response to the House of Lords Liaison Committee report on the post-legislative scrutiny of the Licensing Act 2003.


Jobs and investment boost for Liverpool and East Anglia as Freeports given green light

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 10 January 2023

Freeports in Liverpool and East Anglia have received final government approval meaning the majority of English Freeports are now fully up and running.

£7m tech fund to decarbonise freight and boost innovation

Department for Transport | 9 January 2023

Government launches a new fund to help small to medium-sized businesses to develop greener and more efficient solutions for freight.

Development finance available for small and medium housebuilders through the Levelling Up Home Builders Fund

Homes England | 9 January 2023

Small and medium housebuilders struggling to access traditional development finance can take advantage of government funding to get much needed homes built across England

Millions of homeowners and tenants to get better access to faster broadband

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport | 6 January 2023

New homes in England will be built with gigabit broadband connections and telecoms firms will be able to get faster broadband to nine million people living in blocks of flats across the UK, thanks to new laws the government has brought into force.

Planning proposals a 'missed opportunity'

Local Government Chronicle | 5 January 2023

The government’s proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) are a “missed opportunity”, the Town and Country Planning Association has warned.

£32.9m to create a national network of walking and cycling experts

Department for Transport | 2 January 2023

Millions of families, commuters and school children are being encouraged to take up healthy habits this year. Local councils will benefit from skills training and a boost to green jobs thanks to a £32.9m scheme launched on 2 January 2023 which will enable them to develop thousands of well thought-through local walking and cycling schemes, co-created by the communities that will use them.

Government proposes second staircases to make buildings safer

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

Buildings will be made safer under government proposals set out, including mandating second staircases for new tower blocks and sprinkler systems for new care homes.

This is the latest step in updating the statutory guidance which underpins building regulations for new buildings to ensure the safety of those living and working there. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will consult on its plans over the next 12 weeks.

Tens of thousands protected from homelessness thanks to £654m funding boost

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

Tens of thousands of vulnerable people will be protected from homelessness by a £654m funding package government has announced. All councils in England will receive their share of funding from the Homelessness Prevention Grant to provide vital support to those who need it the most in their local areas over the next two years.

Biggest government intervention ever to keep rail fares down

Department for Transport | 22 December 2022

The government has acted with the biggest intervention in its history to ensure rail fare increases for 2023 are capped at 5.9%, 6.4 percentage points lower than RPI figure on which they are historically based.

Tenants able to buy a share of their home under Right to Shared Ownership scheme

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

Residents in social and affordable housing are being given the chance to buy a share in their home for the first time, as applications can now be made to for the government’s Right to Shared Ownership scheme.

The Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities has published new guidance for tenants to access the scheme, which provides an alternative pathway to homeownership.

Building Safety - Levelling-Up Committee plan follow-up work in 2023

UK Parliament | 16 December 2022

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee has announced that it will be undertaking follow-up work on building safety in the New Year.

Thousands of children to benefit from schools fit for the future

Department for Education | 16 December 2022

239 school buildings to be transformed as part of revolutionary ten-year programme.

Ombudsman’s latest Insight report shares landlord’s good practice as upheld cases rise

Housing Ombudsman | 15 December 2022

The Housing Ombudsman has used its latest Insight report to share good practice on a variety of cases, including how swift or timely action by landlords can impact complaint outcomes positively.

Delay to fair funding review and business rates reset

Local Government Chronicle | 13 December 2022

The government has confirmed that a long-awaited fair funding review and reset of business rates retention will not take place for at least two years.

Social housing tenants to receive training and support to make their voices heard

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

Social housing tenants will be better empowered to raise issues with their landlords and help hold them to account, as a result of new guidance and support announced by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

Pubs, clubs and shops across the UK saved for local communities by £6.7m rescue package

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 10 December 2022

More than 30 pubs, clubs, theatres and other venues at risk of closure have been saved and placed in the hands of local people thanks to £6.67m of government levelling up funding.

Government bolsters enforcement teams to quicken cladding repairs

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 9 December 2022

More building owners will be held to account for repairs of high-rise properties thanks to a multi-million pound expansion in council enforcement teams.

Backed by more than £8m in government funding, local enforcement units will benefit from greater resources to pursue freeholders who are dragging their heels and refusing to begin repairs.

Ombudsman’s annual review of sector’s performance identifies 32 landlords with high failure rate

Housing Ombudsman | 8 December 2022

The Housing Ombudsman’s annual complaints review for 2021-22 shows that property condition remains the biggest area of complaint about social landlords and more action is needed by social housing landlords to improve the quality of homes and service. This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 25 January 2023.

£490m skills training boost to help get more people into jobs

Department for Education | 8 December 2022

Multi-million pound investment to radically improve university and college facilities and provide better teaching for students.

Technical consultation on consequential changes to the homelessness legislation

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

A technical consultation on the consequential amendments to homelessness legislation as a result of the Renters Reform Bill, namely, the removal of section 21 evictions, assured shorthold tenancies and fixed-term tenancies.

Investment to shield schools from high energy bills and boost to budgets

Department for Education | 6 December 2022

Schools and colleges in England will be allocated a share of £500m to spend on energy efficiency upgrades, helping to save on bills during the winter months and manage energy consumption.

Thousands of families protected from homelessness with extra £50m government support

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 5 December 2022

Thousands of vulnerable families will be protected from homelessness this winter thanks to an extra £50m of government support.

Government kickstarts £2.6bn investment in communities as UK takes back control of EU funding

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 5 December 2022

People across the country will benefit from £2.6bn of investment as the UK approves spending plans for funding previously run by the European Union.

Communities put at heart of planning system as government strengthens Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 5 December 2022

Further measures to place local communities at the heart of the planning system have been set out by the government, delivering a number of commitments made by the Prime Minister over the summer. The changes will be made alongside the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill as it progresses through Parliament and follow positive engagement with MPs and stakeholders.

RSH Chair urges social housing landlords to focus on their fundamental role

Regulator of Social Housing | 1 December 2022

RSH Chair urges landlords to focus on their fundamental roles: to provide safe, well-maintained homes for their tenants and provide more homes for those who need them.

Mayor demands Government action as new research exposes £4.4bn annual housing funding gap

London City Hall | 1 December 2022

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called on ministers to significantly increase the level of housing funding they give the capital if they truly want to tackle the housing crisis.

Leaseholders in medium-rise buildings helped with cladding fixes

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 30 November 2022

The launch of a new pilot comes ahead of a wider rollout next year, when it will be the biggest building safety scheme in operation. It will be funded by the £3bn Building Safety Levy and cover buildings between 11-18m tall where the developer cannot be traced or held responsible for remediation work – for instance because they have gone out of business.

Revealed: Over 65% of bids to first round of levelling up fund failed

Local Government Chronicle | 28 November 2022

Over 65% of bids to the first round of the levelling up fund were unsuccessful, LGC analysis of new data shows.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities has provided the Commons’ levelling up, housing and communities committee with a spreadsheet showing which councils applied for funding from the first round of the levelling up fund last year and whether they were successful.

Social housing tenants put at the heart of government reforms

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 26 November 2022

Over 250 tenants meet on 26 November 2022 to launch the group that will directly influence the government’s plans on improving social housing conditions and bringing about sector change.

Major boost for North East tourism as region is chosen for initiative to increase visitor numbers

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport | 25 November 2022

North East England will pilot a new £2.25m scheme to restructure tourism boards.

Government to block failing social housing providers from new housing funding

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 24 November 2022

The housing association that failed to treat hazardous mould leading to the tragic death of Awaab Ishak will be stripped of new government funding, Michael Gove has announced.

Building safety levy moves a step closer

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

Developers will be expected to pay levy on new residential buildings meaning they, rather than leaseholders, will pay to fix unsafe buildings.

Derelict land to be transformed into new homes in boost for local regeneration

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 November 2022

Thousands of new homes will be built on derelict land to create thriving communities and help level up the country, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced.

Almost £35m from the £180m Brownfield Land Release Fund 2 has been allocated to 41 councils to help kickstart regeneration in towns and cities.

Plans to level up and build new homes tabled in Parliament

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 November 2022

Measures to clean up rivers added to Levelling Up Bill, with vital infrastructure to be delivered more quickly.

Investment zone bids ‘will not be taken forward’ after ‘refocus’

Local Government Chronicle | 17 November 2022

The government will not proceed with investment zones as first planned and expressions of interest submitted by councils will “not be taken forward”.

Secretary of State statement on social housing standards

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 16 November 2022

Michael Gove addresses Parliament on social housing standards, following the tragic death of Awaab Ishak.

Social housing providers continue to comply with regulatory standards following regrades from RSH

Regulator of Social Housing | 15 November 2022

Our first round of annual stability checks sees a number of providers moving to V2 grades to reflect the significant economic challenges facing the sector.

Time’s up for rogue landlords who are failing vulnerable residents

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 12 November 2022

£20m government fund to toughen inspection of failing landlords and improve support for residents in supported housing.

Levelling up investment unlocks £300m Blackpool regeneration

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

A significant regeneration project that will deliver new leisure facilities, create jobs, boost tourism, and help level up Blackpool has been announced by Michael Gove in his first major intervention since being reappointed as Secretary of State for Levelling Up.

Building control should not have been 'all that stood between' Grenfell and fire

Local Government Chronicle | 10 November 2022

A local authority should not have been all that stood between Grenfell Tower and two flammable cladding products being used on it, Kensington & Chelsea RBC has said its closing submission to the public inquiry into the 2017 fire.

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Governance & Reorganisation

Tough times to continue for the leisure sector

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic and energy cost increases have created a difficult situation for many public leisure centres in the UK. The lockdown of leisure facilities from March to July 2020, the delayed relaxation of lockdown measures and subsequent energy price increases have had a significant impact on the revenues that are relied upon to provide community leisure centres.

In the Government’s newly announced plans to run a smaller-scale Energy Bills Discount Scheme from March, businesses and the public sector will continue to have part of their bills subsidised for the next 12 months. Some ‘energy-intensive industries’ will receive additional support, including libraries and museums, however the Government has not listed swimming pools or leisure centres as one of the energy and trade intensive industries which will receive additional financial support. The national governing body Swimming England have described this exclusion as a “hammer blow”.

Additionally, the Local Government Association have concerns that “these valuable public facilities are at risk of reduced hours or even closure due to unsustainable and increasing cost”.

As contracts in the leisure sector are often longer term and contain sophisticated risk-sharing mechanisms and cost allocation provisions, alongside a variety of termination provisions, this can create complex contractual issues.

Whilst negotiations to maintain an outsourced contract will be appropriate for some authorities (including providing ad hoc financial support), it remains that others may not be in a position to do so for the long-term. Similarly, private sector providers may not be able to maintain contracts when faced with reductions in the expected revenue and rising costs.  We have also experienced a number of local authorities considering decisions to bring their leisure services in-house to try to solve the issues they are facing, often through local authority owned companies.

We have extensive experience of advising on the options available to local authorities and private sector providers in the operation and management of leisure facilities and advising on local authority governance processes for approving changes to leisure facilities.

If you have any questions regarding the leisure sector, please contact David Kitson.


The Slough (Electoral Changes) Order 2023

This Order makes changes to electoral arrangements for the borough of Slough following recommendations made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. The area of the borough remains unchanged. . This Order is due into force partly on the day after the day which this Order is made, and fully on the ordinary day of election of councillors in England in 2023.

Publications & Guidance

Devolution to local government in England

House of Commons Library | 13 January 2023

This Commons Library briefing paper summarises the main developments regarding the process of devolution of powers to local government within England since 2014.

Turnout at elections

House of Commons Library | 10 January 2023

This Library Briefing presents statistics on turnout at elections in the UK, including general, local and European Parliament elections and elections to the devolved administrations.

Voting systems in the UK

House of Commons Library | 6 January 2023

This briefing paper provides an overview of the different voting systems currently used for elections in the UK.

Elections Act New Burdens funding methodology: voter identification and accessibility

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 19 December 2022

This paper outlines the methodology taken to calculate the value of New Burdens Funding to be paid to local authorities to implement the introduction of Voter ID and Accessibility.

Government should look again at policy on Electoral Commission

UK Parliament | 15 December 2022

The cross-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee has heard that the Government has not made the case that a Strategy and Policy Statement for the Electoral Commission is necessary at this time.

The report finds that the Government has not provided independent evidence to justify bringing forward the Draft Statement relating to the Electoral Commission, the independent body that oversees elections and, accordingly, the Government should not make the Statement at the current time.

The Committee’s report warns that if the Government decides to proceed, the Draft Statement will need to be fundamentally rewritten.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council: Commissioners’ first report

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 1 December 2022

First report from the Sandwell Commissioners, containing their assessment of progress at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council: ministerial response to first report

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 1 December 2022

Letter from Minister of State for Local Government Lee Rowley MP to Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s Commissioners in response to their first report to the Secretary of State.

Debate Not Hate: Campaign toolkit

Local Government Association | 30 November 2022

Our new toolkit outlines different ways councils and councillors can support the Debate Not Hate campaign objectives and take action.

An accident waiting to happen? Voter ID in the 2023 English local elections

The Constitution Society | 29 November 2022

This report examines the potential impacts of the Elections Act 2022 and the introduction of the requirement to show ID to vote in Great Britain. The importance of electoral integrity became part of the debate surrounding UK elections following the 2016 Pickles Report and attendant concerns over the robustness of the electoral process in this country. The Elections Act 2022 introduced the requirement for voters to show ID when voting in polling stations, with its introduction in the English local elections in 2023. This will potentially result in a significant extra burden on electoral administrators who will be required to implement this policy, on 4 May 2023. This report assesses, through interviews and surveys of those electoral administrators, the potential challenges faced by elections staff and the impacts these changes will have on future elections in Great Britain.

Exceptional financial support for local authorities

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 24 November 2022

Wirral capitalisation direction 2021-22 has been added.

Liverpool City Council: updated Directions

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 8 November 2022

The updated Directions (8 November 2022) made under section 15(5) and (6) of the Local Government Act 1999 in respect to the intervention at Liverpool City Council.


Leaders warn North East deal 'in no way' replaces austerity cuts

Local Government Chronicle | 4 January 2023

Council leaders in the North East have welcomed a £1.4bn devolution deal for the region, but have warned this “in no way replaces” cuts to local government funding in the region.

Historic £1.4bn devolution deal for North East

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

The Levelling Up Secretary has announced a landmark devolution deal for the North East that will see a new elected mayor given fresh money and powers to level up region.

More than third of funding guarantee cash goes to south east

Local Government Chronicle | 20 December 2022

Almost 99% of the funding used to deliver the guaranteed 3% uplift in spending power will go to district councils, with more than half to those in the south east and east of England.

Martyn’s Law to ensure stronger protections against terrorism in public places

Home Office | 19 December 2022

The UK’s resilience to terrorism is to be stepped up, as the government announces details for the Protect Duty, now to be known as ‘Martyn’s Law’ in tribute of Martyn Hett, who was killed alongside 21 others in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017.

Government to strengthen national resilience

Cabinet Office | 19 December 2022

The UK Government Resilience Framework sets out a new strategy, officially making resilience a national endeavour for the first time - and it will fundamentally strengthen the Government’s approach to risks. A new ‘whole of society’ approach to emergency planning encourages individuals, businesses and other organisations to play their part in building resilience across the UK.

Proactive attention to standards is necessary

Committee on Standards in Public Life | 19 December 2022

Lord Evans, Committee Chair, reflects on public standards issues over the past year and calls for proactive and ongoing attention to standards to ensure the systems and processes are able to meet the challenges faced today.

Electoral Registration inquiry launched by Levelling Up Committee

UK Parliament | 15 December 2022

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee launches an inquiry examining voter registration, examining the advantages and disadvantages of the existing system of electoral registration and what steps the UK could take to boost levels of voter registration.

LGA statement: Parliamentary vote on plans to introduce voter ID

Local Government Association | 11 December 2022

“We support the Gould Principle whereby electoral law should not be changed within six months of an election that the change would impact.”

Labour calls for legal requirement on taking decisions “as close as meaningfully and practicably possible” to people affected by them

Local Government Lawyer | 7 December 2022

The common desire for more local control should be reflected in a legal requirement that decisions be taken “as close as meaningfully and practicably possible to the people affected by them”, the Labour party has proposed. This would result in “putting power and opportunity closer to each citizen”.

The proposal came in A New Britain: Renewing our Democracy and Rebuilding our Economy, a report by Labour’s Commission on the UK’s Future.

Report on £437k settlement payment to chief executive finds approval was lawful but criticises failings in officer report, absence of legal advice and poor record keeping

Local Government Lawyer | 9 December 2022

Croydon Council has admitted it should not have agreed to pay its former chief executive a £437,900 settlement upon termination of her employment and has accepted that there were significant failings in officer advice on the decision.

Historic devolution deals transfer building, regeneration and skills powers to level up Suffolk and Norfolk

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 8 December 2022

Over £1bn will be guaranteed to Suffolk and Norfolk to invest in their communities as the Levelling Up Secretary signs landmark devolution deals.

Historic £360m devolution deal transfers building and skills powers to level up Cornwall

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 2 December 2022

A landmark devolution deal will transfer new money and power into the hands of local leaders in Cornwall.

Almost half of councils not confident in ability to train staff for introduction of voter ID

Local Government Lawyer | 29 November 2022

Almost half of councils (45%) are not confident that they can train staff to check ID to ensure those with a right to vote are able to vote in the May 2023 English local elections, a report has revealed.

Ministerial Taskforce meets to tackle state threats to UK democracy

Home Office | 28 November 2022

The first meeting of the new Defending Democracy Taskforce took place on 28 November, chaired by the Security Minister Tom Tugendhat. Its primary focus will be to protect the democratic integrity of the UK from threats of foreign interference. Announced in the House of Commons by the Security Minister, the Taskforce will work across government and with Parliament, the UK Intelligence Community, the devolved administrations, local authorities and the private sector on the full range of threats facing our democratic institutions.

New legal powers to support Armed Forces families and Veterans

Ministry of Defence | 22 November 2022

Defence Ministers have backed a stronger legal requirement on local services to support Armed Forces personnel, their families, and the Veterans community. From 22 November, councils, NHS Trusts and other local bodies across the UK providing services to the Forces community, will be required to adhere to a new legal Duty that reflects the key values of the Armed Forces Covenant.

Final consultation on revised proposals open now: Last chance to help reshape constituencies

Boundary Commission for England | 8 November 2022

The Boundary Commission for England has published new revised proposals for constituencies across the country and opens a final month-long consultation, giving the public a last opportunity to send in their views.

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Contract Management

PPN 03/22 – Updated guidance on data protection legislation

The Crown Commercial Service, responsible for central government procurement and guidance, has recently updated the Policy Procurement Notice (‘PPN’) which discusses data protection in contracts. The update contains a summary of the recent changes to data protection, and sketches out the current position following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This PPN updates and replaces PPN 02/18 and reflects changes to the data protection legal framework which impacts government procurement.

Scope of PPNs

PPNs apply to ‘in-scope organisations’, which are Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies, and Non-Departmental Public Bodies; as such, the PPN will not be binding on most organisations. However, its guidance and commentary is likely to be useful for many organisations in both the public and third sectors, and will be a good reference for data protection practitioners or more general commercial practitioners to keep to hand, where they are working in or adjacent to the public sector.

Contents of the PPN

The PPN discusses several key terms that would generally need to be covered in a contractual agreement, as well explaining a number of key definitions and the legislation which governs organisations’ data protection obligations.

The key points of the PPN include:

  • A discussion of what it means to be ‘data controller’, ‘data processor’ and ‘joint/independent data controller’
  • Risks of non-compliance and contractual liabilities, including how to account for potential fines
  • Measures for protecting data, and
  • Guidance and background on current requirements for international data transfers, including to the EU, to third parties, and under the Law Enforcement Directive.


The PPN also provides several annexes – Annex A (covering ‘generic’ data protection clauses) and Annex B (detailing possible security measures). While the annexes are not a replacement for specific drafting, they will nevertheless be a useful guide in terms of ‘what clauses should we be considering?’ and ‘what information should we consider including?’. In particular Annex B provides a useful indicative checklist of security measures, with which we would suggest the ICO is unlikely to disagree as a matter of policy.

For further help and guidance please contact James Cassidy.

Publications & Guidance

Procurement Bill 2022-23

House of Commons Library | 5 January 2023

The Procurement Bill would reform the way public authorities purchase goods, services and public works by simplifying and modernising procurement rules and procedures. This briefing has been prepared ahead of the Bill’s second reading in the House of Commons, scheduled for 9 January 2023.

Public Procurement Review Service reports

Cabinet Office | 16 December 2022 

The Public Procurement Review Service (PPRS) has published its latest progress report, highlighting key trends and actions for contracting authorities. Trends in the procurement cases investigated by the PPRS include issues on payment, evaluation, use of frameworks, feedback and advertisement.

Subsidy Control Act 2022: Streamlined Routes

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 13 December 2022

Streamlined Routes are a type of subsidy scheme made by UK government for use by any UK public authority.

Local government procurement and contract management: Lessons learned

Grant Thornton | 12 December 2022

The latest review of auditor reports shows that not all councils have the right governance arrangements in place, or deploy the appropriate skills and resource. Where things go wrong there are potentially significant risks to public money and service delivery.

Advice on delivering national priorities through public procurement

Council for Science and Technology | 6 December 2022

Advice to the Prime Minister on delivering national priorities through public procurement.

Opposition day debate: Government PPE contracts

House of Commons Library | 6 December 2022

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing on the opposition day debate about personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts that occurred on 6 December 2022. For the Hansard report of the debate, please see: Government PPE Contracts - Hansard

Guidance on the operation of the subsidy control functions of the Subsidy Advice Unit

Competition and Market Authority | 11 November 2022

This guidance sets out how the Subsidy Advice Unit (SAU) will carry out its subsidy control functions in the UK Subsidy Control Regime.

Subsidy control rules: key requirements for public authorities

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 11 November 2022

A quick guide for public authorities to help understand the UK subsidy control rules established under the Subsidy Control Act 2022 and how they apply in practice.

UK subsidy control statutory guidance

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | 11 November 2022

This guidance provides a framework for designing and giving subsidies in a way that is consistent with the Subsidy Control Act 2022. It is to help public authorities award subsidies in a way that minimises any negative impact on competition and investment, and to help ensure public money is used in an effective and efficient way.

Treasury Minutes – November 2022

HM Treasury | 9 November 2022 

The Treasury minutes set out the Government's response to the following Public Accounts Committee reports: "Government's contracts with Randox Laboratories Ltd", "The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine programme in England", and "Management of PPE contracts".


New values triggering below-threshold procurement obligations | Bevan Brittan LLP

Bevan Brittan | 5 January 2023

Under Chapter 8, authorities are required to publish information on Contracts Finder about below threshold contract opportunities and contracts awarded and are precluded from using a pre-qualification stage for below threshold procurements. Regulation 109 of the PCR previously provided that these below threshold obligations only applied to contracts which had a value of £10,000 or above (for central government authorities) and £25,000 and above (for sub-central authorities and NHS Trusts). Amendment regulations were made in 2021 which made these figures inclusive rather than exclusive of VAT from 1 January 2022. This meant that the below threshold obligations applied to lower value contracts last year, bringing more contracts into scope and increasing the burden on contracting authorities.

The Government has now remedied this issue with the introduction of the Public Contracts (Amendment) Regulations 2022 which came into force on 21 December 2022. 

The Subsidy Control (Subsidies and Schemes of Interest or Particular Interest) Regulations 2022

These Regulations make provision as to the meaning of “subsidy, or subsidy scheme, of interest” and “subsidy, or subsidy scheme, of particular interest” for the purposes of the Subsidy Control Act 2022. The Regulations were made on 28 November 2022 and came into force on 4 January 2023.

The Subsidy Control (Information-Gathering Powers) (Modification) Regulations 2022

These Regulations modify the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 ss 41 to 43 (which make provision about information-gathering powers, enforcement and penalties) in the application of those sections by virtue of the Subsidy Control Act 2022 s.67(1). The Regulations were made on 8 November 2022 and came into force on 4 January 2023.

The Subsidy Control (Subsidy Database Information Requirements) Regulations 2022

These Regulations make provision about the information that must be included in a public authority's entry in the subsidy database in relation to a subsidy or subsidy scheme for the purposes of complying with transparency requirements in the Subsidy Control Act 2022. The Regulations were made on 7 November 2022 and came into force on 4 January 2023.

The Public Contracts (Amendment) Regulations 2022

These Regulations will update the lower thresholds in the Public Contract Regulations 20151 (“the 2015 Regulations”) which determine whether a procurement which would not otherwise be regulated must nevertheless comply with certain requirements. These requirements are the advertising of contract opportunities and awards on the Government’s Contracts Finder database, a prohibition on including a pre-qualification stage in the procurement, and a requirement for authorities to pay suppliers within 30 days. The Regulations were made on 20 December and came into force on 21 December 2022.


Bromcom Computers Plc v United Learning Trust [2022]

Monckton Chambers | 11 January 2023

The case concerned an academy trust's procurement of a cloud based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) management information system, via a competitive dialogue procedure.  Bromcom lost the procurement and alleged various breaches of the Procurement Regulations, stating that they should have won.  Bromcom were successful in their claim and a number of breaches of the Regulations were made out.  The judge conclude that if the procurement had been conducted properly, Bromcom would have won.  The breaches together were found to be sufficiently serious and damages were to be awarded.

The case is useful commentary and guidance on a number of issues including a) Averaging scores; b) incumbent advantage; c) the parameters of Reg 56(4); d) method of tender submissions; e) when a breach will be "sufficiently serious"; f) manifest errors in evaluation; g) limitation (and the level of knowledge to set the clock ticking).

Government faces judicial review over delay in publishing details of ventilator challenge contracts worth £250m

Local Government Lawyer | 16 January 2023

The Government is facing a judicial review challenge from the Good Law Project over a three-year delay in publishing the details of ventilator contracts worth £247m.

In a pre-action protocol letter sent to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Secretary of State for Defence, the legal campaign group claim the Government's failure to release the contracts amounts to a breach of Government policy on transparency.

Procurement Bill: call for evidence

UK Parliament | 10 January 2023

Do you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Procurement Bill [HL], which is currently passing through Parliament? If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill. The expected deadline for submission is 5.00pm on Thursday 23 February. You are strongly advised to submit your written evidence as soon as possible.

Procurement Bill to unleash opportunities for SMEs to be debated in Parliament

Cabinet Office | 9 January 2023

Transformative new rules which rip up bureaucratic EU regulations has been debated in the House of Commons. The Procurement Bill, which will have its Second Reading in the House of Commons, will make it easier for small businesses (SMEs) to win more of the £300bn of goods, services and works that the government buys each year.

UK public procurement reforms could create £4bn 'accountability gap', campaigners warn

City A.M. | 8 January 2023 

Plans to overhaul the UK’s public procurement processes risk creating an “accountability gap” around the use of public funds, anti-corruption campaigners have warned. The plans, which aim to make it easier for small businesses to win contracts from the UK government, seek to simplify the country’s procurement processes and make them easier to navigate.

Judge lifts automatic suspension of £400m framework agreement for community equipment services for London boroughs

Local Government Lawyer | 28 December 2022

A High Court judge has lifted the automatic suspension of a £400m framework agreement being let by 21 London boroughs and other public bodies relating to the provision of community equipment services.

Procurement claimant wins permission to appeal judgment that manifest error was not “sufficiently serious” for award of damages

Local Government Lawyer | 19 December 2022

A claimant has been granted permission to appeal a High Court ruling that an error in the award of an NHS orthodontic contract was not sufficiently serious to entitle it to Francovich damages.

In an earlier judgment on liability Alexander Nissen KC, sitting as a deputy judge of the High Court, found in in Braceurself Ltd v NHS England [2022] EWHC 1532 (TCC) [2022] EWHC 1532 (TCC), that the contracting authority had committed a manifest error of assessment in its scoring of Braceurself’s tender and that, absent that error, Braceurself’s tender would have won.

Procurement Bill [HL] - Hansard

UK Parliament | 14 December 2022 

Following its introduction in May 2022, the Procurement Bill finally completed the Lords Stages on 13 December 2022. The Bill has been amended several times during its passage through the Lords. For the Bill as introduced in the House of Commons, please see: Procurement Bill [HL] publications - Parliamentary Bills

Procurement: helping to get the best deals 

The MJ | 7 December 2022

David Bemrose describes how Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is working with local government to build social value into procurement. 

The new subsidy control regime: a death knell for “local aid” in the UK?

Local Government Lawyer | 2 December 2022

Kieran McGaughey analyses an important change to the four stage test of what constitutes a subsidy under the Subsidy Control Act 2022.

LGA warns procurement bill could risk in-house waste deals

letsrecycle.com | 30 November 2022

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned the procurement bill could “significantly limit” the awarding of in-house waste contracts or public partnerships for waste services.

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Disputes & Regulatory Support

Medequip Assistive Technology Limited v (1) The Mayor and Burgesses of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and (2) Nottingham Rehab Centre (trading as NRS Healthcare) [2022] EWHC 3293 (TCC)

In a judgment handed down on 21 December 2022 the High Court lifted the automatic suspension in a procurement dispute concerning the establishment of a framework for the provision of community equipment services.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea ran a procurement on behalf of 21 London Boroughs to establish a framework, the largest of its kind in the UK, for the provision of community equipment services. Bids were submitted by two suppliers; Medequip Assistive Technology Limited (“Medequip” - the incumbent) and NRS Healthcare (the winning bidder). Medequip brought what the judge described as a “wide-ranging attack on the procurement process and on its outcome”.

Mr Justice Eyre considered the three limbs of the American Cyanamid test sequentially but also accepted that applications to lift should be considered on the basis that there will be an expedited trial. He also noted that the duration of the suspension is a factor of potentially significant weight when considering the risk of prejudice, making clear that this is a factor to be taken into account in assessing the balance of convenience, rather than the adequacy of damages.

The judge made an interesting observation on the question of adequacy of damages and the balance of convenience:

A claimant who narrowly establishes that damages will not provide it with an adequate remedy will necessarily be less well-placed to persuade the court that the balance of convenience favours maintenance of the suspension than one who has established that point convincingly.

The judge’s linking of the relative strengths of the parties’ arguments on adequacy of damages to the balance of convenience test is helpful. It suggests that in many cases the balance is likely to fall in favour of the party who can marshal the strongest case on damages not being an adequate remedy for it. 

For further advice on this area, please contact Trevor Watt.

Publications & Guidance

Five steps to help fix chaos in our courts

The Law Society | 19 December 2022

Our courts are crumbling, plagued with delays and swamped by a 63,000-case backlog. We’ve published a five-point plan to help the government resolve these problems.

Court system failing to support public understanding of justice system

UK Parliament | 1 November 2022

The Justice Committee has warned that the court system needs to do more to support open justice in the digital age. A new report calls for a renewed focus in the court system to remove barriers to the media and members of the public coming to court proceedings. It also calls for more work to be done to support digital platforms to cover court decisions.


Court of Appeal to hear council case that claimants with low value damages claims should exhaust internal complaints process before litigation

Local Government Lawyer | 9 January 2023

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council is set to argue in the Court of Appeal that a claimant behind a damages claim should have exhausted their alternative dispute resolution options – including an internal complaints process – before being permitted to engage in litigation. In her decision to permit the claim to be heard, Lady Justice Andrews said the case "raises an extremely important issue relating to access to justice".

East Lindsey due for court battle

The MJ | 6 January 2023

East Lindsey DC is threatening to become the latest council to take legal action over the use of hotels to accommodate asylum seekers. The council has formally submitted a pre-action letter to the Home Office, paving the way for a judicial review seeking to ban the use of hotels in Skegness as hostels for people seeking asylum.

Government review to explore options to improve civil legal aid market

Ministry of Justice | 5 January 2023

The review will commission an external economic analysis of the civil legal aid market to better understand how people access funding and support. It will encompass all categories of civil legal aid provision, with in-depth analysis into areas including family, housing, mental health, education, discrimination and immigration. It will also consider value for taxpayers’ money of future policy options and take into account wider budgetary restraints on the department.

Judge quashes decision letter over discriminatory impact of housing allocations policy on domestic abuse survivor

Local Government Lawyer | 5 January 2023

In TX, R (On the Application Of) [2022] EWHC 3340 (Admin), a High Court judge has ruled that a local authority’s housing allocations policy and its application to a domestic abuse survivor amounted to indirect discrimination.

Pro-life campaigner launches legal challenge of Public Spaces Protection Order creating buffer zone around abortion clinic

Local Government Lawyer | 5 January 2023

A Christian legal campaign group is supporting a statutory review of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council's (BCP Council) decision to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) banning activists from demonstrating outside an abortion clinic.

Judge quashes decision letter over discriminatory impact of housing allocations policy on domestic abuse survivor

Local Government Lawyer | 5 January 2023

A High Court judge has ruled that a local authority’s housing allocations policy and its application to a domestic abuse survivor amounted to indirect discrimination. Find the judgement here: TX, R (On the Application Of) [2022] EWHC 3340 (Admin)

Judge lifts automatic suspension of £400m framework agreement for community equipment services for London boroughs

Local Government Lawyer | 28 December 2022

A High Court judge has lifted the automatic suspension of a £400m framework agreement being let by 21 London boroughs and other public bodies relating to the provision of community equipment services.

“Outraged" parish council launches judicial review challenge over decision by planning inspector to approve 114-dwelling development

Local Government Lawyer | 19 December 2022

A parish council is to launch a judicial review challenge over a planning inspector's decision to approve a 114-dwelling development in a Surrey village which will be built on Green Belt land.

City council wins tribunal appeal over request for information on contract with provider of stray dog service

Local Government Lawyer | 15 December 2022

Liverpool City Council has won an appeal over whether it needs to disclose details of its contract with the provider of its lost and stray dogs service.

Data tribunal declines to consider 'broader context'

Law Gazette | 13 December 2022

The Information Rights Tribunal has reminded parties that it does not have powers to issue general guidance to public bodies about the handling of data. Dismissing an appeal in Ian Hall v The Information Commissioner, tribunal judge Clare Goodman declined to make a judgment 'in the broader context' of requests for public sector information. 

NHS trust and developer settle multi-million pound dispute over construction of hospital

Local Government Lawyer | 8 December 2022

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and developer Lendlease have reached a settlement of litigation which was due to be heard in court, the trust has said in a statement.

Judicial review to be heard this week over removal of cycle lanes on Kensington High Street early in trial period

Local Government Lawyer | 7 December 2022

The High Court will tomorrow begin hearing a judicial review against the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) over its decision to remove trial ‘protected’ bike lanes from Kensington High Street.

Hotels to house asylum seekers ‘out of our control’

Local Government Chronicle | 6 December 2022

Despite initial legal wins councils are finding it difficult to stop the Home Office from housing asylum seekers in hotels.

Public Law Outline to be relaunched in January 2023 with renewed focus on meeting 26-week deadline, says senior family judge

Local Government Lawyer | 5 December 2022

The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has said there is a need for a “radical resetting of the culture within the Family Court” so that the system reconnects with the strictures of the Public Law Outline (PLO).

The senior judge’s latest ‘A View from The President’s Chambers November 2022’ outlines the need for all involved in public law children cases to “reconnect with the core principles of the PLO as set out in Family Procedure Rules 2010, PD12A”, to ensure that the statutory requirement of completing each public law case within 26 weeks is met once again.

Message from the Lord Chief Justice and Senior President of Tribunals – Modes of address in courts and tribunals

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | 1 December 2022

Announcing a change in the practice of how certain Judges are addressed in court.

Judicial Review proceedings launched in relation to DfE’s current Oak National Academy plans

Publishers Association | 30 November 2022

The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA), the Publishers Association, and the Society of Authors have launched Judicial Review proceedings in respect of the Department for Education’s proposed operating model for its new arm’s length body, Oak National Academy.

Millions invested to support vulnerable people navigating legal issues

Ministry of Justice | 28 November 2022

The funding will be awarded to charities and organisations providing support for people facing disputes – helping them to better understand their issues and avoid costly court proceedings.

More than 33,000 people have been supported by organisations receiving similar government grants since October 2020 and nearly two-thirds of cases were resolved before reaching court.

Luton latest to head to courts over asylum

The MJ | 28 November 2022

Luton BC has joined the councils taking legal action as the Home Office continues to place asylum seekers without any advance warning.

County threatens districts with legal action

The MJ | 28 November 2022

A county council has threatened legal action against district authorities over funding for infrastructure. Councillors at Gloucestershire CC heard that funds from planning agreements for infrastructure such as schools and libraries, secured by lower-tier councils, had plummeted in recent years. Officers have taken legal advice and suggested action against Stroud DC could form a ‘test case’.

Early legal advice scheme piloted in hospital

Law Gazette | 25 November 2022

Merseyside residents will be able to access early legal advice in hospital as part of a 'wellbeing hub' designed to support people with complex legal, health and social care needs.

High Court rejects case for asylum seeker hotel injunctions

Local Government Chronicle | 14 November 2022

Ipswich BC and East Riding of Yorkshire Council have lost their appeals to uphold injunctions stopping the placement of asylum seekers in hotels in their areas.

High Court judge quashes planning permission for apparent bias, finds monitoring officer “went wrong in law”

Local Government Lawyer | 9 November 2022

A High Court judge has quashed a district council’s grant of planning permission for the erection of five self-contained buildings to store and facilitate construction of carnival floats, after finding that the permission was vitiated by apparent bias on the part of two councillors. Find the judgement here: CPRE (Somerset), R (On the Application Of) v South Somerset District Council [2022] EWHC 2817 (Admin)

Government planning definition of “gypsies and travellers” unlawfully discriminatory, Court of Appeal rules

Local Government Lawyer | 9 November 2022

A decision on a planning application made by settled Travellers by North West Leicestershire District Council and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities has been quashed by the Court of Appeal. Find the judgement here: Smith v Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities & Anor [2022] EWCA Civ 1391

Judge dismisses council application for ‘without notice’ injunction aimed at stopping asylum seekers being placed in hotel

Local Government Lawyer | 9 November 2022

The High Court has refused to grant North Northamptonshire Council a ‘without notice’ injunction preventing the housing of asylum seekers in a hotel in its area.

Two more councils seek injunctions on asylum hotel use

The MJ | 9 November 2022

Fenland DC has filed an application for an interim injunction after learning the Rose and Crown Hotel in Wisbech Market Place had secured a Home Office contract to accommodate people seeking asylum. North Northamptonshire Council has also made an application to the High Court for an interim injunction to prevent the Royal Hotel in Kettering being used to house asylum seekers.

North East council wins statutory review challenge over decision by planning inspector over quayside development

Local Government Lawyer | 9 November 2022

A dispute over the heritage impact of a planning application in Newcastle upon Tyne must be heard again by a different planning inspector, the High Court has ruled. In Council of the City of Newcastle Upon Tyne v Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities [2022] EWHC 2752 (Admin) Mr Justice Holgate said this was because the original inspector had felt “the decision she had to make was finely balanced”.

Supreme Court agrees to hear dispute between councils over responsibility for s.117 aftercare services

Local Government Lawyer | 7 November 2022

The Supreme Court has granted Worcestershire County Council’s application for leave to appeal in a high-profile case concerning the proper approach to the determination of ordinary residence for the purposes of section 117(3) of the Mental Health Act 1983, where a person has been detained in hospital for treatment on more than one occasion.

Public Law Working Group releases the Interim Supervision Order Report for consultation from 1 November until 30 November

Courts and Tribunals Judiciary | 2 November 2022

The Public Law Working Group (PLWG) is consulting on proposals to law, policy and practice in relation to supervision orders made at the conclusion of care proceedings to support the child to live with a parent(s). The PLWG invites consultation responses from those who have a stake in, or are affected by, the children’s social care and family justice systems. This includes, but is not limited to, families and young people, legal and social care practitioners and managers, directors of children’s services/social services, practitioners and services working alongside/closely with children’s social care, the judiciary, voluntary sector organisations and practitioner bodies/associations.

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Resources Library

All Bevan Brittan articles and news

The Housing Sector and Mould - Part Three: The actions of the Regulator – what lessons can be learnt?

The Housing Sector and Mould - Part Two:  Safeguarding Children

Case Review of Harpur v Brazel: The pension implications of miscalculated holiday pay

New values triggering below-threshold procurement obligations

International Data Transfers: a new approach to transfer risk assessments

Pensions Points - December 2022 - A new quarterly guide to key pensions issues

Recovering the cost of fire safety defects: Landlord and Leaseholder Certificates


Have you registered for…

2 February


Civil Matters involving Vulnerable Adults: Equality and Capacity Considerations

7 February


Sharing P’s information and the participation of others in Court of Protection proceedings | Bevan Brittan LLP

23 February


Care packages where social housing is required – how might this be approached? | Bevan Brittan LLP

On Demand

When might it be appropriate to seek an injunction in the Court of Protection?  

Employment Law Update

All forthcoming webinars

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