LA Spotlight

The SRA and regulation of in house legal teams

Many local authorities now employ substantial and diverse in house legal teams, covering a wide range of specialisms from statutory functions and litigation to commercial activity. The role, and regulation, of in house legal teams, in public service providers and more widely, is an area of increasing focus for regulators, with the ongoing inquiry and investigations into the role of lawyers in the Post Office Horizon scandal likely to attract further attention. The Solicitors Regulation Authority has undertaken a thematic review in which it examined some of the particular pressures facing in house solicitors:

  • Safeguarding independence
  • Managing risks with policies and controls
  • Managing pressures and meeting regulatory obligations
  • Maintaining continuing competence
  • Ethical leadership and ethical risks

Obligations on in house lawyers

The SRA Principles apply to all solicitors, in all professional settings, and the SRA Code of Conduct for individual solicitors (the Code) imposes obligations which apply to in house practice, including accountability in relation to the effective supervision of legal services. In house solicitors may also face the pressure of:

  • identifying their client, where a group of entities may be accessing legal services, and where individuals may also seek advice
  • identifying where a Practising Certificate is required (which can involve, for example, establishing the boundaries of “conducting litigation”)
  • identifying and addressing potential conflicts of interest, or conflicts between duties of confidentiality and disclosure
  • without the support of a risk and compliance governance framework which is likely to be in place in a law firm

Solicitors working in house must also be conscious of their duty to act with independence. This can create particular pressures in relation to, for example, the duty not to mislead the Court, protecting employers’ commercial interests and when considering whether, and how, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) can properly be utilised for the benefit of an employer. Solicitors must also be mindful of their personal obligations to report concerns about misconduct by solicitors or other regulated professionals.

Maintaining competence

The Code requires solicitors to maintain their competence to carry out their role and keep their professional knowledge and skills up to date. Solicitors must take responsibility for their personal learning and development, and maintain an adequate and up to date understanding of relevant law, policy and practice. The SRA has issued guidance to employers of SRA-regulated lawyers, explaining the regulatory framework and explaining the need for solicitors to have access to resources for ongoing ethical and professional development.

Bevan Brittan works with local authority in house legal teams to deliver ethics and compliance training, and to assist in responding to SRA enquiries and investigations.

Daniel Purcell, Partner



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Net Zero

Climate Change  Law Society guidance for solicitors

The Law Society has released guidance on the impact of climate change of solicitors. This is a significant change and solicitors will need to be aware of climate change and its impact within their legal advice. We highly recommend reading the guidance and engaging with their online webinars.

This is a huge development and the key change is that it incorporates the effects of climate change within the solicitors professional duties: the duty of care and duty to warn as well as duty to disclose and uphold service and competence levels.

For example, let’s take the duty to disclose. The guidance says that this means that a solicitor who becomes aware in the course of a matter that there are climate legal risks that might impact the client’s interests then they should disclose such risks in a clear and understandable way.

Solicitors may have to look beyond the narrow scope of an instruction to consider whether and to what extent climate legal risks are relevant.

A solicitor has a duty to warn a client about potential risks by pointing out hazards of a kind which should be obvious to the solicitor and the new guidance means that climate change is a hazard that needs to be considered.

The Law Society are releasing sector specific guidance in due course.

The guidance is in two parts:

  • Part A sets out guidance for organisations on how to manage their business in a manner which is consistent with the transition to net zero.
  • Part B provides guidance for solicitors on:
    • how climate change physical risks and climate legal risks may be relevant to client advice
    • issues which may be relevant when considering the interplay of legal advice, climate change and solicitors’ professional duties
    • issues which may be relevant when considering the solicitor-client relationship in the context of climate change

If you would like to discuss the role of solicitors tackling the climate emergency, please do get in touch with one of our Energy and commercial specialists Nadeem Arshad or Nathan Bradberry.

Publications & Guidance

UK and England's carbon footprint to 2020

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 7 June 2023

Annual update to include data up to and including 2020.

Domestic energy prices

House of Commons Library | 6 June 2023

Household energy bills increased by 54% in April 2022. The Energy Price Guarantee limited price increases to 27% in October 2022. Lower wholesale prices will lead to a fall in bills from July 2023.

Report identifies 45 UK locations for geothermal energy infrastructure development

edie | 5 June 2023

Developing a network of geothermal energy plants could help the UK improve its energy security while also delivering levelling up, a Government-commissioned report has concluded. The report, produced by Conservative MP Kieran Mullan, identifies 45 locations across the UK suitable for the development of deep geothermal energy infrastructure.

Clean energy investment is extending its lead over fossil fuels, boosted by energy security strengths

International Energy Agency | 25 May 2023

Global investment in clean energy is on course to rise to USD 1.7 trillion in 2023, with solar set to eclipse oil production for the first time.

Investment in clean energy technologies is significantly outpacing spending on fossil fuels as affordability and security concerns triggered by the global energy crisis strengthen the momentum behind more sustainable options, according to a new IEA report.

Gas and electricity prices under the Energy Price Guarantee and beyond

House of Commons Library | 25 May 2023

The Energy Price Guarantee set maximum consumer prices from October 2022 to June 2023. A lower price cap from July means energy prices will fall for the first time in around 20 months.

Net Zero offers real ‘levelling up’, but Government must get behind green jobs

Climate Change Committee | 24 May 2023

By committing to the Net Zero target, the UK has already embarked on a transition that will materially transform much of the economy; it is an opportunity for growth in high-quality jobs, distributing opportunities across UK regions. Around 250,000 jobs have already been created in the transition, but the full workforce opportunities will only be realised with stronger policies to harness the potential and manage the risks. A hands-off approach to the Net Zero workforce from Government will not work.

In a new briefing, the CCC finds that the majority of UK workers will see no major impacts from the transition. The largest changes are in sectors with a core role in the delivery of Net Zero – only a fifth of the current total workforce:

  • Two-thirds of these core workers are in sectors that can grow over the transition, especially buildings construction and retrofit and electric battery manufacturing.
  • Around 7% of UK workers are in sectors that will gradually redirect their products and services. These are largely sectors that will transition from use of fossil fuels to low-carbon methods, including cement and steel.
  • Less than 1% of UK workers are in high-emitting sectors that are likely to phase down over the transition. This includes oil and gas, where extraction must decline.

Support for innovation to deliver net zero

National Audit Office | 19 May 2023

This report examines whether the government is set up to deliver value for money from its approach to investment in research and innovation to deliver net zero in the UK. In doing so, and in keeping with its statutory remit, the report does not question the merits of the government’s policy objectives or challenge areas set out in the Framework. The report examines:

  • the effectiveness of mechanisms in place for providing leadership and coordination of net zero research and innovation activities
  • arrangements for delivering net zero research and innovation support and whether this is aligned with the challenge areas set out in the Framework
  • plans for reviewing progress and evaluating impact against the desired outputs and outcomes

Green heat – achieving heat and buildings decarbonisation by 2050

Local Government Association | 18 May 2023

In this paper the LGA explores the critical components of heat decarbonisation and how local and central government can work together to deliver it by 2050.

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund statistics: May 2023

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero | 18 May 2023

This release includes measures installed and households upgraded under the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund scheme.

Complying with the biodiversity duty

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 17 May 2023

As a public authority, understand what the biodiversity duty is and how to comply with it.

LGA submission to Ofgem’s Consultation on Future of local energy institutions and governance

Local Government Association | 16 May 2023

Councils want to work as partners with central government, and Ofgem, to tackle climate change with a focus on transitioning to net zero.

Heat networks pipelines

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero | 2 May 2023

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has published the Heat Networks Planning Database.

Revised national air quality strategy

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 2 May 2023

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has published the summary of responses and the government's response to its consultation on the draft Air Quality Strategy which ran from 11-21 April 2023. Defra has also released its air quality strategy framework for local authorities and partners in England which sets out the powers, responsibilities and actions the government expects local government and authorities to take to deliver cleaner air for communities and nature across the country.

The air quality strategy for England

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 28 April 2023

Defra’s framework for local authorities to make best use of their powers and make air quality improvements for their communities.


Debate on the role of local government in reaching net zero, House of Commons

Local Government Association | 5 June 2023

As place leaders, asset owners and significant purchasers, local leaders have the ability to impact on more than a third of emissions across villages, towns and cities.

Blackburn with Darwen People’s Jury on the Climate Change Crisis 

Local Government Association | 2 June 2023

Meeting over 30 hours between September and December 2022, the Jury heard from commentators on the causes and consequences of climate change and elected to hear more on education and communication, housing and transport.

Supreme Court refuses to hear claim that council should have conducted Habitat Regulations Assessment before green-lighting farm expansion

Local Government Lawyer | 2 June 2023

The Supreme Court has refused to hear a case that alleged Herefordshire Council failed to carry out the proper habitat regulations assessments before giving planning permission for farm buildings bordering the River Wye catchment area.

Claim Your Energy Voucher Day launches final push to get remaining £130m in support to prepayment meter customers

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero | 31 May 2023

Households on prepayment meters told to claim Energy Bills Support vouchers by 30 June, in final push to help those yet to benefit from £400 off their bills.

High Court to hear submissions from environmental groups on controversial coal mine

edie | 31 May 2023

The High Court has confirmed that it will hear submissions from Friends of the Earth and South Lakes Action on Climate Change in October. A three-day ‘rolled up’ hearing has been scheduled for 24-26 October. A judgment will be made immediately on the final delay.

High Court gives green light to further grounds for challenge in ULEZ expansion judicial review

Local Government Lawyer | 30 May 2023

The High Court has allowed further grounds in the judicial review claim lodged by a coalition of London councils in opposition to the proposed expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

The coalition comprising the London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Hillingdon and Harrow, along with Surrey County Council, was initially granted permission for two of five grounds lodged in April.

‘Untapped potential’ of commercial buildings could revolutionise UK solar power

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero | 26 May 2023

Schools, warehouses and car parks could be at the forefront of a revolution in affordable solar power, under plans discussed at the first meeting of the government’s new Solar Taskforce.

The government has a clear target to increase solar capacity by nearly fivefold to 70GW by 2035 as part of wider plans to power up Britain with cleaner, cheaper and more secure energy sources. Even when this is met, the UK would be using only a very small proportion of its land mass for solar panels.

Energy saving schemes falling short, warn councils

Local Government Association | 17 May 2023

Slow progress insulating homes leaves fuel poverty targets in jeopardy, costing and contributing to climate change.

Hundreds more businesses offered energy bills cash boost

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero | 17 May 2023

Steelmakers, recycling plants and manufacturers are among the hundreds of businesses that will benefit from a new scheme launched by the government last month to help with the cost of their energy bills.

Most businesses across the country are receiving money off their energy costs automatically, thanks to an unprecedented support package from the government totalling around £7bn so far – amounting to over £35m a day.

A strategic approach to net zero

The MJ | 16 May 2023

Nesta’s Centre for Collective Intelligence Design has created a new tool that offers an innovative and immersive way of involving the public in climate change policymaking. Kathy Peach explains more.

National Grid confirms wind power overtakes gas for UK first quarter of 2023

edie | 16 May 2023

That is according to new official statistics posted on Monday (15 May) by the National Grid’s analytics team. National Grid has kept records of the UK’s electricity generation mix since 1970, when renewables represented just under 2% of the total. The majority of this was attributable to pumped hydro.

Thousands to benefit from low-cost heat in push to drive down energy bills

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero | 12 May 2023

The UK’s first system drawing heat from deep underground to provide low-cost heating for nearly 4,000 homes is one of seven innovative projects backed by government funding.

The Langarth Deep Geothermal Heat Network will involve drilling to a depth of 5,275 meters to extract the heat from granite rocks beneath the United Downs Industrial Site in Cornwall. It is one of seven state-of-the-art heating systems that will receive a share of £91m from the government’s Green Heat Network Fund.

Improved rewards and benefits to be offered to communities backing onshore wind farms

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero | 11 May 2023

New and improved reward schemes, including the potential of lower bills, could be offered by developers to communities in England who want to support onshore wind farms in their area, under proposals announced by the government recently.

The government recognises the range of views on onshore wind. Decisions on onshore wind are best made by local representatives who know their areas best and underpinned by democratic accountability. To deliver this, and our commitments in the British Energy Security Strategy, the government are consulting on a more localist approach that provides local authorities more flexibility to respond to the views of their local communities. For more information about the consultation, please see: Developing local partnerships for onshore wind in England

Blue lights, green energy: £77m for new zero-emission vehicle projects

Department for Business and Trade | 9 May 2023

Life-saving emergency services will benefit from greener zero-emission vehicles, thanks to £77m in new funding for projects developing clean transport technologies.

Number of public EV charge points up 3,000

Local Gov | 5 May 2023

The number of public electric vehicle (EV) charge points increased by over 3,000 in the first quarter of this year, up 8% compared to the start of January.

Published by the Department for Transport, the data shows there are 40,150 public electric vehicle charging devices installed in the UK.

UKGBC tools up to tackle embodied carbon at critical moment for delivering net zero

UK Green Building Council | 4 May 2023

The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) has scaled up its activities to mainstream action on embodied carbon. UKGBC’s Net Zero Whole Life Carbon Roadmap highlights that the accurate and consistent reporting of embodied carbon is vital to ensure net zero carbon goals are being achieved. To address this challenge, UKGBC has embarked on a new project to accurately measure and report on embodied carbon emissions.

UK100 launches new Powers in Place report on council powers

UK100 | 3 May 2023

Local authorities face “Kafkaesque” barriers to achieving Net Zero goals, reveals a comprehensive new UK100 report. Powers in Place calls for a new Net Zero Local Powers Bill and Net Zero Delivery Framework. The report is released as UK100 joins Chris Skidmore MP’s Local Mission Zero Network and announces plans to work together to drive forward policy solutions to overcome the barriers to local Net Zero.

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Delivering Value

Subsidies and Schemes of Particular Interest

This article provides an overview of the requirement for public authorities to refer subsidies and schemes of particular interest to the Competition and Markets Authority. Where a referral is mandatory, a subsidy cannot be given before the process has been completed, which makes it one of the more important changes brought in by the Subsidy Control Act 2022.

When are subsidies referred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)?

Under Section 52(1) of the Act, public authorities must request a report on a “subsidy, or subsidy scheme, of particular interest” (SoPI) from the CMA. The Subsidy Control (Subsidies and Schemes of Interest or Particular Interest) Regulations 2022 specify that subsidies granted outside of sensitive sectors are SoPI if they are over £10 million. Subsidies granted in sensitive sectors will be SoPI if they are over £5 million.

Under Section 56 of the Act, a public authority may request a report from the CMA on a “subsidy, or subsidy scheme, of interest” (SoI). Subsidies between £5 million and £10 million which do not meet the SoPI critera are SoI.

The thresholds apply to subsidies exceeding £1 million where the total amount of the subsidy and any related subsidy to the same enterprise within the financial year, and the two preceding financial years, exceed the applicable threshold. In addition, the Secretary of State can direct a public authority to request a report from the CMA in relation to any proposed subsidy or subsidy scheme.

What is the Subsidy Advice Unit?

The Subsidy Advice Unit (SAU) is part of the CMA, and is responsible for discharging the CMA’s functions and powers under Part 4 of the Act. It provides advice in respect of SoPIs or SoIs that public authorities refer to it, evaluating their Assessment of Compliance with the requirements of the Act. The SAU’s advice is non-binding, with public authorities retaining responsibility for deciding whether to award a subsidy or make a scheme.

The SAU also monitors and reports on the effectiveness of the operation of the Act, and its impact on competition in the UK.

What are the requirements for referral?

Public authorities should submit requests for a report through the public authority portal providing certain information (as summarised in Subsidies and Schemes of Particular Interest | Bevan Brittan LLP).


The thresholds for referral to the CMA are low, and are being exceeded surprisingly often. It is therefore important that public authorities remain alert to the obligations under Section 52(1) of the Act. To assist public authorities in preparing a request for a mandatory or voluntary referral to the SAU, the SAU will engage in pre-referral discussions. We recommend engaging in pre-referral discussions to get early feedback, which in turn should increase the chance of the referral being accepted quickly.

Our Subsidy Control Team is happy to support public authorities completing the referral process. Please get in contact with Bethan LloydSally StoneIsobel Williams or Edward Reynolds for an initial discussion about how we could do so.

Publications & Guidance

Government publishes response to Committee’s Integrated Care Systems report

UK Parliament | 14 June 2023

The Government Response to the Committee’s report, Integrated Care Systems: autonomy and accountability, has been published by the Department of Health and Social Care. It also sets out its response to recommendations made in the Hewitt Review, commissioned by the Government.

LGA launches Sector Support Programme 2023/24

Local Government Association | 14 June 2023

The Local Government Association has launched its Sector Support Programme for 2023/24 to provide councils with the tools and support they need to deliver vital local services to communities, while helping to address challenges, drive forward change and improvement.

Supporting children and young people in the youth justice system

Local Government Association | 9 June 2023

These case studies explore the different ways that local authorities are supporting children in the youth justice system, keep them safe and stop offending behaviours.

Local government financial statistics England 2023

Department of Health and Social Care | 5 June 2023

A compendium publication providing an overview of local government finance data covering the five years up to 2021-22 collected by DLUHC.

New report sets out how councils can embrace new technology

County Councils Network | 5 June 2023

The County Councils Network (CCN) has partnered with BT to publish a new report, which sets out how local authorities can embrace and deploy new technology that has come to the fore over the last few years.

National framework for NHS continuing healthcare and NHS-funded nursing care

Department of Health and Social Care | 5 June 2023

The national framework for NHS continuing healthcare and NHS-funded nursing care has been updated. The DHSC has updated paragraph 59 of the framework, clarifying circumstances in which someone would not be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare for nursing or other health services required.

Sexual health: How councils are driving innovation through partnership working

Local Government Association | 2 June 2023

These case studies highlight the varied ways councils are working with trusted partners to help communities access sexual and reproductive health services.

How can local areas ‘design out’ severe hardship? A new framework

New Local | 1 June 2023

Between 2002/03 and 2019/20, the number of people in very deep poverty (those with below 40% of median income after housing costs) rose by a fifth, from 4.7 million to 6.5 million.

New Local has been working with The Joseph Rowntree Foundation to explore local approaches to tackling poverty and to understand what would be needed to galvanise and deliver on a mission to ‘design out’ the most severe forms of hardship in a local area. The idea of ‘designing out’ poverty may sound ambitious, but it is a statement of intent – asking what it would look like for a local area to do everything it can to ensure no one experiences the most severe forms of hardship.

Drawing on the insights and experiences of everyone who participated in this project, we have developed a framework to support local areas to make progress towards designing out the most severe forms of hardship.

Read the report in full here.

Care Act 2014: supporting implementation

Department of Health and Social Care | 1 June 2023

The care and support statutory guidance has been updated. Paragraph 17.73 of the guidance has been updated to reflect that section 72 of the Care Act 2014 (CA 2014), which introduces an appeals system for reviewing care and support decisions made by local authorities, has not yet come into effect and remains under review.

RSH reports on financial trends in the social housing sector

Regulator of Social Housing | 1 June 2023

The report shows that providers face substantial pressures and continue to operate within a very challenging and fast-moving economic environment.

Local government finances

House of Commons Library | 17 May 2023

Local authorities in England spent £107bn in 2021/22. This briefing looks at the funding that local authorities receive from central government, and where and how they spend it.

Local action towards a smoke-free future

Local Government Association | 18 May 2023

These case studies describe the efforts of local councils across England to improve health and wellbeing through tackling smoking.

Guidance to support digital transformation of social care

Department of Health and Social Care | 17 May 2023

The What Good Looks Like framework and digital skills framework will support staff, providers and local authorities to benefit from new technology.

County areas see a surge in adult obesity, as new report highlights how councils are tackling the challenge

County Councils Network | 15 May 2023

The number of adults in England’s county areas who are overweight or obese has increased by 1.1m in county and rural areas since 2015, new analysis from the County Councils Network reveals.


Councils warn of 'trauma' for evicted refugees

The MJ | 12 June 2023

Council leaders have warned of heaping more ‘trauma’ onto Afghan refugees by evicting them from hotels with nowhere else to stay.

Ukrainian families supported into own homes with £150m funding

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

Funding will be allocated across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, helping support Ukrainian families into their own homes.

Ministers pile pressure on councils amid asylum crisis

The MJ | 8 June 2023

Ministers are piling pressure on concerned councils as the Government pushes ahead with plans to remove Afghan refugees from hotel accommodation.

Cross-government action announced to champion carers

Department of Health and Social Care | 7 June 2023

Minister for Care, Helen Whately, held a reception at No 10 and announced a cross-government roundtable to meet the needs of carers in all aspects of their lives.

AMHP Leads Network concern at Met Police rollout of “Right Care Right Person” model amid reports of misinterpretation of policy

Local Government Lawyer | 7 June 2023

The Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) Leads Network has said that while supportive of the “main aims” of the ‘Right Care, Right Person’ approach announced by Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, it is concerned at the speed in which the Met is “unilaterally intending to act”.

Successful NHS programme to recruit care volunteers

Department of Health and Social Care | 7 June 2023

The government is expanding the NHS Volunteer Responders programme into social care.

Call for Government to share more data with councils

The MJ | 5 June 2023

Councils are struggling to reach households hit by the cost of living crisis due to the Government’s failure to share its data with local authorities.

Over one million NHS staff to receive pay rises

Department of Health and Social Care | 1 June 2023

Eligible workers on the Agenda for Change contract, which includes nurses, paramedics and 999 call handlers, will receive the pay rise, backdated to April.

Outsourcing children’s care linked to worse outcomes

The MJ | 30 May 2023

Children in care are being moved between short-term, unstable placements far away from their families because of a ‘corporate takeover’ of the sector, a study has said.

Questions raised over asylum hotels pledge

The MJ | 25 May 2023

Senior council figures have questioned whether Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to end the use of asylum hotels is deliverable.

Councils call for Full Dispersal clarity

The MJ | 18 May 2023

Home Office officials this week insisted the department’s Full Dispersal asylum policy was ‘well underway’ despite many councils remaining unaware of local targets.

Government invites views on tackling major conditions in England

Department of Health and Social Care | 17 May 2023

The major conditions call for evidence has been launched for views on how best to prevent, diagnose, treat and manage the six major conditions.

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Place & Growth

PFAS: The Next Asbestos?

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of synthetic, fluorinated organic chemicals which have been used in large-scale production since the 1940s. Due to their strong carbon-fluorine bond, PFAS can withstand high temperatures and are extremely durable. PFAS have been dubbed “forever chemicals” as they often take over a decade to degrade. 

In March 2023, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as the Agency for UK REACH and supported by the Environment Agency, published a document which raises concerns about the human health risks of exposure to PFAS after studies detected PFAS in human blood samples.

Uses of PFAS

In addition to being able to withstand high temperatures and resist chemical attacks, certain PFAS are also oil and water repellent. Due to these desirable such as thermal insulation and fluoropolymer tubing.

Exposure to PFAS

Research suggests that exposure to PFAS from dermal absorption is typically much lower than if inhaled or ingested. For the general public, this could mean drinking water which has been contaminated with PFAS because it is extremely challenging for water treatment plants to remove these chemicals.

Workers involved in making or processing PFAS-containing materials are at a higher risk of exposure than others.

Recent studies suggest that PFAS exposure could have the following health impacts: 

  • Increased risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Accelerated reproductive aging in women
  • Increased risk of certain cancers such as kidney or testicular cancer
  • Decreased vaccine response in children
  • Changes in liver enzymes

It is important to note that different types of PFAS will have varying effects on different people and ultimately further research is needed in this area.

Disposal of PFAS

HSE highlights a number of ways which PFAS may be exposed to the environment during disposal, eg. in landfill, by wastewater discharge or sludge spreading to agricultural land.

The Environment Agency recommends disposal through waste-to-energy installations (incinerators) as this is the only way to ensure that PFAS are destroyed.

Regulation of PFAS

HSE references the difficulty in the regulation of PFAS because there is no globally adopted definition, and information on supply volumes and uses in British industry is limited. Existing regulations apply to specific PFAS, such as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) under the UN Stockholm Convention and F-gases under the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2015.

General regulations also apply to conditions for workers exposed to toxic chemicals and the general public, eg. minimum food and water quality standards; however, PFAS are not specifically referenced in any of these regulations.

The health concerns of PFAS has not gone unnoticed as five European Member countries are in the process of creating a joint REACH restriction proposal and the European Commission has included phasing out of all PFAS in non-essential uses in its Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability in 2020. Other countries have also introduced regulations relating to PFAS such as Canada, Australia, Japan and China.

Although there are measures in place, the HSE has criticised the UK regulation of PFAS for being piecemeal: there are large gaps in regulation for consumer exposure and environmental control.

Practical Points

Although there is currently no Workplace Exposure Limit (WEL for PFAS under the COSHH Regulations, employers have a duty to reduce exposure to a level as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP) for substances classified as carcinogens. Many PFAS have been shown to have carcinogenic properties, so as a precaution it would be advisable for employers to limit exposure to ALARP.

HSE suggests a number of regulatory reforms such as a UK REACH restriction on PFAS and voluntary initiatives could be introduced to support this. Such initiatives would raise awareness of the issue and ultimately reduce PFAS emissions. To be proactive, a company could identify products containing PFAS and implement measures to increase collection, reuse and recycling of these materials.

It may be appropriate in certain industries to use alternative materials with similar properties to PFAS to mitigate the risk of exposure; however, this may not be possible for complex industrial applications and alternatives may be less cost-effective. HSE also warn that alternatives should only be used if they are safe: some alternatives may be unregulated and could come with new, and potentially worse, health risks.

For further help and advice on health and safety issues, please contact Louise Mansfield or Louise Ducasse.


Renters (Reform) Bill

UK Parliament | 17 May 2023

A Bill to make provision changing the law about rented homes, including provision abolishing fixed term assured tenancies and assured shorthold tenancies; imposing obligations on landlords and others in relation to rented homes and temporary and supported accommodation; and for connected purposes. The Bill was introduced on 17 May 2023. Read LGA’s statement here: Renters’ Reform Bill: LGA statement | Local Government Association.

The Building etc. (Amendment) Regulations 2023: circular 01/2023

Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 12 May 2023

This circular and accompanying letter draw attention to the publication of the Building etc. (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2023.

Publications & Guidance

Grenfell Tower site update June 2023

Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 9 June 2023

A summary of current activity at the Grenfell Tower site.

Active Travel in England

National Audit Office | 7 June 2023

It is six years since DfT published its first Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy in 2017 and two years remain in the current funding period, to March 2025. This report examines whether DfT is set up to achieve its ambitions for increased walking, wheeling and cycling in England by 2025. We have assessed:

  • DfT’s strategic approach to active travel
  • progress made against DfT’s objectives for active travel since 2017
  • progress in tackling the barriers to uptake of active travel

Local Authority Housing Fund

Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 7 June 2023

Information on the Local Authority Housing Fund.

Building regulations and safety

House of Commons Library | 6 June 2023

This briefing discusses building regulations and standards for building safety as well as the government's response to the Grenfell Tower fire.

Government launches new drive to support rural communities

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs | 6 June 2023

Communities and businesses in the most remote areas will benefit from better access to wireless networks thanks to plans announced as part of the government’s wider drive to grow the rural economy. Read about the plans here: Unleashing rural opportunity.

New Hospital Programme – media fact sheet

Department of Health and Social Care Media Centre | 25 May 2023

This fact sheet sets out the latest on the government’s New Hospital Programme, following the announcement that five hospitals constructed mostly using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) will be rebuilt by 2030 as part of the New Hospital Programme - protecting patients and staff safety, expected to be backed by over £20bn of investment in hospital infrastructure.

Ombudsman brands Knowledge and Information Management as ‘closest thing to a silver bullet’ for social housing

Housing Ombudsman | 23 May 2023

The Ombudsman has released 21 recommendations on Knowledge and Information Management as part of its latest Spotlight report, as casework evidence shows the significant issues landlords are having.

Good growth - Government & public sector

PwC UK | 23 May 2023

The Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities report looks at how the radical reshaping of public and private sector roles would help our cities respond to current challenges, while at the same time steer us towards growth and genuine levelling up.

Supporting the integration of Local Enterprise Partnerships

Local Government Association | 23 May 2023

The Local Government Association (LGA) commissioned Shared Intelligence (Si) to provide support for councils and combined authorities undertaking Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) integration and to share good practice and learning.

Tackling the under-supply of housing in England

House of Commons Library | 19 May 2023

This paper covers trends in housing supply and barriers and potential solutions to delivering more homes in England.

Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund statistics: May 2023

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero | 18 May 2023

Data to monitor the installation of energy efficiency measures in domestic properties via the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund (SHDF) scheme in England.

Permitted development rights: response to the Select Committee report

Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 18 May 2023

The government response to the recommendations of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Select Committee following their inquiry on permitted development rights.

New plan maps our vision for the future of the Strategic Road Network

National Highways | 17 May 2023

National Highways have published new proposals for England’s motorways and major A-roads. They're part of our plans to connect the country and grow the economy in an environmentally sustainable way.

Homes England strategic plan 2023 to 2028

Homes England | 16 May 2023

Our plan for how we'll drive regeneration and housing delivery to create high-quality homes and thriving places.

It’s time for construction to go full circle – WorldGBC launches groundbreaking Circular Built Environment Playbook to advance regenerative built environments

World Green Building Council | 10 May 2023

World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and its network of over 75 Green Building Councils have launched the Circular Built Environment Playbook  a critical guide for the building and construction sector around the world to accelerate the adoption of circular economy and resource efficiency principles.

Statutory homelessness in England: October to December 2022

Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 10 May 2023

Official statistics on statutory homelessness applications, duties, and outcomes for local authorities in England.

Investigation into supported housing

National Audit Office | 10 May 2023

This investigation sets out the facts on how the supported housing system in England works and government oversight of the sector. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC), and the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) are both involved with supported housing. The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) is also involved. Local authorities are responsible for managing the system within their areas. Read LGA’s response here: Exploiting social housing has detrimental impact on people’s lives – LGA responds to NAO report on supported housing.

Ombudsman highlights good practice decisions to promote positive learning

Housing Ombudsman | 5 May 2023

In the first of a monthly series, the Ombudsman has used a selection of good practice cases it has seen in the past month to share where other landlords can improve their services.

Car parking charges and use of parking apps – Government responds to Levelling Up Committee questions

UK Parliament | 3 May 2023

The Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee has published a response from Transport and Levelling-Up Ministers (dated 17 April) to Committee correspondence on a series of car parking issues, including the Government’s Private Parking Code of Practice, the National Parking Platform, and concerns that some motorists are being digitally excluded from the phasing out of pay-as-you-go parking meters.

Clive Betts, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, wrote to Transport and Levelling-Up Ministers with questions on 29 March.


Business Rates Improvement Relief: Draft regulations

Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 5 June 2023

Improvement Relief will support businesses wishing to invest in their property. It will ensure that no ratepayer will face higher business rates bills for 12 months as a result of qualifying improvements to a property they occupy. The Non-Domestic Rating Bill currently before Parliament contains powers to allow for the Improvement Relief Scheme.

This consultation seeks views on the draft regulations the government proposes to make under the powers in that Bill. This consultation closes at 11:59 pm on 28 August 2023.

Helping kids and families living with alcohol-dependent parents

Department of Health and Social Care | 1 June 2023

A government-backed programme has delivered improved quality of life for families affected by alcohol misuse, with children better able to access support and alcohol dependent parents encouraged to seek treatment, according to an independent evaluation.

‘Untapped potential’ of commercial buildings could revolutionise UK solar power

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero | 26 May 2023

Schools, warehouses and car parks could be at the forefront of a revolution in affordable solar power, under plans discussed at the first meeting of the government’s new Solar Taskforce.

£72m boost for train services in Manchester and the north

Department for Transport | 25 May 2023

This package will improve the passenger experience by having more reliable trains and fewer delays.

£165m fund launched to transform local skills

Department of Education | 24 May 2023

Local communities across the country are set to benefit from a share of £165m to transform skills training in their area and help get more people into jobs closer to home.

Over £450m investment to improve school buildings

Department of Education | 22 May 2023

859 academies, sixth-form colleges and voluntary-aided schools will receive funding to improve their school buildings.

Thousands to benefit from low-cost heat in push to drive down energy bills

Department for Energy Security and Net Zero | 18 May 2023

The UK’s first system drawing heat from deep underground to provide low-cost heating for nearly 4,000 homes is one of seven innovative projects backed by government funding.

Government extends £2 bus fare cap and protects vital services

Department for Transport | 17 May 2023

Millions of passengers across England will continue to ‘Get Around for £2’ and access vital bus services thanks to £500m in government funding, supporting people with the cost of living and ensuring long-term stability in the sector.

Taskforce to transform older people's housing underway

Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 16 May 2023

Older People’s Housing Taskforce launched at Grace House in St John’s Wood.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (Asylum-Seeker Accommodation)(England) Regulations 2023, House of Lords, 16 May 2023

Local Government Association | 16 May 2023

Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMO) licensing requirements sets out the national minimum standards that HMO accommodation must meet to ensure the safety and quality of accommodation.

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Governance & Reorganisation

Devolution – tier three mayoral models under scrutiny

In our February 2023 edition of LA View we stated that the Levelling Up Agenda would be “set to occupy headlines for 2023” and it has indeed been a topic of discussion this month, with Michael Gove (the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) voicing his acknowledgement that the tier three mayoral model is not ideal for all areas.

The government’s policy on devolution was set out in its levelling up white paper, published in 2021, which provided a devolution framework under which areas could choose from three tiers all with different powers available. A tier three deal would see an area with a directly elected mayor, or in some cases a directly elected leader, depending on the powers sought. This was supplemented by an English devolution accountability framework in March 2023 to codify accountability in mayoral combined authorities and to “safeguard against unethical behaviour, inadequate performance and poor value for money… by placing a focus on transparency and scrutiny”.

However, reception to the government’s policy has been lukewarm. Whilst speaking at the Local Government Association’s councillors’ forum, Michael Gove said while he is a “big fan” of the mayoral model, he also recognised that “in a country like England” there are “different approaches that are required”.

Cornwall has now scrapped its pursuit of a tier three deal after public consultation, and is pursuing a tier two deal instead. Additionally, the results of Norfolk CC’s public consultation on the deal revealed that only half of residents support a potential directly elected leader model, and there is continuing disquiet amongst district councils in the area.

Despite this, mayoral deals have been described as “the only game in town” for areas seeking devolution by the leader of Hull City Council.

Although nothing is ever certain in politics, it would seem that the devolution and levelling up agenda will continue to be a key issue for many local authorities in the coming months, and it will certainly be interesting to see what the landscape looks like this time next year.

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


Elections Act: postal and proxy voting safeguards

The draft statutory instrument “The Representation of the People (Postal and Proxy Voting etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2023” has been published with an accompanying explanatory memorandum.

Ballot Secrecy Act 2023

This Act makes provision for ensuring the secrecy of ballots cast in polling stations at elections, and for connected purposes. This Act came into force partly on 2 May 2023, and comes into force fully on such day or days as the Secretary of State may, by Regulations, appoint.

Publications & Guidance

Elections Act: postal and proxy voting safeguards

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 23 May 2023

The Representation of The People (Postal And Proxy Voting Etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2023.

Councillor workbook – Being an effective ward councillor

Local Government Association | 23 May 2023

There are many aspects to being an effective ward or division councillor. This workbook will help you to get up to speed on the main areas that require focus and attention.

Showcasing the value of democratic engagement in civil resilience: A collection of case studies

Local Government Association | 4 May 2023

This publication highlights a collection of case studies produced to illustrate the significant benefits that can be achieved through the engagement of elected representatives in civil resilience activities.

Supporting transition to ‘no overall control’ – a 30-step framework

Local Government Association | 2 May 2023

Developed by Dr Stephanie Snape, this 30-step framework explores the role of the chief executive in supporting a transition to 'no overall control' (NOC) and successful NOC working.

ICO launches FOI toolkit topic to help public bodies deal with vexatious requests

Information Commissioner’s Office | 25 April 2023

Continuing with its commitment to improving freedom of information (FOI) services, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched the third topic in its FOI toolkit to enable public authorities to self-assess how they deal with vexatious requests.

The FOI Act includes a provision that does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the request is vexatious. That means whether an information request is likely to cause a disproportionate or unjustified level of disruption, irritation or distress.


Consequences would be 'unfair' for late accounts submission

The MJ | 13 June 2023

Introducing consequences for councils that fail to publish their accounts by the end of May deadline would be unfair, local government finance experts have argued.

Ministers using disappearing WhatsApp messages could face criminal sanctions: Information Commissioner

Local Government Lawyer | 8 June 2023

Ministers who fail to maintain a record or destroy a record of conversations conducted on WhatsApp could risk criminal sanctions, the Information Commissioner has told MPs.

Government announces panel for review into Teesworks Joint Venture

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities | 7 June 2023

Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove has appointed a panel to carry out an independent assurance review into the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s oversight of the South Tees Development Corporation and Teesworks Joint Venture.

Auditors should push ahead with accounts sign off, says NAO head

The MJ | 6 June 2023

‘Unpalatable but necessary options’ should be considered to clear the local audit backlog, the head of the National Audit Office suggested yesterday.

LGA response: CIPFA Survey – “Impact of the Move to Improve the Reporting of Infrastructure Assets including a (possible) move to a Depreciated Replacement Cost Measurement Basis”

Local Government Association | 6 June 2023

This response has been cleared by the leading members of the LGA’s Resources Board.

Investigation finds councillor breached code of conduct at planning committee, appeared to have predetermined view

Local Government Lawyer | 26 May 2023

A West Northamptonshire councillor breached the code of conduct by forcefully intervening at a planning committee meeting and appeared to have predetermined his view, an investigation has found.

AI brings potentially huge benefits to the public sector but we need clear standards and greater transparency

Committee on Standards in Public Life | 25 May 2023

Chat GPT and other AI tools are starting to transform our interactions with a range of organisations, including in the public sector. The benefits and risks involved were highlighted in the media recently by educationalists concerned about the lack of advice for schools on handling developments in AI.

LGA starts discussions on assurance framework for local government

Local Government Association | 24 May 2023

The LGA has begun to work with the sector, professional associations, and other groups to map the different elements which currently provide assurance of the performance of local government, in the interests of clarity and transparency and to help understanding of how they all fit together.

New checks on postal and proxy voting announced

The MJ | 24 May 2023

Further checks to ensure there is no fraud when people vote by post or proxy could soon be introduced, according to the Government.

Surveillance watchdog alarmed at lack of awareness among councils over CCTV equipment and human rights concerns

Local Government Lawyer | 24 May 2023

The Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner has said he is alarmed by the number of local authorities unaware of the camera equipment they use and whether they should be concerned about human rights issues associated with the equipment.

Tribunal dismisses councillor appeal over request to see legal advice obtained by own authority

Local Government Lawyer | 22 May 2023

The First-Tier Tribunal has concluded that the public interest in disclosure did not outweigh legal professional privilege to justify fulfilling a councillor's FOI request to see legal advice obtained by her own local authority, Hughenden Parish Council.

Audit backlog will slow account simplification work

The MJ | 6 June 2023

Changes to simplify council accounts will not be implemented in the short-term due to a lack of capacity in the sector, a member of the leadership team at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has said.

Court of Appeal finds Ombudsman decision to withdraw report was unlawful, but dismisses appeal by developer

Local Government Lawyer | 19 May 2023

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a developer's appeal concerning whether the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman had the power to withdraw a final report into Tewkesbury Borough Council's refusal to waive a planning fee, re-open its investigation and then issue a second final report in favour of the council. Read the judgment here: Piffs Elm Ltd, R (on the application of) v Commission for Local Administration in England & Anor [2023] EWCA Civ 486.

ICAEW calls for investment risk rule review

The MJ | 18 May 2023

A professional accountancy body has called for the rules that prevent councils from diversifying their investment risk to be revisited.

Council that found 864 uncounted postal votes after declaring result refers mishap to Electoral Commission

Local Government Lawyer | 16 May 2023

North Lincolnshire Council has referred a ward's local election result to the Electoral Commission after finding more than 850 uncounted postal votes after the result was declared.

One in 100 turned away due to voter ID

The MJ | 16 May 2023

One in 100 were unable to vote up after turning up at polling stations without valid ID, election observers have estimated.

Audit body in respect call amid tensions

The MJ | 16 May 2023

The organisation responsible for appointing local government auditors has urged ‘everyone to act with appropriate professional respect’ amid tensions between councils and firms.

New audit framework within weeks

The MJ | 16 May 2023

A new framework to bolster local government audit will be brought forward within weeks.

Levelling-Up Committee begins local audit inquiry

UK Parliament | 11 May 2023

On Monday 15 May, the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee holds the first evidence session of its inquiry into financial reporting and audit in local authorities.

Elections watchdog to conduct analysis of implementation of voter ID

Local Government Lawyer | 5 May 2023

The Electoral Commission has revealed it will conduct a ‘full report’ on the May 2023 local elections, which will analyse the impact of the voter ID requirement.

Council leader hits out after being cleared of electoral malpractice

Local Government Lawyer | 3 May 2023

The Leader of Warrington Borough Council, Cllr Russ Bowden, has been unanimously cleared this week (2 May) of allegations of electoral malpractice.

Independent review suggests developer had access to confidential council information, recommends council remind members and officers on confidentiality

Local Government Lawyer | 3 May 2023

An independent review into a series of property transactions that raised alarms at Haringey Council has recommended the council remind officers and members not to pass confidential information on to third parties, after hearing reports that a developer was partial to information that was not publicly known.

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Contract Management

Updates to the Commercial Playbooks

The Cabinet Office produces Commercial Playbooks and accompanying Guidance Notes for commercial teams in order to improve decision-making and ensure the assessment, procurement and management of public services delivers better outcomes and value for money for the public. The Playbooks aim to change how Government and the Public Sector more widely, approaches risk, sustainability and innovation across portfolios of projects and programmes, with the goal of creating productive, profitable, sustainable and resilient sectors.

There are currently four Playbooks: Sourcing, Consultancy, Construction and Digital Data and Technology. Procurement Policy Note 06/23 was published this month following a refresh of the content of the Playbooks.

The PPN applies to all Central Government, their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies. However, the Playbooks and their associated guidance are considered good practice and other public sector organisations are encouraged to take the Playbooks into account as part of their commercial activities.

Version four of the Sourcing Playbook builds on previous iterations but provides refreshed and refined content on a number of areas including TUPE, how to deal with inflation, including Contract Indexation, Financial Viability Assessments and how to make the Playbook more accessible to Local Government and Wider Public Sector colleagues.

For further advice on this topic, please contact Liz Fletcher.


Common Procurement Vocabulary (Amendment) Regulations 2023

These Regulations amend Regulation (EC) No. 2195/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 November 2002 on the Common Procurement Vocabulary by changing references to "handicapped" in the Regulation to "disabled", as the current wording in the UK's Common Procurement Vocabulary codes is not in line with the language of the Equality Act 2010. The Regulations come into force on 29 June 2023.

The Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2023

These Regulations make amendments to various United Kingdom public procurement regulations for the purpose of implementing two free trade agreements entered into by the United Kingdom (“the FTAs”), one with Australia (“the UK-Australia FTA”) and the other with New Zealand. The Regulations came into force 25 May 2023.

Publications & Guidance

Procurement Bill: Progress of the Bill

House of Commons Library | 12 June 2023 

The Procurement Bill would reform the way public authorities purchase goods, services and public works. This briefing has been prepared ahead of the Bill’s report stage in the House of Commons, scheduled for 13 June 2023.

PPN 05/23: Implementing new Free Trade Agreements

Cabinet Office | 25 May 2023

This Procurement Policy Note sets out changes to public procurement obligations arising out of the UK’s new Free Trade Agreements with Australia & New Zealand.


Procurement Bill strengthened to protect national security

Cabinet Office | 7 June 2023

Stepped up measures to protect national security in government contracts are to be brought forward, the government has announced.

We will protect national security through a strengthened procurement regime

Cabinet Office | 7 June 2023

Opinion article originally published in the Times Red Box on Wednesday 7 June 2023.

NHS trusts could pull out of council contracts amid pay ambiguity

Public Finance | 30 May 2023

Public health services are at risk unless the government fully funds the NHS pay offer for contracted services, leaders have warned.

Councils complain to ICO after cyber attack at Capita

Local Government Lawyer | 25 May 2023

Councils affected by a £20m cyber attack at contractor Capita have complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

New specialist fraud squad to help departments prevent fraud in public services

Cabinet Office | 24 May 2023

A new team of experts will surge into departments to help prevent fraud in public services. The team, which started work on 24 May, is the latest tool in the government’s £1bn crackdown on fraud against the public sector, led by the Public Sector Fraud Authority.

Combined authority concedes procurement proceedings over approach to late tender response

Local Government Lawyer | 19 May 2023

A combined authority has conceded procurement proceedings over a £300m helicopters contract and agreed to pay the claimant's costs in a dispute over its decision to refuse a late tender response.

Judicial clarification on procurement rules regarding the modification of public contracts

Bevan Brittan LLP | 19 June 2023

The recent case of James Waste Management LLP v Essex County Council [2023] EWHC 1157 (TCC) deals with restrictions on the ability of contracting authorities to make changes to public contracts and adds some more colour to the question of how the tests in Regulation 72 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (‘PCR’) should be applied.

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Disputes & Regulatory Support

James Waste Management LLP v Essex County Council: judicial clarification on procurement rules regarding the modification of public contracts

The restrictions on the ability of contracting authorities to make changes to public contracts are well known to all procurement practitioners, but to date there has been relatively limited judicial time spent on the issue. The recent case of James Waste Management LLP v Essex County Council [2023] EWHC 1157 (TCC) deals with this issue and adds some more colour to the question of how the tests in Regulation 72 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 should be applied.

In this case, James Waste Management LLP challenged the lawfulness of a modification to a contract between Essex County Council and Veolia ES (UK) Ltd concerning Integrated Waste Handling.

While the facts of the case are quite complex, the judgment is useful reading for local authority lawyers and procurement practitioners. The Council had relied on PCR 72(1)(e) to make the variation – ie. on the basis that in its view the variation was not “substantial”. The Judge systematically went through the definitions of when a change might be substantial and concluded on the basis of the specific facts that in this case it was not, such that the Council was able to make the change. While every case will depend on its specific facts, it is notable that:

  • The short-term nature of the change (five months) appeared relevant to the Judge’s conclusions;
  • The increased payment made under the contract did not shift the economic balance but instead simply amounted to “reasonable compensation” for the additional requirement; and
  • An extension that extended the scope of the contract was not necessarily “considerable” simply because it was worth more than the relevant PCR threshold.

In addition, the Judge looked at whether a general contract change mechanism in the contract amounted a “clear, precise and unequivocal review clause” under PCR 72(1)(a) and concluded that it did not.

Publications & Guidance

Civil justice statistics quarterly: January to March 2023

Ministry of Justice | 1 June 2023

Volume of civil and judicial review cases dealt with by the courts over time and the overall timeliness of these cases. Also includes annual data on activity in the Royal Courts of Justice. Local Government Lawyer’s coverage: Latest data on civil claims demonstrate “how badly justice has declined”, consumer justice organisation says.

Lessons learned: How to deliver regulation locally

National Audit Office | 26 May 2023 

This report brings together our learning and identifies eight areas for government departments and national regulators to consider when designing, delivering and improving regulation involving local regulatory delivery. It is of relevance to both government departments and national regulators.

Legal Aid Means Test Review

Ministry of Justice | 25 May 2023

This is the government’s response to the legal aid means test review consultation which ran from 15 March to 7 June 2022.

This response outlines the government’s proposals which aim to align civil and criminal legal aid more closely through a four-phase implementation plan.This response provides a summary of the consultation questions and the responses received, as well as a detailed government response, policy proposals for each theme and specific questions raised in the consultation.


News focus: Holistic vision for online dispute resolution

Law Gazette | 13 June 2023

In outlining his ‘funnel’ plan of online dispute resolution to MPs, Sir Geoffrey Vos envisages a streamlined system whereby only disputes of high value and complexity would reach court.

New Online Procedure Rule Committee launched

Ministry of Justice | 12 June 2023

The Ministry of Justice has launched a new Online Procedure Rule Committee to help guide judges, legal representatives and litigants through online court procedures.

Judgment reserved in council appeal in asylum seeker airfield dispute

Local Government Lawyer | 12 June 2023

The Court of Appeal has reserved judgment in Braintree District Council's appeal of the High Court's decision to reject an interim injunction blocking the Home Office from placing asylum seekers on Wethersfield airfield.

SEND appeals system at breaking point, lawyers warn

Law Gazette | 13 June 2023

Lawyers have warned that the education appeals system is at breaking point amid a sharp rise in the outstanding caseload. Figures released through a Gazette freedom of information request show the backlog of SEND (special educational needs and disability) appeals leapt by 38% this year to 5,450.

LiP presents false citations to court after asking ChatGPT

Law Gazette | 13 June 2023

A litigant in person tried to present fictitious submissions in court based on answers provided by the ChatGPT chatbot, the Gazette has learned.

Court of Appeal grants local resident permission to intervene in airfield asylum planning appeal

Local Government Lawyer | 8 June 2023

The Court of Appeal has granted a local resident permission to intervene in Braintree District Council's planning appeal of the Home Office's scheme to accommodate asylum seekers on a disused airfield.

Council rules out legal action over Home Office plans to accommodate asylum seekers on barge

Local Government Lawyer | 8 June 2023

Dorset Council has ruled out legal action over a Home Office plan to house asylum seekers on a barge on the Isle of Portland after reviewing specialist legal advice and "the experience other councils have had across the country".

Council fails in Supreme Court appeal over business rates and gym operated by charity

Local Government Lawyer | 7 June 2023

The London Borough of Merton has lost a Supreme Court case over whether a private members’ gym owned by a charity qualified for charitable rates relief.

Further legal challenges allowed to London ULEZ scheme

Public Finance | 30 May 2023

London’s mayor faces more legal woes after fresh grounds granted in ULEZ challenge.

Inquiry update: New investigations announced - UK Covid-19 Inquiry

UK Covid-19 Inquiry | 30 May 2023

The Chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, Baroness Hallett, has set out plans to open three further investigations in 2023 and confirmed she aims to conclude public hearings by summer 2026.

The power to withdraw under scrutiny in the Court of Appeal

Local Government Lawyer | 26 May 2023

In a judgment handed down on 10 May 2023, the Court of Appeal held that the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman did not have a power to withdraw a report issued on completion of his investigation. Amy Tschobotko and Jason Tandy consider below the implications of the judgment for public bodies when discharging their functions, including when carrying out reviews and responding to legal challenges.

Access to vital legal support extended to millions of vulnerable people

Ministry of Justice | 25 May 2023

Over six million more people now eligible for legal aid advice and representation.

Replacing experts and the risks of expert shopping

Local Government Lawyer | 19 May 2023

The Technology and Construction Court (TCC) recently considered an application to replace two experts. Judith Hopper looks at the lessons to be learned.

Court of Appeal overturns judgment on use of appeal planning officers

Local Government Lawyer | 19 May 2023

In Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities v Smith & Anor [2023] EWCA Civ 514, the Court of Appeal has allowed an appeal over a High Court ruling that found the Planning Inspectorate's model of employing appeal planning officers in aiding determination of certain planning appeals was unlawful.

Deputy High Court judge grants permission for challenge to age assessment

Local Government Lawyer | 17 May 2023

A claimant, who contends he is 17 years old, has been granted permission to apply for judicial review in relation to an alleged “flawed” age assessment conducted by Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council.

London borough facing judicial review over amendment to outline planning permission ahead of next phase of major estate redevelopment

Local Government Lawyer | 16 May 2023

The Public Law Interest Centre has issued a judicial review claim on behalf of a resident of a South London estate, arguing that the London Borough of Southwark's approach towards its redevelopment subverts a Supreme Court ruling.

Thousands more can apply to become judges under plans to expand diversity

Ministry of Justice | 11 May 2023

New rules will see up to 4,500 more lawyers from diverse backgrounds eligible to become judges under plans announced by the government.

Judge criticises fundamental errors in childcare case after earlier ruling ignored

Local Government Lawyer | 5 May 2023

Her Honour Judge Madeleine Reardon has highlighted “fundamental errors” made in the preparation and presentation of a childcare case, in which a previous judgment given by the court was “completely ignored”.

Council defeats High Court challenge to enforcement notice

Local Government Lawyer | 4 May 2023

Luton Borough Council has defeated a developer’s challenge to a planning enforcement notice in the High Court.

Integrated Care Board makes U-turn on autism assessment criteria changes after legal threat

Local Government Lawyer | 3 May 2023

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board (ICB) has announced it will be reversing changes to its autism assessment criteria, after a letter before claim was sent by a parent-carer-led campaign group.

Lincolnshire district council formally launches legal challenge to Home Office plan to house asylum seekers at RAF base

Local Government Lawyer | 2 May 2023

West Lindsey District Council has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of the Home Office’s decision to use the RAF Scampton base as a site for accommodating asylum seekers.

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Resources Library

All Bevan Brittan articles and news

Employment Eye June 2023
Connecting Women in District Heat
Public Procurement: Changes to UK procurement legislation following Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreements
Subsidies and Schemes of Particular Interest
New Consultation Launched into the McCloud Remedy and the Local Government Pension Scheme
Continuing nuisance – it grows on you – Impact of the Supreme Court ruling in Jalla & Others v Shell international trading and shipping & another on JKW / Subsidence

The Renters (Reform) Bill – Spotlight Series

Spotlight on: rent controls, tenant redress, regulation of landlords…and pets
Spotlight on: Tenancy structure reform and the abolition of S21 ‘no fault’ evictions
Spotlight on: Supported and Temporary Accommodation
Spotlight on: New grounds for possession
Spotlight on: an overview of the Renters Reform Bill


Have you registered for…

11 July
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Children and Young People: Placement and Restrictive Support Packages

13 July
12:30 – 1:30 pm
In discussion: harassment in health and social care services

20 July
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Practical and Legal Guidance for Assessing Capacity

All forthcoming webinars

On Demand

Eating disorders and disordered eating: treating the body and the mind
What is the inherent jurisdiction for vulnerable adults and when might it apply?
What to do when P won’t engage in a capacity assessment?
What are anticipatory declarations and when might they apply for those whose capacity fluctuates or for vulnerable adults?
Employment Law Update: Springing forward into 2023

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