The 2020 Guidance on Statutory intervention and Localism

Paul Feild examines recent government guidance on statutory intervention into local authorities, and considers what councils should do to avoid it coming to pass. Read more
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  NEWS

Sep 16, 2020

Claimant firms call for more representative panel for review of administrative law

A group of leading claimant law firms has written to the Lord Chancellor to voice concern that the panel members of Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) “are not fully representative of those concerned about the future of judicial review”.
Sep 09, 2020

Review calls for new body to lead local audit framework

An independent review has called for the establishment of a new organisation, the Office of Local Audit and Regulation (OLAR), to act as the system leader for the local audit framework.
Sep 09, 2020

Judicial review panel led by Lord Faulks QC issues call for evidence

The Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) has issued a call for evidence “on how well or effectively judicial review balances the legitimate interest in citizens being able to challenge the lawfulness of executive action with the role of the executive in carrying on the business of government, both locally and centrally”.
Sep 08, 2020

City council shuts loss-making energy company, agrees action plan to address governance failings

The UK's first energy company to be set up and run by a council is to be shut down and its customer base sold to a rival energy supplier, following an audit which found serious governance failings.
Sep 03, 2020

Cabinet votes against trading company proposal despite concerns of monitoring officer over conduct of meeting

Broadland District Council’s Cabinet has voted down a proposal to form a local authority trading company for waste services despite concerns from its monitoring officer about the conduct of the meeting.
Aug 28, 2020

Replacing all district and county councils with unitary authorities “could save £3bn”: report

Merging district and county councils into single unitary councils could save £2.94bn over five years, reduce complexity and maximise economic growth, a study published by the County Councils Network has claimed.
Aug 26, 2020

Ministry publishes guidance for councils on local government income loss scheme

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued guidance for local authorities on how to access the local government income compensation scheme for lost sales, fees and charges as a result of COVID-19.
Aug 19, 2020

LLG calls for introduction of effective sanctions in consultation response on LGA draft Model Code of Conduct

Existing sanctions and those proposed under the Local Government Association’s draft Model Code of Conduct fall below the expectations of complainants, LLG has said.
Aug 18, 2020

LLG reminds members on operation of ‘6 Month Rule’ as lockdown milestone looms

Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) has issued a reminder to its members on the disqualification of councillors under the ‘6 Month Rule’.
Aug 13, 2020

Lack of adequate governance arrangements and “institutional blindness” led to council energy company losing over £34 million, report finds

A public interest report by Grant Thornton has found that Nottingham City Council made a number of failings in the creation and management of its energy company including inadequate governance arrangements and a failure to understand the risks associated with entering the energy business.

  FEATURES AND ANALYSIS

August 07, 2020

LexisNexis Gross Legal Product (GLP) Index: Quantifying legal demand growth and the impact of COVID-19

LexisNexis has built a data model to track growth in demand for legal services – the Gross Legal Product Index, or GLP. The report provides a framework for quantifying the impact of COVID-19 on your sector.
July 23, 2020

The public sector in the new normal

Jenny Dickson sets out five trends that are likely to develop in the public sector in light of the coronavirus - and looks at their possible consequences.
July 02, 2020

New guidance for statutory intervention & inspection

In light of recent issues regarding the financial struggles of local authorities, Mark Heath looks at the new guidance for managing intervention and inspection.
June 26, 2020

Local government contracts and the ultra vires doctrine

In the light of the recent school facility management case invoving the Isle of Wight Council, Rob Hann takes a look at the weapons now available to local government to avoid the ‘horrors’ of ultra vires.
June 26, 2020

The right to lobby councillors: Holborn Studios 2

A High Court judge recently considered the right of local councillors to receive correspondence from the public and to consider it when making decisions. Richard Harwood QC analyses the outcome.
June 15, 2020

The LLG Grapevine 15th June

Deborah Evans, Dennis Hall and Helen McGrath of LLG discuss legal considerations pertaining to the removal of statutes, the draft Model Code of Conduct, the 4th Health Amendment Regulations, procurement - fraud and corruption, PFI assets and contracts, challenges for women lawyers, virtual court hearings and housing possessions.
June 09, 2020

The LLG Grapevine 8th June

Deborah Evans (CEO), Dennis Hall (Bulletin Editor) and Helen McGrath (Head of Public Affairs) from LLG discuss the Seven Principles of Public Life, new school regulations, judicial review, remote meeting case studies, child vaccination disputes, the Commons Briefing on the role of the governments law officers, local lockdown powers and Brexit - remember that?!
June 05, 2020

Elections and the Coronavirus Act 2020

Allison Cook, Public Sector Partner at VWV, talks to specialist in elections law, Mark Heath about the changes to elections introduced under the Coronavirus Act 2020.

  MORE NEWS

Aug 04, 2020

Anti-corruption group report warns on risks to local government planning process

Anti-corruption organisation Transparency International has said research into what could undermine openness in the planning process – and what local authorities were doing to stop this – had revealed some examples of good practice, but that "generally the results make for a worrying read”.
Jul 31, 2020

Government launches review of judicial review process with report expected later this year

The Ministry of Justice has set out the terms of reference for the review of the judicial review process which will consider “whether the right balance is being struck between the rights of citizens to challenge executive decisions and the need for effective and efficient government”.
Jul 31, 2020

LLG issues publication on annual canvas and data sharing with ERO

Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) has issued a document for local authorities on the Annual Canvas and data sharing with the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO).
Jul 29, 2020

Increase in systemic problems sees Ombudsman make 12% more service improvement recommendations in 2019/20

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman made more wider service improvement recommendations to councils in 2019-20 than ever before as it saw increasing systemic problems in people’s complaints.
Jul 20, 2020

Watchdog presses Secretary of State over lack of government response to January 2019 report on local government ethical standards

The Chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL), Lord Evans, has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, asking when it will receive a formal government response to its January 2019 report Local Government Ethical Standards.
Jul 20, 2020

LLG, CIPFA and SOLACE to work together on response to LGA draft model code of conduct, call for monitoring officers to be legally qualified

LLG, CIPFA and SOLACE are to work together on a response to the draft model code of conduct that the Local Government Association (LGA) is currently consulting upon.
Jul 15, 2020

Council says it is unable to remove convicted councillor ahead of sentencing

Wakefield Council has explained to local residents that it is powerless to remove a councillor convicted of sex offences involving children.
Jul 13, 2020

Local governance arrangements “not robust enough”, MPs claim in critical report into commercial property spending sprees

Local governance arrangements are not robust enough with some authorities’ commercial property investments not being properly transparent or subject to adequate scrutiny and challenge, an influential committee of MPs has warned.
Jul 09, 2020

Strategic alliance between Lincolnshire councils under threat of judicial review

A newly created strategic alliance between two councils is under threat after opposing councillors from one authority say they plan a judicial review of the decision.
Jul 06, 2020

Evidence to be passed to prosecutors in investigation of missing £10m loan made by council

Evidence against 30 people investigated over the disappearance of a £10.25m loan made by Northampton Borough Council to a football club will start to be passed to prosecutors in the next two weeks, police have said.
Jun 26, 2020

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman resumes taking new complaints online

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has announced that, after pausing all casework during the COVID-19 crisis, it will be resuming all existing casework and taking on new complaints through its website from next week (29 June).
Jun 26, 2020

Report highlights governance failings at borough council

South Ribble Borough Council has suffered major failings in its governance with auditors having given ‘no assurance’ over two spending areas and criticised legal service procurement.
Jun 24, 2020

Spending watchdog issues guide on financial reporting and management during COVID-19

The National Audit Office (NAO) has warned against any weakening of controls over spending public money as a result of pressures from dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, and has called for attention to possible new opportunities for fraud and error.
Jun 23, 2020

NALC renews calls for power to suspend councillors for up to six months

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has called on the Government to take “urgent action” to introduce a power for local authorities to suspend councillors for up to six months.
Jun 19, 2020

LLG and ADSO warn on lawfulness of 'hybrid' meetings

So-called ‘hybrid’ meetings - where some councillors are present in a committee room and others participate remotely - are unlawful “under the current situation as it stands at the moment”, Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) and the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO) have concluded.
Jun 16, 2020

Local Government Association consults on Model Member Code of Conduct

The Local Government Association (LGA) has launched a consultation on a draft Model Member Code of Conduct that could be a template for councils to adopt in whole and/or with local amendments.
Jun 12, 2020

Community councillor in Wales fails to secure injunction to stop Ombudsman investigating complaints against him

A High Court judge has rejected an application by a community councillor for an injunction against the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW) to stop its investigation of complaints made against him.
Jun 12, 2020

CIPFA proposes temporary amendments to s.114 guidelines in wake of COVID-19

At the earliest possible stage a chief financial officer (CFO) should make informal confidential contact with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to advise of financial concerns and a possible forthcoming s.114 requirement, CIPFA has proposed in amended guidance.
Jun 11, 2020

Court of Appeal dismisses legal challenge over voter ID

A former member of Braintree District Council has lost a Court of Appeal case over the Government’s decision that it and other councils had to pilot voter identification in the 2019 local elections.
Jun 01, 2020

Shadow authorities in Northamptonshire set to appoint interim monitoring officers

The shadow authorities for the two proposed councils in Northamptonshire will this week consider appointing interim monitoring officers at their first meetings.
May 27, 2020

Treasury consults on lending terms for Public Works Loan Board as crackdown looms on commercial property investment by councils

The Treasury has this month launched a consultation on future lending terms for the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) and signalled its intention to crack down on 'debt-for-yield' commercial property investment by councils.
May 21, 2020

Police watchdog rules out criminal investigation into Boris Johnson over association with American businesswoman but GLA will continue standards probe

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has said it will not be conducting a criminal investigation into allegations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson used his position while Mayor of London to benefit and reward American businesswoman Jennifer Arcuri.
May 14, 2020

Local Government Secretary issues guide on statutory intervention and inspection into local authorities

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has published a guide on statutory intervention and inspection into local authorities.
May 01, 2020

Ombudsman issues guide to good administrative practice during coronavirus

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has published a short guide on good administrative practice during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that when normal services resume, it will “inevitably” investigate complaints about what happened during this crisis phase.
Apr 30, 2020

Suspended sentences for duo who made hoax bomb threat calls to Welsh council

Two people who made hoax bomb threat calls to Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council have been handed suspended prison sentences.

  MORE FEATURES

May 29, 2020

Scottish City deals: governance, transparency and accountability

Rory Alexander calls for improvements to be made to the governance structures for Scottish city deals.
May 18, 2020

COVID-19 Weekly Brief: virtual meeting software

Tanya Corsie explores the various options for virtual meetings, covering online live streaming of meetings, the do's and don'ts of recording meetings, the need for moderators in large meetings, the role of good governance and policies, and what to do if your Councillors just don't have the technology.
May 12, 2020

The monitoring officer during COVID-19

Allison Cook and Mark Heath consider the role of the Monitoring Officer in the coronavirus pandemic.
May 05, 2020

Running remote parish council meetings

Many parish councils will be grappling with remote meeting technology for the first time in their response to lockdown and emergency decision making. Hosted by Deborah Evans, John Austin and Jane Moore consider how parish councils can best conduct virtual meetings and decision making during the COVID-19 crisis.
May 05, 2020

COVID-19 Weekly Brief: Behaviour and Etiquette for Remote Meetings

What is appropriate behaviour and etiquette in remote meetings and how can scrutiny and governance be maintained whilst working remotely? Deborah Evans, Ed Hammond, and Philip McCourt consider best practice for remote meetings.
May 01, 2020

Welsh remote meetings regulations - getting democracy moving in the lockdown?

The Welsh Local Authorities (Meetings) (Wales) Regulations 2020 differ from the England and Wales 2020 Regulations in a number of ways, including not requiring the public to be able to hear meetings. Annabel Graham Paul discusses their main features, interpretation, and thoughts for their application.
April 27, 2020

Remote meetings: natural justice and practical problems

Cornerstone Barristers discuss the new Regulations empowering local authorities to hold meetings remotely, looking at the natural justice implications of hosting virtual meetings and offer practical solutions to some of the problems local authorities are likely to encounter.
April 24, 2020

In the beginning…

Rob Hann, local government lawyer and author, finds time during the Covid 19 lockdown to share some of his early experiences as a trainee lawyer at Sheffield City Council at a time of major conflict between central/local government.
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April 23, 2020

Coronavirus – What’s the impact on the legal profession?

With Coronavirus dominating the news and the majority of Europe now entering different stages of lockdown due to the rise in uncertainties about the virus, LexisNexis has rounded up its latest articles discussing the pandemic.
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April 23, 2020

Why is advancing the rule of law so important?

Have you ever considered your human rights? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlines our various rights under the law, the most basic being: “We are all equal before the law."But, is this really the case?
April 20, 2020

Public and admin law update

The Browne Jacobson team rounds up the latest case law, information law developments and offers tips on vires and statutory drafting in this webinar.
April 16, 2020

Virtual Meetings are the new reality for local authorities

In this free-to-view on-demand webinar, Cornerstone Barristers discuss the implications of the new Regulations which empower local authorities to hold meetings remotely (including by telephone conference, video conference, or live webcast).
April 15, 2020

Virtual Meetings and Postponement of Elections Regulations: Guidance, Implications and Insight

This free on-demand webinar features a discussion between LLG’s Chief Executive, Deborah Evans and Mark Heath, Consultant at VWV and Returning Officer at Southampton City Council, who will examine the regulations on virtual meetings, the guidance recently produced by LLG and ADSO, and the implications of the regulations including in relation to standing orders, immediate effect and five days'…
April 06, 2020

Virtual local authority meetings

The government has brought in new regulations handing local authorities greater flexbility when it comes to holding meetings. Richard Harwood QC analyses the key elements of the measures.
April 03, 2020

Coronavirus and local authority meetings in England and Wales

Alastair Lewis gives an overview of the regulations for local authority meetings in England and Wales during the COVID-19 crisis.
March 26, 2020

Coronavirus, local authority meetings and development management

John Pugh-Smith provides a brief overview of the current known position, watch points and continuing uncertainties as at 26 March 2020 now that the Coronavirus Act 2020 is in force.
March 20, 2020

Consultation in a time of social distancing and self-isolation

Local authorities should consider the legal issues around consultation during the Covid-19 crisis, writes Jonathan Moffett QC.
March 20, 2020

Covid-19 and the economic emergency, unforeseen

How will local authorities be able to respond? Helen Randall and Henna Malik set out some of the options.
March 18, 2020

Public decision-taking during coronavirus restrictions

Richard Barlow looks at how public bodies might continue to maintain functioning democratic decision-taking at a time when large gatherings are discouraged and social isolation is recommended for public health.
March 13, 2020

Local authority duties and decision-making

The Court of Appeal has given important guidance on local authority duties and decision-making. James Goudie QC and Ronnie Dennis set out its key findings.