Oxfordshire CC Jan 20 Head of Legal 600

The Monitoring Officer - changing approaches for a new decade?

Agility and speed of movement are qualities that both Monitoring Officers and their organisation will need to cultivate, writes Miranda Carruthers-Watt. Read more
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  NEWS

Jan 27, 2020

City council passes motion supporting pilot of citizens assemblies

Bristol City Council will introduce two ‘citizens’ assemblies’ pilot schemes within the year in an effort to increase the involvement of citizens in the council’s decision-making process.
Jan 23, 2020

Spending watchdog publishes final draft of new Code of Audit Practice ahead of expected implementation in April

The National Audit Office has this week published the final draft of the new Code of Audit Practice, which sets out what local auditors of relevant local public bodies including councils, police, fire and NHS bodies are required to do to fulfil their statutory responsibilities under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.
Jan 23, 2020

Largest town council in England to be established ahead of move to unitaries in county

Northampton is to set up England’s largest town council ahead of local government reorganisation in the county.
Jan 17, 2020

Ombudsman issues further report after Medway council fails to implement Ombudsman's recommendations

The Local Government Ombudsman has issued a rare further report stating their recommendations were not implemented by Medway Council and the correct process to disagree with the recommendations was not followed.
Jan 16, 2020

Welsh councillor suspended for four months for conduct breaches

Cardiff Council has handed a councillor a four months suspension after an investigation by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
Dec 30, 2019

Welsh minister hails plan to reform legislative framework for local government governance and public engagement

The Welsh Government has highlighted draft legislation aimed at enhancing the ability of councillors to attend council meetings remotely more easily and job share cabinet posts.
Dec 20, 2019

Queen's Speech lays out proposals for “long term reform of social care”, further devolution

Government plans to seek cross-party consensus “urgently” in order to bring forward the necessary proposals and legislation for long-term social care reform in England were among proposals unveiled in the Queen’s Speech yesterday, but concerns have been expressed that "we've heard it all before".
Dec 09, 2019

Welsh Government consults on amending primary legislation to enable changes to executive governance arrangements of principal councils

The Welsh Government has launched a consultation which proposes amendments to provisions in the Local Government Act 2000 and the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 which enable changes to the executive governance arrangements of principal councils.
Dec 03, 2019

Local government scrutiny is ‘poor Cinderella’ compared to executive function: CfPS

Fewer than a third of 432 scrutiny officers and councillors who responded to a survey by the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) agree that there is “parity of esteem between the executive and scrutiny”.
Dec 02, 2019

Information Commissioner consults on draft guidance for explaining use of AI in decision-making about individuals

The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a consultation on new draft guidance for organisations using, or thinking about using, artificial intelligence (AI) to support or make decisions about individuals.

  FEATURES AND ANALYSIS

January 03, 2020

The CSPL Review of Ethical Governance and Bullying

Paul Feild looks at what the Committee for Standards in Public Life has recommended in relation to bullying and sets out the actions councils can take to address the issue.
January 03, 2020

Determining exclusivity: Lone v London Borough of Hounslow

In the first appellate court decision on the issue, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the Valuation Tribunal ("VT") has exclusive jurisdiction to determine disputes relating to the calculation of Council Tax and that this jurisdiction excludes a freestanding common law claim in restitution. Shomik Datta analyses the case.
December 20, 2019

The Conservative majority and local government

Peter Ware asks what the recent Conservative majority in parliament will mean for the future of local government.
November 29, 2019

Climate emergency #1 - have you thought about governance?

With many councils declaring a climate emergency, Victoria Barman examines the governance issues they face.
November 15, 2019

Hard Law and Soft Law - in the context of local government

Dr David Sykes analyses the role soft law plays the decision-making of local authorities and other local democratic institutions.
November 08, 2019

Behind the curtain

As the general election kicks off, James Goudie QC highlights a 2017 High Court ruling on the status of 'purdah' and the business that can and cannot be conducted while it applies
October 25, 2019

Government automated-decision making

Robin Allen QC and Dee Masters, who run the www.ai-lawhub.com and tweet at @AILawHub, summarise the main points from their recent report on artificial intelligence and automated decision-making in government, warning that some local authorities could be acting in a discriminatory way.
October 14, 2019

The Queen’s Speech 2019: highlights for local authorities

Alastair Lewis and Emyr Thomas provide a summary of some of the proposals in this week's Queen's Speech that would affect local authorities.

  MORE NEWS

Nov 26, 2019

Welsh Government consults on which public bodies should be covered by socio-economic duty of Equality Act 2010

The Welsh Government is to consult on which public bodies should be captured by the socio-economic duty under Part 1, Section 1 of the Equality Act 2010 and how the duty should be delivered.
Nov 22, 2019

Councillor fined, banned from public office over bogus signature on nomination paper

A long-serving councillor at Kings Lynn & West Norfolk has been removed from office for using a bogus signature on his nomination paper for last May’s election.
Nov 21, 2019

Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill to introduce general power of competence, facilitate 'corporate joint committees'

The Welsh Government has introduced a Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill which includes a general power of competence, a power for local authorities to make an application to merge voluntarily, and powers to facilitate regional working through corporate joint committees.
Nov 19, 2019

Local authorities detect 22% more council tax fraud cases in last year, CIPFA research finds

Local authorities in the UK have detected 22% more cases of council tax fraud compared to last year, research by CIPFA has found.
Nov 18, 2019

UK local government associations agree programme to promote “civility in public life”

The leaders of the UK’s four Local Government Associations earlier this month agreed a shared programme of action promoting greater civility in public life.
Nov 15, 2019

Independent report finds it would be unfair to say council had "sexist culture"

An independent report into Stratford-on-Avon District Council carried out by a leading local government lawyer has found that it would be "unfair" to brand the local authority as having a ‘sexist culture’.
Nov 11, 2019

Supreme Court to hear dispute over Local Government Pension Scheme and ethical disinvestment

The Supreme Court will next week consider whether parts of the Communities Secretary’s guidance on the investment of Local Government Pensions Schemes relating to UK foreign and defence policy were for an unauthorised purpose.
Nov 01, 2019

Tribunal orders council to disclose instructions sent to QC over motion for ‘call-in’ of planning applications

The First-tier Tribunal has ordered Ryedale District Council to disclose the briefing question it sent to a Queen’s Counsel seeking advice on a motion in which councillors sought for competing retail planning applications to be ‘called in’.
Oct 31, 2019

Upper Tribunal orders fresh hearing in dispute over refusal by council to disclose advice of independent person

A local resident who complained about the conduct of a councillor at Stratford-on-Avon District Council over a planning matter has secured a fresh hearing over the council’s refusal to disclose advice given by an independent person.
Oct 30, 2019

Confusion over roles of council and tenant management organisation led to ineffective response to Grenfell fire, inquiry finds

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea was not told of the major incident at Grenfell Tower for more than an hour after emergency services declared it, and confusion over the roles of the council and its tenant management organisation (TMO) meant neither responded effectively.
Oct 21, 2019

Counsel General for Wales sets out plans to make Welsh law more accessible

The Counsel General for Wales has launched a consultation on proposed steps to make Welsh law more accessible through “classification, consolidation and codification”.
Oct 16, 2019

President of Lawyers in Local Government hits out at undermining of monitoring officers

The blurring of the lines between challenging a view that one disagrees with and simply attacking a person for their view is one that is becoming increasingly prevalent – and such attacks are undermining and diminishing the role of the monitoring officer and lawyer in local government, the President of Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) has warned.
Oct 14, 2019

Elections watchdog urges review of legislation for recall petitions

The Electoral Commission has called on the Government to review the policy and legislation for recall petitions “to identify changes that would improve the experience for electors and the administration of future petitions”.
Oct 11, 2019

Parish council in indefinite hiatus after all councillors resign over abusive calls and hate mail

A parish council near Manchester is in limbo after all its councillors resigned this week (7 October), blaming their decision on abusive phone calls and hate mail.
Oct 10, 2019

Electoral Commission renews calls for electoral law reforms in review of May 2019 elections

The Electoral Commission has issued a fresh call for electoral law to be updated, after issuing a report on the May 2019 European Parliamentary elections and local elections.
Oct 09, 2019

Research project to boost understanding of councils on how to reduce risk of corporate governance failures

The Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) and Localis are undertaking research aimed at enhancing councils’ understanding of how they can diagnose and reduce the risk of failure in corporate governance, and what success factors can point the way to greater strength in this area.
Oct 08, 2019

Welsh Government kick starts review of arrangements for dealing with alleged misconduct of senior officers in local government

The Welsh Government has launched a review of the arrangements for dealing with alleged misconduct of senior officers within local government in Wales.
Sep 30, 2019

LLG publishes guidance on EU Exit Statutory Instruments with local government impact

Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) has published guidance, EU Exit Statutory Instruments with Local Government Impacts, that is designed to set out the broad range of governance documents which underpin local authorities, and which may be affected by secondary legislation brought in by the government.
Sep 26, 2019

Council leader resigns and refers himself to Ombudsman after Welsh Audit Office letter

The leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council has resigned and referred himself to an Ombudsman.
Sep 24, 2019

Petition on changing governance arrangements at city council reaches threshold for referendum

A petition calling for a referendum on changing Sheffield City Council’s governance arrangements has reached the required number of signatures of 5% of the electorate, the local authority has confirmed.
Sep 23, 2019

Chair of watchdog writes open letter to public office holders on importance of upholding standards

The chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Lord Evans of Weardale, has written an open letter to all public office holders on the importance of upholding public standards and implementing the Nolan Principles.
Sep 20, 2019

Reignite devolution process in England through Queen’s Speech, councils tell Government

An English Devolution Bill is among the pieces of legislation that the Local Government Association has called on the Government to include in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.
Sep 19, 2019

Electoral administrators call for “urgent reform” to election law

Electoral legislation – some of it one hundred years old – is becoming “ever less compatible with modern expectations and ways of working”, a report by the Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA) has said.
Sep 18, 2019

Call for views issued in independent review of local authority audit in England

Sir Tony Redmond has issued a call for views as part of his independent review of the quality and effectiveness of the audit and financial reporting of local authorities in England.
Sep 13, 2019

Localism and the CSPL review of ethical standards

Paul Feild examines the challenge to the Localism Act 2011 presented by the Committee for Standards in Public Life’s 2019 Review of Local Government ethical standards.

  MORE FEATURES

October 04, 2019

Governance of Fire and Rescue Authorities

A recent case has considered the process where Police and Crime Commissioners seek to take over responsibility for the governance of their local fire and rescue authority. Mark Heath and Allison Cook analyse the ruling.
September 27, 2019

General elections – the role of the Acting Returning Officer

Ben Standing sets out some of the steps Acting Returning Officers should be taking now, with another general election seemingly around the corner.
September 20, 2019

Electoral Petitions: the Law Commission's proposals for reform

Timothy Straker QC and Amrit Kaur Dhanoa make a case in favour of the Law Commission’s proposals for reform of electoral petitions.
September 13, 2019

Digital duties

Monitoring Officers must ensure good governance over data and social media, writes David Kitson.
August 09, 2019

Local authority companies and governance: LLG's Codes of Practice

Rob Hann looks at the Lawyers in Local Government’s Codes of Practice for Local Authority Companies.
June 21, 2019

The consistency principle and quashed decisions

Does the consistency principle apply to a previously quashed decision? Andrew Parkinson considers a recent High Court ruling.
June 14, 2019

Setting local authority companies up for success

Rob Hann provides some practical tips for local authorities setting up local authority companies.
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May 03, 2019

Community governance reviews and abolition of local councils

Two parish councils recently succeeded in a legal challenge to their proposed abolition. Chris Brown explains how one of the parishes did it and considers the lessons for public authorities arising from the case.
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April 12, 2019

Funding reductions and legal challenges

The High Court has handed down an important judgment on local authority funding reductions. Jonathan Auburn and Peter Lockley look at its findings in a case concerning Hackney Council's approach to Special Educational Needs funding and Education and Healthcare Plans.
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March 08, 2019

Administrative law principles – consistently consistent

A recent Supreme Court case involving the Competition and Markets Authority raises some important considerations for local government lawyers around council decision-making, writes Dr David Sykes.
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March 01, 2019

Predictive analysis – an introduction and considerations

Paul Feild examines the legal and other issues raised by the use by local authorities of predictive analysis, 'Big Data' and machine learning.
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February 22, 2019

Improving ethical standards

Robin Green, Estelle Dehon and Dr Alex Williams analyse five key recommendations from the Committee on Standards in Public Life's recent report on local government ethical standards in England.
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February 15, 2019

Three ways through the labyrinth of functions and responsibilities

Louis Sebastian considers how local authorities can best review their approach to functions and responsibilities under the Local Government Act 2000.
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February 01, 2019

Practical tips for local government re-organisation

Local government re-organisation and the transition from two tiers of local government in to a single tier unitary authority is a big undertaking, which necessitates looking at numerous practical considerations. Karl Edwards looks at some of the practical considerations to consider when looking at moving to a unitary model.
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January 30, 2019

Not just back to the future

Jonathan Goolden analyses the key findings in the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s report on local government ethical standards.
December 19, 2018

Through the looking glass

Rosalee Dorfman Mohajer looks at the implications of the Cliff Richard judgment against the BBC and South Yorkshire Police for local authorities when they share information with the press.
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November 09, 2018

Filming public officials

Does filming a public official performing their job constitute journalism? Matt Collins analyses an Advocate-General’s opinion on the issue.
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October 30, 2018

Budget 2018: reaction from the sector

Local Government Lawyer looks at the sector's reaction to Philip Hammond's latest Budget.
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October 30, 2018

Budget 2018: key policy decisions

Local Government Lawyer sets out some of the key policy decisions in the Autumn 2018 Budget.
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October 12, 2018

The importance of public consultation in the public sector decision-making process

A number of recent cases have resulted in public sector decisions being quashed for lack of proper public consultation. Alex Dillistone, partner at Winckworth Sherwood, considers the importance of effective consultation.