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Coronavirus (COVID-19) - Governance Tracker

This tracker from LexisNexis Local Government intended to be used to track the most recent key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) local authority governance, where relevant to local government lawyers. Read more
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  NEWS

Feb 05, 2021

Government gives green light to May 2021 local elections

The May 2021 local elections are to go ahead, the Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution in the Cabinet Office has confirmed.
Feb 01, 2021

Secretary of State sets up Improvement and Assurance Panel at financially-troubled London borough

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has appointed an Improvement and Assurance Panel to address what he described as “serious failures” at Croydon Council.
Feb 01, 2021

Campaign group fails in legal challenge after council dismissed petition calling for referendum on governance model

A High Court judge has dismissed a judicial review challenge to the London Borough of Newham’s decision to declare invalid a petition seeking a referendum to change the governance model of the council.
Jan 28, 2021

Town council facing judicial review over handling of staff grievances

Three members of Andover Town Council are expected to issue a judicial review challenge against it in a complex dispute over staffing and the conduct of meetings.
Jan 27, 2021

Welsh Government proposes emergency proxy votes for May 2021 Senedd election

A voter would be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote where, in the period ahead of the poll for the next Senedd election, a voter or their already nominated proxy becomes unable to participate in person on the day of the poll because of a reason relating to coronavirus, such as the need to self-isolate, under an emergency Bill introduced by the Welsh Government.
Jan 25, 2021

Lawyers and democratic services officers to obtain legal advice on continuing with virtual meetings after 6 May without need for primary legislation

LLG (Lawyers in Local Government) and ADSO (the Association of Democratic Services Officers) have instructed counsel to advise on whether remote meetings can continue to be held, without the need for primary legislation, when the regulations introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic come to an end.
Jan 21, 2021

Welsh Government to seek Senedd consent for emergency bill to manage election during pandemic

The Welsh Government has said it will seek the Senedd’s consent next week (27 January) for an emergency bill to be introduced aimed at ensuring the next Senedd election happens safely.
Jan 20, 2021

Former councillor at London borough jailed for electoral offences

A former councillor at the London Borough of Redbridge has been jailed for electoral offences and banned from holding elected office for five years.
Jan 19, 2021

Law firm teams up with CommercialGov to deliver governance for commercial activity masterclass for LGA

Sharpe Pritchard is working with CommercialGov to provide a commercial governance masterclass for the Local Government Association.
Jan 15, 2021

May 2021 elections still on but situation will be kept under review: Minister

The May 2021 elections look set to go ahead after the Minister for the Constitution and Devolution told MPs this week there should be “a high bar for any delay”.

  FEATURES AND ANALYSIS

January 29, 2021

Ceasing discretionary functions and powers

Matthew Alderton sets out some key issues for public bodies to consider when they are contemplating ceasing discretionary functions.
January 27, 2021

The LLG Grapevine 18th January

Deborah Evans, Dennis Hall and Helen McGrath from LLG welcome Peter Stanyon, CEO of the Association of Electoral Administrators, to discuss the upcoming elections, the position at present, the volume of elections, postal voting and the practical challenges of holding covid-19 secure elections and counts.
January 08, 2021

Remote meetings: planning for permanence

Ed Hammond looks at the benefits of remote meetings and the likelihood the arrangements facilitating them will be put on a permanent footing.
December 23, 2020

Max Power

Paul Feild looks at the key points arising out of the non-statutory review into Nottingham City Council and Robin Hood Energy.
December 23, 2020

What next for local government re-organisation?

Anja Beriro examines whether the momentum towards significant reorganisation of local government in England has stalled.
December 22, 2020

Consulting on new policies

The Court of Appeal has confirmed the correct tests to apply to determine whether: (1) a public body has consulted fairly; and (2) is under a legitimate expectation to consult. Matthew Alderton analyses the ruling.
December 18, 2020

Running elections in 2021 - What's changing?

Elections are now likely to take place in May 2021. What are the challenges facing returning officers and their staff, running elections in a coronavirus (COVID-19) environment and what is being done to address them? Mark Heath explains.
December 01, 2020

The LLG Grapevine 1st December

Deborah Evans, Dennis Hall and Helen McGrath from LLG, discuss Devolution, All Party Parliamentary Groups. the Environment Bill, the Joint Committee on Human Rights, the Draft Building Safety Bill, the Spending Review and more.

  MORE NEWS

Jan 08, 2021

Monitoring officers give lukewarm response to LGA Model Code of Conduct, unlikely to recommend implementation: LLG

Monitoring officers have given a lukewarm response to the Model Code of Conduct issued by the Local Government Association last month, LLG (Lawyers in Local Government) has said.
Jan 08, 2021

Covid-19 Regulations – the enforcement role of local authorities

Horatio Waller looks at defining the enforcement role of local authorities and best practice on ‘designating’ officers for enforcement purposes.
Jan 07, 2021

Councils call for clarity on whether 6 May 2021 elections will proceed

The latest lockdown has raised the possibility of elections due on 6 May being postponed, some of which are already delayed from May 2020.
Jan 06, 2021

Leader of Welsh council suspended for seven months for code of conduct breaches, vows to appeal

The Adjudication Panel of Wales has suspended the Leader of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council, Cllr Kevin O’Neill, for seven months for breaching the local authority’s code of conduct.
Jan 06, 2021

Standards committee for Welsh Parliament consults on new code of conduct including new principle of ‘Respect’

The Senedd Cymru's standards committee last month launched a consultation on a proposed new Code of Conduct for Members of the Senedd.
Dec 18, 2020

Secretary of State orders best value inspection at Liverpool following arrests

The Local Government Secretary has appointed Max Caller to carry out an inspection of Liverpool City Council’s compliance with its best value duty, in the wake of arrests including of its mayor.
Dec 18, 2020

Secretary of State to send in governance and finance experts to Nottingham City Council

The Local Government Secretary has said the Government will appoint experts in governance and finance to a new Improvement and Assurance Board at Nottingham City Council.
Dec 17, 2020

Cabinet member resigns over breach of code of conduct in dealing with grant application by motorcycle display team

A Hampshire cabinet member has resigned after a standards investigation found he breached the code of conduct over a council grant to a children’s motorcycle display team.
Dec 11, 2020

Ombudsman report urges councils to scrutinise services for children in care

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has called on council scrutiny committees to be more proactive following research that found vulnerable children being looked after by councils are far more disadvantaged than those looked after by parents.
Dec 10, 2020

Borough council calls in leading local government lawyer to review actions over £250m stadium loan

Woking Borough Council has appointed prominent local government lawyer Gifty Edila to conduct an independent review of its actions over a controversial stadium development in which it offered a developer a £250m loan.
Dec 09, 2020

Leader of city council forced to deny it is close to bankruptcy after report leaked

The Leader of financially-troubled Nottingham City Council has denied reports that the local authority is on the verge of bankruptcy.
Dec 09, 2020

Ministry asks Liverpool City Council for information on steps taken to secure effective governance in wake of arrests

The Government has asked Liverpool City Council to provide information on the steps it has taken and proposes to take to secure effective governance, in light of a Merseyside Police investigation which has resulted in the arrest and subsequent release on conditional bail of a number of people including the city’s mayor, Joe Anderson.
Dec 07, 2020

Ministry of Justice names panel for review of Human Rights Act

The Ministry of Justice has appointed a panel led by former Court of Appeal Judge Sir Peter Gross to examine how the Human Rights Act 1998 is operating.
Dec 07, 2020

Law Commission issues proposals for reforming offence of misconduct in public office

The “outdated and unclear” common law offence of misconduct in public office should be replaced by two new statutory offences of corruption in public office and breach of duty in public office, the Law Commission has said.
Dec 02, 2020

Court of Appeal urges consideration of rule changes to procedure for judicial review claims after dismissing challenge to ‘lockdown’ regulations

The Court of Appeal has expressed concern at the trend towards the “rolling” approach to judicial review and also “excessive prolixity and complexity” of grounds of challenge, after rejecting a businessman’s appeal over the ‘lockdown’ regulations made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nov 26, 2020

Councillor threatens defamation action in aftermath of confidential briefing on COVID-19 local impact

Two councillors at King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council are embroiled in a dispute that has led to the threat of a defamation action.
Nov 25, 2020

Welsh Government to consult on changes to how alleged misconduct by senior officers in local government is tackled

The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on changes to how alleged misconduct of senior officers working in local authorities in Wales is dealt with.
Nov 19, 2020

Welsh Government hails passing in Senedd of Bill “to revolutionise local government and democracy”

The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill – containing measures affecting elections, democracy, performance and governance – has been passed in the Senedd.
Nov 19, 2020

Financially-troubled Croydon to ask LGA to investigate senior management actions

Senior managers at the London Borough of Croydon face investigation and potential disciplinary action as the council tries to extricate itself from a financial crisis.
Nov 16, 2020

Who needs to know what?

The latest phase in the roll-out of the 5G mobile phone network has thrown up a legal issue of general interest to local government lawyers about the way consultations are conducted, writes David Wolfe QC.
Nov 11, 2020

Outgoing Commissioner for Public Appointments fires warning shot over growing political bias in appointments

Political bias in public appointments in increasing and has infuriated chairs of the bodies involved, Peter Riddell, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, has said.
Nov 11, 2020

London borough issues s.114 notice amid “severe ongoing financial challenges”

The London Borough of Croydon has taken the rare step of issuing a section 114 notice, which prevents all non-essential spending in the face of a £66m deficit.
Nov 11, 2020

Welsh Government consults on draft statutory guidance on new performance regime for principal councils

The Welsh Government has launched a consultation on draft statutory guidance designed to facilitate the implementation of the new performance and governance regime for principal councils and to support them in discharging their duties.
Nov 09, 2020

High Court judge dismisses legal challenge over lack of Sikh tick-box in 2021 Census

A High Court judge has rejected a second legal challenge from the Sikh Federation UK over the lack of a Sikh tick-box as a distinct available response to the ethnic group question in the forthcoming 2021 Census.
Nov 03, 2020

Government orders non-statutory review into city council after closure of its energy company

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has ordered a rapid non-statutory review into Nottingham City Council that will examine “the serious governance and risk management issues” associated with the council’s private energy company Robin Hood Energy (RHE).

  MORE FEATURES

November 27, 2020

Local Government Brexit tracker

This tracker is intended to be used to track key developments, legislation, guidance, parliamentary briefing notes and other sources of interest relating to Brexit relevant to local government lawyers. It is arranged alphabetically by topic and is designed to provide an easy reference point for relevant content for lawyers to support preparation for and implementation of the United Kingdom’s…
November 27, 2020

Robust decision-making

Matthew Alderton examines how public bodies reduce the scope for an irrationality challenge.
November 24, 2020

The LLG Grapevine 24th November

This week sees a special feature with guest contributor Ed Hammond from the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny to discuss pandemic stresses and pressures on local authorities, governance challenges, the need for safeguards, reporting of decisions and the importance of review and reflection.
November 20, 2020

Lawyers, a call to arms, you need to defend local democracy

Cllr Clive Stevens outlines the need for more transparency in local government and highlights the role monitoring officers play.
November 06, 2020

For COVID’s sake, get me to the polls on time!

Timothy Straker QC and Katharine Elliot analyse current law regarding local authority change of governance referendums, including in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
October 30, 2020

The effect of the pandemic on local authority governance

The Centre for Governance and Scrutiny has been keeping a watching brief on the way that councils are managing the pressures on governance arising from the pandemic, writes Ed Hammond.
October 30, 2020

Interest rate swaps – why now?

In light of a recent deal involving a city council, Neil Waller and Scott Dorling look at the thorny issues around local authorities entering into interest rate swaps.
October 02, 2020

The Public Sector Equality Duty

The following LexisNexis Public Law guidance note, produced in partnership with Zoe Bedford of Ellis Whittam, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the scope of the Public Sector Equality Duty.
August 20, 2020

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.
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.
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.