Changes to the statutory framework for local government in Wales

The Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021 (“the Act”) establishes a new and reformed legislative framework for Welsh local government elections, democracy, governance and performance. Victoria Searle sets out the key elements. Read more

  NEWS

Jun 21, 2022

Solicitor becomes interim chief executive at North West council after predecessor departs following controversial tweet

Tameside Council has appointed its Borough Solicitor, Sandra Stewart, as interim chief executive after the council's longstanding chief executive, Steven Pleasant, stepped down over a derogatory tweet about the Conservative party.
Jun 20, 2022

LGA urges Government to address future of remote and hybrid council meetings

The Local Government Association has renewed its call for virtual and hybrid council meetings to be “an integral part of the future of local democracy”.
Jun 17, 2022

Councillor wins £30k damages after BBC misidentified her as politician accused of housing fraud

A Westminster councillor has received damages in a libel case against the BBC after the news organisation misidentified her as another BAME politician who had been accused of housing fraud.
Jun 14, 2022

Combined authority to seek help from Government amid flurry of senior staff resignations

The Board at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has asked senior staff and member council chief executives to engage with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLHC) to address "significant" weaknesses in the authority's governance arrangements.
Jun 10, 2022

Thanet chief executive steps down in aftermath of Independent Monitoring Officer report

The chief executive of Thanet District Council, Madeline Homer, is to leave the local authority in the aftermath of an Independent Monitoring Officer's (IMO) investigation into divisions at the local authority.
Jun 09, 2022

Independent governance review hits out at county council that "lost its way" amid internal battles

Northumberland County Council (NCC) has “lost its way over a number of years to the extent that leadership at both political and managerial levels is distracted, and no longer focussed on external issues but involved to an unhealthy extent on internal battles”, an independent governance review of the local authority carried out by troubleshooter Max Caller has concluded.
Jun 09, 2022

Council to ask committee to establish “who knew what, when” over unlawful spending after s.114 notice issued

Northumberland County Council is to convene its Employment Appeals Committee (EAC) to try to get to the bottom of how unlawful spending took place on a healthcare consultancy business and an allowance for its chief executive.
Jun 09, 2022

Local authority chief executive steps down after tweet about Conservative party

A long-serving council chief executive has quit weeks after he issued a derogatory tweet about the Conservative party.
Jun 07, 2022

Open Innovation Team launches service to provide support on equalities impact assessments

The Government’s Open Innovation Team (OIT) is to launch a new service aimed at helping public bodies to comply with the Public Sector Equalities Duty (PSED).
Jun 01, 2022

Auditors identify weaknesses in services at city council

Auditors from Grant Thornton have highlighted a range of significant weaknesses at Birmingham City Council in their annual audit report.
May 31, 2022

Standards watchdog expresses concern at failure of Prime Minister to implement full package of recommended reforms for Ministerial Code

The chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life has welcomed the Government's move to allow the Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests to initiate investigations over potential breaches of the Ministerial Code, “having consulted the Prime Minister and obtained his consent".
May 31, 2022

Government to set up new regulator for local audit, make audit committees compulsory for all local councils

The Government has unveiled plans to establish a new regulator, the Audit Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA), “as the system leader for local audit within a new, simplified local audit framework”.

  FEATURES AND ANALYSIS

May 20, 2022

The Queen’s Speech in Brief

The number of Bills which affect public sector clients is greater than usual – and the government have got straight off the starting blocks by publishing some of them already.
May 13, 2022

Challenges to local election results

Jonathan Auburn QC and Mark Thornton consider the process for challenges to local election results under the Representation of the People Act 1983.
May 13, 2022

The 2022 May elections – for Governance what next?

Paul Feild looks at the governance lessons to be learned from the elections last week at two London boroughs.
May 04, 2022

The Supreme Court finds voter ID pilots lawful

The Supreme Court has upheld a finding that Voter ID pilots were lawful. Emily MacKenzie analyses the ruling.
April 14, 2022

Local Authority Insight Series: Elections

Join electoral law experts Mark Heath and Emyr Thomas as they look at the challenges faced by returning officers when running elections and look forward to how the new Elections Bill might change the landscape in future.
April 08, 2022

Why the minister was right

The Minister for Equalities and Levelling Up's response to the Committee on Standards in Public Life's report on Local Government Ethical Standards is right, argues Paul Feild.
April 01, 2022

The Landmark Listen: Public Podcast – Standing

David Blundell QC, Richard Turney and Miranda Butler provide a detailed overview of the decision in the Good Law Project challenge and case law on the link between standing and timing in judicial review.
March 25, 2022

Standards are slipping

The Government has finally responded to the Local Government Ethical Standards report. Matt Lewin examines its conclusions.
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  MORE NEWS

May 27, 2022

Amendment saves Mayor from motion demanding his resignation

A motion calling for the Mayor of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority to resign or voluntarily suspend himself has been defeated.
May 26, 2022

Former top lawyer at Cardiff Council named member of Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales

Dianne Bevan, whose previous roles include being the most senior lawyer at Cardiff Council, has been appointed as member of the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales.
May 26, 2022

Council issues s114 notice over unlawful expenditure

Northumberland County Council unlawfully spent money on a healthcare consultancy business and on an allowance for its chief executive, a report by its interim executive director of finance and section 151 officer has concluded.
May 24, 2022

Thanet councillors agree to review constitution and restructure senior management team, following review by independent monitoring officer

Councillors at Thanet District Council have approved the recommendations of its Independent Monitoring Officer (IMO), which include a review of the constitution and a restructuring of the Corporate Management Team (CMT), in an attempt to fix longstanding governance issues the IMO said had resulted in "organisational malaise" and division at the local authority.
May 23, 2022

Projected implementation timelines for Elections Act 2022 changes are “optimistic at best, undeliverable at worst”, electoral administrators warn

The Association of Electoral Administrators (AEA) has expressed concern that “our already straining democratic systems are close to becoming undeliverable”.
May 19, 2022

Ombudsman issues report on failures by council to meet Equality Act 2010 duties and make ‘reasonable adjustments’

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has issued a report into cases where local authorities have breached their duties under the Equality Act 2010.
May 19, 2022

Nine out of ten county councillors support ability of authorities to adopt hybrid model of meetings

Nearly nine out of ten county councillors (87%) would like their council to be able to adopt a hybrid set up going forward, a survey by the County Councils Network (CCN) has found.
May 19, 2022

Peers raise concerns over Government curbing of parliamentary scrutiny

The Government has restricted parliamentary scrutiny, failed to provide information on the impact of legislation and given poor explanatory background on its policy decisions in a number of instances, according to an end of session report from the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee.
May 16, 2022

Group of board members at combined authority say they will ask Government for emergency help if Mayor does not step down

A majority of board members of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) have tabled a motion that says it will ask for emergency help from the Government if the combined authority's Mayor does not resign or voluntarily suspend himself until all of the matters referred to in a confidential report are resolved.
May 13, 2022

Former parish council clerk bailed after admitting £162k fraud

A former parish council clerk has been sent to the Crown Court for sentencing after she pleaded guilty at Oxford Magistrates’ Court to stealing more than £161,000 from two parishes.
May 12, 2022

Council chamber security upgraded in wake of ‘Grannies for the Future’ protest

Councillors at Dorset County Council have proposed a motion to condemn the behaviour of two climate protestors and have called for greater security in the council chamber after the activists glued themselves to chamber desks last month.
May 12, 2022

Association of Electoral Administrators issues guidance on actions to take when member fails to attend any meeting for six consecutive months

The Association of Electoral Administrators has issued guidance on the appropriate actions to take when a council member fails to attend any meeting for six consecutive months.
May 11, 2022

Queen's Speech 2022: planning, mental health care and social housing reform part of next legislative programme

Bills covering planning, devolution, social housing regulation and reforms to the Mental Health Act are among the key pieces of legislation announced in the Queen's Speech (10 May).
May 11, 2022

Queen’s Speech 2022: the reaction

Local Government Lawyer rounds up the sector’s reaction to this week’s Queen’s Speech.
May 10, 2022

Former Mayor of Tower Hamlets re-elected after five year ban

Lutfur Rahman has been elected again as the Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets Council, following the expiry of a five-year ban from running for office after he was found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices in 2015.
May 06, 2022

Bristol residents vote to abolish mayoral position in favour of committee system

Bristol City Council will adopt a committee system after residents voted in favour of the new form of governance in a city-wide referendum held yesterday (5 May 2022).
May 05, 2022

Commissioners at Liverpool delay next report to Secretary of State by two months as intervention reaches “pivotal point”

The Commissioners at Liverpool City Council have delayed sending their second report on the progress of the intervention by two months, saying matters had reached “a pivotal point” and that the local authority needed to show greater urgency in some areas.
May 04, 2022

Ex-Leader of London borough launches judicial review challenge after Ombudsman named him in report

A former leader of Haringey Council has issued legal proceedings to challenge the decision by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to name him in a recent report.
May 04, 2022

Barnsley names new Service Director for Law and Governance

Barnsley Council has appointed Sukdave Ghuman as Service Director for Law and Governance and Chief Monitoring Officer.
May 03, 2022

Local government lawyers and democratic services officers criticise lack of government response to call for evidence on remote meetings

LLG (Lawyers in Local Government) and ADSO (the Association of Democratic Services Officers) have expressed disappointment ahead of this week’s local elections that the Government has still not responded to the call for evidence on local authority remote meetings which was held from March to June 2021.
Apr 29, 2022

Judges dismiss legal challenge over use of WhatsApp and other non-government communications systems for government business

The Divisional Court has rejected a legal challenge over the use by ministers, civil servants and unpaid advisers of non-Government communications systems such as WhatsApp, Signal and private email for Government business.
Apr 28, 2022

Cabinet Office sets out how Whitehall departments should review their public bodies

The Cabinet Office has published guidance which will inform Whitehall departments how to review their public bodies.
Apr 28, 2022

Executive Board at city council to consider external reports into misallocation of Housing Revenue Account as amount of funds incorrectly used rises to £40m

The Executive Board at Nottingham City Council is this week (28 April) to consider the findings and recommendations of two externally commissioned reviews into how more than £40m in funds from the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) were wrongly used in the general fund for all council services.
Apr 27, 2022

Law Society hails Government decision to ditch statutory presumption provisions on judicial review remedies

The Law Society has welcomed the Government’s decision to drop provisions in the Judicial Review and Courts Bill for a statutory presumption requiring judges to award newly created suspended or prospective-only quashing orders over other established remedies available in judicial review.
Apr 27, 2022

Government to set up Public Sector Fraud Authority amid concerns at abuse of Covid support schemes

The Government will launch a £25m ‘Public Sector Fraud Authority’ in July in a bid to recover money stolen from Covid support schemes and spot suspicious companies and people seeking Government contracts.
Apr 27, 2022

Supreme Court rejects appeal over introduction of voter ID pilot schemes in May 2019 local government elections

The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal over the lawfulness of pilot schemes that introduced a requirement for voter identification in the May 2019 local elections for ten council areas.
Apr 25, 2022

Gove dismisses concerns about threat to independence of Electoral Commission amid strategic direction statement row

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove, has insisted that the Electoral Commission will remain operationally independent and governed by their Commissioners, rejecting concerns raised by MPs about the impact of reforms in the Elections Bill on the watchdog.
Apr 25, 2022

Standards watchdog criticises plans to give Government power to set strategic direction of Electoral Commission

The chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) has written to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to express the watchdog’s “continued serious concern” about the provisions in the Elections Bill that would give the Government the power to set the strategic direction for the work of the Electoral Commission.
Apr 21, 2022

Merger of districts set to be called off amid “irreconcilable” differences, issues over due diligence of council-owned company

The proposed merger between Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick District Councils is set to be called off over the emergence of a “significant difference” between the authorities’ approaches and ambitions.
Apr 21, 2022

Croydon Council names Director of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer

Croydon Council has appointed Stephen Lawrence-Orumwense as Director of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer on a permanent basis.

  MORE FEATURES

March 18, 2022

Devolved powers and the internal market post-Brexit

Nicola Logan analyses an important Court of Appeal case concerning devolved powers.
March 03, 2022

The LLG Grapevine - 01/03/2022

In this podcast, Helen McGrath, Head of Public Affairs & Dennis Hall, Bulletin Editor at LLG look back over the last edition of the bulletin highlighting points of interest.
March 01, 2022

New Government Guidance on PFI Expiry

Rob Hann, Head of Local Government at Sharpe Pritchard, takes a look at new guidance on PFI expiry recently published by the IPA to help public bodies wrestle with the complexities of transition they will face as these contracts reach full term.
February 25, 2022

Three new Levels to ‘level up’ Local Government in England?

Rob Hann, Sharpe Pritchard’s Head of local government, takes a look at the new proposals under the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper to facilitate devolution to remaining regions of local government in England which are currently without a Mayoral Combined Authority.
February 25, 2022

The Levelling Up White Paper – who has the real power?

Anja Beriro and James Arrowsmith examine the proposals for devolution and the 12 missions contained in the Levelling Up White Paper.
February 11, 2022

Landscapes review: proposed changes

Simon Randle and Vivienne Sedgley look at government plans for National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) in England.
February 07, 2022

Human Rights Act the new Bill of Rights

Landmark Chambers’ specialist public law barristers consider the implications of the proposed new “Bill of Rights”.
January 07, 2022

Levelling up – A new opportunity for further devolution in England?

Rob Hann explores the Government's 'levelling up' policy and looks at whether it is an opportunity for further devolution in England.
December 17, 2021

Decisions to defer further consideration

The High Court has confirmed that the requirement to 'grasp the intellectual nettle' of a previous, inconsistent planning decision does not extend to 'minded to' positions reached as part of an inchoate decision-making process. Josef Cannon and Wayne Beglan report.
December 10, 2021

Why the revised Prudential Code matters to monitoring officers

Monitoring officers need to make sure they are fully aware of the changes being introduced through the revised 2022 Prudential Code for Capital Finance in Local Authorities, writes Paul Feild.
November 26, 2021

We need real decisions about artificial intelligence

The regulatory framework around the use of artificial intelligence by local authorities is inadequate but existing governance mechanisms can address concerns, writes Sue Chadwick.
November 18, 2021

Ethical standards

It has been 12 years since the last expenses scandal rocked Parliament and last week Boris Johnson was forced to defend its reputation once again, stressing that the UK is not "remotely a corrupt country".
November 15, 2021

The LLG Grapevine 15th November

Dennis Hall looks back over the last edition of the bulletin highlighting points of interest, pulling in government policy and national news to give you a quick round-up of topical developments.
November 12, 2021

Going, going…gone

Richard Eaton and Chay Clark examine the automatic 6 month strike out rule for dismissal of parish councillors under section 85 of the Local Government Act 1972.
November 04, 2021

Autumn Budget Spending Review 2021 – What Public Bodies Need To Know

Rob Hann and James Hughes examine the Autumn Budget Spending Review 2021, looking at what Public Bodies need to know.
September 17, 2021

You can never be too diligent - the issue of know your client

Paul Feild considers the risk to local authorities posed by money laundering and the importance of carrying out due diligence properly in their transactions.
August 19, 2021

Delivering 21st-century customer experience in the public sector

Rachel Buchanan examines how legal teams should support their authorities in delivering tailored services at a time of restrained resources.
July 02, 2021

State Aid and subsidy control post-Brexit: an update

What is the current position on State Aid and subsidy control in the UK, and what does the future hold for these areas of law following the consultations on the proposals in the two UK Green Papers? Tim Buley QC, Luke Wilcox and James Neill discuss.
June 25, 2021

General Power of Competence: what does this mean for Wales?

Neil Kates looks at the prospective introduction of the general power of competence for Welsh local authorities and community councils.
May 21, 2021

The Queen’s Speech and Judicial Review

Colin Ricciardiello looks at the likely effects of the government's proposed changes to the judicial review process.
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