One Source Dec 19 Deputy Director

Tower Hamlets Dec 19 Updated 600

Climate emergency #1 - have you thought about governance?

With many councils declaring a climate emergency, Victoria Barman examines the governance issues they face. Read more
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  NEWS

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Information Commissioner consults on draft guidance for explaining use of AI in decision-making about individuals

The Information Commissioner’s Office has launched a consultation on new draft guidance for organisations using, or thinking about using, artificial intelligence (AI) to support or make decisions about individuals.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

  FEATURES AND ANALYSIS

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.
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.
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  MORE NEWS

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.
Sep 11, 2019

High Court overturns election result where wrong person elected: report

Swindon Council has welcomed a High Court ruling that overturned an election result which saw the wrong person elected as a councillor, it has been reported.
Sep 10, 2019

Single person discount fraud costing councils £16m a year, research finds

False claims for Single Person Discount cost local authorities nearly £16m a year in 1017/18 and is the third most prevalent type of fraudulent activity carried out by British adults, research by not-for-profit fraud prevention service Cifas has found.
Sep 05, 2019

Spending Round 2019: reaction from the sector

Local Government Lawyer looks at the reaction to the Spending Round announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer this week.
Sep 05, 2019

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government sees funding boost in Spending Round 2019

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will see a 2.7% real terms increase to its resource budget from 2019-20 to 2020-21, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced in the Spending Round 2019.
Sep 04, 2019

Investigator clears council and officers of maladministration in planning enforcement row, takes different view on inducement to Crown Court and Court of Appeal judges

An independent investigator has cleared officers and councillors at Wokingham Borough Council of maladministration or unprofessional conduct in a long-running planning enforcement case.
Sep 04, 2019

Welsh council updates code of conduct after abusive language and gestures in meetings

Flintshire County Council has tightened its standards code after councillors expressed concern about abusive language and gestures used during meetings.
Sep 02, 2019

Kettering Borough Council consults on new town council ahead of unitaries for Northamptonshire

Kettering Borough Council, which is set to be abolished in April 2021 when two unitary authorities are established in Northamptonshire, is consulting on whether a town council should be set up for the town of Kettering.
Aug 30, 2019

Spending watchdog consults on new draft Code of Audit Practice

The National Audit Office (NAO) has launched a public consultation on its proposed update of the Code of Audit Practice ahead of it coming into effect in April 2020.
Aug 28, 2019

Petition support means city set to hold referendum on proposed change in governance

Activists in Sheffield have used provisions of the Localism Act 2011 to require the city council to hold a referendum on ending the cabinet system and reverting to committees.
Aug 21, 2019

Councils warn of potential failure to meet legal duties unless local government funding resolved

Councils may be unable to meet their legal duties unless the Government resolves their funding and gives them assurance on their financial future in the next spending review.
Aug 12, 2019

Council to appoint investigator to examine award of £15k additional duties payment to chief executive

A borough council is to appoint an independent investigator to examine the procedure followed when an additional duties allowance of £15,000 per annum was awarded to its chief executive.
Aug 09, 2019

Court of Appeal refuses councils permission to appeal ruling on free local newssheets

The Court of Appeal has refused to grant Hackney and Waltham Forest Councils permission to appeal a High Court ruling dismissing the two London boroughs’ challenge to government directions restricting the frequency with which they can publish their free local newssheets.
Aug 07, 2019

Welsh minister sacks recently-appointed governance adviser to council over plans to stand for Brexit Party

The Minister for Housing and Local Government in Wales, Julie James, has sacked an adviser appointed last month to give members at Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council with politically non-aligned advice and support on effective governance, after it was announced that she would be standing as a candidate for the Brexit Party at the next general election.
Aug 02, 2019

Redditch hit with s24 notice over budget fears

Redditch Borough Council has admitted it faces “tough decisions” after auditor Grant Thornton took the unusual step of issuing a section 24 notice warning that the council may be unable to set a balanced budget.

  MORE FEATURES

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.
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October 12, 2018

If refusing Bert & Ernie isn’t discrimination, what is?

The Supreme Court has decided that a bakery’s refusal to bake a cake with a slogan promoting gay marriage was not sexual orientation discrimination. Phil Allen analyses the ruling, including its impact on employment law.
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October 05, 2018

The inequalities fight – the challenges and risks faced by local government in Scotland

Rory Alexander looks at the opportunities - and challenges - for local authorities as a result of the Scottish Government's decision to enforce the Fairer Scotland Duty.
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August 10, 2018

Election expenses

The Supreme Court recently considered an important issue around authorisation and declaration of election expenses. James Goudie QC examines the outcome.
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June 29, 2018

Whistleblowing. In tune again

Adam Ohringer considers the implications of a Court of Appeal ruling in a whistleblowing case involving a London borough.
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