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Local Authority round-up 05/08/22

Our Local Authority round up provides brief summaries of topical information on a weekly basis, to keep you aware of the changes and updates relevant to you.


£368 million Youth Investment Fund

The government has announced a £368 million Youth Investment Fund to improve youth services in under-served areas. 45 councils and more than 600 district wards are encouraged to apply for a share of the funding, bidding for which opened for applications on 1 August. The funding can be used to ensure young people are given access to more activities, trips away from home and volunteering opportunities. Minister for Civil Society and Youth Nigel Huddleston said “We are committed to ensuring that no young person is left out of reach or left behind, and have put it at the heart of our drive to level up this country. I encourage eligible youth services to apply for this life-changing funding.”

For more information please click here.

£1.3 million Faith New Deal pilot scheme announced

The government has announced £1.3 million under the Faith New Deal pilot scheme which will provide funding to faith-based organisations to deliver innovative projects. The projects will work with police, schools, councils and other voluntary groups to tackle issues affecting the most vulnerable and will include providing debt and employability advice, tackling food poverty, providing support for mental health issues and combatting loneliness and isolation. Sixteen faith groups have been identified to receive a share of the funding, which includes Christian, Jewish and interfaith organisations. Faith Minister Paul Scully said “We saw the instrumental role that faith organisations played in supporting vulnerable people during the pandemic. Working closely with local partners, councils and government, they supported communities where they need it most. This pilot scheme will build on that vital work, so that faith organisations and their partners can continue to support communities as they recover.”

For more information please click here.

Levelling Up Parks Fund announced

The government has announced the Levelling Up Parks Fund which will provide £9 million of funding in order to improve green spaces in towns and cities across the country.  Over 100 new and improved parks will be created in the most deprived neighbourhoods to enable people to enjoy the outdoors.  In England, the funding will be given to councils to create or significantly revamp existing parks in 85 neighbourhoods most deprived of outdoor space with areas set to benefit including Liverpool, Birmingham, Carlisle and 16 London boroughs. Forestry Minister, Lord Zac Goldsmith, said “This funding will ensure that people from all backgrounds have access to nature by supporting tree planting within public green spaces in our urban communities – where tree cover is often the lowest. It will help us meet our tree planting ambitions – as well as making our towns and cities healthier, better insulated to a changing climate, and generally more pleasant places to be.”

For more information please click here.


Council accounting rules amended

The Secretary of State for Levelling Up Greg Clark has written to all council leaders amending rules which saw some councils attempting to circumvent rules allowing for the flexible use of capital receipts. The change makes clear these flexibilities can be used to fund transformation projects only where councils do not retain either direct or indirect control of disposed assets. The move will prevent councils from using novel practices which put taxpayer money at risk and drain resource. It will also help put a stop to accounting firms and consultancies wasting taxpayer money advising councils on creative accounting. The Secretary of State retains the ability, on an exceptional basis, to provide councils with permission to capitalise revenue costs where there is a compelling case to do so.

For more information please click here.

Planning and Housing

Further funding provided for public buildings upgrades

The government has announced that it will be providing up to a further £635 million of funding through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme to public sector organisations so that public buildings in England can be upgraded to be more energy efficient.  The funding will be available to schools, hospitals, leisure centres and historic town halls, amongst others, in order to install low carbon heating and energy efficiency measures in a bid to save money on energy bills over the next fifteen years.  Organisations such as NHS Trusts, schools and councils are able to apply for grants from September. Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan said “We are already delivering upgrades to hundreds of public buildings across England, making them cheaper to run and saving taxpayers millions of pounds each year. By helping even more public sector bodies ditch costly fossil fuels, we are taking an important step towards a more sustainable future while driving economic growth across the country and continuing to support tens of thousands of jobs.”

For more information please click here.

Government confirms plans to raise accessibility standard in new homes

The government launched a consultation earlier in the year which sought views on proposals to raise accessibility standards in new homes.  From over 400 responses to the consultation, 98% supported the government’s intention to raise accessibility standards of new homes and the government has therefore announced that it is committed to those plans and will begin to move forward with them.  Changes will include requiring all new homes to have step-free access to all entrance level rooms and facilities as well as further features to make homes more easily adaptable over time.  Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing Eddie Hughes said “This consultation has made clear raising the accessibility standard of new homes is supported not just by people who use accessible homes, but by industry and wider stakeholders as well. With that mandate, we are forging ahead with the next steps to make this a reality.” A second consultation is expected to be carried out in due course.

For more information please click here.

Councils to receive funding to support vulnerable tenants

The government has announced that it is providing £6 million of funding, from the government’s £20 million Supported Housing Improvement Programme, to Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool and Hull councils in order for them to improve housing and support for vulnerable tenants. The allocations follow pilots which successfully tested new enforcement measures including a property inspection regime and creation of new multi-disciplinary teams to speed up enforcement in those areas.  The councils will use the funding in order to carry out more frequent and thorough inspection of supported housing in those areas.

For more information please click here.

Register of Overseas Entities now live

The Register of Overseas Entities came into force in the UK on 1 August 2022 through the new Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022. The new Register of Overseas Entities is held by Companies House and requires overseas entities that own land or property in the UK to declare their beneficial owners and/or managing officers. There will be severe sanctions for those who do not comply, including restrictions on buying, selling, transferring, leasing or charging their land or property in the UK. Overseas entities who want to buy, sell or transfer property or land in the UK, must register with Companies House and tell them who their registrable beneficial owners or managing officers are. Overseas entities who already own or lease land or property in the UK will also need to register with Companies House and tell them who their registrable beneficial owners or managing officers are by 31 January 2023. This applies to overseas entities who bought property or land on or after 1 January 1999 in England and Wales or 8 December 2014 in Scotland. Overseas entities only need to register property or land bought in Northern Ireland on or after 1 August 2022. Entities that disposed of property or land after 28 February 2022 will also need to give details of those dispositions.

For more information please click here.

Upcoming Webinars

The Building Safety Act 2022: What do you need to know?

With the introduction of the Fire Safety Act last year and the more recent Building Safety Act 2022, it might feel like the rules and regulations for social housing providers are in a constant state of flux. As such the social housing team at Ward Hadaway would like to invite you to attend a free webinar on 28th September at 12pm, discussing the ins and outs of the Building Safety Act 2022. At this webinar Construction specialist, Neil Williamson, will give an overview of the Act, helping you to understand what it means for registered providers and local authorities. Neil will also offer his keen insight into how these changes will impact new developments and the contractual arrangements that providers will now need to implement. Fire safety and general building safety is always of utmost precedence, and this discussion promises to contain the useful and practical advice, to guide you, our colleagues in the social housing sector, through the recent changes in regulation.

For more information and to book your place, please click here.

Holiday pay update for schools

The Supreme Court has has recently handed down a judgment on holiday pay which will have significant implications throughout the education sector. Join us on 15th September at 10am where Graham Vials and Tom Shears will look into this judgment in more detail, including what it may mean for schools in terms of historic financial liability and the steps which schools should be considering moving forward in response to this judgment.

For more information and to book your place, please click here.

If you have any questions about the issues raised in this update, please do not hesitate to get in touch

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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