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Local Authority round-up 07/07/23

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.


Chewing Gum Task Force funding for councils

Fifty-six councils across the UK are to receive funding totalling more than £1.2 million from the Chewing Gum Task Force to target chewing gum stains on our streets. The latest round of funding includes grants of up to £25,000 for cleansing with a fully funded bespoke gum litter prevention package and further grants of up to £25,000 for Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cardiff, Doncaster and Glasgow for the fully funded bespoke gum litter prevention package and long-term monitoring and evaluation. The aim of the funding is both to clean up the streets but also to implement measures to prevent it happening in the first place. Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said “Littering blights our communities, spoils our countryside, harms our wildlife and wastes taxpayers’ money when cleaning it up. That’s why we’re working with gum producers to tackle chewing gum stains. After the success of the first round of funding, this next slice will give councils further support to clean up our towns and cities.”

For more information please click here.

£3 million funding from the Million Hours Fund announced

The government has announced £3 million of funding under the Million Hours Fund to help youth organisations offer additional opportunities through the summer holidays. The funding is now open for applications for grants which will enable youth organisations to provide more out-of-school activities and support more young people in areas of high need this summer. The remaining £8 million from the Million Hours Fund will open for applications from the autumn, with further details to be announced in due course.

For more information please click here.


Council extends four-day week trial

Local Government Minister Lee Rowley has sent a formal request to South Cambridgeshire District Council to end its four-day working week trial, arguing that such an approach could impact its ‘Best Value Duty’ under the Local Government Act. In May, the council announced an extension of its three-month trial of a four-day working week until March 2024, after judging it a success in helping with staff recruitment and retention. Council leader Bridget Smith said she was “surprised” at the intervention and said “This is a trial, but we have already seen strong independently assessed evidence which showed that performance was maintained, and in some cases improved, in the first three months.” She has since requested a meeting to discuss the situation.

For more information please click here.

International Trade

Duty Reimbursement Scheme launched

HMRC has now launched the Duty Reimbursement Scheme, which will allow traders to reclaim duty on goods moving into Northern Ireland which do not subsequently move into the EU. Traders will need to be able to demonstrate that the goods were sold or used in Northern Ireland or somewhere else outside the EU in order to reclaim the EU duty. Applications can be made online by submitting a digital form with accompanying documents and evidence via the government website.

For more information please click here.

Planning and housing

RSH publishes full findings of damp and mould in social housing survey

On 28 June 2023, the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) published Damp and mould in social housing – learning the lessons, a report that provides the RSH’s findings concerning the extent of damp and mould issues in homes owned by large registered social housing providers. The report follows the RSH’s request for information in November 2022 following the death of a two-year-old, Awaab Ishak, resulting from mould in his home. The RSH found that most tenants live in homes that are largely free from damp and mould and that most landlords can deal with damp and mould effectively. The overall picture was, however, “mixed but improving”, with a small number of landlords who have improvements to make and who could strengthen their approach further. The report provides examples of both stronger and weaker governance, stock condition data and systems, and operational approaches. The report identified wider housing stock condition “lessons”, which include that:

  • The quality of information concerning housing stock condition held by landlords was “vital” both to provide a high-quality service to tenants and maintaining their asset base.
  • Underpinned by accurate data, governing bodies should have a good understanding of the condition of their stock, including investment requirements. They should know which of the homes they manage currently meet the Decent Homes Standard (DHS).
  • Landlords must ensure that DHS compliance reported through the Statistical Data Return and Local Authority Housing Statistics accurately reflects current stock condition. Any category 1 hazard (including damp and mould) must be appropriately reported as a DHS failure and dealt with as a priority to mitigate any risk to tenants.

Eight local authority landlords provided inadequate responses to the initial request for information. Examples of weaknesses in their approach included inadequate stock condition surveys and data, unclear processes for dealing with damp and mould or being unable to demonstrate they could quantify cases of damp and mould in their homes. The RSH will continue to engage with these landlords and will report any regulatory action it takes. The RSH has stated that it will carry out new inspections from April 2024.

For more information 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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