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Local Authority round-up 11/08/23

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.


Funding for councils to tackle air pollution

The government has announced a new round of Air Quality Grants which will provide £6 million in funding to councils in England for projects which tackle local air pollution. Funding will be prioritised towards projects which tackle particulate matter, improve public awareness of the impacts of air pollution and help local authorities to bring down levels of nitrogen oxide and other pollutants to below legal limits. Previously funded projects include awareness programmes for schoolchildren, e-cargo bike libraries and upskilling healthcare workers on air quality issues. Councils in England are being encouraged to bid for the government funding which is available.

For more information please click here.


Government issues guidance on adult social care intervention in local authorities in England

The Department for Health and Social Care has published an operational framework intended to provide information to local authorities in England on the Government’s approach to statutory intervention in adult social care. The framework has been developed with input from the Local Government Association, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Care Quality Commission and other government departments following the new powers of intervention being introduced through the Health and Care Act 2022. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has a new duty to independently review and assess the performance of local authorities in delivering their adult social care functions, as set out under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014. New powers then enable the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to intervene where they are satisfied that local authorities have failed or are failing to discharge Care Act 2014 functions to an acceptable standard.

For more information please click here.

Planning and housing

Government launches Planning Skills Delivery Fund to help clear backlogs

The application process for year one of the Planning Skills Delivery Fund has been launched, which is part of the Capacity and Capability Programme, providing £24 million over two years. The fund applies to England. For year one of this fund (2023/24), local planning authorities (LPAs) can submit proposals to address one or both of the following:

  • Backlog funding: applications must clearly demonstrate how the requested funding would clear the backlog by addressing the root causes with deliverable proposals such as hiring additional planning officers to work on minor or householder applications. This element of funding is only available to LPAs who are decision-makers on planning applications.
  • Skills funding: LPAs should identify which planning specialism(s) they are seeking expertise in (for example, transport planning, urban design, strategic planning or conservation) and how the specialist resource would deliver skills support and knowledge transfer to achieve identified planning outcomes. This element of funding is available for all local authorities involved in plan-making and decision-making including upper tier authorities such as county councils.

For both types of funding, grants of up to £100,000 per local authority can be issued. Applications which include match funding are encouraged. The intention of the year one application process is to focus on projects and change that could be delivered within six months. The application window is now open and closes on 11 September 2023 with the announcement of successful applicants to be made in October 2023.

For more information please click here.

Councils could face high costs to implement new housing standards

The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that local authorities could face significant costs in order to implement new government housing standards. Under the Social Housing (Regulation) Act, senior housing management staff will be required to complete qualifications up to a certain level as part of the Government’s drive to improve housing standards. Research carried out by the LGA suggest that this would cost local authorities £17.9 million to implement in the first two years and then £3.7 million annually thereafter. The LGA is calling for these additional costs to be fully funded by the Government to prevent costs falling on over-stretched Housing Revenue Accounts. Cllr Linda Taylor, LGA housing spokesperson, said “With costs to councils likely to be almost £18 million just for the first two years, it is essential that these new requirements are fully funded. Councils’ Housing Revenue Accounts are already facing unsustainable financial pressures, and this would be an additional burden which risks impacting on councils’ ability to fulfil their roles effectively as housing authorities”

For more information please click here.

Upcoming webinars

Webinar series: Data Protection

Register your interest for our on-going webinar series on ‘Data Protection’ for in-house lawyers, DPOs and senior management in private and public sector organisations. The series will run throughout 2023 providing attendees with up to date information on key Data Protection topics. The short one hour sessions will be delivered by our experts with allocated time for you to ask any questions you may have. The next in our series ‘Marketing and data protection’ will take place on 12 September 2023.

For more information or 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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