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Local Authority round-up 29/09/23

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.


Government provides £80 million funding for bus services

Roads Minister Richard Holden has announced that a further £80 million of government funding is being allocated to local authorities in order to improve and protect bus services. The funding has been allocated to 64 local authorities across England who can use the funding to improve local bus services including through providing new services and routes, extending timetables and making tickets cheaper, particularly for elderly and young people. The Department for Transport has also recently confirmed £129 million to roll out hundreds more zero emission buses, with the first £25 million prioritised specifically for rural communities. Mr Holden said “We are providing a further £80 million to help local authorities improve and protect essential services, delivering for local communities across the country by enhancing transport connections, supporting passengers and growing the economy.”

For more information please click here.

Newcastle clean air zone brings in £500k

Figures published by Newcastle City Council have revealed that its clean air zone (CAZ) has brought in over £500,000 in the first six months of its operation. A total of £311,290 was paid in CAZ charges during this period and a further £214,996 was paid in penalty charge notices (PCNs). The city council has also issued more than £1.3 million in Clean Air Fund grants to help drivers and businesses upgrade their vehicles to ensure they are CAZ-compliant. In total, 369 older and more polluting taxis, vans and HGVs were replaced and upgraded to reduce emissions up until the end of July. Councillor Jane Byrne said “Although we can’t see pollution, we do know that it is there and that it can be harmful to people’s health – so it’s important that we all do what we can to help tackle it. Upgrading to cleaner vehicles is one of the ways we can make a difference and we are working through grant applications as quickly as we can to help more people to take this step.”

For more information please click here.


ICO issues warning about data breaches putting lives of domestic abuse victims at risk

The Information Commissioner has called on organisations to handle personal information responsibly after the watchdog revealed that it had reprimanded seven organisations, including two councils, in the last 15 months over data breaches affecting victims of domestic abuse. The two councils were Wakefield Borough Council and Nottinghamshire County Council. The five other organisations listed in the warning included a law firm, a housing association, an NHS trust, the Department for Work and Pensions, and South Wales Police. John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner, said the prevalence of these data breaches, exposing the victims to further risk, was “a pattern that must stop”. He added “Organisations should be doing everything necessary to protect the personal information in their care. The reprimands issued in the past year make clear mistakes were made and organisations must resolve the issues that lead to these breaches in the first place. Getting the basics right is simple – thorough training, double checking records and contact details, restricting access to information – all these things reduce the risk of even greater harm.”

For more information please click here.

Planning and housing

Councils call for urgent review of Local Housing Allowance rates

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for an urgent review of Local Housing Allowance rates after a report by the Kerslake Commission warned that the Government will not meet its target to end rough sleeping by 2024. The report, ‘Turning the Tide on Rising Homelessness and Rough Sleeping’, cites “chronic and unresolved systemic issues” as the reason for an increase in rough sleeping, and calls for an increased supply of social rented housing and supported housing. The report notes that at the end of 2022, more than 100,000 households were living in temporary accommodation, up 5% from the same period the year before and the “highest on record”. The Commission makes three key recommendations for change:

  • Prevent people from getting to the brink of homelessness – We need to be preventing people from reaching crisis point and becoming homeless or at risk of homelessness.
  • No one should need to arrive onto the streets to get help – Where people are at risk of rough sleeping, there should be a cross sector effort to make timely and effective interventions that prevent an episode of rough sleeping.
  • Everyone should have a route out of rough sleeping – For anyone who is rough sleeping, there needs to be a meaningful and tailored offer which will take them away from the streets for good.

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 ‘Data transfers – crossing borders’ will take place on 14 November 2023.

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

Housing Management Law School Autumn Term 2023

Our Housing Management Law School will be held via Zoom on Thursday 19th October at 9:30am. The Law School is free to attend and exists to deliver training to Registered Providers of Social Housing across the country, educating and updating their housing management staff with the essential legal knowledge that they need. Our regular round up of all things current and topical in the ever changing works of housing management law.

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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