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Local Authority round-up 30/06/23

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.


Councils call for hybrid meeting powers

The results of a survey carried out by the Local Government Association (LGA) has revealed that 95% of councils who took part in the survey want the powers to be able to reintroduce virtual and hybrid technology for statutory council meetings. Virtual meetings were permitted during COVID-19 however the position has since reversed back to in person meetings only as required by legislation. Councils are now calling for the Government to finally remove this outdated barrier to participation and legislate to allow councils the flexibility to decide for them how they should use virtual meeting technologies. Cllr Joe Harris, Vice-Chair of the LGA said “The Government should provide councils, who know their communities best, with the flexibility they need to decide how to use hybrid technologies in their meetings. People’s expectations have changed due to improvements in virtual meeting technologies bought on by the pandemic. Many people now use hybrid meeting technologies every day in their work life and so there should be no reason why this cannot be used by councils across the country.”

For more information please click here.

Consultation on Scottish Human Rights Bill launched

Human rights protection is a devolved matter under the Scotland Act 1998. While the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) largely protects civil and political rights, the UK is also signed up to other international treaties which aim to protect economic, social and cultural rights. Those treaties are not currently incorporated into the UK and so the rights under them have less protection across the UK than ECHR rights currently do. On 15 June 2023, the Scottish Government launched a consultation seeking views on its plan to enshrine into Scots law United Nations economic, social and cultural rights and environmental standards, as well as rights relating to women, disabled people and those who experience racism. The Human Rights Bill would also introduce and recognise a right to a healthy environment, a right for older people to ensure equal access to their human rights and provision to ensure equal access to these rights. Public bodies and private organisations delivering public services in Scotland would be held to account if they are found to have taken actions that fail to uphold rights under the Human Rights Bill. The Scottish Government intends to introduce the Human Rights Bill in the current Parliamentary session (ending in 2026). The consultation closes on 5 October 2023.

For more information please click here.

Planning and housing

Homes England announces changes to Affordable Homes Programme

Homes England has announced that it has agreed with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities major changes to its Affordable Homes Programme. Grant funding which is provided through the programme 2021-26 can now be used to fund replacement homes which will mean that outdated properties can be regenerated.  Housing Minister Rachel Maclean said “The changes I am announcing today will unlock more affordable housing by ensuring we replace old homes with ones that are fit for the future. This is absolutely critical in helping us regenerate communities, speed up housing delivery and provide high-quality homes for more families.”

For more information please click here.

5 year Homewards project to tackle homelessness

Prince William has launched a five-year campaign with the aim of ending long-term homelessness in the UK. The Prince of Wales’s charitable foundation is putting £3 million of start-up funding into the initiative which is called ‘Homewards.’ The plan is to bring together local coalitions of housing experts, charities and private industry to develop housing projects and support services, addressing different ways that homelessness occurs, whether in big cities or coastal towns. Following the launch a spokeswoman for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities welcomed the prince’s initiative said “We are giving councils £2bn over three years, to help them tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, targeted to areas where it is needed most.”

For more information please click here.

Upcoming events

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 protection and the implications of AI tools’ will take place on 4 July 2023.

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

Transforming Workplace Health and Wellbeing

Ward Hadaway partner Jamie Gamble will be joined by a panel of experts on Tuesday 4th July between 8:30am – 12:30pm at the INNSiDE by Meliá Hotel who will provide valuable insight into how implementing focused Health and Wellbeing initiatives will help your workforce and in turn help you improve performance and productivity. We will also be joined by well-known regional employers who will share their own experiences of implementing Health and Wellbeing strategies in the workplace and the impact that they have had.

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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