Skip to content

Local Authority round-up: 31/05/24

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.


LGA publishes new improvement and assurance framework

The Local Government Association (LGA) has recently published a new framework designed to assist councils achieve effective local government assurance and reduce the risk of Government interventions.

The framework advises councils to undertake an annual review of governance, regular reviews of finance, risk information and performance, as well as ensuring all employees are adequately trained and supported in their roles.

It also encourages constructive challenges through scrutinising decisions and policy development. As well as this, the framework supports greater oversight and challenge of arrangements for risk and audit by the audit committee.

The framework applies to unitary, county, district, and borough councils in England and to English authorities with all types of governance systems.

For more information, please click here.

Planning and Housing

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Act becomes law

The Act, which has officially received Royal Assent, seeks to strengthen protections for tenants including (among others) the following:

  • The Act increases the standard lease extension term to 990 years for houses and flats so leaseholders can enjoy secure ownership without the burden of future lease extensions.
  • The new legislation expands the scope of redress schemes for leaseholders so that they are able to challenge poor practice. The Government will require freeholders, who manage their building directly, to belong to a redress scheme.
  • The requirement that a new leaseholder must have owned their house or flat for 2 years before they can extend their lease or buy their freehold has been removed.
  • The presumption that leaseholders pay their freeholders’ legal costs when challenging poor practice has been removed.

For more information, please click here.


Post Office convictions quashed

Following Royal Assent of the Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Act 2024, all convictions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will now be quashed providing they meet the following criteria:

  • Prosecutions were brought about by the Post Office or CPS (or in Northern Ireland, the state prosecutor or the police).
  • Offences were carried out in connection with Post Office business between 1996 and 2018.
  • The convictions were for relevant offences such as theft, fraud and false accounting.
  • The convictions were against sub-postmasters, their employees, officers, family members or direct employees of the Post Office working in a Post Office that used the Horizon system software.
  • The conviction has not been considered by the Court of Appeal.
  • This new legislation will deliver justice to those postmasters wrongly convicted and is hoped to ensure swifter access to the financial redress they deserve.

It is anticipated that postmasters will be contacted in the coming weeks to notify them of their overturned convictions.

The Department for Business and Trade continues to work on the new Horizon Convictions Redress Scheme for those who have had their convictions quashed by the recent legislation. This Government plans to have the Scheme fully operational by the summer.

For more information, please click here.

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.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Keep up to date with all the latest updates and insights from our expert team

Take me there

What we're thinking