Whitehall

Government launches care recruitment drive

16/10/2019

The Department of Health and Social Care is set to launch the second phase of its advertising campaign to help fill 122,000 vacancies in social care.

Queen's Speech 19: Councils promised new powers to tackle pollution

14/10/2019

The Queen’s Speech promised an Environment Bill which will establish a ‘world-leading’ independent regulator, the Office for Environmental Protection, and hand some new powers to councils.

Queen's Speech 19: Devolution White Paper to set out 'structural reform'

14/10/2019

An English devolution White Paper is planned by the Government, it has been confirmed in the Queen’s Speech.

Core Cities' £28bn Shared Prosperity Fund warning

26/09/2019

The proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) must be worth at least £28bn over seven years if the UK is to deliver its devolved policy objectives, a leading sector body has warned.

DfE drive to check council readiness for Brexit

19/09/2019

The Department for Education (DfE) is attempting to gain a better understanding of school sector and council readiness just weeks before the Government’s Brexit deadline.

Treasury 'wasting money' in funding of local government

17/09/2019

The Treasury is wasting money in its funding of local government and needs to have a more place-based focus, according to a report from the respected Institute for Government (IfG) think-tank.

'Cracks' starting to show in electoral system

16/09/2019

Election administrators have warned of ‘cracks’ beginning to show in the electoral system with the prospect of another poll on the horizon.

Government warned resilience forums could be stretched

04/09/2019

Local resilience forums (LRFs) would be stretched if Brexit forced them into 24/7 operations over an extended period, the Government has been warned in a report leaked to The MJ.

New rules to increase housing deal transparency

02/09/2019

Councils will be legally required to publish deals with housing developers after new rules were introduced.

Future of work survey to inform thinking

19/08/2019

Local government workers have been invited to take part in a new survey on the future of work.

Universal Credit draining council resources

15/07/2019

Universal Credit (UC) is draining resources from councils, a new survey has found.

Nearly £400m to be invested along the English and Scottish border

02/07/2019

Just under £395m is to be invested into five local authority areas on both sides of the border between England and Scotland, Whitehall and Holyrood say.

Johnson v Hunt

27/06/2019

As the race to become the next prime minister continues, Heather Jameson looks at what the candidates could mean for local government once Brexit is over.

EXCLUSIVE: Victory on variation

26/06/2019

The Treasury’s view of children’s services has been dealt a further blow after research linked 70% of spend variation to factors outside councils’ control.

Council to appeal 'town hall Pravdas' ruling

14/06/2019

Waltham Forest LBC will appeal after a judge backed Government attempts to stop it publishing a council newspaper every two weeks.

Call for leader to quit after 'repeated failures'

05/06/2019

Shadow local government secretary Andrew Gwynne has called for Northamptonshire CC leader, Matt Golby, to quit after ‘repeated failures’ in the council’s children’s services.

NAO to wade into fair funding review

05/06/2019

The National Audit Office (NAO) is gearing up to scrutinise the Government’s divisive fair funding review, The MJ can reveal.

Government pays £15m to councils after business rate 'error'

03/06/2019

The Government may have to pay out up to £15m to councils after it made yet another error in its business rate pilot administration.

Delay to Northamptonshire reorganisation welcomed

14/05/2019

Council leaders have welcomed the year-long delay to plans to create two new unitaries in Northamptonshire.

Stopping youth homelessness is 'patchy' says think tank

14/05/2019

A year after the Homelessness Reduction Act, progress on youth homelessness prevention is patchy across local authority areas, a think tank has revealed.

Brokenshire moves to boost local government accountability

09/05/2019

Brokenshire moves to impose fresh conditions on ‘top slice’ cash

Councils urged to 'embrace scrutiny'

08/05/2019

Councils have been urged to ‘embrace scrutiny’ of their spending decisions in new guidance issued by the Government.

Security fears after candidate addresses published

02/05/2019

Security concerns have been raised after a loophole forced councils to publish the home addresses of candidates standing in the EU elections.

Councils' role in asylum system to be bolstered

23/04/2019

Plans are being drawn up that will give councils more of a say in where asylum seekers are accommodated.

Concern over councils' ability to cope with polls

17/04/2019

Council chiefs have raised concerns with Government about the sector’s capacity to run EU elections so close on the heels of local polls.

Housing advisor fired for 'racist' comments

11/04/2019

The Government has sacked its housing advisor Sir Roger Scruton after the conservative philosopher appeared unrepentant about his claims that Hungarian Jews are part of a “Soros empire”.

Corbyn launches attack on fair funding review

11/04/2019

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has entered the debate over the fair funding review, claiming it ‘will make poorer areas even poorer’.

Call for inspection pause in case of Brexit hit

10/04/2019

Council chiefs have urged Whitehall to be ready to ease pressures on the sector for up to six months if Brexit threatens to stretch capacity.

Councils defend council tax hikes

27/03/2019

Councils have had ‘little choice’ but to raise council tax to protect local services, the Local Government Association has said, after the latest tax rises were revealed.

Think tank suggests introduction of local income tax

21/03/2019

Local income tax would be the best option for fiscal devolution if the Government wanted to hand more powers to local authorities, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) argued today.

Sector fumes over lack of pre-Brexit briefing

21/02/2019

Councils have threatened to walk away from Government attempts to engage with them on Brexit amid growing frustrations about the response to their concerns.

Brokenshire slams door on One Yorkshire plan

12/02/2019

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has told regional leaders that their plans for a One Yorkshire metro mayor fails to meet the Government’s devolution criteria.

Labour would create local government commission

11/02/2019

Labour would create a new commission that would allow councillors to influence every decision that affects local authorities if they won a General Election.

Call for tourism tax review

05/02/2019

An inquiry into cultural investment in cities has called for a UK-wide review of the benefits of a tourism tax.

Brokenshire gets Brexit breakdown from chiefs

31/01/2019

Chief executives have told communities secretary James Brokenshire Whitehall needs to be more joined up between departments and in its communications with councils over Brexit.

LGA faces financial headache

25/01/2019

Smith Square has acknowledged the financial challenges it faces as it freezes subscriptions while grappling with declining Government grants and a pension scheme deficit.

Auditors bid to explain real cause of difference in councils' spend on kids

23/01/2019

A nine-fold variation in spending on children’s social care could largely be down to ‘differences in characteristics’ between councils, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) study.

Buckinghamshire districts threaten legal action over unitary plan

21/01/2019

Two Buckinghamshire districts have written to the Government warning they could launch legal proceedings over plans to create a single county unitary.

Whitehall 'leadership' needed to help councils cope with financial pressures

15/01/2019

The Government must improve oversight and transparency over local authorities to ensure their financial sustainability, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

Watchdog highlights councils' weak financial plans

10/01/2019

The number of public bodies in England with weak financial plans is ‘unacceptably high,’ the National Audit Office (NAO) has found.

Ministers play down commercialisation 'crackdown'

10/01/2019

Ministers have played down the prospect of a widespread crackdown on councils that borrow for commercial reasons.

Rudd delays Universal Credit rollout

07/01/2019

Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd has delayed the next phase of the Universal Credit (UC) rollout amid ongoing concerns over the controversial system.

Consultation plans for council tree felling proposed

03/01/2019

Councils would be required to consult residents before cutting down trees in urban areas under Government plans.

Councils warn of impact of public health funding cuts

21/12/2018

Councils have reacted angrily to ‘short-sighted’ cuts to public health funding next year by the Government.

Finance settlement: Government floats commercialisation crackdown

13/12/2018

Whitehall is considering a crackdown on councils that excessively borrow for commercial reasons as it continues to restrict council tax rises.

Anderson quits Northern Powerhouse Partnership in frustration

10/12/2018

Former chancellor George Osborne has voiced sympathy with Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson’s decision to quit the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

Local government finance settlement delayed by Brexit debate

05/12/2018

Today's provisional local government finance settlement has been delayed – just weeks after Whitehall agreed to bring it forward and fix a date.

Northants can use £70m in capital receipts to plug finance gap

29/11/2018

Northamptonshire CC will be allowed to use £70m in capital receipts to plug its financial black hole, local government secretary James Brokenshire has ruled. 

Brexit will not halt economic growth, says Walkley

29/11/2018

Economic growth will not grind to a halt when we leave the European Union, chief executive of Homes England Nick Walkley has predicted.

MHCLG ‘not expecting another Northamptonshire situation’

26/11/2018

Local government finances are sustainable and the collapse of another authority is not expected, the ministry’s top civil servant has insisted.

Universal Credit bad for people's health - academics

15/11/2018

Universal Credit (UC) is bad for health and wellbeing, academics have found in a new study commissioned by Gateshead MBC.

Brokenshire in shared prosperity fund threat

15/11/2018

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has threatened to withhold the shared prosperity fund (SPF) from areas that fail to remove local enterprise partnership (LEP) overlaps.

Labour hits out at housing cash shift

12/11/2018

Labour has called for all areas to receive greater Government backing after Whitehall shifted the focus of its housing cash.

Councils losing millions through tax loophole

07/11/2018

A loophole that could be costing English local authorities millions in lost council tax is to be reviewed by ministers.

Single unitary council for Bucks gets the go-ahead

01/11/2018

Buckinghamshire’s five councils are to be scrapped in favour of a single county-wide unitary, communities secretary James Brokenshire has announced.

Councillors silenced on secret fiscal devolution report

31/10/2018

Senior councillors have been warned not to talk about a secret Local Government Association (LGA) report that models what fiscal devolution might look like, The MJ has been told.

No-deal Brexit disruption warning

31/10/2018

Local authorities have been warned to prepare for up to three months of disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Budget 2018: Hammond praises local government

29/10/2018

In a Budget billed as the end of austerity, chancellor Phillip Hammond praised local government’s contribution to rescuing public finances and doled out cash for adult social care, mental health, high streets and roads.

Budget 2018: Billion-pound Universal Credit pledge

29/10/2018

A billion pounds has been promised in an attempt to ease benefits claimants’ transition to Universal Credit.

Budget 2018: £800m cash injection for social care

29/10/2018

Social care has been given an £800m boost in today’s Budget after chancellor Philip Hammond said he recognised the ‘immediate pressures’ local authorities were facing.

Budget 2018: Cash for care could be swallowed up by rates relief

28/10/2018

Chancellor Phillip Hammond is expected to announce nearly a billion pounds for social care in an austerity-busting budget later today.

Ministry moves on Brexit

24/10/2018

Senior Marsham Street officials have stepped up their preparations for Brexit after complaints from frustrated councils that they were being shut out of the process.

EXCLUSIVE: Future of new homes bonus cast in doubt

04/10/2018

The future of the £7bn New Homes Bonus is in doubt, after Treasury ministers revealed they believe the policy has failed.

Universal Credit chief admits support is not working

01/10/2018

The civil servant in charge of the Universal Credit rollout has admitted support for claimants has not been effective, as responsibility was handed to the charity sector.

Whitehall demands in-year cuts to improvement programme

19/09/2018

The sector’s ability to respond to crises such as a care provider failure could be hit after Whitehall demanded cuts to a key improvement programme, senior councillors have been warned.

Welfare support has 'collapsed' for many in England

19/09/2018

One in six top-tier councils are not providing vital welfare services devolved to them just as the sector’s budget cuts hit hard.

Auditors warn councils over debt chasing

06/09/2018

Funding pressures in local government could mean councils are pursuing debt repayments ‘too quickly and too aggressively,’ a report by national auditors suggested today.

LEPs told to improve ahead of EU funding changes

06/09/2018

Fresh concerns have emerged about local enterprise partnerships (LEP) as the Government considers whether to use them to funnel UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) cash.

Working homeless figures soar over five years

23/07/2018

The number of families described as ‘working homeless’ has soared over the past five years, housing charity Shelter has warned.

Recycling rates could be boosted by fraud, says auditors

23/07/2018

The UK’s success at recycling may be being boosted by fraudulent exports of unrecyclable materials, auditors have claimed.

Public finances perform better than expected

20/07/2018

Public finances continue to perform better than expectations, although total borrowing is up year-on-year even before the promised increase in health spending.

Funding call to end 'postcode lottery' for children's services

11/07/2018

MPs today called for more funds to help end a so-called postcode lottery for children’s services.

Brokenshire considering new devolution models

10/07/2018

James Brokenshire is considering new models of devolution as he seeks to extend further powers to local areas, the communities secretary has insisted.

Councils sign up to digital declaration

04/07/2018

The Government has announced a new digital declaration, backed up by £7.5m funding, to help councils transform their online services.

Hawthorne: Local industrial strategies could go same way as devolution

04/07/2018

Parts of the country could be left behind when Whitehall rolls out its local industrial strategies, a senior Local Government Association (LGA) figure has warned.

Brokenshire dodges funding commitment pledge

03/07/2018

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has failed to make a firm commitment to fighting for more funding for councils despite warnings the 'bank of local government is running on empty'.

Double standards?

28/06/2018

When it comes to improving public services, what’s good for local government should be good for central government. Piali Das Gupta looks at why the latter can benefit from adopting the principles of the former

DWP under fire over Universal Credit

14/06/2018

Auditors have heavily criticised the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for the design and implementation of Universal Credit.

Local government figures celebrated in Queen's birthday honours

11/06/2018

The former interim chief executive of Birmingham City Council, Stella Manzie, has been made a Dame in the Queen’s birthday honours for services to local government.

Scrap all districts says Heseltine

05/06/2018

District councils should be scrapped and 60 unitary counties created instead across England led by directly-elected mayors according to former Cabinet minister Lord Heseltine

Northampton unitary plan falls

15/05/2018

The tight timeframe for reorganising local government across Northamptonshire claimed its first victim this week despite ministers’ decision to extend the consultation period.

Brokenshire announces Northamptonshire commissioners

09/05/2018

New local government secretary James Brokenshire has today announced the two commissioners appointed to help rescue troubled Northamptonshire CC.

MPs call for 'credible, long-term plan' for social care

09/05/2018

MPs today called on ministers to outline a ‘credible, long-term plan’ to reverse the perception of English social care as a ‘source of national shame’.

Brokenshire promises a 'hands on approach' to local government

02/05/2018

New secretary of state James Brokenshire has declared himself to be ‘a real fan of local government’ and vowed to take a ‘hands on’ approach to his relationship with the sector.

Northants to have improvement board

02/05/2018

Northamptonshire CC will establish an improvement board that will work closely with government commissioners to improve the county’s finances and governance ahead of reorganisation.

Whitehall grabs £875m Right to Buy receipts

25/04/2018

Labour has demanded immediate Right to Buy (RTB) reforms after figures obtained by The MJ revealed the amount councils lose to Whitehall under the regime.

Report scathing on public sector accountability

23/04/2018

Britain’s system of public sector accountability is failing to keep up with the realities of modern government, a think-tank has warned.

Welsh Government in new push for larger councils

20/03/2018

Local government in Wales is facing a radical overhaul, with ministers consulting on plans to create ‘larger, stronger councils’.

IFS implores action over growing social care funding chasm

20/03/2018

The Government will need to scrap its funding reforms, significantly boost top-ups or centralise care if it is to plug the social care funding gap, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has warned today.

Javid orders review after second council payment error

20/03/2018

The Government has ordered a review after being forced to admit a second mistake in as many months in the way it calculates council payments.

Five councils to help with Government integration plan

14/03/2018

The Government will work with five local authorities to develop integration plans as it develops a national strategy for England, it has announced today.

Hammond offers little respite for council finances

13/03/2018

Council finances were offered little respite in chancellor Philip Hammond’s Spring Statement today.

Mandatory reporting calls rejected by Government

05/03/2018

Ministers today rejected calls for the mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse – claiming an effective case for a new law has not been made.

Whitehall's local government finance cover-up is exposed

20/02/2018

Key Whitehall departments involved in attempt to bury changes to provisional finance settlement data.

Government fostering report calls for councils to work with agencies

07/02/2018

Collaboration between local authorities and the private sector would improve foster care for children, a new Government report has suggested.

EXCLUSIVE: Funding red flags raised

06/02/2018

One in 10 council bosses fear their local authority will not have enough funding to fulfil their statutory duties in 2018/19, an exclusive survey has found today.

Call for Javid to resign after 'misleading' House of Commons

06/02/2018

Shadow local government secretary Andrew Gwynne has demanded the resignation of his counterpart Sajid Javid after the minister admitted he knew the data behind the provisional finance settlement was wrong.

Javid finds extra £166m in final settlement

06/02/2018

Local government secretary Sajid Javid has found an additional £166m to ease spending pressures in social care and rural areas in the final 2018/19 settlement.

Ethical standards in local government to be reviewed

30/01/2018

A review into how local government is supporting ethical standards is to be conducted by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

EXCLUSIVE: Finance settlement 'shambles' after provisional data wrong

18/01/2018

The local government finance settlement has descended into a shambles after it emerged allocations in the provisional document were wrong, The MJ can exclusively reveal.

Local Government News

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This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

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