Whitehall

Sheffield chief apologises for Whitehall leaving do

14/01/2022

The chief executive officer of Sheffield City Council has apologised for having her Whitehall leaving do while coronavirus restrictions were in place.

Shortcomings revealed in second child murder case

14/12/2021

A second court case in a month has revealed serious shortcomings in how local agencies responded to allegations of abuse shortly before a child’s murder.

Leaked White Paper reveals reorganisation master plan

09/12/2021

A leaked version of the Levelling Up White Paper has revealed plans to scrap two-tier local government in England.

Powers warning ahead of new deals

07/12/2021

A new report today warns areas reluctant to accept directly-elected leaders in the next wave of devolution deals may be offered ‘fewer powers and flexibilities’.

LGA warning over soaring care costs

23/11/2021

Soaring adult and children’s care costs mean councils could ‘soon fail to support everyone they need to,’ town halls have warned.

Transfer scheme for asylum children made mandatory

23/11/2021

Councils will have to take in asylum-seeking children as the national transfer scheme is made mandatory.

Gove warned of climate change floods risk

22/11/2021

Local government secretary Michael Gove was today urged to align UK housing policy with climate change.

No deal from last-ditch pay talks

16/11/2021

Last-ditch talks between local government employers and trade unions over this year’s 1.75% pay offer have broken up without agreement, The MJ understands.

Delayed SEND review to reduce 'local variation'

11/11/2021

Proposals coming out of the Government’s review of special educational needs and disability (SEND) will look to reduce ‘local variation,’ children and families minister Will Quince has suggested.

IFS reveals scope of Universal Credit

08/11/2021

Budget changes to Universal Credit mean families with well above-average earnings and even paying 40% rates of tax could be entitled to the benefit, according to an Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report.

Commissioners to monitor Slough improvement plan

26/10/2021

Mismanagement and a dysfunctional culture contributed to Slough Council’s financial meltdown, two Government-ordered reviews have concluded.

Pension funds urged to help achieve green economy switch

19/10/2021

Parliamentarians have urged local government pension funds to play an active role in achieving a ‘just transition’ to a green economy.

Sunak urged to tackle backlogs in public services or face greater costs

19/10/2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak must swiftly invest in public services hit hardest by the pandemic or face much greater costs down the line, a report has warned.

Think-tank makes call for wellbeing budgets

18/10/2021

The Government should introduce ‘wellbeing budgets’ that look beyond gross domestic product (GDP) to reduce regional health inequalities, a think-tank has urged.

Counties in council tax warning

07/10/2021

County leaders have warned council tax bills would have to rise by almost a quarter over three years to get close to eliminating their deficit.

Slough approves asset fire sale

21/09/2021

Crisis-hit Slough Council has approved plans to flog around £600m worth of assets as it battles to get its finances under control.

Levelling up too focused on infrastructure, claims report

14/09/2021

Ministers’ ‘levelling up’ agenda is too focused on new infrastructure projects at the expense of improving key public services, councils representing English towns and cities have warned.

Districts call for government intervention over supported housing

03/09/2021

Three out of five district councils fear they do not have enough good quality supported housing for the next five years, a new survey has found.

Government set to hike NI to pay for care and health

03/09/2021

Government is set to plough ahead with plans to raise national insurance to fund health and social, with an announcement expected next week.

Khan pledges Afghan resettlement help

26/08/2021

The Mayor of London has pledged funding to help councils resettle Afghan refugees.

£3bn gap looms for councils

24/08/2021

Councils in England, Wales and Scotland are grappling with huge budget deficits totalling more than £3bn for the next financial year, according to research published by trade union Unison today. 

Report attacks councils’ ‘shameful’ undermining of Right to Build laws

23/08/2021

Some authorities have been ‘subverting’ legislation designed to encourage self-built homes, an independent report has found.

County areas chase devo dream

17/08/2021

County areas are lining up to strike one of the first tranche of devolution deals.

Brighton & Hove raises concerns over support for asylum-seeking children

30/07/2021

The council said they had less than 24 hours’ notice before the Home Office placed a number of children in a hotel in the city.

Government threatens borrowing cap return

29/07/2021

The Government has threatened to apply statutory borrowing caps on councils that continue to expose themselves to excessive risk.

Johnson: Bring your devolution plans to me

15/07/2021

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for local leaders to take their devolution plans to him in a keynote speech from the West Midlands this morning.

Reed accuses government of dropping devolution

07/07/2021

Shadow communities secretary Steve Reed has accused the Government of dropping its commitment to devolution.

BREAKING: Slough becomes second council to issue Section 114 in a year

01/07/2021

Slough Council has become the second local authority in less than a year to issue a dreaded Section 114 notice.

Special needs deficits to grow to £1.3bn in two years

30/06/2021

A ‘spiralling deficit’ in special educational needs services (SEN) is expected to grow to an ‘unmanageable’ £1.3bn in just two years’ time, county councils have warned.

Councils can issue traffic fines from December

15/06/2021

Powers to enforce moving traffic offences will not be extended to local authorities in England outside London until the end of the year, a Department for Transport (DfT) minister has said.

Patel reveals rota replacement scheme for unaccompanied asylum seeking children

10/06/2021

A new rota scheme will better distribute responsibility for unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) among councils, home secretary Priti Patel has revealed.

Controversial Somerset poll backs district plan

07/06/2021

A controversial poll on reorganisation in Somerset has come out in favour of a district-based proposal.

MHCLG is 'too optimistic' about councils' cash, says watchdog

04/06/2021

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is overly optimistic about councils’ financial resilience after the pandemic, MPs have warned.

Wolverhampton's i9 selected to house MHCLG's Midlands base

28/05/2021

Two floors of Wolverhampton’s new i9 office building will be home to the first ministerial department outside of London, it has been announced.

Levelling up is 'meaningless' without devo, say Lords

20/05/2021

The Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda is meaningless without more devolution to councils and investment in local public services says a report from the House of Lords.

COVID crisis exposed council underfunding, says watchdog

19/05/2021

The COVID crisis exposed existing weaknesses in public services, including the underfunding of local government and the neglect of social care, the National Audit Office (NAO) has said.

More than 100 leisure centres could go bust, DCN warns

13/05/2021

More than 100 leisure centres in England could go bust due to the coronavirus crisis, district councils have warned.

Queen's Speech: Controversial voter ID plans roll forward

11/05/2021

Voter ID is expected to be introduced by May 2023 after the Government pledged to introduce legislation to ‘ensure the integrity of elections’.

Devolution White Paper to be replaced by levelling up proposals

04/05/2021

A levelling up White Paper will replace the long-awaited policy document on devolution and local recovery.

Homelessness charity calls for Home Office rules to be scrapped

21/04/2021

Home Office rules ‘undermine’ efforts to end rough sleeping and should be ‘scrapped immediately,’ a charity has said.

No simple north-south divide, says report

19/04/2021

There is no simple north-south divide, a new report by Legal and General (L&G) has argued.

Vaccine may be made compulsory for care home staff

14/04/2021

Staff in English care homes with older adults may be required to have a COVID-19 vaccine in a bid to tackle hesitancy within the sector.

Levelling up fund faces legal challenge

06/04/2021

The Government could face legal action over its ‘troublingly opaque’ allocation of the Levelling Up Fund.

Council tax revaluation would help level up, says IFS

31/03/2021

A new council tax revaluation would boost the Government’s levelling up agenda, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said.

Landmark judgement brings rough sleeping clarity

11/03/2021

Councils have the legal powers to help people with no recourse to public funds (NRPF) who are sleeping rough during the pandemic after a landmark judgement.

Tear down devolution 'barriers,' APPG urges

09/03/2021

Powers should be devolved to councils before reorganisation takes place, a new report has concluded.

Councils left seriously underfunded, NAO finds

08/03/2021

Coronavirus has left local authorities seriously underfunded and facing budget cuts unless the Government can create a long-term financial plan for the sector, a study from the National Audit Office (NAO) has warned.

Three Rivers tops recycling league

04/03/2021

Three Rivers DC in Hertfordshire has climbed to become the highest performing authority in England for household waste recycling, according to official government figures.

Budget 2021: Sunak vows to do 'whatever it takes' to help businesses

03/03/2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has vowed to ‘do whatever it takes’ to support businesses as the country looks to a post-coronavirus future.

Budget 2021: Sunak warns of pain to come

03/03/2021

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a budget to protect ‘livelihood and jobs’ – with a warning of public finance pain to come.

Unison call for election safety measures

01/03/2021

The Government needs to implement strict measures in May’s local elections to keep staff safe, trade union Unison urged today.

Employers branded a 'disgrace' over council pay delay

26/02/2021

Council employers have been branded a ‘disgrace’ after they said they would not respond to a union pay claim until after the May 6 elections.

MHCLG to make move from Whitehall to Wolverhampton

22/02/2021

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is setting up a second headquarters in the Black Country as part of plans to shift civil servants away from the capital.

Government confirms May election date

05/02/2021

The Government has officially confirmed local elections will go ahead on May 6.

More councils will be forced to issue Section 114 notices, MPs warn

22/01/2021

More councils will ‘soon be unable to balance their books and be forced to issue Section 114 notices,’ the influential Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has warned.

Councils asked to 'redouble efforts' on rough sleeping

08/01/2021

English councils have been asked to ‘redouble their efforts’ to help accommodate people sleeping rough, with the Government finding an additional £10m funding.

Major incidents over COVID declared

04/01/2021

Essex, Oxfordshire and Berkshire have declared major incidents amid fears the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases could overwhelm health services.

London enters tier three restrictions

14/12/2020

The Government’s timetable for COVID-19 tier reviews has been pre-empted with the imposition of extra restrictions on London, Essex and Hertfordshire.

Boost to local test and trace funding

11/12/2020

The increase of up to £200m per month follows criticism from the National Audit Office.

Flood funding for councils may not be enough, watchdog finds

27/11/2020

The Government is unable to prove councils have enough funding for flood defences, a spending watchdog has discovered.

Spending Review: UKSPF to reach £1.5bn a year

25/11/2020

The value of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will reach around £1.5bn a year on average, chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced.

Spending Review: £2.9bn 'restart programme to help unemployed'

25/11/2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a three-year £2.9bn ‘restart programme’ to help more than one million people unemployed for more than a year find work.

Leisure centre collapse warning

20/11/2020

Under-pressure leisure centres will go under without further rescue funding on top of the £100m already pledged by the Government, district councils have warned.

Councils bid for vaccine role

16/11/2020

Councils have made a bid to play a key role in distributing the new coronavirus vaccine.

Think tank calls for new health and social care tax

11/11/2020

A new health and social care tax raising £17bn should be the centrepiece of sweeping tax increases to raise £40bn a year, according to a new report from think-tank the Resolution Foundation.

Councils call for clear lockdown exit strategy

04/11/2020

The Government has been urged to work with councils to develop a clear lockdown exit strategy by the Local Government Association (LGA).

Crisis call for return of Everyone In

04/11/2020

The chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis has called for ring-fenced funding for councils to provide COVID-safe accommodation for anyone at risk of rough sleeping.

Think-tank issues warning on Brexit readiness

03/11/2020

Local authorities and the devolved nations risk being overwhelmed by Brexit as they are trying to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, a think tank has claimed.

Rapid review into Croydon’s ‘dysfunctional governance’

29/10/2020

The Government is conducting a rapid review into Croydon Council, focusing on its government, culture and risk management.

Coronavirus leads to scrapping of three-year Spending Review

21/10/2020

Plans to create a three-year settlement for public spending have been abandoned as latest figures show the havoc coronavirus is wreaking on the public finances.

Public sector exit cap signed into law

15/10/2020

The £95,000 cap on public sector exit payments was signed into law last night and will come into force on November 4.

Three areas invited to submit unitary proposals

09/10/2020

The Government has today invited councils in three areas to submit proposals for the creation of unitary local authorities by April 2023.

Fragmented council funding risks to value for money, report warns

05/10/2020

The increasing fragmentation in council funding ‘undermines central government’s understanding of service delivery’ and ‘risks impeding value for money,’ a report has warned.

Planning proposals will 'disempower' councils

28/09/2020

The Lib Dems have used their autumn conference to warn that the Government’s planning proposals will ‘disempower’ councils.

Hundreds of homeless lives saved by emergency accommodation, researchers find

25/09/2020

More funding and emergency legal changes are ‘critical’ so local authorities can continue to support people in safe and secure accommodation, the chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis has said.

Sector surprise at COVID marshal scheme

09/09/2020

Local government has been blindsided by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that an army of COVID marshals will enforce tough new rules.

LEPs need capacity boost to improve delivery, research finds

07/09/2020

Local enterprise partnerships (LEP) would be better at delivering large-scale capital projects if they had more capacity, independent research for the Government has found.

Councils facing £2bn budget black hole

18/08/2020

Councils face a budget black hole of £2bn this year due to unfunded coronavirus costs, a new study has found.

Councils urge extension for grants support scheme

03/08/2020

Fresh calls have been made for councils to be allowed to dole out to businesses the £1.6bn unspent from the Government’s small firms grant funds.

Government handling of social care during pandemic attacked

29/07/2020

MPs have delivered a blistering attack on the Government’s handling of social care during coronavirus.

MPs slate ministers over local government funding

23/07/2020

MPs have slated ministers for failing to give local government sufficient funding and urged them to ensure a 'clear and timely financial settlement’ in readiness for the next phase of the pandemic.

Government launches Spending Review

21/07/2020

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has warned of ‘tough choices’ as he launched the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Better response to pandemic from European councils, says think-tank

16/07/2020

Local government across Europe has been able to react to the coronavirus crisis with greater power and autonomy than in the UK, a report published today has found.

Care chiefs reject Boris' COVID claims

07/07/2020

Care chiefs have rejected claims by Boris Johnson that it was their lack of vigilance that led to a high number of coronavirus deaths in care homes.

Councils in local virus data call

03/07/2020

Councils have called for the Government to go further after it finally started to publish more coronavirus testing data.

Jenrick announces more cash, income compensation and tax delay

02/07/2020

Local government secretary Robert Jenrick has announced more cash and new ways councils will be reimbursed for income lost as a result of coronavirus.

Hand health powers to elected mayors, says report

23/06/2020

Health powers should be handed to elected mayors as part of a ‘rejuvenated and fortified wave of devolution,’ a think-tank report has suggested.

Combined authority 'spending reserves like it's going out of fashion'

17/06/2020

Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s chief executive has expressed doubts about whether his region would be able to cope with a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Luton forced into unavoidable cuts

17/06/2020

Luton BC’s boss has said the council has done all it can but has no other choice than to cut 365 jobs and frontline services.

Councils call for clarity on local lockdowns

16/06/2020

Councils this week called for clarity on the legal powers they will have if they are forced to implement local coronavirus lockdowns.

Councils back evictions ban in face of landlord criticism

15/06/2020

Councils have insisted police powers can still be used to evict perpetrators of domestic violence amid the evictions ban.

Councils call for leisure bail out

09/06/2020

District councils have called on the Government to bail out cash-strapped leisure centres as they face permanent closure because of lack of income due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Council planning powers under threat

08/06/2020

Planning powers could be shifted from local authorities to development corporations as part of an economic stimulus package to be announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson later this month.

Local lockdown powers up in the air

27/05/2020

Council powers over calling a local lockdown are still to be thrashed out as the NHS’ test and trace system is formally launched.

LGA split over worker bonus

26/05/2020

A cross-party agreement that the Local Government Association (LGA) would lobby for a coronavirus payment to staff was ditched after senior councillors blocked the move, The MJ can reveal.

Councils given £300m and key tracking role

22/05/2020

Councils in England will be handed £300m by the Government as they are given a key role in driving forward testing and tracing. 

No-deal Brexit planning would 'overwhelm' emergency response

19/05/2020

Planning for a no-deal Brexit at the end of this year would ‘overwhelm’ the country’s emergency response capacity, the Government has been warned in a leaked report.

Councils resist government's changed 'stay alert' message

15/05/2020

Areas with higher coronavirus rates have urged residents to stay at home amid fears the Government’s change of message to ‘stay alert’ was confusing.

Leeds chief takes on key contract tracing role

13/05/2020

Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan will take on a key role in the Government’s contact tracing programme in the battle against coronavirus.

Unite expected to urge council pay offer rejection

11/05/2020

Trade union Unite is expected to recommend that its members reject the employers ‘final’ 2.75% pay offer at a national committee meeting later this week.

Theres a whiff of purpose once more on devolution image

There's a whiff of purpose once more on devolution

Devolution should rock the status quo and create a new culture of governance which pushes everyone who currently holds decision-making power out of their comfort zones, says deputy chief executive of New Local Jessica Studdert.
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