0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

bridging the local government gap: five years on for devolution

17 December 2019

This article is taken from December's public matters newsletter. Click here to view more articles from this issue.


Public bodies are continuing to seek creative ways of improving efficiency and finding savings for the public purse. Could additional devolution powers further aid efficiency and public spending?

What is devolution? It is the transferring of powers from central government to local governments with the view to empowering local authorities and enabling them to support their local area.

Following the 2015 General Election the government pledged to have a look at local government proposals in the autumn 2015 spending review. A number of deals were agreed in 2015 – 2017, with some not yet published.

Recently devolution in England has slowed and there are calls for more to be done particularly focusing outside of metropolitan areas. The Local Government Association is calling for a new localism settlement.

Lord Heseltine, a former conservative deputy prime minister, is calling for further English devolution powers as current decisions are too London Centric and local governments should have responsibility for overseeing such things like failing schools, affordable housing and local taxes.

In July 2019 a new inquiry was launched with the purpose of assessing the progress of devolution in England. It plans to examine the impact of increased devolved powers and the effectiveness of the current strategy.

The renewed focus on devolution provides local authorities with an opportunity to put forward any devolution proposals. However proposals should be characterised as containing a ‘menu with specials’ the ‘menu’ being a number of items that have been made available to most areas including an adult education budget, integrated transport system and planning and land use; and he ‘specials’ involve items that may be offered a limited selection of local authorities such as housing and health. Reviewing deals that have already been agreed and published will be beneficial when drafting a devolution proposal and is now the time to have more of a consistent framework across the devolution landscape rather than a deal based approach?

Due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit any devolution deals entered into must contain flexibility to allow for any changes that may take place.

Receive our latest government sector news

Choose the way you want to keep up to date with our latest updates and insights. Sign up to our monthly newsletter or join the conversation with our team on LinkedIn.

Sign up to receive updates >

Follow our LinkedIn showcase page >

<>

training and events

19May

Regeneration review - where are we now? Online

We are delighted to invite you to our regeneration webinar, where we will be looking at four keys areas of regeneration; public law, planning, construction and real estate.

View event

27May

In-house lawyers forum - 27 May 2021 Online

We look at the latest Covid-19 employment status, IR35 developments and commercial updates including the use of crypto assets and cookie claims.

View event

focus on...

Legal updates

Wigan v Scullindale – local authority break rights in long development leases

The High Court has recently declared that a landlord’s break right in a long lease – expressed as being exercisable ‘at any time’ following a tenant default – had been validly exercised, even though the default in question had occurred 16 months prior to the break notice being served.

View

Legal updates

UK Community Renewal Fund: prospectus 2021-2022

We explain the UK Community Renewal Fund priorities, submission and assessment of proposals and points to note for authorities.

View

Carbon neutrality - air quality

Catch up on our on-demand video where we discuss the current statutory framework for the regulation of air quality and how this is likely to evolve.

View

Legal updates

The countdown to private finance initiative (PFI) handover – what’s your seven-year plan?

We consider key actions for public authorities in managing the PFI handover process.

View

The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

mailing list sign up



Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up