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NALC propose Bill amendment to allow hybrid hearings Published Date: 19/02/2023

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has urged the House of Lords to back amendments to the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that would allow councils to hold remote meetings and suspend councillors who breach the code of conduct, amongst other measures.

Local Government Lawyer reported that NALC president Baroness Scott of Needham Market, who has been a member of the House of Lords for more than two decades, put forward the package of amendments for peers to consider yesterday (16 February).

The move has been backed by Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) and the Association of Democratic Services Officers (ADSO).

Cllr Keith Stevens, NALC chair, said:

"We are extremely grateful for Baroness Scott's work to promote these changes to this important levelling up Bill. If adopted, they will make a significant difference to the ability of NALC's 10,000 local councils and 100,000 councillors. I urge the House of Lords and government members to consider them seriously."

On the announcement of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill last year, the Government promised a complete "system change" of how government works, setting out plans to hand out more devolution deals, give councils greater control over budgets and transport, empower local leaders to regenerate towns and cities and improve the planning process.

In a joint statement LLG and ADSO said they welcomed and supported NALC in their efforts with regard to remote meetings.

"We continue to work with NALC and other partners to lobby Government to change the law. We recently submitted a freedom of information request to Government to elicit the responses in relation to the 2021 call for evidence. We await the Government’s reply which is due by 8 March.”

Source: Local Government Lawyer