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16 October 2020

Publish date: 16/10/2020

The Law Society held its AGM this week which you will know from our previous communications included a resolution to reduce council seat numbers including halving the local government seats. Whilst council members voted in support of all resolutions by majority, some resolutions passed with a limited mandate. This led to a motion to request a member-wide electronic poll which received the support of over 20 attendees and in consequence, in line with the AGM rules has triggered the need for the Law Society to now ballot its members on the proposals. Newly appointed President David Greene (succeeding Simon Davis) advised "In line with the democratic decision of the AGM we will now move quickly to enable members to vote on this important issue." LLG would urge all eligible members to familiarise yourself with the proposals and exercise your right to vote in this matter when received.

In other news, the Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020 have been signed and come into force on 4th November 2020. Neither the updated guidance or HMT directions have been published yet and so the waiver process and provision for current exits is currently unknown. In response, Sarah Lamont from Bevan Brittan advises "The MHCLG's consultation on changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme rules required to accommodate the £95k cap will not be concluded before the cap comes into effect. This will mean that Councils could be faced, in certain circumstances, with an obligation under the LGPS rules to make a pension strain payment which exceed £95,000 to an LGPS Fund to cover the cost of early retirement on redundancy, but, at the same time, Councils are prevented by the Exit Pay Cap Regulations from making that payment". LLG are clear that whilst it is easy to believe that payments only affect those earning and receiving significant sums, this is far from the actual truth of the matter. LLG will be providing more information on this important issue next week.

Finally, the Judicial Review call for evidence deadline ends Monday at midday. If you haven't read it, I would urge you to pay close attention to the subtext. LLG strongly consider as the arbiters of good governance that there is a positive case for the ongoing scrutiny of public decision making to engender sustained accountability, transparency, and openness. Thank you to those who joined the working group to inform our response which will be available on the website next week. If you wish to comment, there is still time over the weekend to let me have your views.