The LGA provides evidence to the various parliamentary Select Committees and All-Party Parliamentary Groups inquiries into policy areas of interest to councils. These reports are important in scrutinising government policy and shaping policy-thinking in Westminster.
In the past year we have worked on a wide range of inquiries, seeking to bring the expertise of local government to bear on their findings.
Key reports from the session include:
- The Devolution APPG launched its report into ’Levelling-up Devo: The role of national government in making a success of devolution in England’. The report, which calls on Government to level-up devolution and rethink a culture of centralisation that is leaving local areas behind, is based on wide ranging evidence taken from across national and local government.
- The Health and Social Care Committee’s report, ‘Social care: Funding and workforce’, highlighted our analysis of the funding gap in adult social care services and echoed our call for a long-term, sustainable funding solution for adult social care. The report also recommended a 10-year plan for the adult social care workforce and included our recommendation to implement an integrated approach to health and social care.
- ‘Public Services Committee: Lessons learned from COVID-19’. The Committee published its final report as part of its inquiry into lessons learned from COVID-19. It was a wide-ranging and authoritative inquiry to which the LGA and many other organisations submitted evidence. In our response to the report, we highlighted how reducing health inequalities, supporting early intervention, urgent reform of adult social care, increased data sharing and greater local decision-making powers are among many of the proposals we strongly agree with.
- The Public Accounts Committee published a report on housing rough sleepers that recognises the vital work of councils in rapidly housing rough sleepers as part of the 'Everyone In' programme. The report echoed our calls for long-term, multi-year funding for homelessness services, opposed to various short-term funding pots that are currently in place and recognised issues councils face around no recourse to public funds.
- The Public Accounts Committee’s published a report into the cost and effectiveness of NHS Test and Trace. The report recognised the invaluable work of councils and said that had councils been involved earlier in the test and trace programme, it could have led to a more effective system. The Committee recommended that NHS Test and Trace should build on its experience to date and review how it engages with the wider public health establishment, including local government.
- The APPG on Coronavirus published a report into the response to COVID-19 which included recommendations on the need for a locally-led test and trace system that is backed up by national coordination and resources. The APPG also called for precise, granular-level data to be provided to councils on who is being contacted to self-isolate and recommended that additional financial support be provided to those who have to self-isolate.
- The Environmental Audit Committee published a report into the energy efficiency of existing homes, which included our recommendation to bring forward the £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and launch the Home Upgrade Grant in full before the end of 2021.
- The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee published a report following its inquiry on ‘Government transparency and accountability during COVID-19: The data underpinning decisions’. While the Committee found that Government has made enormous strides in its understanding of COVID-19, it said that the data underpinning local lockdowns was not clear enough and that the local response to COVID-19 was delayed because Whitehall did not share data quickly enough or in sufficient detail, reflecting our evidence to the inquiry.
- The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee published their final report on COVID-19 and security in food supply. The Committee recommended that the Government ensure councils are properly resourced to support those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) and are digitally excluded from access to food deliveries, and that schools and councils should have flexibilities in how they provide free school meals to their pupils.
- The Public Accounts Committee released its report into managing flood risk, which highlights the need for better understanding of whether funding allocated to each local authority accurately reflects the level of flood risk. The Committee included our recommendation for building regulations to include mandatory flood protection measures in new build homes, such as raised electrical sockets, fuse boxes and sealed floors, in their report.
- The Environmental Audit Committee published a report into the energy efficiency of existing homes. The report included our recommendation to bring forward the £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, alongside other recommendations to launch the Home Upgrade Grants in full before the end of 2021.
- The APPG for Energy Studies published their report on the policies that will deliver net zero while fuelling the UK economy, following our evidence to their inquiry earlier this year. We were pleased that the Committee supported our focus on place and giving regional organisations a key role in the delivery of net zero.
- The Green New Deal APPG’s report, ‘Reset’, referenced our recommendations to drive net zero and strengthen climate change resilience in every community. The report called on the Government to devolve power and resources to the local level; level up the regions with nationally funded, locally developed plans, and invest in a comprehensive reskilling programme to tackle climate change.
- The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published the findings of its inquiry into ‘Ageing: Science, technology and healthy living’.The report highlights the impact that funding reductions have had on council budgets and calls on Government to work with councils to facilitate healthier living across the life-course and prioritise prevention, which is something that we have called for in our evidence.
- The Education Committee’s report on adult skills and lifelong learning included information about our proposal for further devolution through a ‘Work Local’ model, and recognised providers of adult and community learning as ‘the jewel in the crown of the nation’s adult education landscape’. The Committee recommended that there should be a community learning centre in every town, and called for an ambitious, long-term strategy for adult skills and lifelong learning.
- The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee report, ‘Pre-legislative scrutiny of the Building Safety Bill’ recommended that the Government should end the unjust suffering of blameless leaseholders and recommit to meeting the costs of the historic building safety defects that arise from decades of poor regulations.
- The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has published a follow up report on cladding remediation. The Committee reiterates a number of conclusions and recommendations from its June 2020 report, and also supports our continued call that no leaseholder should have to pay the costs of making their homes safe which we raised when we gave evidence to the Committee. The report also recommends that the Government works with councils to ensure that affected residents have access to the physical and mental health support they need.
- The Public Accounts Committee published its final report on asylum accommodation and support. The report reflects many of the points we made in our submission to the Committee, including our recommendations that the Government develops a managed, locally driven process for reducing hotel use, moving asylum seekers into communities and ensuring asylum seekers are kept safe and supported.
- The Justice Select Committee published its second report ‘Children and young people in custody (part 2): The youth secure estate and resettlement’. We provided written evidence to the Committee which highlighted the challenges councils often face in resettling young people in communities. Our thinking was reflected in the reports' recommendations to improve coordination between the Ministry of Justice and other agencies and introduce a national accommodation strategy for children released from custody.
- A Public Accounts Committee report on improving broadband noted that ‘the Government is not clear how, in a centralised procurement model, it will retain the people, skills and knowledge in councils that are critical to success of the superfast broadband programme’. The Committee backed our calls for councils to have the funding they need to play a role accelerating and coordinating local broadband delivery.