|NALC has updated its dedicated webpage on the coronavirus. This includes updates on the Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) Amendment Regulations 2020, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, local death management powers, and remote meetings. See the updates below:
Accounts and Audit (Coronavirus) Amendment Regulations 2020
Max Soule, Deputy Director, Local Authority Accountability and Oversight at MHCLG has emailed a letter to all local authority chief executives in England, confirming the extended audit deadlines for 2019/20, just in case they were not aware through other sources. The letter is also being published on Gov.uk to ensure that it is in the wider public domain.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The government has opened applications to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and produced guidance to support organisations who wish to make a claim through this scheme.
Local death management powers
The government has produced statutory guidance issued under s.58 and Schedule 28 to the Coronavirus Act 2020. The 2020 Act introduced new powers for local authorities and government to support the resilience of local death management systems, and step in if they become overwhelmed. Parish councils are excluded from the definition of the local authority for the purposes of s.58 and Schedule 12 to the 2020 Act. Their role as burial authorities is recognised. Essentially the role of parish councils under the 2020 Act is one of co-operation should they choose to do so:
- The powers in Part 1 of Schedule 28 enable local authorities to require persons and national authorities to provide information to assist those authorities to ascertain the capacity to deal with transportation, storage or disposal of dead bodies and other human remains in a particular area or nationally. The guidance on Part 1 confirms that parish councils “are not included in the definition of what constitutes an English local authority. However, as parish councils are often burial and/or cremation authorities, they may cooperate with local authorities to ensure appropriate death management occurs”.
- Part 2 of Schedule 28 gives powers of direction to local and national authorities in order for them to manage capacity in the death management system. The guidance on Part 2 provides that parish councils “are not included in the definition of what constitutes an English local authority. However, as parish councils are often burial and/or cremation authorities, they may cooperate with local authorities to ensure appropriate death management occurs”.
The National Centre for Cyber Security (NCSC) has issued updated guidance to help individuals and organisations choose, set up and use video conferencing safely and securely. NALC has also been pleased to be involved with a number of national organisations to provide guidance and support on holding remote meetings.