NALC Legal Update – December 2021
We thought we'd take the opportunity to give a brief update and wish you a merry (and Covid free) Christmas and a restful break after what has been a busy year, particularly in respect of Covid related matters.
We issued two sets of guidance following the Prime Minister's announcement on 8 December of a move to Covid Plan B in England. Given the increase in cases, the prevalence of the Omicron variant and the inability for local councils to hold remote meetings, we advised councils to consider not meeting in December if possible. At the time of writing it appears there will be no further changes pre-Christmas. We will update in the New Year if there are further developments or restrictions introduced which have an impact on the sector.
Employees can now self-certify sickness for up to 28 days (previously seven days) under the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2021. Employees only need to attend a GP for a fit note if they have been ill for more than 28 days and have taken sick leave. This includes non-working days, such as weekends and bank holidays. The measure is intended as a short-term one to relieve the burden on GPs. The Regulations only apply to periods of sickness which either start during the period 17 December to 26 January or which commenced prior to 17 December but which have not lasted more than seven days on that date (and hence the requirement to provide medical evidence has not yet arisen).
Councillors attending meetings as members of the public?
We were asked recently if a councillor could attend a council meeting in a non-councillor capacity as a member of the public. Our answer was no. Councillors attend meetings as councillors and cannot attend their council's meetings as a member of the public or as a councillor and a member of the public.
In addition to the Covid guidance of this month, we updated and reissued a number of LTNs last month. They are LTN 65 (Closed churchyards and disused burial grounds), LTN 31 (Local council general powers) and LTN 5 (Parish and community council meetings). LTN 5 has been separated in to LTN 5W for Wales and LTN 5E for England.
Posted: Fri, 24 Dec 2021 10:30 by Kevin Bacon