Preparing local government for 1 January 2021

Guidance to help local councils get ready for 1 January 2021.

This guidance has been withdrawn

The Brexit transition period has ended and new rules now apply. This page has been withdrawn because it’s out of date.

You can also get a personalised list of the other actions you need to take.

This page brings together guidance and information to help local authorities prepare for 1 January 2021.

You can check what else you may need to do to prepare by answering the questions on the transition checker.

Citizens and businesses can also be directed to the checker to receive a personalised list of actions and sign up for email updates.

Chief executives were also sent a letter setting out the key changes which will be needed by 1 January 2021 and the resources available to help local authorities prepare for the end of the transition period.

A local communications toolkit which can support you with communicating with citizens and businesses about the end of the transition period is also available.

MHCLG sends a daily Local Government Bulletin (Monday to Friday) with updates on the latest government guidance, advice, communications products and other useful information about coronavirus (COVID-19), EU transition and other topics of interest for local government.

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Access to public services

Children’s services, schools and education

Community engagement

The EU Settlement Scheme

Health and social care

Points based immigration system

Ports and borders

Regulatory services

Food Standards Agency updates for local authorities on the EU transition can be found on FSA Smarter Communications.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has launched a new digital guide covering the key actions food and drink businesses may need to take after the end of the transition period from 1 January 2021.

Statutory instruments which have been laid and identified as having impacts on local authorities are listed on a separate page: EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 secondary legislation laid with impacts on local government. A full list of related secondary legislation can be found on the government legislation site. Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) have produced guidance for councils on EU exit Secondary Legislation

Information for Food Competent Certifying Officers (FCCO)

A recorded webinar is available with information for certifiers (FCCOs) including details about Export Health Certificates (EHCs) and a demonstration of EHC Online – the digital service that businesses and certifiers will use to apply for and manage EHC applications.

Webinar with information for certifiers (FCCOs)

Internal operations

Council employees


MHCLG has produced interim guidance on data adequacy that was sent to chief executives of all local authorities in England on 9 October 2020. This guidance was shared with Devolved Administrations.

MHCLG may issue further guidance between now and December when the outcome of negotiations with the EU regarding GDPR adequacy become clearer.

Local Elections

EU citizens resident in the UK remain eligible to vote, and stand – if qualified in all other respects - in the local elections on 6 May 2021. This applies to all local polls that day: both postponed and re-scheduled polls and those polls ordinarily scheduled to take place on that day.

EU citizens resident in the UK and elected to office in a 6 May 2021 election or before then are able to serve the full term for which they have been elected, if qualified in all other respects. These arrangements apply regardless of their settled / non-settled status.

Lords Minister of State for the Cabinet Office Lord True confirmed this position in his response to a Parliamentary Question on 10 July 2020.



Contingency planning

Regional leads

A network of 9 local authority chief executives from across England has been established to engage with councils in their regions to share information on their transition preparations.

  • South East: Becky Shaw (West and East Sussex County Councils)
  • London: John O’Brien (London Councils)
  • East of England: Richard Carr (Central Bedfordshire Council)
  • South West: Phil Norrey (Devon County Council), Graham Farrant (BCP Council) and Dave Perry (South Gloucestershire Council)
  • East Midlands: Anthony May (Nottinghamshire County Council)
  • West Midlands: Nick Page (Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council)
  • Yorkshire and Humber: Tom Riordan (Leeds City Council)
  • North West: Tony Reeves (Liverpool City Council)
  • North East: Terry Collins (Durham County Council) and Pat Ritchie (Newcastle City Council)

Published 28 January 2019
Last updated 10 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added a section of Information for Food Competent Certifying Officers (FCCO) and a link to the food and drink digital guide.

  2. Added links to the transition checker on and updated links under access to public services, health and social care and regulatory services.

  3. First published.