Legal intelligence for professionals in local government.

This update contains brief details of recent Government publications, legislation, cases and other developments relevant to those involved in local government work, which have been published in the previous two weeks. Items are set out by subject, with a link to where the full document can be found on the internet.

If you have been forwarded this update by a colleague and would like to receive it direct please email Claire Booth.

All links are correct at the date of publication. The following topics are covered in this update:

   Adult Social Services    Governance
   Anti Social Behaviour    Highways
   Children's Services    Housing
   Civil Contingencies    Members
   Communities    Police
   Delivery of Services    Powers and Duties
   Development Control    Procurement
   Economic Development    Project Finance
   Education    Public Health
   Environmental Protection    Social Enterprises
   Finance    Transport


Adult Social Services

DH: Caring for our future – Consultation on reforming what and how people pay for their care and support: seeks views on the practical detail of how the planned changes to the care funding system should happen and be organised locally. It looks at:

  • how to help people make more informed choices over care through information and advice and assessments, and help local authorities meet the demands for these;
  • how the capped cost system should work with assessments, personal budgets, charging, and care and support planning;
  • the design of the new charging framework for care and support and the choices around how the capped cost system should work for working age adults;
  • how deferred payment agreements should be managed and administered; and
  • the process for providing redress and resolving complaints.

Local authorities will be accountable for delivering these reforms on the ground so will need to understand, oversee and lead the changes that are needed. The consultation closes on 25 October 2013. (18 July 2013)
For a detailed summary, see the DH press release.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation: Commissioning care and support for older people with high support needs: practical guidance for commissioners of older people’s services on the range of models and approaches available for supporting older people with high support needs. It describes the options that are available, what makes them successful and beneficial, and suggests five priorities for commissioners. (16 July 2013)

LGiU: Independent ageing 2013: this updated research assesses local authority support for older people making decisions about choosing and paying for care and support. It shows that self-funders of adult social care present a significant financial challenge for local government, threatening the entire structure of the social care system. 57 per cent of individuals fund in full or in part their residential and nursing care, but a substantial number are falling back upon council budgets. The report fnds that, although council support for self-funders has improved significantly since the publication of the LGiU’s first report on this issue in 2011, significant areas for improvement remain. (15 July 2013)

DH: Implementation of the zero-based review of national adult social care data collections (LASSL(DH)(2013)2): this local authority social services update sets out details of £11.13m financial support to local authorities in England towards additional expenditure incurred (or to be incurred by them) following changes to data collections for adult social care in 2013/14 and 2014/15. The letter also includes details of individual local authority allocations, the applied funding formula and the purpose of the grant funding. (26 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Olwen Dutton.

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Anti Social Behaviour

Home Office: Next steps following the consultation on delivering the Government’s alcohol strategy: sets out how the Government intends to proceed following the November 2012 consultation on reducing alcohol fuelled crime and anti social behaviour. The Government will not be proceeding with proposals for a minimum unit price for alcohol; instead there will be: 

  • a ban on sales of alcohol below the level of duty plus VAT;
  • tougher action on irresponsible promotions in pubs and clubs and raising customer awareness of availability of small servings;
  • further action at a local level, including facilitating targeted action by pubs and clubs themselves to curb irresponsible drinking; and
  • a freeing of responsible business and community groups from unnecessary red tape, while maintaining the integrity of the the licensing system.

 (17 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Adam Kendall.

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Children's Services

DfE: Early education and childcare: statutory guidance for local authorities on their duties under the Childcare Act 2006 to secure childcare for working parents and early years education for specified two year olds. Local authorities must have regard to this guidance when seeking to discharge these duties. The updated statutory guidance includes new elements relating to early years provision for two year olds from lower income families and the provision of information, advice and training to childcare providers. It sets out a changed role for local authorities, to enable them to focus on identifying and supporting disadvantaged children to take up their early education place. (16 July 2013)

DfE: The regulation of childcare: seeks views on proposals to reform the regulatory system for childcare providers, including replacing the General Childcare Register with a Child Safety Register. The consultation closes on 30 September 2013. (16 July 2013)
DfE has also published a paper More affordable childcare that sets out the steps that the Government is taking to address the challenges in providing affordable childcare for parents.

DfE: Report to the Secretary of State for Education on ways forward for children’s services in Doncaster: sets out the fndings of Professor Julian Le Grand's investigation into the most appropriate structure and governance arrangements for improving children’s social care services in Doncaster MBC. (16 July 2013)
The Secretary of State has written to the Mayor of Doncaster, inviting comment on the direction for improvement of children’s social care by 13 August 2013. The letter includes measures for the council’s co-operation with the establishment of a trust to take over children’s social care, in line with Professor Le Grand’s recommendations. It also announces the appointment of Alan Wood as Commissioner for Children’s Social Care for Doncaster.

Welsh Government: Building a brighter future – The Early Years and Childcare Plan: this Plan sets out the Welsh Government's commitment to improving life chances for children in Wales. It addresses children’s and family services for children from 0 up to the age of seven, when they reach the end of their Foundation Phase. It sets out the direction of travel for the next 10 years with actions and timescales for delivery. (17 July 2013)

Transfer of Functions (Youth Leisure-time Activities) Order 2013 (SI 2013/1721): this Order, which comes into force on 7 August 2013, transfers functions relating to local authorities’ statutory duty to secure youth services under s.507B of the Education Act 1996 from the Secretary of State for Education to the Minister for the Cabinet Office. It will enable the Cabinet Minister to issue statutory guidance to local authorities on their duty to secure youth services and enforce compliance with the duty, where necessary. (17 July 2013)

R (X) v Tower Hamlets LBC [2013] EWCA Civ 904 (CA): the Court of Appeal has upheld the High Court's ruling that the Council's policy to pay less to family foster carers than it paid to unrelated foster carers was unlawful as a matter of domestic public law.  X was the aunt of three children who each had severe behavioural and learning difficulties. She was their carer and registered foster mother, and so received an allowance from the Council. She challenged the Council's policy and practice whereby she, as a family foster carer, received less money than she would receive as an unrelated foster carer looking after the same children. The judge found that the policies were unlawful to the extent that they discriminated on the grounds of the pre-existing relationship with the child between family and unrelated family carers.
The court held, dismissing the Council's appeal, that the judge had not erred in finding that the Council had departed from the statutory guidance and that there were no cogent, permissible reasons for so doing. The statutory guidance had at its heart a policy that, in the absence of cogent reasons, there should be no differentials between family and unrelated foster carers, which reflected the statutory requirement set out in s.22C(7)(a) of the Children Act 1989 which gave preference to family and friends as foster carers. A policy of differentials based purely on the lack of a pre-existing relationship did not carry with it cogent reasons for departure from the statutory guidance. (24 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Clare Taylor.

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Civil Contingencies

Cabinet Office: The role of Local Resilience Forums – A reference document: sets out the role of Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) in relation to their duties under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (CCA), the associated Contingency Planning Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/2042) and guidance, the National Resilience Capabilities Programme and Emergency Response and Recovery. It highlights some of the key aspects that demonstrate robust compliance with the duties under the CCA and regulations, and suggests issues, processes, systems and activities that responders will need to consider when establishing effective mechanisms to deliver work through the LRF. The document also identifies broad criteria that the LRF partnership can use as indicators of good practice. (26 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Adam Kendall.

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DCLG: Putting post offices at the heart of local communities: announces the launch of the £200,000 Post Office Community Enterprise Fund. Sub-postmasters can apply for up to £10,000 grant to help them set up a service, activity or support for the local community or small businesses in their area. The closing date for applications is 18 Oxctober 2013. (18 July 2013)

DCLG: Sustainable Communities Act 2007 – Update report on first invitation proposals: the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 provides an opportunity for communities to identify legislative barriers that prevent them from improving the sustainability of their local areas and discuss them with their local authorities. If the barrier needs Government action to remove it, local authorities can ask government to remove it. The Government issued an invitation in 2008 to local authorities to submit proposals under the Act and it selected 39 actions that would be taken forward, covering a range of topics. This paper provides an update on those actions. (19 July 2013)

DCLG: Neighbourhood Community Budget pilot programme – Research, learning, evaluation and lessons: under the Neighbourhood Community Budget pilot programme, 12 neighbourhoods worked closely with their communities and DCLG to test how services could be devolved to the neighbourhood level, and residents engaged in service re-design and delivery. This report documents the learning from the programme and summarises the operational plans submitted at the end of the pilot process. It then reflects on the key messages which were generated from this exercise. (19 July 2013)

DEFRA: National rural proofing guidelines: this checklist helps policy makers minimise the challenges and barriers faced by people living and working in rural areas for their businesses, the services they receive and their quality of life. it sets out how to take into account the impact on rural areas when formulating policy or developing delivery mechanisms. (23 July 2013)

HC Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Rural communities: this report examines how successful DEFRA and its Rural Communities Policy Unit have been at championing rural issues across Government to achieve the RCPU’s target of "fair, practical and affordable outcomes for rural residents, businesses and communities". It concludes that too often Government policy has failed to take account of the challenges that exist in providing services to a rural population that is often sparsely distributed and lacks access to basic infrastructure. The Committee found that rural communities pay higher council tax bills per dwelling, receive less government grant and have access to fewer public services than their urban counterparts. It states that the Government needs to recognise that the current system of calculating the local government finance settlement is unfair to rural areas in comparison with their urban counterparts and take action to reduce the disparity. The Committee supports the Government's moves to devolve more powers to communities to enable them to have greater influence over their future and believes that many rural communities are well placed to respond but those communities that may lack the confidence and capacity to help themselves must be provided with the necessary support. (24 July 2013)

DECC: Green Deal Communities: DECC has announced a new £20m Green Deal Communities scheme to help local authorities drive street-by-street delivery of the Green Deal. Local authorities are invited to come forward with ambitious and innovative street / area based proposals for funding to deliver Green Deal plans to as many households as possible. The funding can also be used to support households who choose to self-finance measures. The closing date for applications is 31 December 2013. (25 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Olwen Dutton.

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Delivery of Services

Institute for Government: Making public service markets work: this report looks at the commissioning, design and supply chain of public services in four key service areas: employment services (the Work Programme); care for older people; schools (including academies and free schools); and probation services. It states that Whitehall must slow down its plans to expand markets in public services because it lacks the expertise to design and manage complex contracts effectively. (18 July 2013)

NGLN: The shock of the new – Can councils innovate their way out of austerity?: this report looks at how prepared councils are to finding innovative ways to maintain or improve outcomes in the face of financial challenges, or whether they will have to rely on crude cuts to social care eligibility, leisure and education services. It finds that there is a super-confident group of councils who believe they can make huge savings without encountering many barriers, but also authorities who are putting efficiency savings first and others who think the barriers to delivering transformation are too high to make it worthwhile. It concludes that whichever group a council falls into, it is absolutely obvious that local government needs to innovate harder and faster if it is to have any chance of avoiding major reductions in the range and quality of its services. (24 July 2013)

DWP: Local authority led pilots – A summary of early learning from the pilots: local authority led pilots have been set up to inform Universal Credit design and roll-out and to support local authorities in their planning for Universal Credit delivery. This report highlights the key learning since the pilots began early in 2013, set out under six themes: digital inclusion; budgeting and financial management support; work access; vulnerable groups and the triage process; partnership development; and data sharing. The learning is being incorporated into the development of Universal Credit policy and operations, in particular to inform payment exceptions and personal budgeting support and the Local Support Services Framework. (25 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Olwen Dutton.

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Development Control

Commons (Registration of Town or Village Greens) and Dedicated Highways (Landowner Statements and Declarations) (England) Regulations 2013  (SI 2013/1774): these regulations, which come into force on 1 October 2013, prescribe the form and procedural requirements (including application fees) relating to applications to deposit both landowner statements under s.15A(1) of the Commons Act 2006, which protect against the registration of land as a town or village green, and statements and declarations under s.31(6) of the Highways Act 1980, which prevent the deemed dedication of land as a highway. The regulations also prescribe the steps that an appropriate authority must take upon receipt of an application, including publishing notice of the application and providing for the recording of prescribed details in a public register. (17 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Kathryn Lawrance.

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Economic Development

Cabinet Office: Inspired by 2012 – The legacy from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games: this report describes the activities since the 2012 Games to build a lasting legacy across a number of commitments, including: sport and healthy living; the regeneration of east London; bringing communities together; the Paralympic legacy and economic growth. (19 July 2012)

DCLG: Property owners & Business Improvement Districts – Formalising the role of property owners, who are not ratepayers, in Business Improvement District schemes: seeks views on how the role of property owners, who are not ratepayers, can be formalised in BIDs. Currently, some property owners make voluntary contributions towards a ratepayer BID; however, those who choose not to make a contribution still benefit from the BID's success. The proposed framework provides wide discretion for proposers of property owner BIDs and significant responsibility for producing good quality, successful schemes. The Government intends that property owner BID schemes will initially be tested in London which could be further extended to the rest of the country. The Housing Minister has also announced a £500,000 loan fund to set up more BIDs, and will be amending the regulations to ensure these partnerships can be set up within a business area, rather than restricted by administrative boundaries.The consultation closes on 17 September 2013. (23 July 2013)

DCLG: New Homes Bonus and the Local Growth Fund – Technical consultation: seeks views on the suggested mechanisms for the pooling of £400m of New Homes Bonus through LEPs to support strategic housing and other local economic growth priorities. It sets out options for how a pooling mechanism might work and also considers how pooling should be enforced, what accountability arrangements should apply. It also sets out how the scheme sits within the wider context of the Government’s Spending Review. The consultation closes on 19 September 2013. (25 July 2013)

DBIS: Growth Deals – Initial guidance for Local Enterprise Partnerships: the Government has stated that it will negotiate a Growth Deal with every LEP through which they can seek freedoms, flexibilities and influence over resources from Government, and a share of the Local Growth Fund to achieve their identified growth priorities. In return, LEPs must demonstrate that they are committed to the growth agenda by developing ambitious, multi-year strategic economic plans. Local authority members of LEPs will be expected to prioritise economic development and work collaboratively across the LEP area. This guidance document sets out how the Growth Deal negotiation process will work. Over the summer the Government will work with LEPs to develop more detail to add to this guidance in September 2013. (25 July 2013)

DBIS: European Structural and Investment Funds strategies – Supplementary guidance to Local Enterprise Partnerships: each LEP has been asked to set out how it intends to use the Growth Programme Funds in an EU Structural and Investment Funds strategy. In developing its strategy, the LEP is to work with and reflect the interests of a broad range of economic, social and environmental partners, including businesses, civil society, rural partners and FE and HE institutions. LEPs must prepare first drafts of their EU strategy by 7 October 2013, and agree final proposals with Government in early 2014. Preliminary guidance to LEPs on how to develop their EU strategy was issued in April 2013. This supplementary guidance explains to LEPs and their partners what information they should include in their EU strategy documents, and how these will be evaluated by Government. (24 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Mark Calverley.

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DfE: Changes to the advice on teacher misconduct and prohibition: seeks views on draft revised Advice on factors relating to decisions leading to the prohibition of teachers from the teaching profession. The proposed revised guidance clarifies the DfE’s expectation that, other than in the most exceptional cases, any sexual misconduct and any criminal conviction or caution involving indecent images of children will lead to prohibition. The consultation closes on 10 September 2013. (16 July 2013)

DfE: Targeted capital funding for new school places: announces the local authorities that have been awarded a share of £820m funding for new schools, or to expand existing outstanding and good schools, under the Targeted Basic Need programme. (18 July 2013)

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Commencement No. 2) (Wales) Order 2013 (SI 2013/1566 (W.143) (C.62)): this Order brings ss.26-28 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 into force in Wales on 1 September 2013, requiring schools and FEIs to notify parents and obtain parental consent before processing a child’s biometric information. (24 June 2013)

DBIS: Multi-million pound college investment will support British industry: announces funding for the second round of the College Capital Investment Fund. 21 FE colleges will share £77.7m capital funding through the Skills Funding Agency for improved buildings and facilities. (26 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Clare Taylor.

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Environmental Protection

DEFRA: Draft Noise Action Plans: seek views on three draft Noise Action Plans for roads, railways and agglomerations (large urban areas) that have been prepared to meet the terms of the Environmental Noise (England) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/2238), which transpose the Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49. The Action Plans include details of the process for identifying noise hotspots and an approach for identifying and managing quiet areas in agglomerations. Local authorities are responsible for implementing the Action Plans at local level, liaising with DEFRA. The consultation closes on 29 October 2013. (23 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Kathryn Lawrance.

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DCLG: Capitalisation 2013 to 2014 – Policy and procedures: guidance on the timetable and procedure for local authorities wishing to apply for capitalisation directions in 2013 to 2014, with details of the criteria which will be used in assessing applications. (25 July 2013)

DCLG: Business rates retention scheme – Pooling prospectus: under the business rates retention scheme, local authorities are able to come together on a voluntary basis to pool their business rates, giving them scope to generate additional growth through collaborative effort, and to smooth the impact of volatility in rates income across a wider economic area. This updated paper sets out the opportunities that pooling presents for local authorities under the business rates retention scheme and the process for formally designating pools. It invites local councils to come forward with their pooling proposals by 31 October 2013. (25 July 2013)

DCLG: Local Government Finance Settlement 2014-15 and 2015-16 – Technical consultation: seeks views on a range of detailed and technical issues concerning the 2014-15 and 2015-16 Local Government Finance Settlements (LGFS). The consultation closes on 2 October 2013. The provisional LGFS for 2014-15 will be consulted on in the usual way this autumn. (25 July 2013)

DCLG: Proposals for the use of capital receipts from asset sales to invest in reforming services: discusses allowing local authorities some flexibility to use their receipts from asset sales to pay for the one-off revenue costs of service reforms. It explores options for the introduction of such flexibilities to help stimulate organisational change for local authorities. DCLG is seeking views on whether the idea of allowing part or even the whole of a capital receipt(s) from new asset sales to be used for a one-off revenue purpose to stimulate organisational change, is a viable and realistic option for local authorities to reconfigure their service areas, to bring down their ongoing revenue costs and to deliver improved services. In particular the Government wishes to gather a broad understanding of the type of schemes that could benefit from the proposals as well as their views on the appropriate mechanism to deliver the policy objectives. The consultation closes on 24 September 2013. (25 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Jon Coane.

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DCLG: Action to strengthen governance in Doncaster Council: announces that the Communities Secretary has exercised his power under s.86 LGA 2000 to change the election arrangements for Doncaster MBC to provide for all-out elections in every four years in place of elections for one-third of the council in three out of every four years. The change will be implemented for the 2015 local government elections. (17 July 2013) 

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Olwen Dutton.

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DfT: Action for roads: a network for the 21st century (Cm 8679): this Command Paper highlights the significant challenges faced on the UK's roads, reiterates the need for investment and sets out the Government's detailed plans to improve management of the network. It includes a section on support for local roads that announces £6bn funding for local road maintenance and pothole repairs between 2015 and 2021 on top of contributions from other funding sources. It highlights action already being taken to help authorities to deliver better results by sharing best practice on maintenance, streamlining their work and partnering with their neighbours along with more flexible arrangements on funding.
DfT has also announced that it will consult this Autumn on introducing a legal framework to guarantee investment through a roads investment strategy, which will set out plans and performance criteria for the next five years of building and maintenance as well as the next ten years of project development. (16 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Jonathan Turner.

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DCLG: New £3 million fund to crack down on rogue landlords: announces that the Housing Minister Mark Prisk has written to leaders of local housing authorities inviting them to submit a bid for a share of £3m funding to help them tackle acute and complex problems with rogue landlords in their area. The deadline for applications is 20 September 2013. The Minister has also expanded the role of the ‘beds in sheds’ taskforce to consider the best way to tackle rogue landlords. The cross-government team will support successful councils as they work to take these illegal operators to task. (18 July 2013)

DCLG: New tenant power to help kickstart house building: in March 2012, the Government consulted on proposals to make it easier for tenants to take the lead locally either by taking over responsibility for managing housing services, or by exploring options for transfer from their local authority. The Housing Minister has now confirmed that the new Right to Transfer will come into force in the autumn, enabling tenants to take control over future investment into their communities by requesting a change of ownership and requiring new homes to be built. The new right lets social tenants who want to see their homes owned, managed and maintained by a housing association rather than a council request for a change of ownership, with councils required to consider the merits of every request. Housing associations will need to clearly show how they will offer value for money, as well as how they will lead to the building of new affordable homes and the improvement of existing stock. They could also receive a share of up to £430m of funding to cover costs related to the transfer. 
DCLG, HCA and the GLA have also published a draft Housing Stock Transfer Manual setting out the proposed process and criteria applicable to stock transfer applications. The consultation closes on 2 September 2013. (22 July 2013)

DCLG: Funding package to deliver thousands of new homes: announces that 69 housing associations and developers will each receive a share of £220m to deliver almost 14,000 new affordable homes outside London. Work on the new properties will be started by March 2015 and completed by 2017. The funding is part of the expanded £450m Affordable Housing Guarantees which will support up to £3.5bn in government debt guarantees to deliver thousands of new homes. (24 July 2013)

DCLG: High income social tenants – Pay to Stay consultation paper: Summary of responses: sets out the results of the June 2012 consultation on proposals to introduce a ‘Pay to Stay’ scheme under which landlords could charge a fair rent to tenants on high incomes who want to stay in their social homes. In light of responses received, the Government now intends to allow landlords to charge market rents to those social tenant households with incomes of more than £60,000 pa. It will also consult on removing the regulatory controls preventing private registered providers charging market rents to social tenant households on incomes of more than £60,000 pa and on revised rent guidance for local authorities. It intends to introduce legislation that places the onus on tenants earning over the threshold to declare their income, when parliamentary time allows. (25 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact David Isaacson.

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NLGN: Future councillors – Where next for local politics?: this paper examines the future role of elected members. It describes the pressure on local government’s approach to democratic engagement, as councils commission more of their services, cut functions and deal with new technology that transforms the practice of politics. The report shows how councillors that fail to renew their democratic processes risk losing the support of their communities by becoming technocratic service managers or feuding factionalists; however, councils that did grasp the opportunities offered by technology and service redesign can become far more engaged with their communities, building efficient and co-operative models of local government focused on neighbourhood needs. The thinktank concludes that by setting targets for democratic participation, councils will give themselves a clear incentive to focus time and resources on improving the quality of local engagement. (17 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Olwen Dutton.

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HC Home Affairs Committee: Police and Crime Commissioners – Power to remove Chief Constables: this report examines PCCs' power to suspend or remove a chief constable under Sch.8 to the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011. The Committee finds that recent high-profile clashes have highlighted that the wide discretion of PCCs to dismiss chief constables is a significant issue, and show that statutory provisions intended to give Police and Crime Panels a role in respect of dismissals can be evaded. It concludes that it is right that PCCs should have the initiative in removing a chief constable, but recommends that Police and Crime Panels should fully exercise their powers of scrutiny in examining and deciding whether the proposed removal of a chief constable is justified. The Committee will return to this policy area in November 2013 when it is considering the work of PCCs one year after their election. (20 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Olwen Dutton.

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Powers and Duties

R (Attfield) v Barnet LBC [2013] EWHC 2089 (Admin) (Admin Ct): the court has quashed the Council's decision to increase the charges for residents' parking permits and visitor vouchers in CPZs in the borough. In 2011 the Council decided to raise the cost of a resident's permit for a first car from £40 to £100, and to raise the charge for a visitor's voucher from £1 to £4. The Council made this decision under s.45 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, which gives local authorities power to designate parking places on the highway, to charge for use of them and to issue parking permits for a charge. The claimant, A, applied for judicial review of this decision, contending that the increase in charges was unlawful because its purpose was to generate a surplus, beyond the monies needed to operate the parking scheme, to fund other transport expenditure, such as road repair and concessionary fares.
The court held, allowing A's application, that the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 was not a fiscal measure and did not authorise the Council to use its powers to charge local residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue for other transport purposes funded by the General Fund. It found that the Council's purpose in increasing the charges for residents' parking permits and visitors' vouchers was to generate additional income to meet projected expenditure for road maintenance and improvement, concessionary fares and other road transport costs. The intention was to transfer the surplus on the Special Parking Account to the General Fund at year end, to defray other road transport expenditure and reduce the need to raise income from other sources, such as fines, charges and council tax. This purpose was not authorised under the 1984 Act and therefore the decision was unlawful. (22 July 2013)

LGA: The General Power of Competence – Empowering councils to make a difference: this paper looks in detail at council's use of the General Power of Competence. The paper shows that councils are currently using the power to promote innovation in a number of areas; however, it remains limited by constraints set by central government. The LGA argues that easing those restrictions would help encourage others to unlocking the potential of using it. There is also an Annex with case studies. (23 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Olwen Dutton.

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HC Public Administration Select Committee: Government procurement: this report sets out the Committee's concerns about the systemic weaknesses in government procurement and commissioning. The Committee found that despite Government steps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Government procurement , the stream of procurement and contract management failures has continued unabated. The Committee is concerned that the EU Procurement Directives reinforce a process-oriented, risk-averse culture in procurement, which in the UK results in delay, increased cost and a failure to focus on outcome. It welcomes reform proposals that will allow criteria such as wider social and environmental impact, and maximising the positive impact of public spending for the UK economy overall, be considered in tendering processes. The Committee found there were clear shortcomings in the ability of the Civil Service to run effective and efficient procurement. The Civil Service shows a consistent lack of understanding about how to gather requirements, evaluate supplier capabilities, develop relationships or specify outcomes. Initiatives to improve capability and skills were welcomed but a more fundamental shift is required.(19 July 2013)

DEFRA: London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – The legacy: Sustainable procurement for construction projects – A guide: this quick reference guide shares lessons learnt on sustainable procurement of construction projects from the London 2012 Games. The guide aims to assist procurers in central government and the wider public sector to manage large or smaller procurement exercises that relate to construction in a way that achieves sustainability objectives. (18 July 2013)

Cabinet Office: Procurement Policy Note – Measures to promote tax compliance: Action Note 06/13: this PPN sets out the scope and background of the new policy on the use of the procurement process to promote tax compliance that applies with effect from 1 April 2013 to all central government contracts over £5m. Suppliers bidding for these contracts must self-certify their tax compliance. It advises on how to take account of the policy in procurement documentation and provides further detailed guidance on how Government Departments should assess suppliers’ responses and the inclusion of new clauses in contract terms. It replaces Action Note 04/13. (25 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Elizabeth Cooper.

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Project Finance

HM Treasury: A new approach to public private partnerships – Consultation on the terms of public sector equity participation in PF2 projects: seeks views on proposals as to how the Government will invest public funds into new public private partnerships. It states that in each case the Government will invest alongside the private sector into a joint venture company. Each company will be majority owned by the private sector and the Government will invest on the same terms as the private sector. The draft Shareholders’ Agreement sets out the proposed terms of the Government’s investment, with details of the voting arrangements, the Government’s right to appoint a director to each company and increased information that other shareholders will be required to disclose to provide greater transparency to the public. There are also draft Articles of Association and draft Loan Note instrument. The first scheme to implement the reforms will be the privately financed element of the Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP). 46 schools in five batches will be rebuilt using PF2, with a total funding requirement of approximately £700m. Procurement for the first batch of schools was launched by the Education Funding Authority in June 2013 and the remaining batches will follow over the next 12 months. The consultation closes on 23 August 2013. (17 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact David Hutton.

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Public Health

LGA: Better health outcomes for children and young people pledge: the LGA, DH, Royal College for Paediatrics and Child Health and the Children and Young People Health Outcome Forum have jointly written to local authority Lead Members for Children's Services and Chairs of Health and Wellbeing Boards asking them to share resources to support local areas transform and improve health services and outcomes for children and young people. The letter encourages Health and Wellbeing Boards to sign up to a pledge to improve children's health nationwide in addition to asking for examples of emerging good practice to be share learning. (22 July 2013)

DH: Government response to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee eighth report of session 2012–13 – The role of local authorities in health issues: this document outlines the DH's response to the CLG Committee's March 2013 report on the role of local authorities in health issues. It addresses the points and issues raised around the transfer of responsibility for public health to local authorities, the role and responsibilities of health and wellbeing boards, and accountability and governance. (18 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Olwen Dutton.

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Social Enterprises

Cabinet Office: Soft finance, hard choices: this report by Boston Consulting Group and published by the Mutuals Information Service recommends new approaches to financing public service mutuals. It argues that public servants who form ‘John Lewis style’ mutuals to take control of their services need better access to external finance if they are to transform public services. The report analysed the performance of 71 mutuals, which currently deliver £1.2bn of public services, as well as 15 mutual projects in development. It found clear evidence that mutuals are improving service quality and driving innovation. It also showed that they are performing well as businesses with the 62 mutuals launched since 2010 generating substantial growth and creating as many as 3,000 new jobs. The report warns that as the number of new mutuals increased, greater consideration must be given to attracting social and private capital investment to ensure long-term sustainability. (22 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Matthew Waters.

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DfT: Local transport body funding allocations: confirms the funding allocations for local transport bodies for local major transport projects from 2015. (16 July 2013)

DfT: HS2 judicial review – The appeals rulings explained: the Court of Appeal has dismissed appeals brought by HS2 Action Alliance Ltd, Buckinghamshire CC and Heathrow Hub Ltd that challenged the Transport Secretary's decisions on the principle of HS2 and the route for Phase 1. This document explains the appeals ruling for each challenge.  For the full judgment, see HS2 Action Alliance Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport [2013] EWCA Civ 920 (CA). (24 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Martin Fleetwood.

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