Authority Update

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 previoustwo weeks.

10/07/2015

Claire Booth

Claire Booth

Professional Support Lawyer

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:

  
   Audit    Finance
   Burials and Cremation    Governance
   Children's Services    Health and Social Care
   Communities    Housing
   Contract Management    Members
   Development Control    Police
   Delivery of Services    Ports and Harbours
   Devolution    Procurement
   Economic Development    Public Health
   Education    Rating
   Elections    Regulatory Services

 

Audit

HC Library: Local audit in England: this briefing paper explains the new procedures for audit of local authorities and related bodies brought in by the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014. (24 June 2015)

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

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Burials and Cremation

MoJ: Bereaved to benefit from action on cremation and coroner services: announces that the Government will carry out a review the out-of-hours services provided by coroners in England and Wales to make sure they are sensitive to the needs of the whole community, including those whose beliefs require burials to take place quickly. In addition, the Chancellor has announced that DCLG is to launch an additional review into existing crematorium facilities, to make sure they are adequate for all community needs in the present day. (8 July 2015)

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

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Children's Services

DfE: The Prevent Duty: departmental advice for schools and childcare providers on their duty under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to prevent children and young people from being drawn into terrorism. It complements the statutory guidance on the duty for all public bodies.
There is also a briefing note for schools on How social media is used to encourage travel to Syria and Iraq that advises actions schools and teachers should take to protect pupils. (1 July 2015)

DfE: The Children Act 1989 guidance and regulations – Volume 2: Care planning, placement and case review: updated statutory guidance about local authority support to children and families. It also consolidates a number of separate documents that were previously published, including ‘Delegation of authority to foster carers’. (3 July 2015)

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

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Communities

Playing Fields (Community Involvement in Disposal Decisions) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1403 (W. 139)): these regulations, which com into force in Wales on 1 October 2015, set out how communities are to be involved in a local authority's disposal of land that consists, or forms part of, a playing field. They impose notification and consultation duties on a local authority where it is considering making a decision to dispose, or to make a decision to enter into an agreement to dispose, of a playing field or any part of a playing field. (22 June 2015)

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

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Contract Management

NAO: Open book accounting and supply-chain assurance: the National Audit Office is calling for Government to negotiate greater access to, and make better use of, information about how much outsourced public services are actually costing suppliers and therefore how much profit they are making. An NAO survey found that such information, known as open-book accounting data, is currently available in only 31% of contracts and that, even then, it is not always received. Based on public and private sector case studies, the report identifies five approaches to collecting and using information on suppliers. It recommends that every major contract has a strategy for the collection and use of information and that every government department has a policy on when it will use open-book accounting. (1 July 2015)

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

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Delivery of Services

DCLG: Local government, housebuilding and decentralisation: transcript of the Communities Secretary's speech to the LGA Conference. He calls on all cities, towns and counties to be ambitious in their proposals to take power and resources away from Whitehall. (2 July 2015)

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

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Development Control

Planning (Wales) Act 2015: this Act has received Royal Assent. It reforms the planning system in Wales so as to enable development and enhance built and natural environments. It:

  • introduces a new legal framework for the Welsh Ministers to prepare a national land use plan, to be known as the National Development Framework for Wales;
  • provides for the production of Strategic Development Plans, to tackle larger-than-local cross-boundary issues, such as housing supply and areas for economic growth and regeneration;
  • provides for pre-application consultation, and requires local planning authorities to provide pre-application services;
  • provides for planning applications for nationally-significant projects to be made to the Welsh Ministers; also, planning applicants will be able to apply to the Welsh Ministers for planning permission where a local planning authority is deemed to be poorly performing;
  • reforms the development management system to streamline procedures, to ensure that applications are dealt with promptly, providing certainty for developers and communities;
  • improves enforcement and appeal procedures, and makes changes to the recovery of costs for parties involved in planning cases; and
  • make changes in relation to applications to register town and village greens.

(6 July 2015)

R (Loader) v Rother DC [2015] EWHC 1877 (Admin) (Admin Ct): the court has refused an application for judicial review of the council's grant of planning permission for sheltered accommodation to be built on a site used as a bowling club. The site was registered as an asset of community value and faced a Grade II listed terrace. L contended that the Council had: failed to consult relevant conservation bodies; misunderstood the NPPF; and failed to have regard to the correct designation of the land as an ACV.
The court held that the Council had breached its duty to consult English Heritage; however, the court would exercise its discretion not to quash the decision as it found that the decision would have been the same had English Heritage responded on the application as a result of notification. The other grounds failed. (30 June 2015)  

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

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Devolution

HM Treasury: Further devolution to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and directly-elected Mayor: details of the proposals announced in the Summer Budget on further progress in devolving powers to Greater Manchester. This includes putting Fire Services under the control of the new directly-elected Mayor, establishing a Greater Manchester Land Commission, granting the Mayor more powers over planning, and inviting discussion of how central government and the city region might collaborate further on children’s services and employment programmes. (9 July 2015)

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

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Economic Development

Smith Institute: Delivering growth – Where next for Local Enterprise Partnerships?: against the backdrop of political change and economic recovery, this report captures the views of LEP chairs and chief executives on how to deliver on their potential and unlock local growth in 2015 and beyond. Based on 22 interviews with LEP leaders it highlights the main priorities and obstacles facing the LEPs over the next five years, in particular around their capacity and capability to deliver on their ambitions. (30 June 2015)

IPPR North: Do we need a Great North Plan? Call for evidence: IPPR North and the Royal Town Planning Institute are inviting those living or working in the north of England for views on the most appropriate approach to developing a strategic spatial planning framework across the North of England – a Great North Plan. The closing date for submissions is 30 September 2015. There will then be a Northern Summit in Leeds in November.
See also Full steam ahead: Business attitudes towards the northern powerhouse that looks at the emergence of the ‘northern powerhouse’ concept, and in particular at the response of northern businesses to it. (24 June 2015)

UK Commission for Employment and Skills: City deals and skills – How have City and Local Growth Deals supported the development of employment and skills policies that reflect local demand?: this report examines how City and Local Growth Deals have supported the development of employment and skills policies that reflect local demand. It proposes that leadership is needed at a local level to better link skills provision with employer demand. Skills shortages can then be identified and addressed more effectively, leading to better growth prospects for the whole area. It urges local education and training providers, employers and representative organisations to sign up to "outcome agreements" that identify both the skills needs of a local area and the solutions to address them. Partners are then held accountable for delivery of their parts of the agreement. (29 June 2015)

Centre for Cities: City deals and skills: over the last five years, various aspects of employment and skills policy have formed a significant element of devolution policies. City Deals and Growth Deals in particular have focused on aspects of youth employment programmes, adult skills provision and vocational training in order to respond to the needs of specific areas. This report looks at how employment and skills policy has featured in the deals to date, reflecting on how these have supported local partners to develop more demand-led employment and skills systems. Based on the lessons learnt, it presents some recommendations on how this might be supported further. (2 July 2015)

NAO: Devolving responsibilities to cities in England – Wave 1 City Deals: this report scrutinises the first City Deals that were signed with the eight largest cities outside London in 2012, with government departments committing up to £2.3bn to the deals, spread over 30 years. The NAO concludes that the Wave 1 City Deals were an important catalyst for cities to develop their capacity to manage devolved funding and increased responsibility for economic growth; however, it is too early to tell whether the deals will have any overall impact on growth. It highlights how both the Government and local places can learn from the experience of Wave 1 City Deals to manage devolution to local places effectively. (9 July 2015)

DCLG: Multimillion pound boost for seaside towns: announces that the Coastal Communities Fund is to be extended to 2020/2021, with a further £90m to unlock the economic potential of coastal communities. (9 July 2015)

DBIS: Fixing the foundations – Creating a more prosperous nation: sets out a 15-point plan that the Government will put into action to boost the UK’s productivity growth, centred around two key pillars: encouraging long-term investment, and promoting a dynamic economy. It includes proposals for a new zonal system to give automatic permission on suitable brownfield sites, taking tougher action to ensure that local authorities are using making land available for housing, and working with the Mayor of London to bring forward proposals to remove the need for planning permission for upwards extensions for a limited number of storeys up to the height of the adjoining building. The Government will publish a new long-term National Infrastructure Plan for key economic  infrastructure sectors – transport, energy, flood defences, water, waste,  communications and science – supported by annual progress updates and underpinned by the Infrastructure Pipeline, which will be published on a regular basis, with an update this summer. (10 July 2015)

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

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Education

DfE: Hundreds of ‘coasting’ schools to be transformed: announces a new measure that will identify those schools which are failing to push every pupil to reach their potential - so called 'coasting' schools. The measure, to be introduced through the Education and Adoption Bill, sets out a clear definition of what a ‘coasting’ school is. Schools eligible for intervention will be those which fall below a new ‘coasting’ level for three years. In 2014 and 2015 that level will be set at 60% of pupils achieving 5 good GCSEs or an above-average proportion of pupils making acceptable progress. From 2016, the level will be set based on Progress 8 - the new accountability measure which shows how much progress pupils in a particular school make between the end of primary school and their GCSEs. (30 June 2015)

LGA: Analysis of academy school performance in GCSEs 2014 – Final report: this research reveals that, on average, pupils attending maintained schools achieved the same high standard of GCSE results in 2014 as those attending academies. Current government statistics show that only three out of the 20 largest academy chains are performing above the national average on an ‘added value' measure, compared to 44 out of 100 councils. Local government leaders are calling for central government to remove the bureaucratic barriers currently stopping councils from intervening in underperforming schools and allow high performing maintained schools to play a direct part in raising education standards and improve life chances, including taking on the running of failing academies. (1 July 2015)

NAO: Funding for disadvantaged pupils: the DfE pays the Pupil Premium directly to schools as extra funding for each pupil from a socio-economically disadvantaged background between the ages of 5 and 16, with the aim of closing the gap in attainment between them and their peers by improving their academic performance. This report from the NAO finds that introducing the Pupil Premium has increased school leaders’ focus on improving outcomes for disadvantaged children, with 94% of school leaders that the NAO surveyed saying they targeted support at disadvantaged pupils, compared with 57% before the creation of the Pupil Premium. (30 June 2015)

Sutton Trust: The pupil premium – Next steps: this research looked at how the pupil premium has enabled schools to do more to improve the results of their less advantaged pupils. The findings suggests that there is still have much to do to ensure that those from poorer families do as well as their classmates. (1 July 2015)

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

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Elections

Electoral Commission: The hidden costs of electoral law: this report was prepared to inform the Law Commissions’ review of electoral law. it highlights the unnecessary costs that are generated solely by the problems with the law and so which can be addressed in the Law Commissions’ on-going review. These costs are imposed when making electoral legislation, administering elections, the legal processes arising from elections and when standing for elections. The majority of the costs are caused by four factors: the complexity of electoral law; its fragmented nature; the level of unnecessary detail in the law and the presence of outdated drafting (some of which is little changed since the nineteenth century). (25 June 2015)

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

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Finance

HM Treasury: Summer Budget 2015: the Chancellor has presented his first Budget following the May general Election. Points of interest for local authorities:

  • £37bn of further spending cuts by 2020, including £12bn of welfare cuts and £5bn from tax avoidance - £17bn of these cuts in today's Budget, the remainder to be announced in the Autumn Spending Review;
  • introduction of a new national living wage for all workers aged over 25, starting at £7.20 an hour from April 2016 and set to reach £9 by 2020;
  • 1% public sector pay rise to continue for next four years;
  • rents in social housing sector will be reduced by 1% a year for the next four years;
  • higher-income households in social housing will be required to pay rents at the market rate;
  • further progress on devolving powers to Greater Manchester - putting Fire Services under the control of the new directly-elected Mayor, establishing a Greater Manchester Land Commission, granting the city region more powers over planning subject to the agreement of the Cabinet member representing the district in which the power is used, and inviting discussion of how central government and the city region might collaborate further on children’s services and employment programmes;
  • the Government has received two Combined Authority proposals from local authorities in the East Midlands. It remains open to any further proposals from local areas for devolution of significant powers in return for a mayor, in time for conclusion ahead of the Spending Review;
  • discussions on devolution of services to Sheffield, Liverpool, West Yorkshire and Cornwall;
  • consultation on devolving powers on Sunday trading to city mayors and local authorities;
  • £30m for new body Transport for the North  to promote integrated transport - including use of Oyster cards - in the north of England.

See also the LGA's On the Day briefing. (8 July 2015)

Centre for Cities: Mapping Britain's public finances – Where is tax raised, and where is it spent?: this paper shows where taxes are raised and public money is spent in local authorities across the country. While most tax and spending takes place at a local level, until now there has been very little understanding of where this occurs in different cities and regions, and how this affects the UK’s economy and finances. The report reveals the big implications for the national exchequer of the economic under-performance of some of Britain’s biggest city-regions. (6 July 2015)

LGA: A shared commitment – Local government and the Spending Review: this report looks at how a strong partnership with local government would support the Government in tackling the significant challenge of reducing the national deficit over the period of this Parliament, while at the same time ensuring the quality front line services that the public want and need. This partnership can be based on a shared commitment to achieving agreed outcomes in three areas: resources, public service reform and growth. The LGA argues that if this partnership is successful and truly promotes decentralisation, public service reform and increased economic prosperity across all parts of the country, then local government can deliver more than £80bn in economic growth and almost £2bn savings to the public purse. (7 July 2015)

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

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Governance

CfPS: The change game – How councils are using good governance as a way to navigate challenging times: this paper looks at how robust governance can help local authorities to deliver major change. It focuses on two topics: transformation and commissioning. It discusses key ways that scrutiny councillors, and the officers who support them, can think about governance more productively, along with ways that members with executive responsibilities, and the officers who support them, should support the scrutiny role to make it effective, and to ensure that there is a positive return on the authority’s investment in scrutiny. (30 June 2015)

LGA: Local Healthwatch governance – A self-assessment toolkit for local Healthwatch and local Healthwatch Commissioners: this toolkit is designed to support local Healthwatch (LHW) and local commissioners in establishing successful governance for an effective LHW organisation. It sets out some key governance questions for LHW and local commissioners to think about in development discussions and in renegotiating contracts. (7 July 2015)

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

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Health and Social Care

LGA:  Making it better together – A call to action on the future of health and wellbeing boards: the LGA and NHS Clinical Commissioners have launched an ambitious call to action and a set of proposals to local system leaders and the Government to strengthen the impact and leadership of health and wellbeing boards across the country. The document also outlines the LGA and NHS Clinical Commissioners shared commitment to support boards to reach their full potential as system leaders driving forward changes that will improve the health of their communities. (30 June 2015)

County Councils Network: County care markets – Market sustainability & the Care Act: this report reveals the reality facing county care markets prior to Part 2 of the Care Act 2014 going live. Not only does the report provide evidence that the social care system is already unsustainably reliant on cross-subsidisation by those people that fund their own care, but also that the Act could lead to a significant alteration in the funding model currently keeping many local care markets afloat. The report says that as 'a direct result' of inadequate social care funding there is a growing gap between council fees and the levels required by providers to sustain viable markets for older people’s care in many areas. It warns that care homes are at risk from low council fees and there is a likelihood that the Care Act will reduce compensatory high fees from self-funders. (1 July 2015)

London Councils: Better Care Fund in 2016/17 - London Councils’ core design principles: London Councils, the cross-party body that represents the 32 London borough councils and the City of London, is urging the Government to take early action to clarify the approach to the BCF in 2016/17 to give boroughs, CCGs and their partners time to develop ambitious plans to take integration a meaningful step forward in that year. It has also set out eight core design principles that it believes should be adopted as a framework for making the BCF in 2016/17 a further significant step forward in health and care integration, while allowing for flexibility to develop ambitious plans to reflect local circumstances and priorities. (1 July 2015)

Law Commission: Mental capacity and deprivation of liberty: the Law Commission is seeking views on how the law should regulate deprivations of liberty involving people who lack capacity to consent to their care and treatment arrangements, in light of the Supreme Court's decision in P v Cheshire West and Chester Council; P v Surrey CC [2014] UKSC 19. It states that the majority in Cheshire West were clear that disabled people have the same rights as anyone else and this must be the starting point. The task is to find the best solution. The consultation closes on 2 November 2015. (7 July 2015)

Welsh Government: Wales replaces the axed UK Independent Living Fund: announces a new £20m fund to support more than 1,600 disabled people in Wales with their care needs, following the closure of the Independent Living Fund by the UK Government. From 1 July 2015, disabled people in Wales with significant care needs will receive direct cash payments from local authorities to help meet the cost of the care and support they need. Funding of £20.4m has been ring-fenced for the scheme for July 2015 to the end of March 2016, which is based on the number of people receiving ILF when the current scheme closed on 30 June. (1 July 2015) 

DH: Social care grant determinations for 2015 to 2016: these grant determinations for social care (capital), care and support in prisons and local reform and community voices, set out how much money the DH will pay local authorities for social care grants in 2015/16. They also explain any conditions on how the money is used. (10 July 2015)

LGO: Social care fact sheets: the LGO has published several new fact sheets on social care complaints, updated following the Care Act 2014:

R (Cornwall Council) v Secretary of State for Health; R (Cornwall Council) v Somerset CC [2015] UKSC 46 (Sup Ct): the Supreme Court has handed down judgment in this case on determining "ordinary residence". The case concerned liability for PH, a young man who had severe physical and learning disabilities. He lived in Wiltshire with his parents; when he was aged 4, W Council placed him with foster carers in South Gloucestershire. His parents then moved to Cornwall but they remained closely involved in decisions affecting him and had regular contact with him. After PH reached 18, he moved to a care home in Somerset that was funded by W Council. He visited his parents in Cornwall and had no remaining close family ties with Wiltshire. W Council and C Council disagreed over responsibility for PH once he became 18. The SoS found that PH was ordinarily resident in Cornwall. The CA ruled that PH's place of ordinary residence was South Gloucestershire: it could not be Wiltshire, because he ceased to have any connection with it at all. The mere fact that his parents' place of ordinary residence was in Cornwall could not justify finding that to be PH's place of ordinary residence.
The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and determined PH’s ordinary residence at the relevant time to be Wiltshire. Their Lordships stated that PH’s placement in South Gloucestershire by Wiltshire was not to be regarded as changing his ordinary residence. The CA's attribution of responsibility to South Gloucestershire might fit the language of the statute, but it ran directly counter to the NAA 1948's policy. The only connection with that county was PH’s historic placement under a statute, the Children Act 1989, which specifically excluded the placement from consideration as ordinary residence for the purposes of the 1989 Act. The policy in both the 1989 and 1948 Acts was that ordinary residence of a person provided with accommodation should not be affected, for the purposes of an authority’s responsibilities, by the location of that person’s placement. The purpose of the deeming provisions in both Acts was that an authority should not be able to export its responsibility for providing accommodation by “exporting” the person who is in need of it. Until PH turned 18, for fiscal and administrative purposes his ordinary residence continued to be in Wiltshire, regardless of where the local authority determined that he should live. Therefore the appeal was allowed and in the declaration of the Court of Appeal references to South Gloucestershire were substituted for references to Wiltshire. (8 July 2015)

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

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Housing

PM's Office: PM and Chancellor announce 'one nation' plans to spread home ownership across the country: announces that the Housing Bill, to be introduced this autumn, will include steps to build discounted homes for first time buyers on all reasonable sized developments, unlock public land for hundreds of thousands of new homes and back small builders with planning changes. It also confirms plans to give housing association tenants the chance to buy their own home, with a discount of up to 70%. (4 July 2015)

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

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Members

HMRC: Tax exemption for travel expenses of members of local authorities: this tax information and impact note introduces a new exemption from Income Tax and a disregard for NICs for travel expenses paid to councillors by their local authority. This measure will have effect on payments made on and after 6 April 2016. (9 July 2015)

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

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Police

Committee on Standards in Public Life: Tone from the top – Leadership, ethics and accountability in policing: this is the Committee's final report of its inquiry into policing accountability. It calls for greater energy and consistency to be applied to promoting high ethical standards and for a more robust set of checks and balances in the accountability structures of local policing. 
The Committee has also published Public Understanding of Police Accountability, setting out the results of research conducted on behalf of the Committee by Ipsos MORI and analysed by Chris Prosser of the University of Oxford. (29 June 2015)

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

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Ports and Harbours

DfT: Harbours Act 1964 section 40A – Consultation on the applications of the statutory harbour authorities for 25 harbours in England and 6 non-fishery harbours in Wales for their designation with the power to give harbour directions: Summary of responses:  sets out the outcome of the December 2014 consultation on a first wave of applications from harbour authorities to be designated with the power to give harbour directions for the movement, mooring, equipment and manning of ships in their harbours. The paper also outlines the next steps to be taken. (3 July 2015)

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

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Procurement

Crown Commercial Service: Schools and academies newsletter – July issue: latest edition of the quarterly newsletter for schools and academies to help them meet the regulations surrounding how public money is spent and achieve best value when buying commonly required goods and services. (8 July 2015)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Emily Heard

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Public Health

Serious Crime Act 2015 (Commencement No. 2) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1428 (C.80)): these regulations bring s.73 of the 2015 Act into force on 17 July 2015. Section 73 inserts new s.5A and Sch.2 into the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 to make provision for female genital mutilation protection orders in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland. (25 June 2015)

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

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Rating

HM Treasury: Administration of business rates in England – Interim findings: this paper summarises the Government’s interim findings on the administrative reform of business rates and sets out how it proposes to respond to businesses’ calls for clearer billing, better sharing of information and a more efficient appeals system. Annex A provides analysis carried out by the Valuation Office Agency to show how more frequent revaluations might affect business rate bills. The Government has committed to making these practical improvements to the business rates system by 2017. (8 July 2015)

DCLG: Business rates avoidance – Summary of responses: in December 2014 the Government issued a discussion paper on business rates avoidance. This paper lists the respondents and summarises stakeholder views on the methods and scale of avoidance. It will announce how it intends to develop anti-avoidance measures in due course. (8 July 2015)

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

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Regulatory Services 

DBIS: Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015  – Statement on control by a public authority: regulations that affect only the public sector are excluded from the scope of certain provisions in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, specifically the business impact target and statutory reviews. The Act places a duty on the Secretary of State to publish a statement on how ‘control by a public authority’ is to be determined. This statement advises that in determining whether a business or voluntary body is 'controlled by a public authority', Departments should follow the current classification system operated by the Office for National Statistics as set out in the ONS Public Sector Classification Guide. (1 July 2015) 

LGA: 'Car litter louts' – New powers called for by councils: the LGA is calling on the Government to close a legal loophole on car litter louts in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, to give local authorities the power to fine the owner of the vehicle, regardless of who threw the trash. As the law stands, councils must positively identify who has thrown the litter out of a car window, which is hugely difficult. (4 July 2015)

BBC: Hoddesdon £8K orange peel appeal spat with Broxbourne Council: reports that Stevenage magistrates' court has allowed an appeal against a fixed penalty notice issued by the Council against a man who dropped a small piece of orange peel on the street. The man had immediately picked up the peel and binned it, when it was pointed out to him, and apologised. He was then sent a £75 FPN. The magistrates accepted the defence that the offence of littering required evidence of intent. The cost of the nine-month battle to the Council is estimated to be about £4,000. (7 July 2015)

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

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