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     European Union
    Business Rates     Health and Social Care
    Children's Services     Housing
    Communities     Local government reform
    Devolution      Procurement
    Education     Public Health
    Employment  

Adult Social Services

Skills for Care: The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, 2016: presents a comprehensive overview of the adult social care sector, which continues to grow and employs an estimated 1.55m jobs. The information provided about the sector includes: its size, employment information, recruitment and retention issues, workforce demographics, pay, qualification rates and future workforce forecasts. (30 September 2016)

Re FD (Inherent Jurisdiction: Power of Arrest) [2016] EWHC 2358 (Fam) (Fam Div): a local authority applied for an injunction under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court to prevent the father and a male friend of FD, a vulnerable 18 year old woman, from having contact with FD and from going to her home. The local authority also sought a power of arrest regarding the application for an injunction against the male friend.
The court held that the High Court had a wide and largely unfettered discretion to grant injunctive relief to protect vulnerable adults but had no power under its inherent jurisdiction to attach a power of arrest to an injunction. Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996, which gave the court the power to attach a power of arrest to a non-molestation injunction, had been amended by the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 from 1 July 2007 so as to remove the power to attach a power of arrest to a non-molestation injunction. Therefore the court had no jurisdiction to attach a power of arrest to a non-molestation injunction. (28 September 2016)

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

^back to top

Business Rates

DCLG: Business Rates Revaluation 2017 – Consultation on the transitional arrangements for the 2017 business rates revaluation: seeks views on the proposed transitional arrangements to phase in changes in business rate bill as a result of the 2017 business rates revaluation. It states that many ratepayers will see only a small change in their rates bill at the revaluation; however, some properties will see a more significant change – both increases and reductions. Transitional arrangements are used to phase in these changes, giving ratepayers them time to adjust to their new rates bills. Those ratepayers facing increases (who will be in sectors and locations where rateable values have increased more than the average) will see their bill capped each year at a set percentage increase due to the revaluation. There are also supplementary tables showing the transitional relief calculations. The consultation closes on 26 October 2016. (28 September 2016)

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

^back to top

Children's Services

DfE: Direction issued to Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council: the Education Secretary has issued a Statutory Direction to Sandwell MBC to improve performance in children’s social care services. It requires the Council to bring forward, by 1 December, proposals to transfer its children’s social care services to a Children’s Services Trust, "for a period of time". (6 October 2016)

Ofsted: Time to listen − A joined up response to child sexual exploitation and missing children: joint targeted area inspections include a ‘deep dive’ investigation which changes periodically to investigate different themes in detail. The theme for February to August 2016 was child sexual exploitation and children missing from home, care or education. This report outlines findings from the five joint targeted area inspections. (29 September 2016)

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

^back to top

Communities

DCLG: Notes on neighbourhood planning (edition 18): this newsletter contains an update on the latest news and policy developments, including a useful summary of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill currently before Parliament. (5 October 2016)

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

^back to top

Devolution

DCLG: Tees Valley receives multi-million pound devo deal boost: announces the transfer of £15m funding to tees Valley through the region’s ground-breaking devolution deal. The Tees Valley Combined Authority will now bring forward proposals to invest this additional funding, alongside matched finance from other sources, to deliver key elements of its Strategic Economic Plan. (29 September 2016)

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

^back to top

Education

London Councils: Do the maths: this is  the seventh edition of London Councils’ annual report on the pressures facing the school places planning system in London. It finds that the demand for additional school places in the capital, which has reached record levels over the past decade, is showing little sign of abating. London will need a further 110,364 new school places between 2016/17 and 2021/22 to meet forecast demand. At primary school level, the need for more places has started to plateau, rather than continuing to rise as has been seen year on year since 2008. However, demand at secondary level is forecast to increase considerably as the wave of additional pupils at primary is predicted to reach secondary schools in the majority of London boroughs from 2017/18. (1 September 2016)

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

^back to top

Employment

HM Treasury: Reforms to public sector exit payments – Response to the consultation: sets out the Government's response to the February 2016 consultation on reforming public sector exit payments. The new framework will require public sector employers to implement: a maximum tariff for calculating exit payments of three weeks’ pay per year of service; a ceiling of 15 months on the maximum number of months’ salary that can be paid as a redundancy payment; a maximum salary of £80,000 on which an exit payment can be based; a taper on the amount of lump sum compensation an individual is entitled to receive as they get closer to their normal pension retirement age; and action to limit or end employer-funded early access to pension as an exit term. The Government expects government departments to begin immediately producing proposals for implementing these changes, ready for consultation within three months, with a view to completing agreements within nine months, i.e. by June 2017.
Note that this is separate from the draft Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2016 that will introduce a cap of £95,000 on the pre-tax value of exit payments made to public sector employees. These regulations were expected to come into force this Autumn, but we have received confirmation that they will be delayed and subject to further consultation. It is now anticipated that the final regulations will be published and come into force in Spring 2017. 
The 'clawback' regulations, which allowing for recovering public sector exit payments where a high-earning employee is re-employed in the public sector within 12 months of receiving a severance payment, are expected to be published in their final form and in force this year. (26 September 2016)

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

^back to top

European Union

Institute for Government: Planning Brexit – Silence is not a strategy: this briefing paper assesses the progress that the Government has made towards planning for Brexit. It identifies the likely costs of the Government’s approach and what capability the Civil Service needs to support it. (September 2016)

HM Treasury: Further certainty on EU funding for hundreds of British projects: the Chancellor has confirmed that Government will guarantee EU funding for structural and investment fund projects signed up to the point at which the UK departs the EU. This extends the guarantee, announced in August, for funds for projects signed up until the Autumn Statement. Funding for projects will be honoured by the government, if they meet the following conditions: they are good value for money; and  they are in line with domestic strategic priorities. (3 October 2016)

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

^back to top

Health and Social Care

DH: Care and support statutory guidance: this revised statutory guidance supports implementation of Part 1 of the Care Act 2014 by local authorities. It supersedes the version issued in October 2014. It takes account of regulatory changes, feedback from stakeholders and the care sector, and developments following the postponement of social care funding reforms to 2020. There is also a List of changes made to the Care Act guidance. (26 September 2016)

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

^back to top

Housing

Housing Finance Institute: From the shores to the shires – Regional local councils, big housing opportunities: this new research demonstrates that regional local councils have been the beating heart delivering new homes for the country - housebuilding is dominated not by the big cities and bustling metropolitan areas but by Britain’s coastal communities, the country villages and market towns, post-industrial heartlands and the historic cities and counties of England. However,  these regional local councils do not have the attention, full powers, funding and support from central government which is enjoyed by the Capital and Metropolitan areas. It argues that re-balancing our housing policy is necessary to better support local regional councils and it sets out a five-point plan to achieve this. (27 September 2016)

Centre for London: Another storey – The real potential for estate densification: this report finds that London’s council estates could provide between 80,000 and 160,000 additional homes through redevelopment – "densification". It analysed large housing estates in four London boroughs – Lewisham, Barking & Dagenham, Waltham Forest and Hounslow. It concludes that three out of the four boroughs could gain an uplift in housing estate capacity of at least 50 per cent by increasing the density of large estates to ‘urban’ levels. However, many of these potential densification projects are not viable without subsidy, particularly in London’s suburbs. Also, Home Loss Payments should be increased to ensure the fair treatment of tenants in the demolition and densification process. (29 September 2016)

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

^back to top

Local Government Reform

Welsh Government: Working together to reform local government – Cabinet Secretary sets out building blocks for more resilient local authorities: the Welsh Local Government Secretary has set out proposals on how local authorities would work together to deliver key services. He has shelved plans to reduce the number of local authorities. Instead, the existing 22 local authorities will be retained but with key services being delivered regionally. There could be two models to deliver these services: one based around City Regions covering strategic transport, land-use planning and economic development and another aligned to health boards for services such as education improvement, social services and public protection. Further details will be issued "by the New Year". (4 October 2016)

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

^back to top

Procurement

CCS: Procurement policy note 8/16 Standard Selection Questionnaire (SQ) template: this revised standard Selection Questionnaire (SQ) template and guidance replaces the current standard Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ). This PPN supersedes the guidance on supplier selection and PQQs in PPN 03/15. This PPN applies to all contracting authorities in England, and contracting authorities in Wales and Northern Ireland that exercise wholly or mainly reserved functions for procurements above the thresholds laid down in the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR 2015). (26 September 2016)
See aslo our Procurement Alert - New standard Selection Questionnaire and statutory guidance.

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

^back to top

Public Health

LGA: Health in all policies – A manual for local government: 'Health in All Policies (HiAP)' is an approach to policies that systematically and explicitly takes into account the health implications of the decisions we make; targets the key social determinants of health; looks for synergies between health and other core objectives and the work we do with partners; and tries to avoid causing harm with the aim of improving the health of the population and reducing inequity. Councils have welcomed their new public health role and are now moving into a phase of transformational change. Success will depend on getting healthy policies embedded in all aspects of what a council and its partners do, or the extent to which councils become genuine public health councils. (29 September 2016)

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

^back to top