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:

   Access to Information    Further Education
   Adult Social Services    Housing
   Children's Services    Local Strategic Partnerships
   Commons Registration    Procurement
   Community Engagement    Shared Services
   Community Interest Companies    Standards
   Contingency Planning    Structural Change
   Decision Making    Sustainable Communities
   Delivery of Services    Tortious Liability
   Disability Discrimination    Traffic and Transport
   Education    Vetting and Barring
   Efficiency  
   Bevan Brittan's Local Government Training Programme

 

Access to Information

HM Treasury v Information Commissioner; Evan Owen (Interested Party) [2009] EWHC 1811 (Admin) (Admin Ct): O applied to HM Treasury (HMT) to see counsel's opinion supporting Gordon Brown's declaration that the Financial Services and Markets Bill was compatible with the Human Rights Act 1998. HMT refusing his request, replying that information relating to legal advice was exempt from disclosure under the FOIA 2000, and that in the balance of public interest it would not confirm or deny whether it held such information. The Commissioner ordered that HMT should disclose whether it held the legal advice. At the Information Tribunal hearing, witnesses highlighted the Law Officers' Convention, which was a long-standing rule that the confirmation or content of advice given by law officers to the Government could not be disclosed outside the Government without their consent, and also the Ministerial Code, which also advised that information about legal advice could not be disclosed without the law officers' consent. The Information Tribunal held that HMT should disclose whether it held the legal advice.
The court held, allowing HMT's appeal, that the statutory exemption relating to the legal advice under s.35(1)(c) FOIA was very specific. The tribunal erred in concluding that the Convention and the Code had somehow become displaced by the 2000 Act, and it was clear that Parliament intended that real weight should continue to be afforded to the Law Officers' Convention. The tribunal's decision to both disregard the Treasury's witnesses as having special experience to which appropriate weight should be given and to disregard general considerations in the absence of actual damage as being weighty considerations was also flawed. Section 35(1)(c) assumed that the case for exemption was substantial; it was then necessary to weigh up the comparative public interests in the case and consider whether either presumptions or general considerations would necessarily determine the outcome. The tribunal did not evaluate for itself the strength of the public interest in disclosing whether HMT had received the legal advice. The passage of the Financial Services and Markets Bill had been extremely high profile, and the extraordinary open debate in Parliament and elsewhere that preceded it diminished rather than substantiated public interest for disclosure. In any respect, there was nothing so special about the matter that the public interest in disclosure outweighed the public interest in maintaining exemption. (21 July 2009) 

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Caraline Johnson

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Adult Social Services

DCSF: Facing up to the task - The interim report of the Social Work Task Force: the Social Work Task Force was set up by the Government to undertake a comprehensive review of frontline social work practice and to make recommendations for improvement and reform of the whole profession, across adult and children’s services. This report sets out interim advice about the state of social work in England at present, and the nature and content of the comprehensive reform programme needed. (29 July 2009)
The Government's response welcomes the report's recommendation for a national college of social workers, which will now be taken forward. The Government has also launched a new peer support programme for middle managers of social care functions in local authorities that will help managers to explore and tackle the challenges of leading and managing workforce change to improve services and outcomes.

DH: Call for expressions of interest in piloting the Common Assessment Framework for Adults - Phase 2: letter to Directors of Adult Social Services and PCT Chief Executives calling for expressions of interest and applications for involvement in the Common Assessment Framework programme of demonstrator sites. A small number of additional demonstrator sites will test and evaluate innovative approaches to effective information sharing between health and social services. Each site will comprise at least one council with social services responsibility and at least one NHS Health Trust. Partnerships will also include a range of other key local partners who have a role in supporting the local delivery of a multi-agency approach to the care of individuals. Capital funding of £11m p.a. is available to support the additional sites for two years. The deadline for expressions of interest is 12 October 2009. For more details, see the Prospectus. (29 July 2009)

Law Commission: Statute law repeals - poor relief: proposed repeals: seeks views on proposals to repeal 57 obsolete Acts relating to the poor law relief arrangements that existed before the advent of the modern welfare state. Most of them are relics of the parish-based system that existed before 1834. The earliest of them date back to 1697 during the reign of William III and made provision for the poor in areas such as Colchester, Exeter, Hereford and Shaftesbury. These Acts were passed to provide the necessary powers to raise money from the inhabitants of a parish to build workhouses to contain the poor and elderly. Today these powers are obsolete and are proposed for repeal on that basis. Comments are required by 30 October 2009. (23 July 2009)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Caraline Johnson

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Children's Services

DCSF: The roles and responsibilities of the lead member for Children's Services and the Director of Children's Services: updated statutory guidance that is intended to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the Director of Children’s Services and Lead Member, within an overall framework of local authority accountability and leadership, to improve children’s well‑being. It has been updated to take account of the good progress already made, existing practices which have been shown to work, and the importance of the LM and DCS as leaders and champions for children, young people and their families. It also looks to ensure that these arrangements are supported within each local authority and Local Strategic Partnership. (24 July 2009) 

DCSF: Serious case reviews - revised Chapter 8 of Working Together to Safeguard Children: seeks views on revised guidance that aims to improve the quality, consistency and impact of serious case reviews (SCRs) and is directed in particular at Local Safeguarding Children Boards that by law undertake an SCR whenever a child dies or is seriously injured and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor. The consultation arises out of Lord Laming's recommendations to strengthen and clarify the serious case review process. Comments are required by 23 October 2009. (31 July 2009)

DCSF: Safeguarding the young and vulnerable - the Joint Chief Inspectors’ recommendations and the Government’s responses one year on: sets out the Government’s annual update on progress against the specific recommendations in the Joint Chief Inspectors’ third joint report, Safeguarding Children: the third Chief Inspectors’ Report on Arrangements to Safeguard Children (July 2008), which highlighted what had improved over the three years from 2005 to 2008 and assessed the extent to  which the considerable activity that had taken place at both national and local levels has affected outcomes for children. It also identified those areas still in need of improvement. (31 July 2009)

DCSF: Third sector strategy and action plan - intentions into action: this strategy and action plan builds on what has been achieved since 2007. It describes how DCSF proposes to work more closely with the third sector and sets out the main focus of their shared goals and work over the coming months and years within the framework of Every Child Matters. (30 July 2009)

DCSF: Community service programme – Local authority pilots: this prospectus invites bids from local authorities that have chosen National Indicator 6 (participation in formal volunteering) as a key part of their local area agreement, to run the five community service pilots.  DCSF has allocated £7m over the next two years to establish these pilots, which will explore ways to engage 14-16 year olds in community service. The pilots will run from January 2010 until March 2011 and will test how best to achieve universal or very high levels of community service amongst 14-16 year olds. The closing date for preliminary expressions of interest is 30 September 2009. (31 July 2009)

Ofsted: Care and prejudice: reports on a survey of 362 children from children’s homes and foster care across the country. It highlights the views and experiences of children living in care and the prejudices they face as a result of being in care. (4 August 2009)

DCSF: Effectiveness of child and adolecent mental health (CAMHS) services: the National Indicator "Effectiveness of CAMHS" is a measure of key aspects of service provision that should be in place locally to meet the needs of children and young people with mental health problems effectively.  It forms part of the National Indicator Set for local authorities (NI51) this statistical release gives the baseline for National Indicator 51 for services as at 31 December 2008. (6 August 2009)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Caraline Johnson

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Commons Registration

Commons Registration (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2018): these regulations, which come into force on 30 September 2009, amend SI 2008/1961 regarding the procedures for amending registers of common land and town or village greens within a pilot implementation of Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006 in seven local authority areas. They extend the “transitional application period” and the “transitional period”, in each case by a year, so that applications and proposals under Sched.3 to the 2006 Act in relation to the areas of the pilot registration authorities can be submitted (without payment of a fee) or proposals made (in line with the duty on the pilot registration authorities to review their registers) until 30 September 2010. The purpose of such applications and proposals is to bring the commons registers up to date to reflect events which took place between 1970 and 30 September 2008. They also make other minor additions and alterations to, and correct some minor errors in the 2008 Regulations. (23 July 2009)

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

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Community Engagement

DCLG: Guidance for local authorities on how to mainstream community cohesion into other services: sets out how cohesion can be built into frontline services such as housing, schools, services for old people, recreation and culture. It also suggests how best to ensure that embedding cohesion is part of the council's day to day work - the importance of training frontline staff, reviewing current structures and working with partners including local media, voluntary groups and local employers. (4 August 2009)

DCLG: Government names successful projects to help young people unlock their talent: announces the 15 projects from deprived neighbourhoods across England that will share £10m Inspiring Communities funding for projects that aim to get people in communities working together to boost the aspirations and achievements of their young people. (4 August 2009)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Peter Keith-Lucas.

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Community Interest Companies (CICs)

Community Interest Company (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/1942): these regulations, which come into force on 1 October 2009, amend SI 2005/1788 to reflect legislative and other developments since the Community Interest Company (CIC) legal form was introduced. Since the CIC form was introduced, a number of technical points have been raised; there have also been developments regarding Industrial and Provident Societies and charities since the passage of the 2004 Act and 2005 Regulations. These regulations update and clarify the 2005 Regulations. The principal changes include:

  • provisions to enable a CIC to convert to the asset locked form of a community benefit society or a Scottish charity to convert to a CIC;
  • to remove requirements relating to alternate directors and casting vote; and
  • to add a reasonable person’s test to the section of the community aspect of the community interest test. 

(21 July 2009)

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

^ back to the topContingency Planning

DCLG: Support for recovery from exceptional emergencies: guidance on the exceptional circumstances where the Government would consider providing financial support to local authorities in addition to the Bellwin Scheme, to support recovery efforts and the sort of costs that might be met in those circumstances. (4 August 2009)

Pandemic influenza: guidance on meeting the needs of those who are or may become vulnerable during the pandemic: updated guidance to support organisations in their planning for those people who are or may become vulnerable during the pandemic. It emphasises the need for vulnerable groups to be taken account of in the pandemic flu plans drawn up by primary care organisations and their partners, including local authorities. (5 August 2009) 

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

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Decision Making

Audit Commission: Is there something I should know? Making the most of your information to improve services: this report looks at how councils use information to make decisions. It encourages chief executives, senior officers and lead members to be more demanding about the information they seek and use when making decisions. The report also suggests ways to improve in both these areas. It considers whether councils are equipped to improve their information. It also says that decision makers must be more demanding about getting the information they need to make decisions.
There are a number of practical tools that support the report, including decision making guides, self assessment framework and a resource mapping tool.  (30 July 2009)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Peter Keith-Lucas.

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Delivery of Services

DBIS: Implementing the EU Services Directive: this newsletter summarises some of the most important developments in the implementation of the EU Services Directive 2006/123. It includes information on the Electronic Licence Management System (ELMS) and reminds local authorities that the deadline for reporting to DBIS on the screening of locally used Acts, byelaws, and other requirements that they place on service providers, is 30 September 2009.  (6 August 2009)
DBIS has also issued technical guidance on the ELMS that sets out the steps local authorities need to take in order to be ready to accept electronic payments by December 2009.

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

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Disability Discrimination

R (Lunt) v Liverpool City Council (Unreported) (Admin Ct): L, a wheelchair user, applied for judicial review of the local authority licensing committee's refusal  to approve a new wheelchair-friendly vehicle to be used as a public hire vehicle in the area. The authority's policy regulating vehicles for public hire authorised only one vehicle; other vehicles were to be considered on their merits. The committee refused the application on the basis that the vehicle did not fit the policy specifications as it did not conform to the minimum turning circle, the angle of the ramp was too steep and there was concern over the sliding doors. L submitted that: the decision to maintain the current restrictive licensing policy amounted to discrimination contrary to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; the authority had failed to give regard to its duty under s.49A of the Act; the process leading to the decision was flawed and unfair because it was based on material and indisputable errors of fact; and in reaching its decision the committee had breached Art.28 EC by imposing product requirements equivalent to quantitative restrictions.
The court held, granting L's application, that the evidence before the committee clearly showed that there was a class of people that had serious difficulties with the standard taxis and the committee had not properly addressed that class of people. The policy did provide substantial restrictions on the use of the vehicle to the extent that it could not be sold in the area. The decision was quashed and remitted for reconsideration. (31 July 2009)
The judgment is available on Lawtel (password required). 

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

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Education

DCSF: Lamb Inquiry reports: the Lamb Inquiry was set up to investigate a range of ways in which parental confidence in the special educational needs (SEN) assessment process might be improved. Brian Lamb has submitted two reports to the Secretary of State:

  • Quality and clarity of statements: investigates the need to focus on better quality and clearer statements, whether they make sense to parents and their contribution to improving children’s outcomes; and
  • Inspection, accountability and school improvement: investigates whether the Ofsted inspection provisions and the wider changes to the school improvement and accountability framework give sufficient priority to SEN and disability.

The reports' recommendations include two statutory changes:

  • to provide a right of appeal for parents if a local authority decides not to amend a statement after a review; and
  • to place a specific duty on Ofsted to report on the quality of the education provided for disabled children and children with SEN.

The Secretary of State’s reply accepts the recommendations and commits to finding a legislative opportunity to make the changes. (3 August 2009)

R (McDougal) v Liverpool City Council [2009] EWHC 1821 (Admin) (Admin Ct): M applied for judicial review of the local authority's decision to close a non-faith co-educational comprehensive school. The local authority agreed to provide free bus travel for the displaced pupils and their siblings to and from the most similar comparable school, which was the other co-educational non-faith school in that area. M contended that, in selecting for closure the school with the worst results and highest vacancies, the local authority had failed to comply with its public law obligations to consider other relevant matters; and that the closure of the school would infringe her rights under Protocol 1 art.2 ECHR.
The court held, refusing her application, that in making the decision to close the school, the local authority had complied with its public law obligations to consider other relevant matters as well as the fact that the school had the worst results and highest vacancies. M's human rights claim did not even fall within the ambit of Protocol 1 art.2 because education was available to M's children at a non-faith co-educational school to which free bus transport was to be provided, and M's children did not have the right to be educated at any particular school. (22 July 2009)

DCSF: Gifted and talented pupils to receive more targeted support: announces changes to the Gifted & Talented (G&T) programme, including:

  • a new network of High Performing Specialist Schools that will focus on Gifted and Talented as part of their specialism, to work alongside local authorities in improving the quality of support for G&T learners across the country. Since January 2009, 170 schools have been identified and will receive £10,000 pa funding;  
  • a £250 annual scholarship for up to four years for gifted pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds; and
  • lead schools in each area will be funded to provide activities for G&T pupils and support for other schools. There will be an online catalogue of opportunities for G&T learning and development activities – from summer camps, to extra sports, music and drama sessions. 

The scheme will be targeted at the most disadvantaged gifted learners aged 14 to 19 to help them develop the knowledge and skills during their school careers to win a place at a competitive university. (28 July 2009)

DSCF: Durham, Newham and Wolverhampton to pilot free school meals: announces the authorities selected to pilot either universal free school meals or an extension to the current eligibility criteria, to gather evidence on the effectiveness of free school meals provision, including cost effectiveness. The pilot authorities will share £20m funding to look at the health benefits of free school meals. (28 July 2009) 

School Admission Appeals Code (Appointed Day) (Wales) Order 2009 (SI 2009/1845 (W.169)): this Order appoints 15 July 2009 as the day on which the School Admission Appeals Code comes into force in Wales.

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Caraline Johnson

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Efficiency

DCLG: Radical new project begins to cut red tape and improve local services: announces the 13 pilot areas for the Total Place initiative that will examine all the spending going into an area, cutting bureaucracy and making money work harder. The initiative has £5m funding to map flows of public spending in local areas and make links between services, to identify where public money can be spent more effectively. This was part of Sir Michael Bichard's recommendations in the Operational Efficiency Programme report which looked at the scope for efficiency savings in the public sector. (30 July 2009)

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

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Further Education

HC Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Committee: Spend, spend, spend? – the mismanagement of the Learning and Skills Council’s capital programme in further education colleges: this report scrutinises the LSC’s handling of the Building Colleges for the Future programme. It finds that a heinously complicated management structure at the LSC and approaching government department changes bred a lack of responsibility and gave an air of distraction. It builds on Sir Andrew Foster’s Review of the Capital Programme in Further Education, published on 1 April 2009. The Committee looks at wider lessons, including problems that can be caused by the use of NDPBs, which it recommends should be considered across the whole of government. It considers the tension which can exist between demand-led and needs-based provision, and calls for clarification of the concept of “informed demand”. It also reviews how this problem partly arose from a series of Machinery of Government changes and the prospect of the abolition of the LSC in 2010. The report makes a number of recommendations about the management of national funding programmes and the operation of NDPBs.

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Caraline Johnson

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Housing

Audit Commission: Consultation on amended strategic approach to housing key lines of enquiry (KLOE): seeks views on the way that the Commission assesses strategic housing services. A proposed updated key line of enquiry (KLOE) aims to give a broader view of how housing is linked to other local issues like economic development and sustainability. Comments are required by 18 September 2009. (31 July 2009)

DCLG: Fair and flexible - draft statutory guidance on social housing allocations for local authorities in England: seeks views on new draft statutory guidance on social housing allocations for English local authorities that aims to address the lack of awareness and understanding about allocations, and to tackle misconceptions. It encourages local authorities to involve their communities in reviewing and revising their allocation policies, and to communicate effectively about how and to whom social housing is allocated. It also encourages local authorities to make full use of the available flexibilities, so that their allocations policies best meet local needs and circumstances. Comments are required by 23 October 2009. (31 July 2009)
The Housing Minister has also announced plans for a coordinated crackdown this autumn on people who cheat the housing system and profit from subletting their council house or housing association home. This multi-million pound anti-fraud drive includes a data sweep of housing and benefit records, and new practical advice for councils and housing associations on the best way to catch tenancy cheats, including setting up local hotlines, and special crack squads to investigate reports of fraud. Councils that sign up to this commitment and agree to work with local housing associations will share £4m funding to help them start their own anti-fraud initiatives.

DCLG: The Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (Registration of Local Authorities) Order 2009 - consultation: seeks views on a draft Order that would extend the remit of the new Tenant Services Authority (TSA) to regulate both housing associations and council landlords from April 2010 and give the TSA the powers it needs to set common standards across all social housing providers. Comments are required by 30 October 2009. (7 August 2009)

Local Strategic Partnerships

DCLG: Long term evaluation of LAAs and LSPs - Report on the 2008 survey of all English LSPs: Vol.1: presents the findings from a survey sent to all English LSPs in the autumn of 2008. This volume presents the key findings and trends and differentiates between NRF/WNF and non-NRF/WNF LSPs and between different local authority types. Vol.2 gives a detailed statistical breakdown for each survey question and compares the data with the responses from earlier surveys. The survey is one component of the national evaluation of LAAs and LSPs. (29 July 2009)

IDeA: New routes to better outcomes - Part 1: Improving public services through local pertnerships: analyses the progress made on improving public services through local partnerships since 2004. It makes a case for further reforms from central government to consolidate the framework around local area agreements and strengthened local strategic partnerships. (4 August 2009)
Part 2 A practitioner's handbook contains information on 20 different approaches and methodologies currently being used by local partnerships in the UK for achieving LAA targets and developing LSP capacity.

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

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Procurement

DCLG: National procurement strategy for the fire and rescue service in England 2009-12: sets out the framework for collaborative procurement within the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) in England from 2009 to 2012. It also sets out the role and contribution of the professional buying organisation for the FRS, currently Firebuy Ltd, and how this will revolve over the coming months and years.  (7 August 2009)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Tim Heywood

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Shared Services

DCLG: Effective partnership data management (EPDM): detailed report of the Effective Partnership Data Management feasibility study that looked at the data sharing challenges of cross partnership working and opportunities to utilise data and information in ways that can potentially transform service delivery. There is also a summary report and the findings and recommendations. (30 July 2009)

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

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Standards

Standards for England: Public perceptions of ethics: presents the results of a two year survey of the public’s perceptions of local councillors’ ethical standards and their confidence in the redress mechanisms for dealing with shortcomings in individuals’ behaviour. The findings relate to measures of perceptions taken in June 2009, and compare them with data from 2005 and 2007. (4 August 2009)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Peter Keith-Lucas.

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Structural Change

Boundary Commission: Boundary Committee statement: announces that the Committee has lodged an appeal against the High Court's decision in Forest Heath DC v The Electoral Commission; Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Interested Party) [2009] EWHC 1682 (Admin) (Admin Ct) in which the court granted three district councils's application or judicial review of the Committee's proposals to reorganise the structure of local government in Suffolk into a unitary system. (31 July 2009)

Boundary Committee: Electoral review - preliminary council size consultation: the Commission is seeking views on the size of the council in the new unitary authorities of Bedford and Central Bedfordshire. It is also consulting on the size of the council in Stoke on Trent and on a single ward review of Mansfield. Comments are required by 14 September 2009. (4 August 2009)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Peter Keith-Lucas.

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Sustainable Communities

LGA: Councils submit hundreds of ideas to make life better: reports that local authorities have submitted nearly 300 proposals under the first round of the Sustainable Communities Act, which provides a framework for authorities to put forward ideas on how to improve the quality of life in their local areas but which require changes at a national level. The LGA will act as a selector body, drawing up a list of proposals which will be submitted to the Secretary of State at the end of the year. There is a spreadsheet listing the authorities which submitted proposals and a very brief summary. (5 August 2009)

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

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Tortious Liability

Corby Group Litigation v Corby BC [2009] EWHC 1944 (TCC): 18 claimants brought proceedings against the council relating to birth defects caused to them that they claimed were the result of the council’s negligence, breach of its statutory duty under s.34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and public nuisance in connection with the reclamation of an extensive British Steel site in Corby. The birth defects were said to have been caused as the result of ingestion or inhalation of harmful substances generated by the reclamation works and spread in various ways through many parts of Corby.
The court held that the council was extensively negligent in its control and management of the sites over a 14 year period. The council owed a duty of care to the claimants and their mothers in tort to exercise reasonable care and skill in and about the execution of the reclamation works to avoid injury or birth defects to them. In practice, that duty involved taking reasonable care to prevent the dispersion of mud and dust containing contaminants from the sites which they owned or were operating on which would lead to the airborne exposure of the claimants' mothers to teratogens. The council was liable for public nuisance in causing allowing or permitting the dispersal of dangerous and noxious contaminants, in particular cadmium, chromium, nickel, PAHs and dioxins, and was also in breach of its statutory duty to the same extent as its breaches of its duty of care in tort, as from 1 April 1992. Such liability was subject to individual claimants establishing in later proceedings that their particular conditions were actually caused by the identified defaults. (29 July 2009)

AB v Nugent Care Society; GR v Wirral MBC [2009] EWCA Civ 827 (CA): the claimants in two cases claimed damages for trespass to the person in relation to allegations of historic sexual abuse at children's homes.  The appeals raised questions as to the correct approach to the application of s.33 of the Limitation Act 1980 in the light of the House of Lords' decision in A v Hoare [2008] UKHL 6.
The court held that the correct approach to the exercise of the discretion under s.33 to disapply the limitation period in this type of case was set out in KR v Bryn Alyn Community (Holdings) Ltd [2003] EWCA Civ 85, and that approach remained valid, subject to appropriate amendment in the light of A v Hoare. There were two important points of distinction:

  • now the claimant only had to show:  that the alleged abuse occurred; that the defendant was vicariously liable for it; that it caused the alleged psychological or physical damage; and quantum; and
  • the exercise under s.33 was significantly different now. The question whether the claimant could reasonably have been expected to institute proceedings was now to be considered under s.33, whereas before that consideration was treated as relevant to knowledge and not to the exercise of the discretion.
The court then considered the starting points when exercising the s.33 discretion set out in Bryn Alyn and gave guidance on the correct approach following A v Hoare. (29 July 2009)

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

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Traffic and Transport

DfT: Government action to tackle road works disruption: announces that Kent CC is the first council to run a street work permit scheme under the Traffic Management Act 2004, giving it more power to coordinate road works and take tough action when road works overrun. The council can require anyone carrying out road works to apply for a permit from the council in advance; it can also set conditions on timing, coordination or the amount of road space to be left available to road users during the works. It will be a criminal offence to work without a permit, with a maximum fine of £5,000. It will be an offence to not meet a permit condition, for which the maximum fine is £2,500. Fixed Penalty Notices can also be given for working without a permit or not meeting a permit condition. (30 July 2009)

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

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Vetting and Barring

Ofsted: Using existing Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks and whether to employ a person before a check: information for inspectors and administrators involved in the CRB checks process. It covers aspects of CRB checks, including whether providers should employ someone before a CRB check. (29 July 2009)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Carlton Sadler

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Bevan Brittan's Local Government Training Programme

Bevan Brittan has developed a well-recognised programme of training designed to assist local authorities in successfully implementing legal change. Led by key members of our local authority team, each session will clearly explain the key aspects of the law and the implications for local government. Using case studies and carefully selected complementary speakers, they will assist attendees in realising the full benefits of implementation and the dangerous pitfalls in failure to act.

Forthcoming seminars in 2009:

 If you wish to attend any of these sessions, or if you would like a hard copy of our Local Government Training Programme 2009 desk calendar, please contact our Events team.