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    Equality and Discrimination
   Adult Social Services    Finance
   Children's Services    Health
   Civil Contingencies    Housing
   Delivery of Services    Licensing
   Democracy    Police
   Development Control    Public Health
   Economic Development    Regulation
   Education    Social Investment
   Employment    Traffic and Transport
   Environmental Protection

 

Access to Information

DCLG: Government removes 'volunteering tax' on councillors: announces proposals for local authorities to make a single Data Protection registration payment on behalf of all their councillors to cover their casework and council membership. It is also being proposed that parish and town councillors be exempted entirely from the data protection notification requirement and, therefore, the need to pay fees. The Government will now consult informally with the LGA, the National Association of Local Councils and with the Information Commissioner on the single fee model and on exemption of parish and town councillors from data registration altogether. (3 July 2013)

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

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Adult Social Services

DH: Draft national eligibility criteria for adult care and support: this discussion document sets out the plan for a new national minimum threshold for eligibility criteria for adult care and support, being introduced as part of the Care Bill, together with draft Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations. The closing date for comments is 29 November 2013. There will then be a formal consultation in 2014. (1 July 2013)

National Health Service (Direct Payments) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/1617): these regulations, which come into force on 1 August 2013, revise and replace the NHS (Direct Payments) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/1000) so as to extend the personal health budget pilot programme across England. This means that the Secretary of State, NHS England, all CCGs and local authorities can give patients direct payments for healthcare if it is appropriate and beneficial for the patient. There will not be a target for how many patients should be given a personal health budget or a direct payment for healthcare. NHS England will issue guidance on the regulations. (4 July 2013)

DH: Right care, right place, right time: How can we improve health and care for vulnerable older people?: the DH has launched an informal consultation on plans for improving out-of-hospital care for vulnerable older people with long term conditions. It is inviting comments on ways to enable primary care, emergency care and social care services to work together as part of more integrated services to address to the totality of a person’s needs, rather than responding to individual conditions or care requirements. There is no deadline given for comments but the final plan will be published in October. (5 July 2013)

DH: The Cavendish Review – An independent review into healthcare assistants and upport workers in the NHS and social care settings: Camilla Cavendish was asked, in the wake of the Francis Inquiry into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust, to review what could be done to ensure that unregistered staff in the NHS and social care treat all patients and clients with care and compassion. Her report makes a number of recommendations on how the training and support of both healthcare assistants and social care support workers can be improved to ensure they provide care to the highest standard. The Review proposes that all healthcare assistants and social care support workers should undergo the same basic training, based on the best practice that already exists in the system, and must get a standard ‘certificate of fundamental care’ before they can care for people unsupervised. (10 July 2013)

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

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Children's Services

Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 (Commencement No. 4) Order 2013 (SI 2013/1573 (C.63)): this Order brings s.10 of the 2010 Act into force on 3 July 2013.
Section 10 of the Act inserts s.15A into the Children Act 2004, which gives the Secretary of State the power to make regulations providing for the Chief Inspector to conduct a review of the performance of Local Safeguarding Children Boards. (25 June 2013)

DfE: Statutory guidance for family and friends care: the Children and Families Minister Edward Timpson has written to Directors of Children's Services and Lead Members reminding them of their duty to develop and publish equitable and transparent policies for children who are being brought up by members of their extended families, friends or other connected people and those children's carers. In order to share best practice, all existing Family and Friends Care policies should be sent to the DfE to be placed on its website. (10 July 2013)

HB v PB & OB (a Child) and Croydon LBC [2013] EWHC 1956 (Fam) (Fam D): the High Court has ordered a local authority to pay a father's wasted costs of £10,311 in private law Children Act 1989 proceedings.
In private law proceedings for a residence order under s.8 of the Children Act 1989, the father raised serious allegations about the mother's behaviour so the court made an Order under s.37 directing a report from the local authority. At the final hearing, it became clear that the social worker had failed to consider the relevant guidance in preparing her Section 37 report and the court directed a further report. The father applied for his wasted costs in connection with that hearing.
The court held, granting the father's application, that a costs order against a non-party in family proceedings was "exceptional" but the court did not have to find when making such an order that the conduct of the non-party was "improper". Here, the local authority's failures were not "minor"; they were extensive, and had had a profound effect on the conduct of the proceedings. Its failings were systemic as there was no training and no effective line-management of social workers undertaking an assessment of this complexity and there was inadequate experience or awareness of the implications of the relevant guidance. The local authority's hard-pressed financial resources did not release it from its clear statutory responsibility to investigate in accordance with the provisions of Section 37 in fulfilment of a specific court direction, nor to ignore guidance issued under s.7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970. A local authority in a private law case in which a Section 37 Direction had been given was sufficiently "closely connected" with the litigation to justify the order. (9 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

HC Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee: Managing flood risk: this report scrutinises spending on flood defences and insurance provision, in view of the importance of minimising flood risk to communities across the country and ensuring affordable flood insurance cover is maintained. The committee welcomes proposals for a new ‘Flood Re’ insurance scheme to make sure everyone can get affordable insurance, which would be funded by a small levy, probably about £10 a year, on all household insurance customers,with safeguards to keep the cost down. It also criticises ‘short-sighted’ reductions in revenue funding that threaten to undermine the benefits of capital investment in flood defences. The committee concludes that local authorities should be able to use the Bellwin Scheme funds for repairing roads and other infrastructure damaged by flooding; in addition, the requirement for a local authority to incur costs of at least 0.2% of its annual revenue budget must be reviewed as it is not right that the size of an authority should affect its eligibility for funding. The Government must review the effectiveness of the National Planning Policy Framework and, if necessary, amend guidance to prevent new developments adding to local flood risk. DEFRA must liaise more effectively with DCLG to stop planning rule changes, such as additional permitted development rights, having cumulative impacts on the ability of an area to absorb surface water. (4 July 2013)

DCLG: The Bellwin scheme of emergency financial assistance to local authorities –Guidance notes for claims 2013 to 2014: sets out the terms under which DCLG is prepared to make emergency financial assistance available to local authorities above a qualifying threshold. It includes the individual local authority Bellwin thresholds. (5 July 2013)

DCLG: Government response to the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel’s final report: the Government set up the independent Riots Communities and Victims Panel following the August 2011 riots to explore the causes of the riots and how communities can be made more socially and economically resilient, in order to prevent future disorder. The Panel's final report, published in March 2012, highlighted key issues that the Panel believed were important to help build social and economic resilience within communities. This response summarises what the Government has done to provide support to those affected by the riots and the actions that it is taking to address some of the more entrenched issues highlighted in the Panel’s report. (12 July 2013)

DCLG: Fire and Rescue Authorities operational guidance – Generic risk assessment 5.6: public order: examines the significant hazards and control measures relating to violence and aggression against fire and rescue personnel, so as to enable them to operate more effectively and safely during riots or periods of civil unrest. The updated guidance stresses the importance of training, and recognises how careful liaison with the police can help firefighters respond in a way that supports public safety. It also encouragesg the fire service to get online and make full use of social media to gather intelligence, inform and update the public about ongoing events. (12 July 2013)

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

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Delivery of Services

LGA: Rewiring public services: provides an overview of the LGA's new campaign on how local government can deliver public services within an ever-tightening fiscal environment. It shows how public services can be transformed through local leadership by rebuilding democratic participation, fixing public services and revitalising the economy. There are also separate papers on the key areas of economic growth, financial sustainability, adult social care and health and children's services. (2 July 2013)

DCLG: Nine new places join next phase of local public service transformation: announces the first nine areas to be championed by the Public Services Transformation Network, which spreads the innovation and shares the learning from the whole-place Community Budget pilots, to support other places to deliver better services for local people for less money, and boost economic growth. The nine areas will receive dedicated support to help them develop practical reforms and deliver better services for less at a local level. (3 July 2013)

DCLG: £4.3 million boost to put communities in control: announces financial support for at least 100 communities to design and deliver local services that focus on local priorities and reduce costs. The funding is under the Our Place! programme, which builds on the success of the 12 Neighbourhood Community Budget Pilots that have been pioneering innovative ways to improve local services. In addition to the £4.3m funding for new projects, there is a further £350,000 for the existing pilots to help accelerate and enhance the implementation of their programmes. 
DCLG has also published the Our Place! summary report that highlights the work of the 12 pilots and shows what they have achieved. (9 July 2013)

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

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Democracy

Local Government (Democracy) (Wales) Bill: this Bill has been passed by the National Assembly and is awaiting Royal Assent. The Bill:

  • reforms the structure and functions of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales;
  • amends the responsibilities of the Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales and the structure of local authority audit committees within the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011;
  • improves the public’s access to information about town and community councils;
  • facilitates the creation of joint standards committees by local authorities; and
  • enables councils to separate the ceremonial and civic functions from the role of presiding over meetings of the council.

(18 June 2013)

Cabinet Office: New government campaign to get people on the electoral register: announces a campaign targeted at groups of people who have been identified as being under-represented on the electoral register, including young people aged 16-24 and people in social housing. Up to £4.2m funding is available under the Democratic Engagement Programme to local authorities, organisations, neighbourhoods and communities who have solid and creative ideas to get as many people onto the electoral register as possible in their area. Local authorities will be given specific funds to canvass social housing residents directly, to make sure as many people as possible register to vote. (4 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

DCLG: Registration of new town or village greens – Proposed amendments to Schedule 1A (Exclusion of Right under section 15) to the Commons Act 2006s.16 of the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 inserts a new s.15C and Sch.1A into the Commons Act 2006 that disapply the right to apply to register land as a town or village green where a ‘trigger’ event related to the development of the land occurs; the right only becomes exercisable again if a corresponding ‘terminating’ event occurs. The Secretary of State has power to amend Sch.1A including by adding new trigger and terminating events. This paper seeks views on a draft Order that sets additional trigger and terminating events in order to protect development proposed or permitted by virtue of three matters not already included in Sch.1A, namely in relation to Local Development Orders, Neighbourhood Development Orders and orders under the Transport & Works Act 1992. The consultation closes on 19 August 2013. (5 July 2013)

Welsh Government: Proposed revision of the Welsh Government's Managing Unauthorised Camping guidance: seeks views on new guidance on the processes, approaches and templates which local authorities can use when responding to unauthorised gypsy and traveller sites. The consultation closes on 13 September 2013. (24 June 2013)

Welsh Government: Consultation on the draft policy statement for protected landscapes in Wales: seeks views on the Welsh Governments’ strategic policy framework for AONBs and National Parks in Wales. The statement now includes the five AONBs as a comprehensive policy statement on the statutory designated landscapes in Wales. The consutlation closes on 20 September 2013. (28 June 2013)

DfT: HS2 "safeguarded" in major step forward for scheme: announces that the Transport Secretary has issued Safeguarding Directions to local planning authorities (LPAs) for Phase One of HS2, protecting the proposed route between London and the West Midlands from future development. Safeguarding is part of the planning system, designed to protect land which has been earmarked for major infrastructure from conflicting developments which might otherwise occur. The Directions place a legal obligation on LPAs to consult HS2 Ltd on undetermined planning applications for land within the safeguarded area. In addition, owner occupiers within the safeguarded area can now serve a Blight Notice on the Government asking that their home be purchased from them under statutory Blight procedures. (9 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

DCLG: ERDF – Applying for funding: updated guidance on how to apply to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for economic regeneration projects promoted primarily by the public sector. It includes information on applying for funding from specific geographically-defined operational programmes. The current round of programmes runs until the end of 2013. (28 June 2013)

DCLG: The future of high streets – Progress since the Portas Review: in 2012 DCLG set up 27 Portas Pilots and 333 Town Team Partners to test different approaches to revitalising the high street, following Mary Portas' review into the future of high streets. This report outlines what the Government and other organisations have done to support the high street and how the 27 Portas Pilots have been tackling their local challenges, and sets out next steps for the future of the high street. (9 July 2013)

DBIS: Sir Andrew Witty’s Independent Review of Universities and Growth – Preliminary findings: in Spring 2013 Sir Andrew Witty was asked to explore how universities can support growth by working with organisations such as Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). This report outlines the themes which have emerged from the evidence-gathering phase of the Review and which he will develop in his final report, to be published at the end of Summer 2013. He also sets out in more detail the implications of these for the production of LEPs' Strategic Economic Plans. He highlights the importance of collaboration between universities and LEPs, and encourages LEPs to work closely with universities and develop strategic plans rooted in a sound understanding of a locality’s comparative advantage. The report includes over 40 "heat maps" showing locations of economic activity in the sectors in the Government’s Industrial Strategy. (9 July 2013)

DBIS: Multi million pound fund boosted to support growing businesses across England: announces the 102 projects and programmes that will share £506m funding in the fourth round of the Regional Growth Fund. They include a number of local authorities and LEPs. Further details are in the Regional Growth Fund: a guide for selected bidders. (11 July 2013)

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

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Education

DfE: Pupil premium evaluation paves way for new raft of measures so schools help disadvantaged pupils: announces a package of measures from September 2013 on the pupil premium, which is an extra £900 per eligible pupil for schools to raise attainment for all disadvantaged pupils and close the attainment gap between them and their peers. The measures include:

  • Ofsted to assess schools on the attainment and progress of their disadvantaged pupils and on the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers;
  • schools judged as ‘requiring improvement’ and that also raise concerns about the attainment of its disadvantaged pupils, will take part in a pupil premium review; and 
  • the appointment of John Dunford as the National Pupil Premium Champion.

(2 July 2013)

DfE: Primary school PE and sport funding: information on £150m ring-fenced funding for primary headteachers to spend on improving sport and physical education for their pupils.  The additional funding will be paid to eligible schools in the academic years 2013/14 and 2014/15. (28 June 2013)

DfE: Free school applications – Criteria for assessment: information for alternative provision free school applicants that complements the guide on how to apply for free schools. There will be three application rounds each year. Groups may indicate the year in which they propose to open; however DfE expects that most applications will be for free schools opening in 2015. A final decision on the school’s opening date will be confirmed during the ‘pre-opening’ period, based on the length of time that the school needs in the pre-opening phase. (5 July 2013)

DfE: Cultural education: sets out the Government's ambitions for cultural education in England, with an overview of the programmes and opportunities open to schools and teachers to give all children access to a high-quality cultural education. It follows Darren Henley’s review of cultural education that was published in February 2012. (5 July 2013)

HC Education Select Committee: The role of governing bodies: this report scrutinises the existing role of governing bodies, and the implications of recent Government policy developments in education for them, as well as a range of issues concerning recruitment, reward and responsibilities. The Committee found that too few school governing bodies are taking advantage of new regulations to make them more effective, and that more support is needed to help school governors raise their game. It recommends that the role of Clerk to a school governing body is classed as a professional post, and that current interventions should be reinforced, including the imposition of time limits for implementation of an Interim Executive Board in a failing school. In addition, there should be greater powers for removing poor governors from office. (4 July 2013)

DfE: National Curriculum review – New programmes of study and attainment targets from September 2014: following the February 2013 consultation on proposals for the reform of the National Curriculum in England, the Government has published updated versions of the National Curriculum framework. It is now seeking views on the draft Education (National Curriculum) (Attainment Targets and Programmes of Study) (England) Order 2014 that brings the changes into effect from 1 September 2014. The consultation closes on 8 August 2013. There will be a formal consultation on the National Curriculum for key stage 4 English, mathematics and science in the autumn 2013 in line with the reform of GCSEs in these subjects. (8 July 2013)

School Governance (Roles, Procedures and Allowances) (England) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/1624): these regulations, which come into force on 1 September 2013, provide for the core functions and procedures of governing bodies of maintained schools in England, and for the payment of allowances for expenses that are incurred by school governors in connection with their duties. They revoke the Procedures Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/ 1377), the Terms of Reference Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/2122) and the Allowances Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/523) and replace them with a single set of simplified regulations. They also amend a number of other regulations. (8 July 2013)

Welsh Government: School funding remains a top priority with £25 million boost for 21st Century Schools Programme: announces additional capital funding for school construction projects under the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools programme. £12.2m will be allocated between eight specific projects while £12.8m will be allocated amongst a number of transitional projects that are already in development. The Welsh Government wil also have discussions with all Welsh local authorities to explore options to further accelerate the programme. (10 July 2013)

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

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Employment

DBIS: Whistleblowing framework – Call for evidence: seeks comments on the current whistleblowing laws, and specifically whether there is enough support for people to report wrongdoing. This is part of a wider of package of measures under the Review of Employment Law and through the Red Tape Challenge. The measures include changes that streamline the employment tribunal system and also help employers make the offer of settlements or use early conciliation to resolve workplace disputes. The closing date for responses is 1 November 2013. (11 July 2013)

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

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Equality and Discrimination

DCLG: Planning and travellers: the Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis has given a Written Statement to Parliament announcing that he is revoking the practice guidance "Diversity and equality in planning" as he considers it is outdated, excessive in length and sends unhelpful signals about the planning process. The guidance is not being replaced –  councils should treat all members of the community with respect and with due process, in line with the National Planning Policy Framework. (2 July 2013)

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

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Environmental Protection

DEFRA: Local air quality management in England – Review: DEFRA is conducting a review of the Local Air Quality Management system (LAQM) under the Environment Act 1995 and associated regulations,  which requires all local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland to review regularly and assess air quality in their areas against objectives for several pollutants of particular concern for human health. This paper seeks views on a range of options to improve local air quality delivery. The closing date for responses is 30 August 2013. (12 July 2013)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Christopher Jarman

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Finance

LGA: An introduction to social investment: social investment gives local authorities an opportunity to bring in additional funding in a way that focuses on innovation, outcomes and performance management, with the potential to fundamentally change the way that public services are delivered. This publication from LGA and Social Finance summarises some of the ways that social investment can help local authorities to adapt to a period of increasing demand and decreasing budgets. It is also intended to start a conversation about the role of social investment in wider systems change, such as Whole Place Community Budgets. (24 June 2013)

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

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Health

NHS Confederation: Making a local difference – State of play and challenges ahead for health and wellbeing boards: this report assesses HWBs' progress towards making a real difference to local health outcomes. It outlines the main lessons to guide HWBs towards effectiveness that have emerged from the work of the National Learning Network, and sets out a series of challenges for boards in terms of what still needs to be done if they are to make a significant impact on local population health. It finds that many of these organisations have already made substantial progress in improving health outcomes in their local areas. It furthermore identifies five major learning opportunities from their 'shadow period'. (25 June 2013) 

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

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Housing

DCLG: The General Housing Consents 2013 – Section 32 of the Housing Act 1985: Correction: the General Housing Consents 2013 set out those situations where the specific consent of the Secretary of State is not required before a local authority disposes of council housing land and associated assets. The March 2013 version removes some perceived ambiguities in the previous version while extending local authority freedom regarding the granting of leases and the disposal of reversionary interests. This correction slip makes an amendment to para.A10. (12 July 2013)

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

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Libraries

DCLG: Enterprising libraries – Delivering entrepreneurs for the future: announces the launch of the second stage of the Enterprising Libraries programme. Up to £45,000 funding will be awarded to 10 libraries under programme,  which aims to bring together and develop existing business and intellectual property support. The closing date for applications is 29 July 2013. (3 July 2013)

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

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Licensing

Licensing Act 2003 (Descriptions of Entertainment) (Amendment) Order 2013 (SI 2013/1578): this Order, which comes into force on 27 June 2013, amends para.2 of Sch.1 to the Licensing Act 2003 so that indoor sporting events and the performance of plays and dance no longer require a licence, where they satisfy specified conditions relating to the time of the event and the size of audience. (26 June 2013)

DCMS: Licensing Act 2003 – Community film exhibition consultation: seeks views on proposals to remove the requirement for a licence for film screenings in community venues in England and Wales, provided certain circumstances are met. The consultation closes on 28 August 2013.  (4 July 2013)

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

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Police

Home Office: Damian Green speech on Police reform: the Policing Minister has given a speech to the think tank Reform on the Government's further plans for the reform of policing. He states that Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will be leading this transformation with up to £50m funding from the Police Innovation Fund every year to support proposals that drive efficiency, innovation and better working. Police forces and PCCs should continue to explore the huge scope for collaboration; it was even possible that PCCs could eventually oversee both fire and ambulance services, as the Government had established a democratic model which could, in theory, oversee elements of all three blue light services across the country. (8 July 2013)

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

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Public Health

DH: Public health services non mandatory contract 2013 to 2014: this contract is for use by local authorities when commissioning public health services and can be adapted for use for a broad range of public health services and delivery models. It provides a framework to hold providers to account for the delivery of these services to achieve improved health outcomes. There is also an Integrated Sexual Health Services: National Service Specification to help local authorities commission integrated sexual health care. This can be used alongside the non-mandatory public health services contract. (4 July 2013)

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

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Regulation

Cabinet Office: Draft Deregulation Bill: this draft Bill removes or reduces burdens on businesses, civil society, individuals, public sector bodies and the taxpayer. These include measures relating to general and specific areas of business, companies and insolvency, the use of land, housing, transport, communications, the environment, education and training, entertainment, public authorities and the administration of justice. Items of particular interest to local authorities include:

  • reducing the period for which someone has to live in their social housing to qualify for Right to Buy and Right to Acquire from five years to three years;
  • further protection for rights of way and changes to the procedure for modifying the definitive map;
  • replacing criminal offences relating to household waste collection with civil penalties where a person's failure to comply with a requirement about waste bins has caused a nuisance or has been detrimental to local amenities;
  • repeal of the Secretary of State’s power to require local authorities to set annual targets for pupils' educational performance at maintained schools;
  • removal of licensing requirements for films shown on community premises;
  • removal of local authorities' duties to produce housing and sustainable community strategies;
  • repeals s.3A of the Local Government Act 1999 so as to remove best value authorities' duty to consult in the exercise of any of their functions;
  • removes a number of statutory requirements to consult that are currently imposed on the Secretary of State or other public authorities;
  • repeals duties relating to local area agreements and multi-area agreements; 
  • imposes a duty on persons exercising certain regulatory functions to have regard to the desirability of promoting economic growth;
  • removes the requirement for local highway authority permit schemes to be approved by the Secretary of State;
  • repeals the power to establish joint waste authorities;
  • repeals provisions within the Control of Pollution Act 1974 on the establishment of noise abatement zones;
  • removes a number of burdens on schools, including moving all responsibility for determining term dates for maintained schools from the local authority to the governing body.

The draft Bill will now be scrutinised by a joint Parliamentary Committee, and will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows. (1 July 2013)

Better Regulation Delivery Office: Primary Authority statutory guidance: the Primary Authority scheme allows businesses to form a statutory partnership with a single local authority, giving access to assured advice on compliance which must be respected by local regulators. It also allows for co-ordination of inspection and enforcement activity. The BRDO is now seeking views on draft revised statutory guidance which underpins the Primary Authority scheme. The guidance has been revised to take account of the extension of eligibility under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. It details the different routes by which businesses may be eligible to form Primary Authority partnerships and sets out the matters likely to be taken into account when assessing arrangements which may constitute a shared approach to compliance. It also covers inspection plans and the expansion of the scheme. The consultation closes on 16 August 2013. (24 June 2013)

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

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Social Investment

Cabinet Office: Government awards £500,000 to support probation mutuals: announces Cabinet Office support under the Mutuals Support Programme for seven groups of probation staff who are considering spinning out of probation trusts into mutual organisations. (3 July 2013)

DWP: Social justice – Transforming lives: One year on: this progress report looks at how social justice principles influence service delivery at national and local level, in government and across the private and voluntary sectors. It follows on from the March 2102 report that set out a new vision for supporting the most disadvantaged families and individuals across the UK by putting early intervention and prevention first, whilst also offering every member of society a second chance. The paper focuses on how the Government is delivering on its vision for social justice and includes case studies of how people’s lives have changed over the last year, demonstrating how social justice is becoming a reality. (5 July 2013)

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

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Traffic and Transport

DfT: More freedom for councils on bus funding: announces a package of measures  to reform the existing bus subsidy system so as to give councils greater control over the way money is spent on some bus services. The measures include a new fund, Better Bus Areas, providing funding to local authorities to invest in bus improvement measures; and devolution of Bus Service Operators Grant funding for non-commercial routes (those which could not economically operate without support) to local authorities, ringfenced until April 2017. (5 July 2013)

DfT: The Road User Charging Scheme (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013 –Consultation Response: sets out the Government's response to the November 2012 consultation on draft regulations that will enable charging authorities responsible for road user charging schemes under Part 3 of the Transport Act 2000 to impose penalty charges where the applicable road user charge is not paid and, where the penalty charge is unpaid, to pursue civil enforcement through the county court. The regulations also provide for  the examination of vehicles and equipment and the immobilisation, removal, storage and disposal of vehicles. The DfT has revised the draft regulations in light of the consutlation responses. The finalised regulations are expected to come into force on 2 September 2013. (11 July 2013)

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

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