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:

   Children's Services    Gypsies and Travellers
   Education    Health and Social Care
   Employment    Licensing
   Environmental Services    Public Health
   Equality and Discrimination    Standards
   Finance    Traffic and Transport


Children's Services

DfE: Childminder agencies – A step-by-step guide: departmental advice for organisations establishing a childminder agency. It covers all the legal requirements involved in registering as a childminder agency, as well as information on safeguarding requirements. It also lists all relevant regulations. (29 August 2014)

Childcare Providers (Information, Advice and Training) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2319): these regulations, which come into force on 24 September 2014, set out the scope of local authorities' duty under s.13(1) of the Childcare Act 2006 to secure information, advice and training (IAT) to childcare providers in their area. (3 September 2014)

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

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DfE: Schools revenue funding 2015 to 2016 – Operational guide: provides detailed information and guidance for local authorities and schools forums to help them plan the local implementation of the reformed funding system for the 2015-16 financial year. It explains the changes that have been made to funding arrangements for 2015 to 2016. (26 August 2014)

DfE: Letter for local authorities to send to alternative education providers about children adopted from care and the pupil premium: DfE have published this template letter that local authorities can use to explain to alternative education providers how they can claim the pupil premium for children adopted from local authority care or children looked after under a special guardianship or care arrangement order. (26 August 2014)

DfE: Careers guidance and inspiration – Guidance for general further education colleges and sixth-form colleges: guidance for FE colleges and sixth-form colleges when considering how to provide careers guidance to their students. It has been updated to reflect the revised statutory guidance on careers inspiration for schools. (27 August 2014) 

DfE: Reforms for children with SEN and disabilities come into effect: highlights reforms for children and young people with special educational needs that came into effect on 1 September 2014.  (1 September 2014)

Special Educational Needs (Code of Practice) (Appointed Day) Order 2014 (SI 2014/2254): this Order brings the SEN Code of Practice 0-25 years into force on 1 September 2014. (22 August 2014)

Children and Families Act 2014 (Transitional and Saving Provisions) (No.2) Order 2014 (SI 2014/2270): this Order, which comes into force on 1 September 2014, makes transitional provisions in connection with the coming into force of Part 3 of the Children and Families Act 2014 relating to children and young people in England with special educational needs or disabilities. (26 August 2014)

DfE has issued statutory guidance on the changes, along with a number of guides to the 0 to 25 SEND Code of practice:

DfE: Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions: statutory guidance for governing bodies of maintained schools and proprietors of academies in England. (1 September 2014) 

DfE: Participation of young people in education, employment or training: statutory guidance for local authority staff involved in the commissioning and delivery of education and training provision for young people (16- and 17-year-olds). They must follow this guidance when carrying out duties relating to raising the participation age and promoting participation of vulnerable young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), and when securing sufficient suitable education provision. It includes existing guidance on local authorities’ duty to provide targeted support to vulnerable young people under s.68 of the Education and Skills Act 2008. (3 September 2014)

DfE: Employer access: guide for users of Employer Access, a free service available for schools, local authorities and teacher supply agencies in England. The service enables employers and potential employers to view the record of any teacher with Qualified Teacher Status (with the exception of teachers who have achieved QTS through holding Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills) or any teacher with an active restriction, including any teacher with QTLS to whom this applies. (3 September 2014)

Government of Maintained Schools (Training Requirements for Governors) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2225 (W. 214)): these regulations, which come into force in Wales on 19 September 2014, amend SI 2013/2124 (W.207) so that governors for community special schools will be required to complete different training from governors of other maintained schools in Wales. (20 August 2014)

R (A Local Authority) v Independent Appeal Panel of the Local Authority (Unreported, QBD): in this case, the court held that where a local authority had offered a primary school place in error and taken two months to give written notice to the parents of its withdrawal, the independent appeal panel had erred in upholding their appeal on the basis of the delay. It should have considered all the circumstances, including prejudice to the school. The case was remitted for rehearing. (2 September 2014)
The judgment is available on Lawtel (subscription required).

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

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DBIS: Zero hours employment contracts – Banning exclusivity clauses: Tackling avoidance: the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill will ban the use of exclusivity clauses in contracts that do not guarantee any hours. This consultation seeks views on the best way to prevent avoidance of the exclusivity clause ban, including actions that employees can take if they are offered such a contract. It also includes the Government’s response to the December 2013 consultaton on zero hours employment contracts. The consultation closes on 3 November 2014. (25 August 2014)

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

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Environmental Services

DCLG: Recycling Reward Scheme 2015-16 – Prospectus: the Government has launched a £5m Recycling Reward Challenge Fund to help local authorities encourage households to increase recycling rates that builds on the success of around 40 projects to trial and pilot reward programmes. The funding will help councils with weekly collections increase their recycling rates, by giving incentives to households who recycle. This prospectus contains the information that prospective bidders will need to complete their bids. The closing date for submission of bids is 7 November 2014. There are also FAQs and an application form.  (29 August 2014)

DEFRA / Environment Agency: Contaminated Land Capital Grants – Notes for applicants (2014-2015): the Government has announced a contaminated land contingency fund of £500,000 for 2014 to 2015 for Environmental Protection Act 1990 Part 2A enforcing authorities. Grants will be managed by the Environment Agency from the contaminated land capital projects programme. This guidance on the Contaminated Land Capital Grant Programme explains the new criteria that DEFRA have agreed for the 2014/15 financial year, and how the Environment Agency will assess and prioritise bids. There are also forms for enforcing authorities to apply for capital projects funding to clean up contaminated land, claim payments and submit completion reports. (4 September 2014)

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

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Equality and Discrimination

DWP: The Accessible Britain Challenge – Aims and objectives: the Accessible Britain Challenge was launched on 4 September to help communities to become more inclusive and accessible by engaging and working with disabled people to remove barriers that get in the way of them being full and active contributors in their community. This document explains the aims of the Challenge. (4 September 2014)
See also:

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

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HC Library: English local government finance – Issues and options: this research paper examines the debate on local government finance in England, in the run-up to the General Election in 2015. It looks at a number of strategies used by local authorities to cope with reduced funding, including community budgets, City Deals, efficiency savings, combined authorities and shared services, and also ways in which council tax and business rates could be adjusted to allow local authorities greater flexibility over revenue raising. It provides a useful overview of how local government is financed and the changes introduced over the past five years. It also has a reading list. (26 August 2014)

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

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Gypsies and Travellers

Welsh Government: Draft Managing Gypsy and Traveller Sites in Wales guidance: seeks views on draft guidance to local authorities on properly managing gypsy and traveller sites. 
The Welsh Government is also consulting on draft Designing Gypsy and Traveller Sites in Wales guidance and on draft Undertaking Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessments guidance. All three consultations close on 21 November 2014. (1 September 2014)

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

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Health and Social Care

Regional Voices: Survey of engagement with health and wellbeing boards: this report contains results from a survey conducted earlier this year about how the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) is engaging with health and wellbeing boards (HWBs). Specific questions were asked to VCS representatives on HWBs, Healthwatch reps on the boards and to the wider VCS, interested in engaging with the HWB. The survey captures good practice and challenges and makes recommendations to help improve development of working links between the VCS and health and wellbeing boards. Encouragingly, some good practice for how boards involve the VCS is emerging. However, some issues remain. (1 September 2014)

NHS England: Integrated Personal Commissioning (IPC) prospectus: NHS England, LGA, Think Local Act Personal and ADASS are formally inviting health and social care leaders to help build a new integrated and personalised commissioning approach for people with complex needs. IPC is a new voluntary approach to joining up health and social care for people with complex needs. This proposal makes a triple offer to service users, local commissioners and the voluntary sector to bring health and social care spend together at the level of the individual. Applications must be made jointly by one or more clinical commissioning group and local authorities, with at least one voluntary sector partner. The closing date for IPC applications is 7 November 2014.
There is also guidance on the IPC programme: Getting serious about personalisation in the NHS. (4 September 2014)

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

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Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2341): these regulations, which come into force on 1 October 2014, amend SI 2005/44 to modify requirements on licensing authorities about how to give notices in respect of hearings into a proposal to make, vary or revoke an early morning alcohol restriction order (EMRO). (5 September 2014)

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

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Public Health

PHE: Spend and outcomes tool (SPOT): Public Health England has published a tool which gives local authorities an overview of spend and outcomes across key areas of business and for pub;ic health and its programmes. SPOT includes a large number of measures of spend and outcomes from several different frameworks, enabling similar organisations to be compared using a range of benchmarks. (27 August 2014)

PHE: Guidance on infection control in schools and other childcare settings: updated guidance on preventing the spread of infections, which diseases to vaccinate for, how long to keep children away from school, and infections such as athlete’s foot, flu, German measles, head lice, TB and impetigo. (2 September 2014) 

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

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Committee on Standards in Public Life: Ethics in practice – Promoting ethical standards in public life: Lord Nolan in his First Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in 1995 was clear that an essential part of the necessary guidance and education on ethical standards was induction training. In this report the Committee revisits the subject of ethics in induction, drawing on a survey of local authorities’ approaches to induction and training. It notes good practice, highlights areas where standards are at risk, and identifies where improvements could be made to embed ethical standards more effectively. It finds that induction is essential to ensure that public office holders are aware of the standards expected of them, and so ethical standards need to be included in the induction arrangements for all those public life. (14 July 2014)

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

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Traffic and Transport

IPPR: Greasing the wheels – Getting our bus and rail markets on the move: this report examines the bus and rail market in Britain, focusing on the relationship between public and private stakes in rail services, and differences between bus services in London and elsewhere. The analysis examines the pros and cons of existing policy for both of these transport markets: while policy for London buses seems to be performing reasonably well, there are challenges facing rail which need addressing, though these pale in comparison to those facing bus markets outside London. It calls for local transport authorities modelled on TfL at the level of city-regions and combined authorities, which should have a remit to take on the delivery of transport policy, including the regulation and contracting of bus markets where the private sector is failing to deliver an adequate service. The report argues that this would allow for better services, quality and fare levels and allow for greater integration of transport services. (26 August 2014)

DCLG: The right to challenge parking policies – A discussion paper: under the Traffic Management Act 2004, local authorities have a responsibility to determine policies in relation to their road network, and to keep these policies under review. Following concerns that some local authorities appear not to be using their powers to meet the best interests of road users, communities and businesses in their area, the Government wants to make it easier for local residents and firms to challenge unfair, disproportionate or unreasonable parking policies, including the provision of parking, parking charges and the use of yellow lines. This discussion paper invites views on the design of the mechanism that will make this possible. The closing date for comments is 10 October 2014. (1 September 2014)

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

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