Authority Update

This update contains brief details of recent Government publications, legislation, cases and other developments relevant to those involved in local government work, which have been published in the previoustwo weeks.

24/07/2015

Claire Booth

Claire Booth

Professional Support Lawyer

This update contains brief details of recent Government publications, legislation, cases and other developments relevant to those involved in local government work, which have been published in the previous two weeks. Items are set out by subject, with a link to where the full document can be found on the internet.

If you have been forwarded this update by a colleague and would like to receive it direct please email Claire Booth.

All links are correct at the date of publication. The following topics are covered in this update:

  
   Access to Information    Finance
   Adult Social Services    Fire and Rescue Authorities
   Byelaws    Judicial Review
   Children's Services    Leisure and Recreation
   Civil Procedure    Police
   Coroner Services    Private Finance Initiative (PFI)
   Development Control    Procurement
   Devolution    Property
   Economic Development    Public Health
   Education    Regulatory Services
   Environmental Protection    Wales

 

Access to Information

Cabinet Office: Freedom of information – New Commission: announces that the Government has established an independent, cross-party Commission on Freedom of Information to review the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Commission will consider whether there is an appropriate public interest balance between transparency, accountability and the need for sensitive information to have robust protection, and whether the operation of the Act adequately recognises the need for a ‘safe space’ for policy development and implementation and frank advice. Its findings will be published by the end of November 2015. (17 July 2015) 
See our Alert: Commission to review Freedom of Information law

R (C) v Northumberland CC; Information Commissioner (Interested Party) [2015] EWHC (Admin) 2134 (Admin Ct): C applied for judicial review of the Council's policy of retaining child protection records for a period of 35 years after a case had been closed. He sought the destruction of child protection information held by the Council, an order quashing the policy and/or a declaration that it was unlawful, relying on principles founded on common law, Art.8 ECHR and the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). The Council argued that the safeguarding of children from abuse or neglect was one of a local authority's most important functions, and the information was vital for the purposes of child protection, both in relation to individual cases and so as to enable it to form a broader picture. The Information Commissioner initially considered  that the 35 years policy complied with the DPA and was lawful. He later revised his position, stating that the 35 year Retention Policy would only be lawful under the DPA where information was retained by the Council's legal department, and then for only six years after the child in question turned 18 and for the purposes of defending itself against litigation.
The court held, refusing the application, that the purpose for processing and retaining the personal data extended beyond the Council's ability to defend claims brought against it – it had a separate retention policy for that. The Retention Policy was designed for the purpose of protecting other children, allowing those whose data was retained access to the information in later life, and making it available in the case of later investigation, enquiries or litigation. Article 8 ECHR included the right to access records relating to one's childhood held by the state and s.7 of the DPA created a specific right of access to personal data, and the Council's policy recognised these rights. There was a need to keep the records for a substantial period, and the period of 35 years fell within the bracket of legitimate periods of retention. (23 July 2015)

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

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Adult Social Services

Professional Standards Authority v Health & Care Professions Council (Unreported, Admin Ct): the court held that the Health and Care Professions Council's committee's decision to impose a two-year caution on a local authority social worker who had deliberately misled a potential future employer regarding her past employment was unduly lenient. The committee had not given due weight to all the material, and its decision was at odds with earlier findings and was inconsistent with the guidelines on sanctions. (10 July 2015)
The judgment is available on Lawtel (subscription required).

DH: Delay in the implementation of the cap on care costs: this letter from the Care and Support Minister Alistair Burt announces that, in response to concerns expressed by the LGA and many other stakeholders about the timetable for implementing the cap on care costs in April 2016, the Government has decided to delay its implementation until 2020. The delay will allow time to be taken to ensure that everyone is ready to introduce the new system and to look at what more can be done to support people with the costs of care. (17 July 2014)
See also the LGA's response.

Care and Support (Partnership Arrangements for Population Assessments) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1495 (W. 167)): these regulations, which come into force on 6 April 2016, require Local Health Boards and Welsh local authorities to enter into partnership arrangements for the purpose of carrying out their functions under s.14 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. These functions relate to the assessment of the needs of people in a local authority’s area, including the needs of carers (a “population assessment”). A population assessment must also include an assessment of the range and level of services required to meet the needs of the people in the local authority’s area and the range and level of preventative services required. (8 July 2015)

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

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Byelaws

Draft Byelaws (Alternative Procedure) (England) Regulations 2015: these draft regulations set out a new "alternative procedure" for the making, coming into force and revocation of prescribed classes of byelaws to which s.236 LGA 1972 does not apply.  The new alternative procedure removes the requirement for byelaws to be confirmed by the Secretary of State before they come into force; instead they are made or revoked by local authorities. The regulations set out a two stage process for byelaw preparation and consultation before advertising and making a new byelaw. The authority must first consult on the need for the byelaws and prepare a deregulatory assessment. It may then apply to the Secretary of State for approval of a scheme of the making of the byelaw and the Secretary of State must respond within 30 calendar days, either by giving leave for the authority to make the proposed byelaw, reserving judgement with a substantive response at a later date, or refusing to give leave to the authority to make the byelaw. The regulations also set out publication requirements. DCLG states that the regulations do not substantially depart from the consultation carried out in 2008, which evidenced overwhelming support for the proposals and the decentralisation of the process for making certain byelaws to local authorities. (22 July 2015)

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

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Children's Services

Ofsted: Joint targeted area inspections: seeks views on the principles of the proposed framework for Ofsted, the CQC, HMI Constabulary and HMI Probation to undertake Joint Targeted Area Inspections under s.20 of the Children Act 2004. It also discusses how Ofsted proposes to use this framework to evaluate local authority performance as a single agency exercise. JTAIs will specifically examine how well local authorities, health, police and probation services work together in a particular area to safeguard children. The new inspections aim to shine a light on both good and poor practice, identifying examples from which others can learn and helping local agencies to improve. The consultation closes on 11 August 2015. (15 July 2015)

DfE: Joint targeted reviews of services to protect children: seeks views on proposed amendments to the Children Act 2004 (Joint Area Reviews) Regulations 2005 regarding arrangements for the making of a report following a targeted multi-agency review, and the written response to be produced by agencies subject to review. The consultation closes on 11 August 2015. (15 July 2015) 

DfE: Special guardianship – A call for views: seeks views on how the use of special guardianship has changed since its introduction in 2005, the assessment process, the advice and support for special guardians and examples of best practice. The consultation has been launched following DfE's work with local authorities, which indicates a gradual shift in the use of Special Guardianship Orders, e.g. with more being awarded to much younger children, and concerns that the assessment process for special guardianship is in some cases not sufficiently robust. The consultation closes on 18 September 2015. (16 July 2015) 

R (Cunningham) v Hertfordshire CC [2015] EWHC 1936 (Admin) (Admin Ct): C applied for judicial review of the Council's refusal to provide her with support to care for a looked after child, namely her grandson. She contended that the Council was in breach of its duty under ss.20-23 of the Children Act 1989. R had been made the subject of a child protection plan. When his mother M was arrested, R went to live with C. C initially thought that this was a short term arrangement; however, when M was sentenced to 27 months' imprisonment, it became clear that R needed a home for a longer period. C argued that R was in substance placed with her by the Council under s.23(2) and she was consequently entitled to assistance under that section.
The court held, refusing the application, that the arrangements made for R's care by C were purely voluntary in nature,and did not come about by any exercise of any statutory power or duty by the Council. The Council did not facilitate the arrangement in any way; it never suggested to C or anyone else that this was a placement under s.23(2) nor did it attempt to fulfil its obligations under the Fostering Services Regulations 2002 that apply to such placements. The Council was reasonable to conclude throughout that it did not appear to them that R required accommodation. (8 July 2015)

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

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Civil Procedure

Cheshire West and Chester Council v Pickthall [2015] EWHC 2141 (QB) (QBD): the Council applied for an interim injunction in proceedings under s.3 and s.3A of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 that related to P's publication of allegations and abusive remarks about the Council's employees, officers and councillors. The Council alleged that P was a vexatious complainant who was engaged upon a long and persistent campaign against the Council and its officers and councillors that started around 2010 and continued to date. P denied that his campaign was vexatious. He said that the allegations which he published were supported by evidence, were true and that he was acting in his own defence and in the public interest by making them, relying on the statutory defences in s.1(3) of the 1997 Act.
The court held, granting the application, that the legal test to be applied on an application for an interim injunction was that the court must be satisfied that it was likely that the claimants would establish at trial that the defendant should not be allowed to publish further acts of harassment because the defendant was unlikely to be able to establish any of the three statutory defences in s.1(3) of the 1997 Act. Applying that test, P had not produced any evidence that he had a real prospect of establishing that his campaign of harassment was justified by s.1(3)(a) – he had become obsessed and perhaps even exhilarated by his ability to cause distress by repeating long dead allegations over and over again. By accusing each new recipient of corruption if they did not immediately do whatever it was he asked of them, he widened the scope of his campaign to include people who had nothing to do with it. He had long since ceased to apply any rational judgement of any kind in deciding what to do. On the evidence, he simply wanted to cause harm. The judge granted the Order in principle and in the form suggested by the Council, save that P would not be restrained from publishing his website. The judge ordered him to immediately edit that website so that it complied with the other terms of the injunction. (23 July 2015)

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

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Coroner Services

MoJ: Report of the Chief Coroner to the Lord Chancellor – Second Annual Report 2014 to 2015: this is the Chief Coroner's second annual summary of the operation of coroner services under s.36 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, following the implementation of the Act’s reforms in July 2013. The report summarises his work to promote consistency in the resourcing of and practices in coroner offices across England and Wales. It highlights how the Chief Coroner is working towards a greater consistency in all areas of the coroner domain and is encouraging bringing coroner services together under one roof. He expects local authorities to work more closely with senior coroners, and he invites local authorities to discuss with coroners tendering for the provision of body removal and toxicology services on a regular basis. (13 July 2015)

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

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Development Control

DCLG: Improving planning performance – Criteria for designation: s.62A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 allows certain planning applications to be made direct to the Secretary of State, where the local planning authority for the area has been designated for this purpose. This updated document sets out revised criteria for assessing local planning authority performance. It increases the minimum performance threshold for speed of decisions to 50% of an authority’s decisions made within the statutory determination period or such extended period as has been agreed in writing with the applicant. (20 July 2015)

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

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Devolution

DCLG: Cornwall to be first county to gain historic new powers: announces that Cornwall Council, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP and Kernow CCG have signed a Devolution Deal with the Government that gives the county new powers to control local services, including bus services, adult skills, regional investment, energy, and health and social services. (16 July 2015)

Royal Town Planning Institute: Planning for Growth: The role of Local Enterprise Partnerships in England – Final report: this is the first comprehensive analysis of the planning roles of LEPs, including a detailed analysis of their Strategic Economic Plans (SEPs). The analysis suggests that LEPs are not a solution to statutory strategic planning at the sub-national level (nor do they claim to be), and that they have no wish to take on statutory strategic planning powers or responsibilities. However, LEPs do have considerable potential to work across different policy areas such as planning, and to bring together different partners as brokers of cross-boundary, strategic issues such as housing and employment. The RTPI research concludes that LEPs could play a critical role in devolution to cities and regions and in promoting economic growth, but their potential is being held back by their unclear status and unfamiliarity with town planning, as well as a lack of personnel. (13 July 2015)

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

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Economic Development

DCMS: Backing the tourism sector – A five point plan: sets out how the Government plans to expand and develop the UK's offer to tourists. At the moment, 54% of money spent by international visitors is in London. The Government is committed to further growing this industry, and spreading the benefits of its growth across the country, by encouraging more visitors to travel beyond the capital. It is to set up a new inter-ministerial group to coordinate and align action across government to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place to make it easy for visitors to discover the best of what this country has to offer. (17 July 2015)

DCLG: Coastal Community Teams to take control of seaside regeneration: announces £1m funding for 104 further Coastal Community Teams, in addition to the12 existing pilots, to help coordinate regeneration projects in their area.
DCLG is also inviting applications for a share of up to £50,000 of the new £3m Coastal Revival Fund. The funding will be used to support or restore local heritage and facilities on the English Coast that benefit the wider community and the surrounding economy. The closing date for applications is 14 September 2015. (17 July 2015)

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

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Education

DfE: Education and Adoption Bill: coasting schools – Illustrative regulations: the Education and Adoption Bill currently before Parliament inserts a new s.60B into the Education and Inspections Act 2006, creating an additional category of school "eligible for intervention" for local authority maintained schools that are "coasting". These draft regulations outline the way in which the DfE proposes to define "coasting" - they include an introductory note. (13 July 2015)

DfE: Schools funding arrangements for 2016 to 2017: the Government has published the per-pupil funding rates for each local authority’s schools budget for 2016 to 2017. It states that it protects the per-pupil funding in each authority from 2015 to 2016, meeting the commitment to protect the national schools budget and to baselining the £390m extra funding. (16 July 2015)

DfE: Research on funding for young people with special educational needs: this research report looks at how the current funding arrangements for children and young people with SEN work, and how they can be improved. (16 July 2015) 

LGA: Beyond the school gate – Using post-16 destination measures to improve outcomes for young people: sets out findings from research by Isos Partnership into how councils are using the Key Stage 4 and 5 Destination Measures to engage partners and develop coordinated provision that helps them deliver their duties in respect of the education and training of 16 to 19 year olds. (16 July 2015)f

School Governance (Federations) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1554): these regulations, which come into force on 1 September 2015, amend SI 2012/1035 so as to enable a maintained school within a federation to make an application to become an academy if at least 50% of the prescribed description of governors agree to do so, thus preventing individual prescribed governors from overriding the majority view. (21 July 2015)

Education (School Performance Information) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1566): these regulations, which come into force on 1 September 2015, amend SI 2007/2324 to extend the information that schools are required to provide for 16, 17 or 18 year olds. They broaden the range of student information that can be published in the school and college performance tables and support the planned reforms to how the DfE holds 16-19 education providers to account for their performance. (23 July 2015)

Government of Maintained Schools (Change of Category) (Wales) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1521 (W.178)): the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 largely replaced the parts of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 and associated Regulations that provided for schools to change category. These regulations, which come into force on 1 September 2015, provide for all maintained schools, including federated schools, that change category to revise and replace the instrument of government and reconstitute the governing body. (16 July 2015)

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

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Environmental Protection

London Assembly: Driving away from diesel – Reducing air pollution from diesel vehicles: this report from the London Assembly Environment Committee examines London’s efforts to reduce pollution from diesel cars, lorries, buses and taxis. It makes recommendations to ensure NO2 compliance in London as soon as possible, including that the Mayor should work closely with the boroughs and national government to show how the whole of London could achieve compliance with European air pollution limits by 2020. (14 July 2015)

DfT: Boost for 8 cities’ bid for share of £20 million plug-in taxi prize: announces the cities that have been shortlisted for a share of funding under the ULEV (Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle) Taxi Scheme to provide more environmentally-friendly travel opportunities in their area. The studies will gather vital information into how local authorities could use the money to reduce the upfront cost of purpose-built taxis and install charging infrastructure for taxi and private hire use. (23 July 2015)

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

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Finance

LGA: National living wage to cost councils £1 billion a year by 2020/21: analysis from the LGA concludes that introducing a National Living Wage for council staff and care workers needs to be considered in the wider debate about council funding. The LGA supports the proposal but has calculated it will initially cost a minimum of £340m a year for local authorities to introduce in 2016, with costs continuing to rise significantly by the end of the decade. (13 July 2015)

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

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Fire and Rescue Authorities

NLGN: Fire works – A collaborative way forward for the Fire and Rescue Service: this report argues that the fire and rescue service must reinvent themselves as a health and wellbeing service to survive the challenges of budget cuts. By expanding their remit, more vulnerable people can be reached earlier and pressure can be taken off the cash-strapped health and social care services. The law should be changed to give the fire and rescue service a formal role in helping older people to live independently and reducing attendance at A&E; they can also work with young people to reduce risky lifestyle choices. Other recommendations in the report include exploring a mutualised national back office to act both as purchasing and information hub, and that fire services should further ally themselves with ambulance trusts to help alleviate the mounting pressure under which they find themselves. (16 July 2015)

Welsh Government: Fire and Rescue National Framework 2016 onwards: seeks views on a draft revised Framework that sets out the Welsh Government’s vision, priorities and objectives for the FRAs in Wales. The consultation closes on 8 October 2015. (16 July 2015)

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

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Judicial Review

MoJ: Reform of judicial review – Proposals for the provision and use of financial information: this consultation follows on reforms to judicial review introduced by the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015. It seeks views on proposals for the rules setting out the financial information required from a claimant with the application for judicial review and when applying for a costs capping order. MoJ is proposing that:

  • a declaration of funding sources is required on an application for permission; 
  • details of third party funding or likely funding in connection with an application for judicial review need not be provided where the funding is below a threshold of £1,500; and 
  • a more detailed picture of the applicant’s financial circumstances is required on application for a costs capping order than on application for permission. 

The consultation closes on 15 September 2015. (21 July 2015) 

Hunt v North Somerset Council [2015] UKSC 51 (Sup Ct): H, a young man who suffered from ADHD and had other difficulties, appealed against the dismissal of his application for judicial review of the Council's decision to reduce its youth services budget. The Court of Appeal found that the Council had failed to comply with its statutory duties under the Education Act 1996 and the Equality Act 2010, but it would not grant H the relief sought as it considered that to quash the decision would in effect quash the whole of the Revenue Budget. It stated that to make an order of that nature in relation to a year that had expired, and in respect of which Council Tax had been demanded and levied, would be drastic and detrimental to good administration. The court ordered H to pay half of the Council's costs of the appeal. H then appealed to the Supreme Court. He submitted that since the Court of Appeal had held that the Council had failed in its statutory obligations, it should have made a declaration to that effect and should have made an order for costs in his favour. 
The Supreme Court held, allowing H's appeal, that If a party who had been given leave to bring a judicial review claim succeeded in establishing after fully contested proceedings that the defendant had acted unlawfully, some good reason would have to be shown why he should not recover his reasonable costs. H had succeeded on both the issues as to the Council's statutory duty and there were wider lessons for local authorities to learn from the case about their duties under each of the relevant sections. The Council was "successful" only in the limited sense that the findings of failure came too late to do anything about what had happened in the past; it was unsuccessful on the substantive issues regarding its statutory responsibilities.
Where a public body had acted unlawfully but it was not appropriate to make a mandatory, prohibitory or quashing order, it would usually be appropriate to make some form of declaratory order to reflect the court's finding; simply to dismiss the claim when there had been a finding of illegality was likely to convey a misleading impression and to leave the claimant with an understandable sense of injustice.
The Supreme Court set aside the Court of Appeal's order and substituted an order that H should recover two thirds of his costs both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal. (22 July 2015) 
See our Alert: Supreme Court decision on costs in a public law context.

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

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Leisure and Recreation

Welsh Government: Improving opportunities to access the outdoors for responsible recreation: seeks views on ways to develop contemporary legislation that will better reflect current and future demands for outdoor recreation and provide a new regulatory framework which allows sensible and responsible use of land and water for non-motorised recreation, with fit for purpose safeguards for land management, other activities and wildlife. It does not cover legislation relating to hunting, fishing and shooting. The consultation closes on 2 October 2015. (10 July 2015)

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

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Police

Home Office: Consultation on reform of police funding arrangements in England and Wales: following a detailed review of police funding arrangements, the Government has concluded that the current model for allocating core government grant funding to the police in England and Wales, the Police Allocation Formula (PAF), is complex, opaque and out of date. It is therefore seeking views on the principles underpinning a simplified model, to be implemented in 2016/17. The proposed new model would use population levels, the underlying characteristics of that population and environmental characteristics to determine how money is allocated. It also invites views on a number of key decisions, including how to transition from the current approach to the new model, and proposes a further simplification in the way in which legacy council tax grants are managed. The consultation closes on 15 September 2015. (21 July 2015) 

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

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Private Finance Initiative (PFI)

Portsmouth City Council v Ensign Highways Ltd [2015] EWHC 1969 (TCC): the Council sought declarations in relation to the performance of certain of its obligations under a Highways PFI contract made with E. The dispute concerned the manner of awarding Service Points by the Council for breaches by E of its obligations under the contract. The court was required to interpret the contract.
The court held that it did not make commercial sense to have a system which required the Council to impose the same number of points irrespective of the gravity or duration of the breach; therefore, the Service Point values set out in the Schedule were maximum values that could be awarded for a particular breach and were not fixed "tariffs" that were to be applied irrespective of the gravity of the breach in question. The Best Value Duty required the incorporation of a good faith and mutual co-operation obligation if it was to operate properly. The Council could not discharge its Best Value Duty unless it was in a position to negotiate improvements to the Service that might operate to E's financial detriment in circumstances where E was obliged to discuss such changes in good faith - in other words, by giving proper and careful consideration to the Council's needs and statutory obligations and balancing those against its own commercial interests. A duty of good faith was not usually implied into commercial contracts, save in certain particular types of contract, so it was necessary to provide for an express duty in appropriate terms. Clause 44.4.1 did that but it did not apply to the rest of the contract, and there were no grounds for making Clause 24 (Service Points) subject to the cl.44.4.1 duty. When awarding Service Points under Clause 24, the Council was subject to an implied term that its representative was to act honestly and on proper grounds and not in a manner that was arbitrary, irrational or capricious. (14 July 2015)

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

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Procurement

Woods Building Services v Milton Keynes Council [2015] EWHC 2011 (TCC): W was an unsuccessful tenderer for the award by the Council of a framework agreement for asbestos removal. W's tender was the cheapest but EAS was awarded the contract as a result of the Council's evaluation of the quality criteria in the tenders. W applied to quash that decision, arguing that the tender evaluation process was unfair as the evidence demonstrated a lack of transparency and a failure to treat the tenderers equally, and there were manifest errors in the scores awarded.
The court held that, after scrutinising the scores awarded, there were a number of manifest errors in the tender evaluation process and certain instances where the Council was in breach of its duties of equality and transparency. Taken together, those conclusions reduce the marks awarded to EAS by 40 and increase the marks awarded to W by 6. This would mean that W outscored EAS so that there should have been a different result. (14 July 2015)

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

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Property

Tower Hamlets LBC v Bromley LBC [2015] EWHC 1954 (Ch) (Ch D): this case concerned the ownership of a Henry Moore sculpture that had been purchased 50 years ago by the LCC and placed on a housing estate that was now in TH's area. TH argued that when the GLC, the successor to the LCC, was abolished in 1986, the sculpture had passed to it as "land" held by the GLC as a local authority under Part V of the Housing Act 1957. Since 1986 TH had believed itself to be, and had acted in accordance with its being, the legal owner of the sculpture. It later arranged for the sculpture to be restored and then lent it to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. B argued that the sculpture had vested in the LRB on the abolition of the GLC, and had then vested in B under the London Residuary Body (Winding Up) Order 1996 (SI 1996/557) as an undistributed asset of the LRB.
The court held that the sculpture belonged to TH under the law of conversion. The sculpture was a chattel, and it was not property "held in connection" with specifically described land held by the GLC for the purposes of its functions as a local authority under the Housing Act 1957. It was held by the GLC (and had been held by the LCC) in connection with its arts education programme using its power under s.157 LGA 1939, not the Housing Act 1957. When the housing accommodation passed to TH, the sculpture remained vested in the GLC. It had vested in the LRB and then passed to B. However, TH's actions were all assertions of rights of dominion over the sculpture inconsistent with B's ownership rights and so TH had converted the sculpture to its use. B had failed to bring an action for possession within the limitation period and so its title had been extinguished. (8 July 2015)

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

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Public Health

Welsh Government: Draft Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) Bill: seeks views on a high-impact proposal for tackling the health harms associated with alcohol misuse, which would set a floor price for a unit of alcohol, meaning that alcohol could not be sold below that level. The consultation closes on 11 December 2015. (15 July 2015)

Royal Society for Public Health: Rethinking the public health workforce: this report outlines plans for a range of different occupations to support efforts to improve the public’s health. It identifies a number of occupations, who have already started to support public health work, many of which already have regular contact with the public, such as the fire service, allied health professionals and pharmacists. With only 40,000 people estimated to be part of the core public health workforce, and in light of the crisis in lifestyle health issues, the report calls for anyone who has "the opportunity or ability to positively impact health and wellbeing through their work" to join the wider public health workforce. (21 July 2015)

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

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Regulatory Services

Civil Enforcement Officers and Traffic Wardens (Integration of Duties and Powers) (England) Bill: this Private Member's Bill has been introduced into Parliament by Philip Hollobone MP and received its 1st Reading. It provides for the integration of civil enforcement officers' and traffic wardens' enforcement powers and duties so as to enable local authorities to establish one generic type of warden, who could take action on lots of important issues at street level. (14 July 2015)

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

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Wales

Law Commission: The form and accessibility of the law applicable to Wales: seeks views on how to make the existing law relating to Wales easier to use and understand. It also discusses measures that could make the law more accessible and available to the public, such as explanatory notes for legislationWelsh law text books, and the need for a free, up-to-date and comprehensive online resource. The paper has been launched in light of confusion over where responsibilities lie and the pace at which significant areas of the law applicable in Wales, such as education, health and housing, are diverging from the law in England. It also considers issues relating to the making and interpretation of legislation in two languages. The consultation closes on 9 October 2015. (9 July 2015)

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

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