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.

04/09/2015

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:

  
   Children's Services    London
   Development Control    Maladministration
   Devolution    Procurement
   Economic Development    Public Health
   Employment    Regulatory Services
   Finance    Trading 
   Highways    Vetting and Barring 
   Infrastructure

 

Children's Services

Ofsted:  Framework and evaluation schedule for the inspections of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers –Reviews of Local Safeguarding Children Boards: revised framework for the inspection of services for children in need of help and protection, children looked after and care leavers, conducted under s.136 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006. The inspections focus on the effectiveness of local authority services and arrangements to help and protect children, the experiences and progress of children looked after, including adoption, fostering, the use of residential care, and children who return home. The framework also focuses on the arrangements for permanence for children who are looked after and the experiences and progress of care leavers.
There is also revised guidance for inspectors. (1 September 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: Planning policy for traveller sites: sets out nine specific planning policies for traveller sites, including greater protection for the countryside and Green Belt. The Government's overarching aim is to ensure fair and equal treatment for travellers, in a way that facilitates the traditional and nomadic way of life of travellers while respecting the interests of the settled community. (31 August 2015)

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

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Devolution

House of Commons Library: Devolution to local government in England: this note summarises the main political developments and political party positions on the devolution of powers to local government. It covers: the Government’s proposals for the transfer of powers to Greater Manchester, Sheffield, West Yorkshire and Cornwall; the positions of the political parties going into the 2015 General Election; and debates over the creation of unitary authorities and local government finance. It also provides a list of reports on these issues which have been published during 2014 and 2015. (4 September 2015)

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

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Economic Development

Government Office for Science: Cities and public policy – A review paper: this paper examines the impact of past urban policies and considers potential changes up to 2065. It focuses on the three main components which make up urban policy: official urban policies; related policies, which affect cities; and devolved governance. It is part of the Foresight Future of Cities project that looks at the opportunities and challenges facing UK cities over the next 50 years. (25 August 2015)

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

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Employment

DBIS: Measures to ensure people receive fair pay announced: the Business Secretary has announced a package of measures to ensure people receive the pay they are entitled to. The measures include: doubling the penalties for non-payment of the National Minimum Wage and the new National Living Wage; increasing the enforcement budget; setting up a new team in HMRC to take forward criminal prosecutions for those who deliberately do not comply; and ensuring that anyone found guilty will be considered for disqualification from being a company director for up to 15 years. (1 September 2015)

Services For Education (S4E Ltd) v White (Transfer of Undertakings) [2015] UKEAT 0024/15/1008 (EAT): W worked as a sessional music teacher for Birmingham Music Services (BMS), which was part of Birmingham City Council. He worked at various schools and for variable hours under a series of contracts for each school year. It was agreed that there was no guarantee of work the following year, but that he had an expectation that there would be work. The Council transferred BMS to S4E, a company limited by guarantee. S4E offered contracts to the sessional teachers and W worked for it under its standard zero-hours contract for the 2013/14 academic year. W brought claims against the Council and S4E for unfair dismissal and for unpaid holiday pay, arguing that he had been dismissed by S4E and re-engaged on different terms. The Council claimed that W was a casual worker and so could not rely on TUPE. The ET ruled that W's continuity of employment was preserved by s.212(2) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, despite a transfer of the undertaking in which he was employed, between a transferor employer and the transferee.
The EAT held, dismissing S4E's appeal, that the judge had clearly understood that a transfer could be a process, and that the precise identification of “the time of the transfer” was a question of fact and degree for the ET. On the evidence, the ET was entitled to find that the transfer was not a single, instantaneous transaction. A transfer involving a public sector transferor would often have different characteristics from a transfer between two private sector bodies. The ET was entitled to find that W's employment was continuous between 1992 and his employment with S4E. (10 August 2015)

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

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Finance

House of Commons Library: Spending Review 2015 – Background: this research briefing explains what spending is included in the Spending Review and the fiscal and public spending background. It explains the Spending Review process, including how devolved administrations are affected. It also discusses the impact of protecting some departmental budgets. The 2015 Spending Review will be held on 25 November 2015. (2 September 2015)

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

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Highways

DfT: Consultation on proposals to simplify and improve SI 2009 No 2257 The Street Works (Qualifications of Supervisors and Operatives) (England) Regulations 2009 (as amended): seeks views on proposed changes to the Street Works Qualifications Regulations to make them less prescriptive, simpler, clearer and easier to understand. The consultation closes on 28 October 2015. (2 September 2015)

DfT: Consultation – Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016: seeks views on revised Regulations and Directions that tackle the overuse of road signs and propose "remove by" dates on works signs. The consultation closes on 6 October 2015. (28 August 2015)

London Councils: Code of Practice for affixing traffic signs and street lighting to buildings in London: the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2013 amended the requirements for fixing traffic signs and street lighting to buildings in London so that London authorities must follow a notice procedure rather than obtain consent from the building owner. This gives London authorities powers more in line with those currently enjoyed by the City of London Corporation and aims to reduce street clutter and make the pavements safer for people with impaired mobility. This Code of Practice explains the legislation and outlines good practice procedures that London authorities should follow to ensure that they fully comply with the legislation. (24 August 2015)

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

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Infrastructure

Government Office for Science: How will city infrastructure and sensors be made smart?: this essay explores how city infrastructure can be made smart with the use of new sensor and data management technologies. It considers how sensors embedded within new and existing infrastructure could monitor conditions and provide real-time feedback when modifications are needed. The essay was commissioned as part of the Foresight future of cities project. (28 August 2015)

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

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London

London Assembly: London Assembly works for you – Annual Report 2014-15: details how the Assembly looked at the actions of the Mayor, and examined the finances and performance of the GLA group. it also lists some of the Assembly’s achievements over the past year. (27 August 2015)

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

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Maladministration

LGO: Council did not tell purchasers about restrictions when they bought their ex-council homes: the LGO has upheld a complaint by two homeowners that the Council had failed to fully inform them of the conditions attached to a section 157 restriction when they bought their ex-local authority properties. The LGO found the Council at fault for failing to check either homeowner had a local connection before granting consent to buy, and found no evidence that the Council had actively made a decision to exercise discretion not to enforce the local connection requirement. The LGO said the Council should have informed the women of the restriction. The investigation also found the Council at fault for failing to give the solicitors complete information about the section 157 restrictions. The LGO recommended that the district valuer assess the value of the properties at the point at which both homeowners sold them with the partial restriction imposed and with the full section 157 restrictions imposed; if the properties’ values were affected, the Council should pay 50% of the difference to both homeowners, plus £250 for stress suffered. (3 September 2015)

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

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Procurement

Cabinet Office: Public Contracts Regulations 2015 – Guidance on 'public/public' contracts: guidance on Reg.12 of the 2015 Regulations, which sets out new provisions that codify, clarify and develop the case law on whether contracts between public bodies should be subject to the public procurement rules or not. The new rules also cover the circumstances where either vertical or horizontal arrangements fall outside the rules. (26 August 2015)

CCS: Procurement Policy Note 14/15: Supporting apprenticeships and skills through public procurement: this PPN requires departments, their executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies to consider the opportunity for apprenticeships and skills development in their contracting requirements. These changes apply to contracts with a full life value of £10m or more with duration of 12 months and above. Businesses bidding for relevant contracts will need to propose the number of apprenticeships they expect to create in fulfilling the contract. This projection will be reviewed as part of the tender evaluation process and written into the ensuing contract. The contracting authority will take action if the supplier does not meet its commitment. (27 August 2015)

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

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Public Health

DH: Refreshing the Public Health Outcomes Framework: seeks views on whether the Government should remove, replace or revise the existing indicators in the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF), that help measure the public’s health and wellbeing. It focuses on reviewing existing indicators with the aim of removing ineffective indicators and replacing or revising others where improvements in data have taken place over the past few years. The review will also consider the possibility of adding a small number of new indicators where there are important public health gaps and information is likely to be available to fill them. The consultation closes on 2 October 2015. (3 September 2015) 

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

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Regulatory Services

DCLG: The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 – Explanatory booklet for local authorities: guidance for local authorities on how to enforce the draft Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 effectively. The regulations, which are set to come into force on 1 October 2015, will require private sector landlords to ensure that they have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed in their rented property. Local authorities must issue a remedial notice where they have reasonable grounds to believe that a landlord has not complied with one or more of the requirements. (4 September 2015)

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

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Trading

HMRC: VAT Notice 749: Local authorities and similar bodies: this notice helps local authorities and other public bodies decide which activities are business or non-business for VAT purposes. It replaces the previous notice that was published in 2002. (20 August 2015)

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

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Vetting and Barring

Disclosure and Barring Service: Statutory disclosure guidance: this revised statutory Code of Practice is designed to assist chief officers of police in making decisions about providing information from local police records for inclusion in enhanced criminal record certificates. It has been amended to include guidance on disclosing information relating to mental health. (11 August 2015)

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

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