Authority Update 20/5/16

Brief details of recent legal and policy developments relevant to those involved in local government work


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     Planning Policy
   Adult Social Services     Police
   Children's Services     Ports and Harbours
   Devolution     Procurement and Commissioning
   Education     Public Health
   Environmental Protection     Regulatory Services
   Finance     Shared Services
   Highways     State Aid
   Housing     Tortious Liability
   Legislation     Transport
   Members     Welfare and Benefits

Access to Information

DCLG: Strengthening local government transparency – Consultation on changes to the Local Government Transparency Code 2015: seeks views on proposals to revise the 2015 Code that sets out how local authorities should record details of their land and property assets, and publish information about their procurement, their contracts and the delivery of some of their services. It  also proposes to include new requirements about information on parking charges and enforcement and the way that transparency data is published and presented. The proposals include that with authorities with ‘in-house’ services provide a one-off set of information which sets out details of the in-house service and justifies to residents that the service is being delivered cost-effectively. It should set out for how long the current in-house service is expected to be in place and should reassess the costs and benefits of in-house services against provision by private firms after an appropriate time period, e.g. every 7 years. This requirement could be limited to services above a threshold, e.g. contracts with a value >£500,000. The consultation closes on 8 July 2016. (12 May 2016)

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

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Adult Social Services

LGIU: Achieving outcomes based commissioning in home care: outcomes based commissioning (OBC) is a means of procuring home care for people which focuses less on the tasks associated with addressing individual needs and more on improved overall outcomes for individuals. This report outlines the work that LGiU has completed recently in OBC for home care, introduces the CoCare app which supports outcomes based commissioning and summarises a March roundtable hosted by LGiU. (26 April 2016)

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

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Children's Services

Children and Social Work Bill: this Bill has been introduced into the House of Lords and received its 1st Reading. The Bill improves decision making, and support for looked after and previously looked after children, enables better learning about effective approaches to child protection and the wider provision of children’s social care  and enables the establishment of a new regulatory regime specifically for the social work profession in England. In particular, it introduces a new ‘Care Leavers’ Covenant’ underpinned by a statutory duty requiring local authorities to publish the services and standards of treatment to which care leavers are entitled. It will also require courts and local authorities to take better account of a child’s need for stability up to the age of 18 when making decisions about their future, and places a duty on local authorities and schools to promote educational achievement for adopted children and those in the long-term care of family members or guardians. (19 May 2016)

LGA: Get in on the Act – Childcare Act 2016: the Childcare Act, which received Royal Assent in March, takes forward government commitments to secure an additional entitlement of childcare support for working parents. The Act extends the entitlement to 30 hours free childcare over 38 weeks of the year for three- and four-year-olds in families where all parents are working. This publication provides  an introduction to the Act and summarises the main issues on which LGA campaigned. (15 May 2016)

LGA: Best start in life – Promoting good emotional wellbeing and mental health for children and young people: this briefing contains examples of councils that are looking at innovative ways to provide support with a focus on children and families rather than static services, as well as more information about the scale of the problem and what steps can be taken. (20 May 2016)

DfE: Statutory Direction to Torbay Council in relation to children’s services under section 497A(4B) of the Education Act 1996: the DfE has issued a Direction requiring Torbay Council to co-operate with a commissioner appointed by the Education Secretary. It follows publication on 5 January 2016 of a report by Ofsted that judged the overall effectiveness of Torbay’s children’s social care services as inadequate. (12 May 2016)

Prime Minister's Office: Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to be resettled from Europe: the Prime Minister has announced a new initiative for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to be resettled in the UK from Greece, Italy and France. Priority will be given to those at risk of trafficking or exploitation. He states that the Government is not putting a fixed number on arrivals, but will instead work with local authorities across the UK to determine how many children will be resettled. (4 May 2016)

Re RA (Baby Relinquished for Adoption: Case Management) [2016] EWFC 25 (Fam Ct): in this case, the court considered case management issues in adoption proceedings concerning RA, a baby born in the UK to Latvian parents, who had been relinquished by his parents at birth. The parents consented to RA's adoption by his foster carers and the local authority supported the adoption application. However, the Latvian authorities strongly opposed RA's adoption in the UK and wished RA to be cared for by his grandmother in Latvia. The court made a number of case management directions and gave guidance on how local authorities might in the future wish to approach issues which arise in similar cases. (6 May 2016)

JG v Kent CC [2016] EWHC 1102 (Admin) (Admin Ct): T, aged 14, was diagnosed by psychiatrists as suffering from unsocialised conduct disorder with mixed neurodevelopmental difficulties that manifested itself in sudden and violent outbursts of rage. His parents applied for judicial review of the Council's discharge of its duties under s.20 of the Children Act 1989. T applied for judicial review of the Council's decision that responsibility for providing T's special educational needs had been transferred to S Council when he and his father moved to that area.
The court held, granting the applications, that the Council had not lawfully discharged their duties under s.20. The only conclusion to which the Council could have come was that T's parents were prevented from providing him with suitable accommodation, at least on a full-time basis; it had also failed to follow statutory guidance. However, the level of harm was not such as to cross the high threshold set by Art.3 ECHR. His behaviour to his siblings was frightening and, at times, painful, but it did not reach the minimum level of severity which was necessary for ill-treatment to be equivalent to 'inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'. Nor was the risk of worse violence by T (and which might have crossed the Art.3 threshold) 'real and immediate'. The Council's decision that T had 'moved' to S Council for the purposes of Regulation 23 of the Education (Special Educational Needs) (England) (Consolidation) Regulations 2001 was unlawful. It was clear that T's father saw his departure from Kent as temporary and it was plainly prompted by a fear that, unless T was removed from the family home, his siblings would suffer further violence. All the circumstances, together with the breaches of the Children Act 1989 meant that it would be conspicuously unfair for the Council now to rely on the father's and T's departure for S Council. (13 May 2016)

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

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Centre for Public Scrutiny: Cards on the table – Tips and tricks for getting in on the action of devolution: this detailed paper looks at every aspect of the English devolution process from the initial scoping out of a proposal to Government, to the implementation of a deal on the ground. At every stage there are important governance duties and responsibilities – securing buy-in from non-executive councillors and the public, working with partners, thinking about transparency and how, and when, bids and deals will be subject to robust scrutiny. This paper sets out how those duties and responsibilities might be transacted. (12 May 2016)

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

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Isle of Wight Council v Platt (Unreported, Div Ct): the Council appealed by way of case stated against the magistrates' court's decision that there was no case to answer against P in relation to an allegation that he had taken his child out of school for a holiday during term-time, contrary to s.144 of the Education Act 1996. The magistrates' court accepted P's submission that there was no case to answer as the child had attended school regularly and concluded that P had not failed to secure the child's regular attendance at school. The Council submitted that the question was not simply whether the child attended school regularly but whether he had attended during the period in question and the only finding that should have been made was whether there had been regular attendance during that period.
The court held, dismissing the appeal, that whether there was regular attendance was an issue of fact and degree. The question of whether attendance had been regular had to be looked at in the wider context and not just during the limited period of the holiday. The magistrates had correctly had regard to the wider picture. It could not be said that they had reached a decision that was not reasonably open to them. The magistrates had not erred in law by taking into account dates outside the dates of the holiday. (13 May 2016)
The judgment is available on Lawtel (subscription required).

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

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Environmental Protection

DEFRA: Local Air Quality Management policy guidance (PG16): statutory guidance for local authorities in England on their duties under Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 2990 and the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) system to assess air quality in their area and designate Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) if improvements are necessary. The process has been streamlined so that while the quality of information is retained, the requirements are more consistent and less burdensome and enable local authorities to clearly point to the actions that are being or will be taken. The guidance has been designed to maximise the public health benefits of local authority action, in particular on priority pollutants such as NO2 and particulate matter (PM10/PM2.5).
There is also Technical Guidance for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland excluding London and separate London Local Air Quality Management (LLAQM) Policy Guidance and Technical Guidance for local authorities in London. (8 April 2016)

DEFRA: New penalties to crack down on fly-tipping: announces that local authorities now have greater powers to tackle waste crime by issuing fixed penalty notices of between £150 and £400 to those caught in the act of fly-tipping. (9 May 20160

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

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HM Treasury: Transfer of functions from the Public Works Loan Board – New governance arrangements: seeks views on modernising the governance arrangements of central government lending to local authorities, to bring them in line with current lending policy and operational responsibilities. This proposed governance change has no impact on borrowing policy. The consultation closes on 3 August 2016. (12 May 2016)

DCLG: The Housing Revenue Account (Accounting Practices) Directions 2016: gives details of items required to be included in the local housing authorities’ HRAs from 1 April 2016. (12 May 2016)

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

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DfT: Challenges in highway asset management: speech by Andrew Jones MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, to local authorities at the Technical Advisors Group Conference about the issues of asset management. (17 May 2016)

R (Dillner) v Sheffield City Council; Amey Hallam Highways Ltd (Interested Party) [2016] EWHC 945 (Admin) (Admin Ct): D applied for judicial review of the Council's decision not to cease the felling by AHH of trees within the public highway, in performance of its highways maintenance contract with the Council. D was concerned that many trees which added to the attractiveness of their streets and their ambiance and had other ecological and environmental value, had been felled. D contended that: the Council had carried out an unfair and procedurally improper consultation; the felling required planning permission; and the Council had failed to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment. He also sought an injunction preventing further felling until there had been proper consultation. The Council argued that it had no power to decide that felling should cease, nor how the programme of works to highways should be carried out. As the work was being done under a contract, a change in the contract to require the cessation of tree felling would have costly consequences. The risk for highway claims currently fell on AHH under the contract. If tasks necessary to achieve proper repair and maintenance could not be undertaken, then the risks would be passed back on to the Council, with serious consequences for its budget.
The court held, dismissing the application, that the starting point for considering a challenge to the carrying out of works in the public highway, including the felling of trees, must be the statutory code which imposes duties on, and gives powers to, the highway authority in question. It was surprising that the nature and objectives of the duties cast on a highway authority were not addressed by D and his advisers in any detail. There was a similar lacuna in D's case addressing the law relating to the protection of trees in the Planning Code. Those duties were important, as was their effect, as they set the context for considering the existence, nature and extent of the Council's obligation to execute the works in question. The statutory context was also of particular importance on the issue of the meaning of "improvement" in the TCPA 1990 and in the interpretation and application of the EU Directive on environmental assessment. It was also very relevant to considering the effect of domestic law in the Planning Code on the preservation of trees. D's case on the requirements of domestic law was fundamentally misconceived, and wholly overlooked the relevant statutory provisions. The execution of works on the highway did not constitute development and therefore did not require planning permission nor did the removal or lopping of trees require planning permission. There was no question of a development consent being required nor did any planning function arise. A decision to carry out works of maintenance (including repair), whether or not they had adverse environmental effects, was not unlawful. It was not an act of development, did not require planning permission, did not require Conservation Area consent, and did not amount to a change for the purposes of the Directive. D had not got close to showing that any decision to fell made by the Council was irrational, or one which no reasonable council could have made. His view that there was an objection of principle to the felling of highway trees was unsustainable in the light of the statutory codes.
On the issue of consultation, there was no failure to consult. The Council had a statutory obligation to keep its highways in proper repair and it could not be right that it was necessary for the Council to conduct a consultation on whether it should perform the statutory duty imposed on it by statute, and in a situation where statute imposed no such obligation. (27 April 2016)

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

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Housing and Planning Act 2016: this Act has received Royal Assent. The key provisions are:

  • local authorities must consider selling their “higher value” properties (as defined in regulations) as they fall vacant; 
  • councils will be able to retain more of their right-to-buy sales receipts to provide replacement homes if they enter into an agreement with the Government to build at least one new “affordable home” for each property sold outside of London (two for every home sold in London);
  • duty on councils to promote the supply of starter homes;
  • local authorities will have to charge their social housing tenants on higher incomes a fairer level of rent; the policy will be voluntary for housing association tenants;
  • local authority landlords will be able to grant new tenants a fixed term tenancy of at least 2 years, with a maximum term of 10+ years where a child is living in the property, and restrict the rights of family members to succeed to local authority tenancies. Statutory guidance will be issued on which households will qualify for a secure tenancy.

The Act also contains provisions on abandoned premises, planning, compulsory purchase and public land (duty to dispose).
Most of the Act comes into force on a day or days to be appointed; however, note that Part 2 Chapter 4 (Vacant higher value local authority housing) and some of the planning provisions came into force on 13 May 2016 while a few other provisions come into force on 13 July 2016.
See also the LGA's briefing. (13 May 2016) 

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

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Queen's Speech: the Queen has outlined the Government’s legislative programme for the next year, on the State Opening of Parliament. Bills of particular interest to local government include: 

  • Bus Services Bill: will give English councils new powers to work in partnership with companies to improve journeys for passengers, and bring in new technology including on-board Wi-Fi – see further, below
  • Children and Social Work Bill: introduces new duties regarding children leaving care and adoption, and also sets up a specialist regulator for social workers – see further, above
  • Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill: will give law enforcement agencies new powers to protect vulnerable people, including children, from those who seek to brainwash them with extremism propaganda, plus powers to intervene in intensive unregulated education settings which teach hate and drive communities apart and a new civil order regime to restrict extremist activity;
  • Education for All Bill: will extend the principles of freedom and accountability across the country so as to encourage excellence everywhere and give every child the best start in life. It will include new laws to expand the academies programme in the poorest performing local authority areas, a new funding formula to deliver fair funding for every school and pupil in the country and measures to make schools accountable for the provision and progress of excluded pupils so that those currently let down by the system are given an excellent education;
  • Local Growth and Jobs Bill: will allow local authorities to retain 100% of their business rates, increasing the incentive for them to grow their local economies. It will also strengthen councils’ powers to cut business rates for local firms and give combined authority mayors the power to raise additional funding for infrastructure where they have the support of local businesses;
  • Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill: this will include: measures to reform and speed up the planning process by minimising delays caused by pre-commencement planning conditions; a new statutory basis for the independent National Infrastructure Commission, to help invest in Britain’s long-term future; and streamlined processes supporting neighbourhoods to come together to agree plans that will decide where things get built in their local area;
  • Wales Bill: further devolution of powers regarding energy, transport and elections to the Welsh Assembly;
  • Soft Drinks Industry Levy: the Finance Bill 2017 will introduce a new levy targeted at producers and importers of soft drinks that contain added sugar from April 2018, as part of the Government's childhood obesity strategy;
  • Draft Bill of Rights: measures to reform and modernise the UK human rights framework and protections against abuse of the system and misuse of human rights laws.

Bills carried over from the previous Parliament include the Policing and Crime Bill that places a new duty to on all three emergency services to collaborate, to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
See also the Government's Background briefing notes and the LGA's On the day briefing. (18 May 2016)

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

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LGA: Councillors' guide 2016/17: latest edition of the online quick reference guide that provides councillors with the essential information that they need to know. It explore some of the main issues and challenges facing local government today, finds resources to get new members started in their role and has some hints and tips from experienced councillors. (6 May 2016)

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

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Planning Policy

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government v West Berkshire DC [2016] EWCA Civ 441 (CA): the Court of Appeal has overturned the High Court's decision that the Secretary of State's alteration of planning policy regarding planning obligations for affordable housing by way of a Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) was unlawful. The court held that the question was whether the WMS on its face sought to countermand or frustrate the effective operation of ss.38(6) PCPA 2004 and 70(2) TCPA 1990, or whether it merely expressed the Secretary of State's substantive planning policy in unqualified, though trenchant, terms. Once it was accepted that the articulation of planning policy in unqualified or absolute terms was not in principle repugnant to the proper operation of s.38(6), that use of language was unobjectionable. The judge's consideration that a lawful planning policy must express its openness to exceptions – notably to the application of development plans which were inconsistent with it – was a legal mistake. The policy stated in the WMS was not to be faulted on the ground that it did not use language which indicated that it was not to be applied in a blanket fashion, or that its place in the statutory scheme of things was as a material consideration for the purposes of s.38(6) of the 2004 Act and s.70(2) of the 1990 Act, and no more. It did not countermand or frustrate the effective operation of those provisions. The judge had conflated what the policy said with how it might lawfully be deployed. The Secretary of State was not obliged to go further than he did into the specifics described by the judge, and so was not to be faulted for a failure to have regard to relevant considerations in formulating the policy set out in the WMS. The consultation was fair and adequate consideration given to the responses, and the Equality Statement was not inadequate. (11 May 2016)
See also the DCLG press release: Judgment paves way to build more homes on small sites.

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

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Committee on Standards in Public Life: Newly elected PCCs – Ethical checklist: gives details of all PCC candidates that have declared their approach to conduct, appointments and hospitality so that the public could make an informed judgement before casting their vote. (9 May 2016)

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

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Ports and Harbours

DfT: Guidance on harbour closure orders and pilotage function removal orders: this guidance describes how processes for harbour closure orders and pilotage function removal orders will be implemented at harbours in England and non-fishery harbours in Wales. It contains statutory guidance on the circumstances in which a harbour closure order maybe made under s.17A of the Harbours Act 1964 and additional guidance on the process for applying for a pilotage function removal order under s.1(4A) of the Pilotage Act 1987. (12 May 2016)

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

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Procurement and Commissioning

Cabinet Office: Government contracts to be open to public for the first time: announces a series of concrete commitments to maintain the UK’s position as the most transparent governments ever. The UK Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18 (NAP) sets out 13 commitments on transparency, anti-corruption and open government. These include commitment to the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) for contracts administered by a central purchasing authority, the Crown Commercial Service – this means that the whole process of awarding public sector contracts will be visible to the public for the first time by October 2016. It will be piloted by HS2. (12 May 2016)

CCS: Procurement policy note (PPN) 04/16 Concession contracts threshold: informs contracting authorities and utilities that the threshold for concession contracts is £4,104,394 (€5,225,000) with effect from 18 April 2016. (17 May 2016)

NLGN: All together now – Whole systems commissioning for councils and the voluntary sector: this report examines why a new partnership between local government and the voluntary and community sector (VCS), in which the former uses its commissioning power to fund the emergence of innovative new voluntary sector responses to multiple deprivation, has generally not happened. It concludes that raising the scoring for social value in the commissioning process could have a profound effect on how local government works with its partners and on the outcomes it is able to deliver for citizens. The report sets out a different approach to joint working between the VCS and local government to tackle the challenges of severe and multiple disadvantage, that aims to reconcile the demands that councils face to demonstrate value for money, with a recognition of the factors that make the VCS special. (28 April 2016)

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

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Public Health

PHE: Fit for the future – Public health people: this review of the public health workforce outlines recommendations to achieve a workforce that can meet future public health challenges, in order to contribute to the renewal of the DH’s national public health workforce strategy. It focuses on the capabilities and skills needed in the workforce of the future. The report outlines five important themes that underpin the response to developing a workforce for 2021 and provides a clear pathway and plan to achieve the ‘new’ workforce. (19 May 2016)

LGA: Health, work and health related worklessness – A guide for local authorities: this briefing provides councillors with a strong business case to address health related worklessness and promote workplace health in their local authority. It also provides an overview of the current debate on work, worklessness and health, with a particular emphasis on the evidence base and case studies to enable a better understanding of the subject matter and how to promote this agenda in their LA. The focus is on employed individuals with health conditions falling out of work and onto out-of-work welfare, and those on welfare with health conditions who are not in employment. (19 May 2016)

LGA: Just what the doctor ordered – social prescribing: A guide for local authorities: "social prescribing" is a means of enabling primary care services to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of non-clinical services. This publication sets out how councils, with their responsibility for public health and local leadership, are ideally placed to connect people with local community services and activities so as to improve the health and wellbeing of large numbers of people. (18 May 2016)

Joseph Rowntree Foundation: Public health in a changing climate: this report reviews current local strategies and actions to address climate change by public health departments and their partners. It explores barriers and opportunities for action, and identifies recommendations for local and national policy and practice. (11 May 2016)

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

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Regulatory Services

LGA: Get in on the Act – Psychoactive Substances Act 2016: this Act, which comes into force on 26 May 2016, creates a blanket ban on the production, distribution, sale and supply of psychoactive substances in the UK. This publication provides an introduction to the Act and further information on the LGA campaign work.
See also the Home Office's Circular 004/2016 and the Guidance for retailers. (17 May 2016)

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

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Shared Services

NAO: Shared service centres: this report scrutinises the Government's programme to transfer back-office functions to two shared service centres. It finds that while the creation of two independent shared service centres to provide back-office functions for up to 14 departments and their arm’s-length bodies has led to some cost savings, the programme is not progressing as planned.  (20 May 2016)

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

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State Aid

R (Sky Blue Sports & Leisure Ltd) v Coventry City Council [2016] EWCA Civ 453 (CA): SB, football club owners, appealed against the High Court's refusal of their application to quash the Council's decision to make a loan of £14.4m to a company that operated an arena in which the council was a 50% shareholder. The loan enabled the company to pay off its bank obligations at a discount, and ensured the continuation of the sublease of the arena. SB argued that the loan approved by the Council was state aid under Art. 107 TFEU and so was unlawful as it had not been notified to the Commission. The High Court ruled that the effect of EU case law was that the Council was afforded a wide margin of judgment when making an entrepreneurial investment decision. He "firmly concluded" that the loan fell clearly within the permitted ambit and that it was not state aid.
The court held, dismissing the appeal, that the court should proceed with great caution and only interfere with the judge's evaluation if it fell outside the bounds of reasonable decision-making. SB had not come close to demonstrating that the judge reached an impermissible conclusion. There was ample material upon the basis of which he could properly conclude that the loan was lawful. (13 May 2016)

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

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Tortious Liability

Perma-Soil UK Ltd v Williams and Flintshire CC [2016] EWHC 1087 (QB) (QBD): PS manufactured and supplied a soil stabiliser that had been approved by the Council for use in highway works in the county. PS claimed damages for misfeasance in public office against W, the council's Senior Street Works Engineer, and the council as vicariously liable, relating to the Council's use of a competitor's soil stabiliser in a major infrastructure project. PS argued that W had committed misfeasance in public office, either from targeted malice towards PS or in the hope of personal gain. It argued that he had become hostile to PS after he had offered to buy the company but been rebuffed, and had thereafter helped the contractor's directors set up the rival, encouraging his friend to work for it. It alleged that he had been instrumental in the approval of the rival's product and had intended the diversion of business from the company to the rival.
The court held, dismissing the claim, that W's advice or information as to the use of the competitor's soil stabiliser was well within the scope of his functions as a public officer and was an exercise of a public power for the purposes of the tort of misfeasance in public office. However, he was not motivated by any intention to injure PS and so the allegation of targeted malice was not established. PS had failed to establish that W's conduct was unlawful in that it was for the purpose of personal gain, that he knew that it was unlawful in that respect, and that he knew that the unlawful conduct was likely to cause injury to PS. Furthermore, the alleged unlawfulness of W's conduct did not cause any loss to PS. It could be assumed that the use of the rival soil stabiliser in place of PS's product caused some loss but as there was no demonstrated reason why the contractor should not have been free to use the rival product, any such loss was not caused by misfeasance on W's part. (10 May 2016)

London v Southampton City Council (Unreported, QBD): the court has held that the Council had breached its duty of care to a 65-year-old man with Parkinson’s, heart problems and dementia by leaving him momentarily unsupervised as he waited to board a minibus, causing him to fall. On the balance of probabilities, that accident caused the man ultimately to die from deep vein thrombosis 10 weeks later. (20 May 2016)
The judgment is available on Lawtel (subscription required).

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

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Bus Services Bill: this Bill has been introduced into the House of Lords and received its 1st Reading. It will give elected mayors and local transport authorities power to improve bus services, while mayoral combined authorities will be given London-style powers to franchise local services. There will be stronger arrangements to allow local government to work in partnership with bus operators, and all operators will be required to make data about routes, fares and times open and accessible to allow app makers to develop products for passengers to plan journeys. (19 May 2016)

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

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Welfare and Benefits

DWP: Discretionary Housing Payments guidance manual including local authority good practice guide: revised guidance on how Discretionary Housing Payments can be used to provide support to claimants affected by some of the main welfare reforms, including: application of the benefit cap; removal of the spare room subsidy in the social rented sector; and reductions in Local Housing Allowance. The manual has been updated to reflect welfare reforms being introduced during 2016/17 along with examples of good practice. (19 May 2016)

LGA: Get in on the Act – Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016: the Welfare Reform and Work Act, which received Royal Assent in March, takes forward government commitments to introduce a duty to report to Parliament on progress made towards achieving full employment and the 3m apprenticeships target in England. The Act also ensures reports on the effect of certain support for troubled families and provision for social mobility, the benefit cap, social security and tax credits, loans for mortgage interest, and social housing rents. This publication provides an introduction to the Act and summarises the main issues on which the LGA lobbied. (16 May 2016)

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

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