Authority Update 14/7/17

Brief details of recent policy and legal 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:

    Adult Social Services    Governance
    Children's Services    Health and Social Care
    Combined Authorities and Devolution    Housing
    Economic Development    Maladministration
    Education    Parks and Open Spaces
    Emergency Planning    Procurement
    Employment    Public Health
    Environmental Services    Regulatory Services
    Equality and Discrimination    Standards
    Finance and Rates    Traffic and Transport
    Fire Authorities  

Adult Social Services

CQC: The state of adult social care services 2014 to 2017: presents the findings from the CQC's comprehensive programme of adult social care inspections. The report looks at what the CQC has found about the quality of care across the full range of adult social care services that it regulates. These include residential homes, nursing homes, care in people’s own homes, Shared Lives schemes and supported living services. The report finds that while the majority of adult social care services are of a high quality and many are improving, too many people across England are receiving care in care homes and in their own home that is not good enough. Without a proper recognition of the importance of adult social care and a renewed commitment to quality, the numbers of people affected by poor care could increase and have a profound impact on their lives. (6 July 2017)

DH: Adult Social Care – Quality Matters: this document sets out a shared commitment to high-quality, person-centred adult social care. It has been produced to make a difference in care services by working across the sector with people who use these services and their carers. There is also a summary action plan that sets out six priority areas to make progress on improving quality in the first year. (12 July 2017)

R (JF) v Merton LBC (Rev 1) [2017] EWHC 1519 (Admin) (Admin Ct): JF had Autism Spectrum Disorder and severe learning difficulties, and so required adult residential care with specialist support. He applied for judicial review of the Council's decision to change his residential provision without a lawful statutory assessment of his needs. He argued that the Council had breached its statutory duties under the Care Act 2014 and the Care and Support (Assessment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2827) and had unlawfully decided to terminate his current placement in Cheshire and to move him to a new placement in Sussex.
The court held, granting the application, that the decision to terminate JF's placement was not rational as it was made before JF's needs had been conclusively assessed under the 2014 Act and before the preparation of the Care and Support Plan. The decision did not comply with the statutory duties. The pre-admission report on the Sussex residence did not allow for written detail of the sort deployed in a Care Act Assessment as it was just one part of a process and the Council was entitled only to consider the report in the face of a lawful and rationale Care Act Needs Assessment. It was not strictly necessary to decide whether the report was so inadequate that no reasonable local authority would rely upon it when deciding the suitability of alternative accommodation, but if it was so deficient that no reasonable local authority would rely upon it to commission a service, then the Council had acted unreasonably in placing reliance on it. The court quashed the decision to terminate JF's placement and to assess the Sussex residence as suitable to meet JF's needs, and ordered it to undertake a further assessment of JF's needs in accordance with the provisions of the Care Act 2014 and the Regulations. (30 June 2017)

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

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Children's Services

DfE: Implementation evaluation of Doncaster Children’s Services Trust: the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust was set up to improve children’s social care services in the context of ‘long-term historic failure of corporate and service management’ in Doncaster. This paper presents the findings of an evaluation that looked at: legal and contractual arrangements; financial arrangements; and the strategic relationship between the council and the trust. The evaluation finds that the Trust is having a positive impact on children’s social care in Doncaster. It concludes that the identified improvements demonstrate that the Trust is working in Doncaster. (6 July 2017)

Children's Commissioner: On measuring the number of vulnerable children in England: provides preliminary and experimental estimates of the number of "vulnerable" children. This is measured by assessing the additional needs or barriers children face may make them likely to live healthy, happy, safe lives, or less likely to have successful transitions to adulthood. Vulnerability can take a wide range of different forms, including physical and mental health difficulties, family problems, and risks of abuse of harm. (4 July 2017) 

DfE: £30 million boost to projects supporting vulnerable young people: announces that 24 projects are to receive a share of funding as part of the Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme, which supports the development, testing and spreading of more effective ways of supporting children and families who need help from children’s social care services. (10 July 2017)

Care Planning and Case Review (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/713 (W.170)): these regulations, which come into force on 23 July 2017, amend three sets of regulations which provide for the planning and review of the provision of care and support for persons under the Children Act 1989 and the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The amendments relate to the way that local authorities and other responsible authorities must review the cases of persons who are part of a family which is receiving support from an integrated family support team (IFS team). (30 June 2017)

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

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Combined Authorities and Devolution

NAO: Progress in setting up combined authorities: this report finds that the introduction of combined authorities has meant that inherently complex structures have been added to England’s already complicated local government arrangements. The evidence that investment, decision-making and oversight at this sub national level is linked to improved local economic outcomes is mixed and inconclusive. The NAO finds that there is a risk that local councillors will have limited capacity for the overview and scrutiny of combined authorities. Furthermore, the six mayors elected to combined authorities in May 2017 campaigned on manifestos which frequently made policy commitments beyond the current remits of these organisations. This raises the question of whether mayors can be credible local advocates if they only deal with the limited issues under the remit. The capacity of most combined authorities is currently limited and the lack of geographical coherence between most combined authorities and other providers of public services could make it more problematic to devolve more public services in the future. Among the NAO’s recommendations is that DCLG should continue to work with combined authorities to develop their plans for assessing their impact, including demonstrating the value that they add. (6 July 2017)

London Councils: Devolution and public service reform: this paper, presented to London Councils' AGM, reports on London government’s work on devolution and reform. It includes updates on: the  Memorandum of Understanding on further devolution to London; the Industrial Strategy; devolution of the Adult Education Budget and progress towards wider skills devolution; the Work and Health Programme; health devolution; and the potential devolution of Criminal Justice Services. (11 July 2017)

South Tees Development Corporation (Establishment) Order 2017 (SI 2017/718): the Tees Valley Combined Authority (Functions) Order 2017 conferred certain functions onto the Tees Valley Combined Authority, including the designation of an area to establish a Mayoral Development Corporation. This Order, which comes into force on 1 August 2017, establishes such a corporation for an area that includes the site of the former SSI steelworks site in Redcar and Cleveland and associated land. The principal objective of the Corporation will be to take strategic leadership of the site to co-ordinate and drive regeneration in the area. (3 July 2017)

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

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Economic Development

All Party Parliamentary Group for London: Bridging the skills gap – How skills devolution can secure London’s future prosperity: this paper looks at the challenges facing organisations in the capital as they seek to recruit employees with the right skills to do the job. It finds that London does not have access to the tools to upskill its population to fill gaps left by a reduction in EU migration. In addition, the capital could suck in talent from around the country to compensate, undermining the Industrial Strategy and aims of the Metro Mayors. The Group  calls for a radical overhaul of the skills system across the UK if businesses are to avoid the negative effects of Brexit. (10 July 2017)

Mayor of London: Mayor announces £70m fund to support regeneration in London: the Mayor has launched a new Good Growth Fund to help deliver the objective of Good Growth outlined in ‘A City For All Londoners’, which sets out plans to create a better city for all, where no community is left behind and where everyone has the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential. Delivered in conjunction with the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), the Good Growth Fund will support projects that are inclusive, innovative and which demonstrate exemplary approaches to challenges faced across London. Applications are now open to a broad range of organisations including London boroughs, community groups and charities that drive regeneration in their local area. The deadline for Expressions of Interest is 29 September 2017. (29 June 2017)

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

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DfE: Preventing and tackling bullying: updated guidance for headteachers, staff and governing bodies to help schools take action to prevent and respond to bullying as part of their overall behaviour policy. This new version includes additional information about how schools can support children and young people who are bullied. (4 July 2017)

Welsh Government: School Organisation Code: the School Organisation Code, made under the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013, imposes requirements on relevant bodies and includes statutory guidance which they must take account of. This consultation seeks views on: revisions to the code reflecting feedback; and proposals to strengthen the presumption against closure of rural schools in the Code. The consultation closes on 30 September 2017. (30 June 2017)

Schools (Mental Health and Wellbeing) Bill: this Private Member's Bill has been introduced into the Lords by Baroness Tyler of Enfield and has received its 1st Reading. The Bill amends s.78 of the Education  Act 2002 so as to require state-maintained schools to promote the mental health and well-being of their pupils alongside academic attainment.  (6 July 2017)

R (DS) v Wolverhampton City Council [2017] EWHC 1660 (Admin) (Admin Ct): DS was a 13 year old boy who DS suffered from autism and severe learning difficulties. He applied for judicial review of the Council's alleged ongoing failure or refusal to provide suitable education in breach of its duty under s.19(1) of the Education Act 1996. After an incident when DS returned home from school on the school bus wearing nothing below the waist but a towel, DS's parents asked the Council to amend his Education, Care and Health Plan so that he could be transferred to another school. The Council indicated that it would undertake a "lessons learned" review and that DS would continue to have a full time place at the school but that the Council had also commissioned up to 10 hours education for DS from the pupil referral unit.
The court held, refusing the application, the school was capable of providing efficient education suitable to the age, ability, aptitude and needs of a child like DS, and the mere fact that his parents would prefer DS to be educated elsewhere was not determinative. The court accepted that the parents were justifiably upset by the way in which DS was transported from school and that the school's response to the events was inadequate; however, the parents' response to the events was not entirely reasonable or proportionate. The school's failures constituted a one-off event; there was no suggestion of a systemic failure by the school which would undermine its ability to care for DS in the future, nor had any criminal conduct been suggested or revealed. It was not objectively unreasonable to expect DS to attend the school; on the contrary, with a proper degree of open-mindedness on the part of the parents, the deficiencies in the school's arrangements which the events revealed could have been put right and DS could have returned to the school in safety, and with proper respect for him ensured. Instead, the parents made clear that they were not willing even to contemplate his return to that school. The Council was not in breach of s.19(1) and so were not obliged to make alternative provision for DS as the school remained suitable and available for him. (30 June 2017)

R (E) v Islington LBC [2017] EWHC 1440 (Admin) (Admin Ct): E, a nine year old child, applied for judicial review of two decisions made by the Council in relation to her educational provision. E's mother was profoundly deaf, had no speech and was effectively illiterate. The family had been placed in temporary accommodation in the Council's area by a domestic violence charity, which informed the Council that E was living in the borough, was not in education and was in need of urgent education provision. The family were then transferred to temporary accommodation in another borough (H&F) where E was eventually given a school place, but then were transferred back to Islington at short notice. E was not in education for 50% of that school year. E contended that the Council's conduct (through a combination of acts and omissions) had violated Protocol 1 Art.2 ECHR and was therefore unlawful under s.6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
The court held, granting the application, that it was arguable that an authority with the responsibility for providing education, was in breach of Protocol 1 Art.2 if it knew that a pupil was not receiving education and engaged in a completely ineffectual attempt to provide it. The Council's failure to provide E with access to mainstream education for 50% of the school year amounted in her particular case to a denial of the essence of her right to education for that year. The impact of four changes of school in a year was likely to have adversely affected E's educational attainment; furthermore, these repeated absences also deprived her of the only opportunity ordinarily available to her to interact with other children and with hearing adults who could help with the development of her speech, reading and learning generally and with the realisation of her potential. These periods of absence thus acquired a special significance in E's case that they would not necessarily have had in the case of a child who did not suffer from the same underlying disadvantages.
A local authority that was contemplating the transfer of a school-age homeless child into temporary accommodation out of borough had a duty under s.11(2)(b) of the Children Act 2004 to reason and properly record its decision-making process, and its educational obligations were not automatically terminated by the mere fact of a temporary transfer. It was also under a corollary duty to liaise with the receiving borough's education department in order to satisfy itself that it had adequately performed its duty under s.11(2)(b). Here, the Council was under a legal obligation to inform H&F clearly, and well in advance of the transfer, that it was intending to delegate its subsisting educational duties (as well as its housing duties) as an inevitable consequence of the move; and a corresponding duty to satisfy themselves that H&F had made the necessary educational arrangements. They were also under a duty to record their reasoning on these two questions so that they could be in a position to adduce evidence of it in court, should the need arise. There was no evidence to suggest that the Council had complied with these obligations.
The Council was the public authority with primary and continuing responsibility for ensuring E's right to education. The court declared that the Council had acted unlawfully, in breach of s.6 HRA 1998 and in violation of E's right to education under Protocol 1 Art.2 ECHR, by denying her the right to education for the cumulative periods set out in this judgment. She was also entitled to a remedy in damages. (30 June 2017)

Matalia v Warwickshire CC [2017] EWCA Civ 991 (CA): the court dismissed M's appeal against a final injunction restraining him from publishing or disclosing the contents of 11-plus tests used by the Council and taken by candidates in the years 2013 to 2015. The injunction had been granted on the basis of the restraint of breach of confidence. M had published details of some of the questions in the tests after some, but not all, of the pupils had sat them.
The court held that the Council did have standing to bring the case. M's submissions proceeded on a fundamental misunderstanding of the equitable right to enforce confidence in information. Information was not property and there was no principled reason why a right to enforce confidence should be treated as analogous to the enforcement of property rights. The Council had commissioned the tests so that it could fulfil its obligations to the grammar schools to provide and administer the 11-plus tests. In order to do so, it was too obvious to need stating that the tests had to be kept confidential until they were taken by all pupils sitting them. As the provider and administrator of the tests, the Council had a substantial and legitimate interest in the maintenance of their confidentiality and it was the obvious person to enforce that confidentiality. the judge was fully entitled to grant the injunction in the terms of his order. (13 July 2017)

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

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Emergency Planning

Commons Library: Dealing with civil contingencies – Emergency planning in the UK: the recent fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, London has raised questions about how the emergency services, local authorities and other agencies plan for and respond to civil contingencies. This briefing looks at emergency planning in the UK: the responsibilities of each of the responding agencies and how those fit within the framework for planning for and responding to civil contingencies laid down by Government.
There is a separate research briefing on Grenfell Tower fire: Response and tackling fire risk in high rise blocks that sets out the events and commentary around the fire, the relevant building regulations, fire safety laws and housing standards, the Government response to the fire, the responsibilities around re-housing, and previous concerns raised with fire regulations. It also covers responses from the devolved administrations. (11 July 2017)

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

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DBEIS: Good work – The Taylor review of modern working practices: this independent review by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts, considers the employment law implications of new forms of work – particularly short-term, casual or 'gig' working – on worker rights and responsibilities, as well as on employer freedoms and obligations. He sets out seven principles to address the challenges facing the UK labour market. (11 July 2017)
For a summary of the report, see our Alert! Taylor Review into 'gig' working.

LGA: Work Local – Our vision for an integrated and devolved employment and skills services: this report on the future of public services calls for new powers for councils to help transform the lives of millions of people who could be trapped in a future skills gap. It proposes a new service, Work Local, that would be organised at the level of combined authorities and groups of councils. At the heart of this reformed model would be a new, ‘one stop’ service bringing together information, advice and the delivery of employment, skills and wider support for individuals and for employers. (5 July 2017)

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

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Environmental Services

DEFRA: Summary of responses to the consultation on reducing emissions from Medium Combustion Plants and Generators: this document announces that the Environment Agency (EA) is to replace the role of English local councils in regulating some installations covered by the local air pollution prevention and control (LAPPC) regime. In November 2016, the Government consulted on its proposed approach to regulating emissions from generators in England and Wales. It included  options for choice of regulator – whether to continue with the present system whereby the EA in England and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) in Wales regulate plants in Part A1 installations and those where the regulator must determine the permit conditions to safeguard local air quality, while local authorities (LAs) regulate all other plants, or whether the EA (or NRW) should regulate all plants in England (or Wales). This response document announces that it has decided to appoint the EA as the regulator in England as this provides greater clarity on roles, consistency in implementation and regulator fees, and greater flexibility for regulating mobile plants and multiple sites with a single operator. For the higher risk plants, where the impact on local air quality must be assessed to determine permit conditions, local authorities will be consulted. The Welsh Government is further considering the matter of regulatory responsibility in relation to plant in Wales. (11 July 2017)

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

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Equality and Discrimination

Fawcett Society / LGIU: Does local government work for women?: this report looks at sexism in local government. It builds on the Local Government Commission's interim report which found that female councillors are held back by structural and cultural barriers, facing sexism from fellow councillors, including in the public council chamber, and sexism within the party political structures. The Commission looked at all the aspects and stages of the process, from first becoming a candidate to becoming the leader of a council. It concludes that "in many ways local government is stuck in the past. An outdated sexist culture that belongs in the 1970s dominates too many of our town halls. Widespread sexist practices, sexual harassment unchecked and unchallenged; a resistance to using technology or changing meeting practices; a lack of inclusive practices and a shockingly widespread failure to meet the basic requirements of having maternity provision, or to provide childcare expenses; these things reveal that local government is still, overwhelmingly, a man-made male-dominated world." It makes a series of recommendations that would bring more women into local government and help them to play a full role at all levels. If implemented, they will begin to make local government work for women. (13 July 2017)

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

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Finance and Rates

London Councils: London Business Rates Pilot Pool 2018-19: this report, presented to London Councils' AGM, updates the Leaders’ Committee on the progress of the proposals to pilot 100% business rates retention via a London pool in 2018-19. It notes the lack of clarity about the Government’s policy intentions in this area following the General Election and sets out an approach by which London Government could remain in a position to negotiate a 2018-19 pilot pool, should the Government renew its commitment to this approach. (11 July 2017)

LGA: Balancing the public finances: the LGA is calling for the Government to address the overall funding gap of £5.8bn facing local government by the end of the decade, and to provide an additional £1.3bn required to stabilise the adult social care provider market. (10 July 2017)

DCLG: Local Government Pension Scheme – Guidance on preparing and maintaining an investment strategy statement: assists administering authorities in the formulation, publication and maintenance of their Investment Strategy Statement required by reg.7 of the Local Government Pension Scheme (Management and Investment of Funds) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/946). (12 July 2017)

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

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Fire Authorities

Policing and Crime Act 2017 (Commencement No. 3 and Transitional and Saving Provisions) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/726 (C.57)): these regulations bring a number of provisions in the 2017 Act into force on 17 July 2017, and make transitional and saving provision in relation to the coming into force of certain of those provisions. The provisions brought into force include s.8, which amends the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 to enable a mayor of a combined authority to delegate fire and rescue functions to the chief constable who would employ both police and fire personnel. They also commence certain provisions relating to the inspection of fire and rescue authorities. (6 July 2017)

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

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DCLG: Independent Recovery Taskforce for Kensington and Chelsea Council: the Communities Secretary has announced that he is putting in place an independent Recovery Taskforce to help Kensington and Chelsea RLBC deal with the longer term recovery of the Grenfell Tower fire. Further information and details of who will be a part of this taskforce will be announced within the next few weeks. (5 July 2017)

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

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Health and Social Care

DH: Integration and Better Care Fund planning requirements for 2017-19: updated operational guidance for NHS bodies and local authorities on how to fulfil the national conditions and requirements for spending the BCF and Improved BCF funding.
See also the Health Secretary's announcement of measures to support the NHS and local government in reducing delays for people being discharged from hospital to local social care services. (5 July 2017)

LGA: Councillors' perceptions of sustainability and transformation partnerships: sets out key findings from a survey of councillors' views on the development of local STPs. These are aiming to redesign and overhaul local health and care services to cope with increasing patient demand and will focus on treating patients in the community and away from hospitals. However, the survey shows that the majority of councillors do not feel they have been involved with shaping, commenting on or approving the NHS’s 44 STPs, and under 25% of responding councillors are confident that their STP will deliver on its objectives or bring benefits to their local communities. (5 July 2017)

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

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DCLG: Housing Infrastructure Fund: DCLG has launched a £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund that offers funding to local authorities on a competitive basis from 2017-18 to 2020-21, for infrastructure to support up to 100,000 new homes. The money is to help to fund vital physical infrastructure projects like the building of roads, bridges, energy networks and other utilities. It will also be available to help build new schools, healthcare centres and digital infrastructure. The fund is divided into two parts: a Marginal Viability Fund to provide the final or missing piece of infrastructure funding to get additional sites allocated or existing sites unblocked quickly; and a Forward Fund for a small number of strategic and high-impact infrastructure projects. The closing date for applications is 28 September 2017. (4 July 2017)

LGA: Housing our homeless households: this report responds to rising concern amongst local authorities about the increasing homelessness pressures being faced across the country. The report explores the increasing demand for temporary accommodation, and the innovations that a number of councils are pursuing to respond to this increasing demand with some recommendations and tools for other councils wanting to replicate this activity in their areas. The project also explored reforms that the Government can make to better help councils to support homeless households. It notes that some councils are losing millions of pounds per year on temporary accommodation and many others are facing challenges in needing to find more accommodation to meet rising homelessness demand, and it looks at what local authorities are doing to meet the challenge. (5 July 2017)

LGA: Debate on the supply of homes and affordable homes to buy: briefing paper to inform a Commons debate notes that local government supports the collective national ambition to build one million new homes by 2020, but house building is currently well below the levels required for an efficient and fully functioning housing market. (13 July 2017)

DCLG: Protection from prosecution for unlawful subletting at Grenfell Tower: announces that the DPP has issued guidance to prosecutors not to bring charges against tenants in the tower block who may have been unlawfully sub-letting their properties, given the public interest must be in being able to identify the victims of the fire. Kensington and Chelsea RLBC has also confirmed that it will respect this guidance. (2 July 2017)

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

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LGL: Court awards aggravated damages against Ombudsman over case handling: reports that Leeds County Court has awarded a claimant £7,500 for discrimination, £2,500 for data protection breaches and £2,500 for aggravated damages over the way the LGO service handled her case. She had claimed the LGO had breached equalities duties, and breached the first data protection principle by failing to process her data lawfully, the fourth principle by failing to ensure sensitive personal data was accurate and the seventh by failing to ensure measures were in place against unlawful processing of the data. The judge stated that the way in which the LGO's defence was conducted had added to the injury, frustration and distress felt by the claimant and that this had at times exacerbated the physical and mental symptoms she suffered as a result of her disability. (11 July 2017)

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

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Parks and Open Spaces

GLA: Park life – Ensuring green spaces remain a hit with Londoners: this report from the London Assembly's Environment Committee looks at what measures should be taken to protect and improve the capital’s green spaces. It calls for a team effort, with the Mayor supporting the public and private sectors to work with Londoners to protect and improve its green spaces. The Committee recommends that volunteers play a key role, crowdfunding is explored, and private investment is encouraged across the board. (4 July 2017)

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

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Mayor of London: The GLA Group responsible procurement policy: this report highlights the Group's progress in implementing the Mayor's Responsible Procurement Policy, which was adopted in 2006 in order to ensure that the GLA Group's annual spend of over £3bn was spent in accordance with his vision to be an exemplary, sustainable, world city. It discusses in detail the policy's social and environmental objectives, summarises the roles of the organisations that make up the GLA group, and also places the policy within the context of London's diversity and the challenges the city faces. It sets out what has been delivered in the first year of implementation with specific case studies, and summarises how the Group plans to take Responsible Procurement forward. (13 June 2017)

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

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Public Health

Public Health England: Health profile for England: summarises and interprets current trends in health outcomes in England to show how long people are living, in what condition, the causes of death, disease and disability, how this compares with our European counterparts and how the circumstances of people’s lives impact on their health. (13 July 2017)

Public Health (Wales) Act 2017: this Act has received Royal Assent. It contains a number of measures for improving and protecting the health and well-being of the population of Wales. It covers several discrete areas of public health policy, including: tobacco and nicotine products; procedures such as tattooing, piercing and acupuncture; food hygiene; and access to public toilets. (3 July 2017)

The King's Fund: Chickens coming home to roost – Local government public health budgets for 2017/18: analysis of new DCLG data on local authorities’ planned budgets for public health in 2017/18. While the data shows that shows that councils in England are planning to spend £3.4bn on public health services in 2017/18, once inflation and changes to how budgets are calculated are factored in, on a like-for-like basis, planned public health spending is >5 per cent less in 2017/18 than it was in 2013/14. (12 July 2017)

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

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Regulatory Services

Reigate and Banstead BC v Pawlowski [2017] EWHC 1764 (Admin) (Admin Ct): the Council appealed by way of case stated against the justices' decision to allow P's appeal against the Council's revocation of his private hire vehicle driver's licence. The court dismissed the appeal and made observations on the use of the power under s.61 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 to suspend a PVH driver's licence. R (Singh) v Cardiff City Council [2012] EWHC 1852 (Admin) established that it was unlawful for a local authority to use suspension as a holding operation pending further investigation, so a council could not lawfully suspend by reason of a criminal charge on a "wait and see" basis, nor could it use the cloak of a substantive decision to suspend to achieve the same holding operation. If it suspended the licence, it had to do so by way of a substantive decision on the fitness of the driver to hold the licence, after giving the driver a proper opportunity to state his case, not merely as a means by which to maintain a position pending the final outcome of the criminal proceedings. When faced with a decision under s.61, the council had to fully consider the available information, afford the licence-holder the opportunity to state his case, and exercise judgment and discretion. Where a licence-holder was charged with an offence the commission of which would be considered to render him unfit to hold a licence, the council was likely to consider it appropriate to revoke the licence at that stage. To suspend the licence merely because of the charge and revoke it merely because of the ensuing conviction would conflict with the decision in R (Singh) v Cardiff City Council as to the scope of the power under s.61. Any decision to revoke would be subject to a statutory right of appeal. Further, if it should later transpire, for example by reason of acquittal at trial, that the former licence-holder was indeed a fit and proper person to hold a licence, provision could be made for expeditious re-licensing.
The court also dismissed the Council's appeal against the award of costs in favour of P. (13 July 2017)

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

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Committee on Standards in Public Life: Setting the Standard – Strategic Plan, Annual Report 2016-17 & Forward Plan 2017-18: this paper sets out the Committee's strategic vision and purpose, reports on its work for 2016-2017, and outlines its plans for 2017-18. These plans include a review of local government standards, with a consultation in early 2018 and the findings and recommendations published in 2018. (10 July 2017)

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

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Traffic and Transport

DfT: Transport investment strategy: sets out DFT's priorities and approach for future transport investment decisions and explains how transport investment can deliver a stronger, fairer Britain. It includes a commitment to consult on a new major road network that would see a share of the annual National Road Fund, funded by Vehicle Excise Duty, given to local authorities to improve or replace the most important A-roads under their management. It also outlines plans for a new rebalancing measure, which will judge how investment programmes contribute to a more balanced economy. (5 July 2017)

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

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