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    Governance
    Adult Social Services    Health and Safety
    Children's Services     Health and Social Care
    Delivery of Services     Housing
    Development Control    Maladministration
    Devolution and Reorganisation    Procurement
    Education    Public Health
    Elections    Regulatory Services
    Finance    Transport

Access to Information

Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill: this Private Member's Bill has been introduced into the Commons by Louise Haigh MP and received its 1st Reading. The Bill would extend the application of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to private contractors performing public services. It would also implement recommendation of the 2015 independent review of FOI, including introducing a statutory time limit for internal reviews, and providing that an offence under the Act should be triable either way. (31 January 2018)

Freedom of Information (Additional Public Authorities) Order 2018 (SI 2018/173): this order, which comes into force on 1 May 2018, adds a number of bodies and officer holders to Part 6 of Sch.1 to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The effect is that each body and office holder will be required to make information available to the public in accordance with the Act.
The Freedom of Information (Removal of References to Public Authorities) Order 2018 (SI 2018/185) removes  references to a number of public authorities from Part 6 and Part 7 of Sch.1 to the Act, as these authorities have ceased to exist. (14 February 2018)

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

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Adult Social Services

NAO: The adult social care workforce in England: this report concludes that the DHSC is not doing enough to support a sustainable social care workforce. The number of people working in care is not meeting the country’s growing care demands and unmet care needs are increasing. It recommends that the Department produces a robust national workforce strategy with the support of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and that it encourages local and regional bodies to align their own plans to it. The Department also needs to invest more to enable commissioners to set appropriate fees for providers, so they can pay staff adequately and afford to offer career development and training opportunities. (8 February 2018)

DfE: Social Work England – Secondary legislative framework: seeks views on the policy underpinning draft regulations for Social Work England - the new regulator for the social work profession in England. Social Work England’s primary objective will be protection of the public, which it will achieve through setting professional, education and training standards for social workers, and providing assurance that those registered meet the standards, are qualified and remain fit to practise. The consultation includes draft illustrative Social Workers Regulations, which show how the proposals document are likely to appear in the legislative framework. The consultation closes on 21 March 2018. (8 February 2018)

CP v North East Lincolnshire Council [2018] EWHC 220 (Admin) (Admin Ct): CP was a 22-year-old woman with complex and multiple disabilities and required round-the-clock care. She applied for judicial review of the Council's discharge of its statutory responsibilities under the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014 (CFA 2014). Issues concerning her the package of care, including the personal budget, were agreed before the hearing; however, CP maintained a challenge to past care provision and the level of direct payments, and sought a variety of remedies that were intended to underpin potential compensatory claims in relation to asserted past failures. At the heart of the dispute was the cost of CP's attendance at an establishment which was part of a charity controlled by CP's parents, and whether payment should have been included in the care package from the time of the first placement. At the time the proceedings were commenced, there was an outstanding application before the FTT which also sought to challenge the local authority provision and its approach to the need for an Education and Health Care plan (EHC).
The court held, dismissing the application, that the main issue was whether a local authority was acting unlawfully and/or in such a way that was challengeable by judicial review where it did not address the social care aspect of special educational provision, or the cost of any special educational needs placement when there was an outstanding appeal under s.51 of the Children and Families Act 2014 in relation to those matters. The judge ruled that it was not – when there was an appeal process, the responsibility for the decision in relation to both matters lay with the tribunal, and there was no obligation on the local authority until the tribunal determination was made. There was a distinction between deemed special educational provision arising from the social care element, for which the FTT had jurisdiction, and that which fell as the responsibility of the statutory social care provider. The Council did not act unlawfully in respect of the social care provision / special educational provision. It was entirely appropriate that any final assessment and care plan awaited the outcome of the tribunal proceedings, because the Council was bound to defer to the tribunal decision. To say that the establishment was a placement rather than educational provision, and that the Council should have taken account of the fact that there might be occasional and incidental educational aspects to social care provision, ignored the separate and parallel regime that was provided for under CFA 2014. It would impose an unreasonable burden on the Council if it were required to make such an assessment purely under the Care Act, and to expose itself to legal challenge, when there was an obvious jurisdiction with the decision-making process available in relation to special educational provision under CFA 2014.
It would not be appropriate to quash previous personal budgets. Any failure to provide a transparent budget in a care and support plan was a prima facie breach of the Council's personal budget duty under s.26 of the Care Act 2014. However, here the earlier care and support plans had been superseded by the latest plan. Whether or not the Council had acted unlawfully in relation to past matters was irrelevant for the purposes of judicial review, unless that unlawfulness continued to affect or had consequences for CP's rights and entitlements. Even if past unlawfulness were established in relation to the way in which the Council drew up the support plans, and in particular identified (or failed to identify) the personal budget, that would be a failure of form, rather than substance, because it did not impact directly on CP if it was subsequently corrected. (9 February 2018)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Kirtpal Kaur Aujla.

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Children's Services

DfE: Foster care in England: report of Sir Martin Narey's and Mark Owers's independent review that looked at the purpose of foster care and what it means to those closely involved in the system. It contains recommendations on improving the fostering system for children and foster carers. In particular, it emphasises that foster carers must be allowed much greater authority in making decisions about the children in their care and they need to be liberated to offer the physical affection which is a vital and necessary part of most children’s healthy upbringing. The Government will respond to the report and the recommendations in Spring 2018, setting out the future programme of work for the fostering system.
Alongside the report, the Government has published new statistics that provide additional analysis on looked after children in foster care. (6 February 2018)

Ofsted: Framework, evaluation criteria and inspector guidance for the inspections of local authority children’s services: updated guidance for inspecting local authority services for children in need of help and protection, children in care and care leavers. It includes a new Annex C about inspections where a local authority is part of a regional adoption agency. (9 February 2018)

Ofsted: Guide to registration for children's social care services: updated guidance for social care providers on whether they need to apply for registration and what processes the application will go through before it can decide whether the applicant is suitable to be registered as a social care provider or manager.
There is also an updated Checklist for children's social care application listing the documents that must be submitted as part of a children's social care application. (2 February 2018)

Local Authority (Duty to Secure Early Years Provision Free of Charge) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/146): these regulations, which come into force on 1 April 2018, amend SI 2014/2147 so as to introduce a net earnings threshold of £15,400 pa to determine eligibility for the 2 year old early education entitlement under Universal Credit. Local authorities will be under a duty to secure that free childcare is available to children who are eligible under the revised criteria. Local authorities will be required to ensure that appropriate provision is available for all eligible children and to enter into arrangements with providers to this end. (7 February 2018)

Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/111 (W.26)): these regulations, which come into force on 2 April 2018, amend SI 2015/1818 by adding to the information which must be notified by the responsible authority to the out of area authority about the placement of a looked after child. (2 February 2018)

Re A-F (Children) [2018] EWHC 138 (Fam): the President of the Family Division has given guidance in a number of test cases on the circumstances in which Art.5 ECHR (deprivation of liberty) would be engaged in relation to a child in the care of the local authority, and the processes and procedures necessary to ensure there was no breach.
The court ruled that for there to be a deprivation of liberty engaging Art.5, the following had to be present: confinement in a restricted place for a not negligible period; lack of valid consent; and the attribution of responsibility to the state. The question was: at what point in the child's development, and by reference to what criteria, did one determine whether the circumstances amounting to confinement engaged Art.5? In most cases, this would depend on whether the child was under "complete supervision and control" rather than whether they were "confined". As a general rule of thumb, a 10 year old under constant supervision was unlikely to be "confined" for Art.5 purposes, while an 11 year old might be; but the court would more readily conclude that a 12 year old child who was under constant supervision was so "confined". The judge then considered key elements of a process that was Art.5 compliant, looking at: the need to apply to the court; what has to be approved; evidence; the interface with care proceedings; and the need for continuing review. (31 January 2018)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Kirtpal Kaur Aujla.

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Delivery of Services

Localis: Ethical commercialism – Reforming the public service market: announces that Localis has launched a research project that will explore how new organisations, new models and approaches are needed and articulate the case for changing corporate culture. The research is looking at arguments for an ethical approach to commercialisation in public services and will focus on three areas: the state of the market; principles of a reformed public service market; and who is responsible for delivering ethical commercialism. It will make recommendations to Government regarding the improvement of the public service market to help it bring to life its mission to reform the way businesses see their role in, and responsibility toward, society. (8 February 2018)

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

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Development Control

MHCLG: Local authority development – Effect of planning permission: Government response to consultation: in the Housing White Paper, the Government consulted on a proposal to allow all local authorities to dispose of land with the benefit of planning permission they have granted themselves. This is a summary of the responses received and sets out the Government’s response.
The changes have been implemented by the Town and Country Planning General (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/99), in force 23 February 2018, which amend SI 1992/1492 so as allow planning permission granted by all interested planning authorities to themselves to run with the land so that if the authority later sells the land before developing it under the permission, the purchaser will be able to develop the land under that permission. (2 February 2018)

Town and Country Planning (Local Authority Consultations etc.) (England) Order 2018 (SI 2018/119): local planning authorities and, in certain circumstances, the Secretary of State, are required to undertake public consultation before deciding applications for planning permission, applications for permission in principle, applications related to listed buildings and certain applications for “prior approval” in connection with planning permission granted by development order. This Order, which comes into force on 1 April and 1 June 2018, extends periods of consultation by one day for each bank and public holiday which occurs during prescribed periods of consultation in certain circumstances. It implements a commitment given by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth during the passage of the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017. (1 February 2018)

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

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Devolution and Reorganisation

Draft Greater Manchester Combined Authority (Amendment) Order 2018: this draft Order, once in force, Order amends the constitutional arrangements of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in relation to taking decisions on the Housing Investment Fund and to enable the GMCA to seek a view from the Independent Remuneration Panel in relation to allowances for committee and sub-committee members. It also makes some amendments to the process for setting the Police and Crime Commissioner component of the mayoral precept for the Greater Manchester Mayor. (7 February 2018)

House of Commons: Local Government Improvement – Suffolk: the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has announced his decision to agree to proposals for merging district councils in Suffolk. Forest Heath DC and St Edmundsbury BCs will merge to create West Suffolk DC, while Suffolk Coastal and Waveney DCs will also become a single authority, East Suffolk DC. The draft SIs will be laid before Parliament enabling the new authorities to be set up in shadow form from April 2018, and to come into being on 1 April 2019, with the first elections held on 2 May 2019. (8 February 2018)

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

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DfE: Meeting the Public Sector Apprenticeship Target – Statutory guidance for bodies in scope of the Public Sector Apprenticeship Target: updated statutory guidance to most public bodies with 250 or more staff in England, on how they should aim to meet the public sector apprenticeship target, and use the data publication and apprenticeship activity return to report their progress towards meeting the target. It has been updated to reflect amendments made to the Public Sector Apprenticeship Targets Regulations 2017 by the Apprenticeships (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2017, which come into force on 31 March 2018. (9 February 2018)

DfE: Teaching, leadership and governance in further education: sets out the findings from a rapid evidence review conducted by Professor David Greatbatch and Sue Tate that synthesised the available evidence on teaching, leadership and governance in the FE sector. The evidence reviewed covered the whole FE sector with a specific focus on FE colleges. (8 February 2018)

DfE: Characteristics of young people who are long-term NEET: this report includes analysis of the characteristics of young people who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) for a year, three years after completing Key Stage 4 in the 2010 to 2011 academic year. The majority of this group were 18 at the start of the 2013 to 2014 academic year. (8 February 2018)

Free School Lunches and Milk, and School and Early Years Finance (Amendments Relating to Universal Credit) (England) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/148): these regulations, which come into force on 1 April 2018, amend the existing eligibility criteria for free school lunches and milk (FSM) and the early years pupil premium (EYPP). They introduce a net earned income threshold of £7,400 pa under Universal Credit, below which a household must earn to qualify for FSM and the EYPP from 1 April 2018. DfE will provide further guidance to local authorities and schools on how eligibility checks will be performed. (7 February 2018)

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

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Cabinet Office: New Electoral Laws proposed to combat intimidation in public life: the Prime Minister has announced that the Government is to consult on a new offence in electoral law of intimidating parliamentary candidates and their campaigners. In addition, legislation will remove the requirement for candidates standing as councillors in local elections to have their addresses published on ballot papers, in time for local elections in May 2019. (6 February 2018)

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

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MHCLG: Final local government finance settlement 2018 to 2019: the Secretary of State has issued the funding settlement for English local authorities for the next two years. He has also announced a further £150m Adult Social Care Support Grant in 2018 to 2019, and a further £16m for Rural Services Delivery Grant in 2018 to 2019. The threshold at which councils must hold a referendum before raising Council Tax has been set in line with inflation at 3%.
Alongside the final settlement, the Government has also published: 

(5 February 2018)

MHCLG: Fair funding review – A review of relative needs and resources: Technical consultation on relative need: seeks views on seeks views on the approach to measuring the relative needs of local authorities. The Government is considering a wide range of options for developing an updated funding formula by looking again at the factors that drive costs for local authorities. This consultation focuses specifically on potential approaches that have been identified to measure the relative needs of local authorities. It aims to implement a new system based on its findings in 2020 to 2021. The consultation closes on 12 March 2018. (5 February 2018)

Northamptonshire CC: Immediate spending controls put in place at Northamptonshire County Council: announces that the council's Director of Finance has issued a Section 114 notice imposing immediate spending controls on the organisation. The Council has also issued details of how it will tighten spending controls. (2 February 2018)
See also CIPFA's response to Northamptonshire County Council being the subject of a Section 114 Notice.

MHCLG: Capital finance – Guidance on local government investments (third edition): this revised guidance on local government investments applies for accounting periods starting on or after 1 April 2018. (2 February 2018)

MHCLG: Capital finance – Guidance on minimum revenue provision (fourth edition): updated guidance for local authorities on determining a prudent level of minimum revenue provision when investing in their capital assets. This revised edition applies for accounting periods starting on or after 1 April 2019, with the exception of paras.27-29 on "Changing methods for calculating MRP", which apply from accounting periods starting on or after 1 April 2018 (2 February 2018)

Non-Domestic Rating (Demand Notices) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/122 (W.28)): these regulations, which come into force in Wales on 23 February 2018, amend Sch.2 to SI 2017/113 (W.39) regarding the  information which must be included in the explanatory notes accompanying a non-domestic rates demand notice. (2 February 2018)

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

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Peters v Haringey LBC; Lendlease Europe Holdings Ltd (Interested Party) [2018] EWHC 192 (Admin) (Admin Ct): P was a member of a coalition of groups of residents opposed to the Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV). The purpose of the HDV was to create a partnership between the Council and the private sector, to bring private sector finance, experience and expertise to the task of developing the Council's land for its better use, and so achieving the Council's strategic aims in housing, affordable housing and employment. P applied for judicial review of the Council's decision to confirm LEH as the successful bidder to become the Council's partner in the HDV. The decision also approved the structure of the HDV, the 50/50 split between LEH and the Council, as well as the related legal documents. P contended that the Council: 

  • could not use an LLP for these purposes since the Council was acting for a commercial purpose under s.1 Localism Act 2011, and so had to use a limited company; 
  • had failed in its statutory duty of consultation under s.3 LGA 1999; 
  • had failed in its public sector equality duty under s.149 Equality Act 2010; and 
  • could only take this decision in full Council and not by Cabinet alone, by virtue of r.4(1)(b) of the Functions and Responsibilities Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/2853).

The court held, refusing the application, that the purpose of s.1 of the 2011 Act was to give authorities a considerably broader range of powers than they had enjoyed hitherto. Parliament had not intended that the existing powers of authorities, in the guise of a very considerable enlargement of their scope, including their non-commercial scope, should become restricted so that "things" that could be done already without a company, now had to be done through a company, if they were to be done at all. Nor was it intended that doing "things" which might generate a profit or return for the council should now be done and only lawfully done through a company, and indeed not through an LLP. 

  • On ground 1, the Council's purpose in entering into the arrangements setting up the HDV and governing its operation could not be characterised as "a commercial purpose" within the scope of the 2011 Act. Its dominant purpose was not commercial: any commercial component was merely incidental or ancillary, and not a separate purpose. The mere fact that a profit might be made which could be used in either of those ways did not of itself show that the activities had any commercial purpose at all, because of the obligations of financial prudence. The Council might have been acting in a commercial manner, but it was not acting for a commercial purpose. 
  • Re consultation, P's application was out of time and the court refused to extend time. Section 3 LGA 1999 required consultation about a "high level" decision, policy or approach, and not one about awarding, let alone entry into, a particular contract. The equivalent decisions on the HDV were taken in February 2015, or at the latest November 2015, and the consultation duty should have been undertaken before those decisions were actually arrived at. 
  • Re the PSED, this ground lacked arguable merit in relation to whichever decision it was addressed; it was also a long way out of time. The regularity with which the PSED had been considered during the decision making sequence was striking. If there was a stage in the decision-making process which required compliance with s.149, where it was not complied with, then this was in 2015 where the Council decided to proceed with an overarching single development vehicle in a 50/50 partnership with the private sector, as opposed to pursuing some other option.
  • On ground 4: the fact that the arrangements had financial consequences did not bring them within the exceptions to Cabinet decisions under the 2000 Regulations and the Council's Constitution. The decision to enter into such arrangements might properly be described as a plan or strategy, but that did not make it a plan or strategy "for the control of the authority's borrowing, investments or capital expenditure". Nor did it come within the Council's Constitution's definition of "budget". The fact that within the HDV arrangements there might be scope for borrowing and expenditure might mean that future decisions on such matters would be for full Council, but that did not make the July decisions, which permitted future decisions to be made through entry into the arrangements, decisions for full Council.

(8 February 2018)
For commentary on this case, see our Alerts: Lawfulness of using LLPs for local authority joint ventures and The Haringey ruling and local authorities' duty to consult.

R (Pearl) v Maldon DC [2018] EWHC 212 (Admin) (Admin Ct): the High Court has issued a timely reminder to avoid "ratifying" decisions where the decision-maker is required to exercise discretion. The judgment also highlights the duty under the Openness Regulations 2014 to make a written record of certain decisions taken and the reasons for that decision.
P applied for judicial review of the council's decision to approve reserved matters under outline planning permission for the erection of a house. P contended that the application for approval was invalid as it sought approval for layout which was not a reserved matter and that the approved layout had been changed. The planning officer's report to the committee described the proposal as one for the approval of appearance, landscaping, layout and scale, and recommended approval; a later members' update again described the proposal as seeking approval for layout. Neither report mentioned P's contention that the application was invalid. The committee delegated the decision to the Interim Head of Planning; as the Council had no Head of Planning Services, his powers fell to be exercised by the Chief Executive. The report to her again described the application as one seeking approval for "layout". It stated that the Council's Legal Services considered that there was no need to re-consult on the application and that only one of the three members consulted had responded to a request for his views, stating that he was "happy for you to grant consent". The Chief Executive accepted the recommendation that the application "be granted planning permission subject to the conditions contained within the original committee report and the Members' Update". There was no evidence that the Chief Executive was provided with either of those documents or any further substantive information about the application.
The court held, allowing the application, that the Chief Executive's decision to approve the application for approval of reserved matters would be quashed. Where the decision on an application for the approval of reserved matters was taken by an authority themselves or by one of their committees, there was no statutory requirement for reasons to be given for the decision. However, the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014 required an officer to make a written record of certain decisions taken, along with reasons for the decision and details of alternative options, if any considered and rejected. Therefore, the Chief Executive was required to produce a written record, including her reasons for her decision. She did not do so. There was no evidence that the Chief Executive had the reports before her when taking her decision so it appeared that all she in fact did was to endorse the recommendation the report contained, made for the reasons which were not explained in the Report to her, to grant "planning permission" subject to conditions in ignorance of details of the application.
The valid exercise of any statutory discretion required the person entrusted with it to take into account herself those matters that the decision-maker had to consider, and then to decide on the merits in the light of them, how the discretion entrusted to her should be exercised. Here, the Chief Executive failed to exercise the discretion delegated to her, to determine whether or not approval should be granted for any of the reserved matters described in the revised plans, on their merits and in the light of representations received. She was not in a position to do so, nor was she in a position to resolve any issue about the validity of the amended application. At most she simply endorsed a recommendation given for reasons that were not disclosed to her. Her decision was accordingly unlawful. (9 February 2018)

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

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Health and Safety

HSE: London Council and Veolia fined after worker crushed by reversing vehicle: reports that Southwark Crown Court has fined Croydon LBC £100,000 with costs of £10,843 after the authority pleaded guilty to breaching s.2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. In addition, Veolia ES (UK) Ltd was fined £250,000 with costs of £11,360 for breaching s.3(1) of the 1974 Act. The prosecution arose following an incident when a council employee, working within Veolia's motor vehicle repair undertaking as a workshop cleaner, was struck by a reversing dust cart, suffering serious injuries. He was employed as a ‘supported employee’ due to his learning difficulties with a recognised need for heightened supervision. He was known to have a history of standing in the path of moving vehicles, an issue known to both duty holders which they failed to address adequately. The Council had relied upon an historical ‘agreement’ from 2003 whereby their previous waste contractor had agreed to supervise the workshop cleaner; however, Veolia did not recognise this ‘agreement’ nor did they require the services of the workshop cleaner but, nevertheless, the worker continued to operate within their workshop and had done since their contract began. The court found that both duty holders had failed to take into account the specific capabilities of the vulnerable worker and to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure his safety working within a high-risk environment. (31 January 2018)

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

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Health and Social Care

DHSC: Care and support statutory guidance – Chapter 9 Deferred payment agreements: updated statutory guidance for local authorities on Part 1 of the Care Act 2014. This chapter has been amended to explain how the deferred payment agreement scheme operates, following  changes to the Care and Support (Deferred Payment) Regulations made by SI 2017/1318. (12 February 2018)

Welsh Government: Wales – A dementia friendly nation: the Welsh Government has launched a new innovative action plan to ensure people with dementia can live as independently as possible in their communities. It aims to create new ways of caring, training and increasing the number of support workers, increasing rates of diagnoses and strengthening collaborative working between social care and housing. It has also published a compendium of notable practice alongside this document, to assist service planners and commissioners in the implementation of this plan. (14 February 2018)

King's Fund: Approaches to social care funding: the Health Foundation and the King’s Fund are undertaking work exploring options for the future funding of social care. This paper considers five different approaches to funding social care for older people in England, and setts out the implications of each. (15 February 2018)

Shared Lives Plus: Guide to Personal Health Budgets 2018: this report, produced in partnership with NHS England, demonstrates how voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations are driving innovation and supporting personal health budget expansion across the country, working in partnership with statutory services to provide a range of advice, support and care services, which fit around the lives of the people and community they are designed to support. (24 January 2018)

Homelessness (End of Life Care) Bill: this Private Member's Bill has been introduced into the Commons by Sir Edward Davey MP and received its 1st Reading. It provides for end of life care and support for homeless people with terminal illnesses, including through the provision of housing for such people, so that where a homeless person is certified as expected to die within the next 12 months, that person would have an automatic legal right to appropriate housing, along with an appropriate package of care and support for their needs. (7 February 2018)

King's College London: The UTOPIA project – Using Telecare for Older People In Adult social care: The findings of a 2016-17 national survey of local authority telecare provision for older people in England: telecare is the use of electronic devices to collect, store and relay information from someone’s home to elsewhere, for it to be acted on in some way. This report sets out the findings from a survey that aimed to find out how telecare is being used by local authority adult social care departments to support older people. (1 February 2018)

Care and Support (Charging) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/123 (W.29)): these regulations, which come into force in Wales on 9 April 2018, amend SI 2015/1843 (W.271) that sets out the requirements which local authorities must follow when making a determination of the amount of the charges for care and support which they are providing under Part 4 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. They increase various charges under Part 4 of the Act, and contributions and reimbursements for direct payments. (2 February 2018)

If you wish to discuss any of the items noted in this section please contact Kirtpal Kaur Aujla.

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LGA: £3.5 billion Right-to-Buy discounts threatens scheme: the LGA is warning that the RTB scheme has become unsustainable and risks becoming a thing of the past unless councils are given the powers to set discounts locally and replace every home sold. The Government's increase in the size of the discounts available has led to a quadrupling in the number of RTB sales, which councils have been unable to keep up with and replace. (2 February 2018)

MHCLG: £45 million funding boost to support councils unlock land for thousands of homes: announces the 79 projects that have been awarded Land Release Fund money to combat barriers which would otherwise make land unusable for development. (16 February 2018)

HM Land Registry: Register local authority land and property: guidance on how HM Land Registry is working with local authorities in England to register all public land in areas of highest housing need by 2020. It include information on: local authorities in a priority area; how HM Land Registry can help local authorities; benefits of registration for local authorities; and registration fees. (26 January 2018)

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

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LGSCO: Ombudsman issues rare further report into council’s failings: reports that the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has criticised the Council of the Isles of Scilly for failing to comply with recommendations made in an earlier report. The Council had failed to comply with those recommendations within the requested three month time period, so the Ombudsman has issued a rare further report against the Council. The council was also requested to pay the family concerned an additional £250 for the injustice caused by having to issue a further report. The Council should lay the original report, and this further report before the authority if it intended to refuse to comply with the recommendations of the original report and further recommendations. (16 February 2018)

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

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DfE: Education Minister unveils new support for schools: announces a new scheme that will provide free advice and guidance to schools looking to procure services from local or national businesses, such as catering, cleaning or technology support. The scheme is being trialled initially in the North West and South West. (1 February 2018)

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

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Public Health

PHE: Policing and health collaboration in England and Wales – Landscape review: the links between health, offending and policing are complex but inextricable. Collaborative working between the police and health has a long history but is still not commonplace. This landscape review aims to consider the breadth of the subject, and also to look at emerging themes and to influence future approaches. (7 February 2018)

PHE: Local authorities should offer NHS Health Check to all eligible: speaking at PHE‘s Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Conference, the Chief Executive Duncan Selbie called on local authorities to ensure that all local residents eligible for a free NHS Health Check get an invitation, to help tackle the one in four premature deaths in the country caused by CVD. (8 February 2018)

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

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Regulatory Services

LGL: High Court judge quashes intended use policy for private hire: reports that Kerr has granted applications by Uber Britannia Ltd and Delta Merseyside Ltd to quash Knowsley MBC's "intended use" policy for private hire drivers, which required them to sign a declaration that they intended to drive "predominantly" in the Council's area. The judge accepted Uber’s argument that it was clear from s.75(2) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 and case law that the private hire licence was a licence to drive anywhere and was not confined in any way to the local area. He also rejected the council’s argument that the fit and proper person criterion was an elastic concept, stretching beyond personal characteristics. (8 February 2018)

Littering from Vehicles outside London (Keepers: Civil Penalties) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/171): these regulations, which come into force on 1 April 2018, confer a power on English district councils (outside London) to require the keeper of a vehicle to pay a fixed penalty if there is reason to believe that a littering offence has been committed from the vehicle. This power is similar to that already conferred  on London borough councils by s.24 of the London Local Authorities Act 2007 to impose a penalty charge on the owner of vehicles from which litter is thrown. The range of penalty amount (£65 to £150) and the default penalty amount (£100) are aligned with those for the offence of leaving litter under s.87 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. (7 February 2018)

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

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Sub-national Transport Body (Transport for the North) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/103): these regulations, which come into force on 1 April 2018, establish Transport for the North (TfN) as a Sub-national Transport Body (STB) and set out the functions it will exercise in relation to a transport strategy and delivery in the North of England. TfN is the first STB to be established under Part 5A of the Local Transport Act 2008 that was inserted by s.21 of the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016. Its key functions are to develop a transport strategy for the North, advise the Secretary of State on transport in the North and coordinate regional transport programmes such as smart ticketing, co-manage the rail franchises in the North and the planned major road network. TfN has been granted a number of local authority powers to be exercised concurrently with its constituent members to take forward the regional coordination role. (22 January 2018)

Welsh Government: £8.1m Active Travel funding awarded to local authorities: the Welsh Transport Secretary has announced over £8m funding to 54 Active Travel and road safety schemes across Wales. The funding will accelerate delivery of a range of travel improvements linked to Welsh Government transport priorities in support of the landmark Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013, such as boosting walking and cycling infrastructure, improving safety and supporting the economy. (7 February 2018)

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

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