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     Housing
    Children's Services     Planning
    Communities     Police
    Contractual Liability     Procurement
    Delivery of Services     Public Health
    Devolution and Structural Reorganisation     Regulatory Services
    Economic Development     Scrutiny
    European Union     Transport
    Finance  

Access to Information

ICO: Former council worker fined for sharing personal information about schoolchildren and parents via Snapchat: reports that Westminster Magistrates' Court has fined a former local authority education worker £850 and ordered her to pay £713, after she pleaded guilty to three offences of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing personal data, in breach of s.55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. The ICO brought the prosecution after the worker took a screenshot of a council spreadsheet concerning children and their eligibility for free school meals then sent it to the estranged parent of one of the pupils. (22 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

VODG: Challenges can fuel change – A VODG contribution to Civil Society Futures: this discussion paper outlines what social care providers believe are the future hopes for the sector as well as the barriers that block progress. Based on the views of VODG members, the paper argues that voluntary social care organisations must adapt to be sustainable. The publication contributes the national independent inquiry into English civil society, Civil Society Futures. (26 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: Children and Social Work Act 2017 statutory guidance: the DfE has published new statutory guidance under the 2017 Act: 

  • Applying corporate parenting principles to looked-after children and care leavers: guidance about the role of local authorities and the application of corporate parenting principles as set out in s.1 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017. Local authorities must have regard to the seven needs identified in the 2017 Act when exercising their functions in relation to looked-after children and care leavers. 
  • Local offer guidance: s.2 of the Children and Social Work Act 2017 requires each local authority to consult on and publish a local offer for its care leavers. This guidance provides information for local authorities on the development of the local offer and an illustrative local offer. 
  • Extending Personal Adviser support to age 25: guidance on local authorities' new duty under the 2017 Act to provide Personal Adviser (PA) support to all care leavers up to age 25, which comes in on 1 April 2018. Where the young person does want PA support to continue, their pathway plan should be reviewed and updated to reflect their current needs. PA support should continue to be provided for as long as it is requested, or until they reach age 25. The new duty also enables care leavers to request PA support at any point after the age of 21, up to age 25, even if they had previously ceased receiving support when they reached age 21. The New Burdens assessment informs local authorities of the total funding for the new duty extending Personal Adviser support to age 25. 
  • Promoting the education of looked-after and previously looked-after children: details local authorities' duty under s.22(3A) and s.23ZZA of the Children Act 1989 to promote the educational achievement of the children they look after. Local authorities are required to appoint an officer employed by the authority, or another authority, to make sure that its duty to promote their educational achievement is properly discharged – the Virtual School Head or VSH. 
  • The designated teacher for looked after and previously looked-after children: guidance on s.20A of the Children and Young Persons Act 2008 and s.2E of the Academies Act 2010, as amended by the 2017 Act, which place duties on the governing body of a maintained school in England and the proprietor of an academy in England to designate a member of staff to have responsibility for promoting the educational achievement of previously looked-after pupils.

The statutory guidance will apply from the date(s) when the relevant provisions of the 2017 Act come into force, anticipated to be May 2018. (26 February 2018)

DfE: Changes to statutory guidance – Working Together to Safeguard Children; and new regulations: Government consultation response: sets out the Government's response and next steps following the October 2017 consultation on significant revisions to the statutory guidance which sets out what is expected of organisations, individually and jointly, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. These revisions reflect the legislative changes introduced through the Children and Social Work Act 2017 and new 'child death review' guidance. It states that the statutory instruments will be debated and voted on by Parliament in the Spring. Following commencement of the relevant provisions of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, an updated version of ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ will be published, and the new safeguarding arrangements will come into effect. Local areas will have 12 months from the date of commencement to develop and publish their arrangements, and a further three months to implement them in full. (26 February 2018)

DfE: Minister announces improved support for care leavers: the Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi has announced up to £5m funding for three new Social Impact Bond projects to support for care leavers into education, employment or training. He also announced the delivery partner for the Care Leaver Covenant, which offers a platform for organisations to pledge their support for young people as they face the challenges of leaving care. (27 February 2018)

R (Juttla) v Hertfordshire Valleys CCG; Hertfordshire CC (Interested Party) [2018] EWHC 267 (Admin) (Admin Ct): J applied for judicial review of the CCG's decision to remove £600,000 annual funding from a respite service for children with complex medical needs, as from May 2018. The CCG had been placed in formal "financial turnaround" which required it to make significant savings to achieve financial balance. It was accepted that without the CCG's funding, the respite service would close. The CCG considered when making its decision that arrangements could be made for respite care to be continued elsewhere in the county for the children affected by the closure. J contended that the CCG had failed to consult with the County Council before making its decision, and had so breached its duty under reg. 23 of the Local Authority (Public Health, Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Scrutiny) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/218) to consult on any major health service changes in the Council's area.
The court held, granting the application and quashing the decision, that the CCG had failed to comply with its consultation duties under the 2013 Regulations. It was funding a "health service" within ss.3 and 3A of the National Health Service Act 2006, as even if the primary motive or objective was to provide respite for the parents, the services being provided were health services nonetheless. The fact that the care happened to be provided by nurses was not determinative. The proposal to withdraw most of the service's funding therefore amounted to a substantial variation of a health service, giving rise to the duty to consult the Council. The CCG's decision to withdraw the respite service's funding was made on an incorrect legal basis with the consequence that it had not complied with its legal obligations under reg.23. The decision would be quashed and the CCG was ordered to comply with its legal duty formally to consult the Council.
The judge dismissed H's other grounds of challenge. The CCG had fully complied with its public involvement duties under the NHS Act 2006. There was no general common law duty to consult and it would be constitutionally aberrant for a court to start using the common law to augment, or worse still, alter, the scope of an obligation to involve the public defined by statute. Nor had the CCG breached its statutory duties under s.149 of the Equality Act 2010, s.11 of the Children Act 2004 and Art.8 ECHR. (21 February 2018)

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Fees and Frequency of Inspections) (Children’s Homes etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/246): these regulations, which come into force on 1 April 2018, amend SI 2015/551 so as to increase the level of certain registration, variation and annual fees payable to the Chief Inspector by a number of schools, agencies and other establishments, as well as those payable in respect of local authority adoption and fostering functions. They also cease the annual inspection of closed children’s homes and change the minimum frequency of inspection for reopening closed homes. (28 February 2018)

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

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Communities

MHCLG: Future of the Grenfell Tower site – Principles governing forthcoming consultations: the Government has agreed with Kensington & Chelsea RLBC and the local community a set of principles that will guide forthcoming consultations on the future of the Grenfell Tower site. This document sets out the leading role that the bereaved families, survivors and the immediate North Kensington community will play in this decision-making. It states that the community will lead this decision-making, and that the Council commits to transfer responsibility and ownership of the site, subject to its specific responsibilities, to a body represented by the bereaved and survivors, if that is the will of the community. (1 March 2018)

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

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Contractual Liability

Amey Birmingham Highways Ltd v Birmingham City Council [2018] EWCA Civ 264 (CA): the Council appealed against a decision on the correct interpretation of a PFI highways maintenance contract. Under the contract, the Council engaged ABHL to undertake the rehabilitation, maintenance, management and operation of the road network in Birmingham for a 25 year period. The council supplied ABHL with a document that detailed the Birmingham road network, and parties intended that this should be the initial version of the Project Network Model (PNM); however, approximately 60% of the inventory details were based upon national averages rather than detailed observation and measurement. All went well for the first 3½ years then the Council noticed that ABHL were deliberately leaving the defects in selected areas untreated, as ABHL took the view that their contractual obligations extended only to those roads, footways, etc which were detailed in the database and they were not updating tables that contained only inventory data. The Council contended that this was a clear breach of contract as ABHL were under a duty to rehabilitate and maintain the road network which actually existed, not a hypothetical road network which was based upon default data. The arbitrator ruled in the Council's favour but his decision was overturned on appeal. The council appealed, The principal issues were: whether ABHL was required to update inventory details on a database provided at the outset; and whether four completion certificates could be set aside for "manifest error".
The court held, allowing the Council's appeal, that it would reject ABHL's ingenious new interpretation of the contract. It was clear from the main body of the contract and the other provisions that ABHL were under a duty to keep the PNM updated. None of the contractual provisions provided any justification for treating two of the database tables differently from the other four database tables. The contract required the PNM to be regularly updated, so as to record the actual road network, not a hypothetical network based on default data, and ABHL's obligations extended to the whole of the road network, as it existed on the ground. When the independent certifier issued the milestone certificates, everyone knew those certificates would be based upon erroneous calculations, if the Council's case on the interpretation of the contract prevailed. The certificates should be set aside for manifest error.
The court noted that any such relational contract was likely to be of massive length, containing many infelicities and oddities. Both parties should adopt a reasonable approach in accordance with the long-term purpose of the contract. They should not be latching onto the infelicities and oddities, in order to disrupt the project and maximise their own gain. Here, the PFI contract worked perfectly satisfactorily for the first 3½ years and things only went wrong when ABHL thought up an ingenious new interpretation of the contract, which would have the effect of reducing their workload or increasing their profit if the Council issued change notices. (22 February 2018)

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

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Delivery of Services

HC Public Accounts Committee: The monitoring, inspection and funding of Learndirect Ltd: this report highlights how the failure of Learndirect in delivering quality training to apprentices whilst receiving millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is another stark example of a poorly performing contractor and poor oversight by Government and its regulators. DfE would normally cancel an ‘inadequate’ provider’s contract and withdraw its funding almost immediately, but Learndirect threatened that such a course of action would harm its learners and jeopardise its ability to deliver other key government contracts. The Committee notes that the company continues to function, and expects to receive over £105m of funding from its main government contracts in 2017/18. This apparent special treatment clearly begs the question of whether Learndirect was too big, and too important to government, to be allowed to fail. It concludes that the Government needs to learn lessons from the failure of its contractors and, particularly where a company holds contracts across several Departments, ensure it has a grip on how these companies are performing. (2 March 2018)

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

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Devolution and Structural Reorganisation

MHCLG: Local government policy: the Secretary of State has announced his decision to implement the locally-led proposal to replace the existing nine councils across Dorset with two new councils. These new councils are a single unitary council for the areas of Bournemouth, Poole and that part of the county of Dorset currently comprising the Borough of Christchurch, and a single unitary council for the rest of the current county area. Subject to parliamentary approval, the new councils will be established on 1 April 2019 with the first elections to the councils held on 2 May 2019. (26 February 2018)

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

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Economic Development

MHCLG: £40 million fund to transform UK’s coastal communities opens for applications: announces that Round 5 of the Coastal Communities Fund is now open for applications. The funding supports the economic transformation of UK coastal communities by giving funding to create sustainable economic growth and jobs. Round 5 in England will have around £40m available for spend from April 2019 to end of March 2021. The closing dates for Expressions of Interest are 2 April 2018 for fast track funds and 30 April 2018 for main round applications. For application forms and guidance, see the Coastal Communities Fund Round 5 web page. (26 February 2018)

Mayor of London: Mayor announces £140million investment to boost London economy: announces the Mayor's plans for a new investment fund to support projects that will grow the capital’s economy such as business space, transport infrastructure and schemes to bring new housing on stream. The Mayor will be inviting bids from across the GLA group for projects that will enhance London’s economy. There will also be a separate 'collective strategic investment' pot using 15 per cent of the business rates growth generated from the 100 per cent business rates retention pilot. (15 February 2018)

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

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European Union

LGA: Brexit impacts – Call for information: the LGA is renewing its call for information on the differential place-based impacts of Brexit, in order to shape the second phase of Brexit negotiations and create a pro-active, forward facing view of local government after the UK's exit from the EU. It has created a basic overview of topics and issues that local authorities may wish to cover in their submission. There is no deadline for submissions. (26 February 2018)

DExEU: Draft text for discussion – Implementation period: sets out the UK’s approach to the legal text of the implementation period to be provided for in the Withdrawal Agreement. (21 February 2018)

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

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Finance

IFS: Spending needs, tax revenue capacity and the business rates retention scheme: this report shows that the Government's plans to increase the share of business rates that English councils retain from 50% to 75% in 2020, and its piloting of 100% retention in parts of the country, risks growing divergences between the funding available to different councils. This is because those councils which would have seen the biggest increases in their retained business rates revenues were often not the councils that experienced the biggest increases in their relative spending needs. This implies that central and local government face a difficult trade off when moving to 75% or 100% rates retention. In shire areas, the way changes in business rates revenues are shared between the two tiers can have a big impact on the scale of funding divergences. It is also not clear that the incentives provided by rates retention will translate into faster economic growth. The report finds no relationship between changes in the councils’ business rates tax bases and local economic growth, or indeed employment or earnings growth, in recent years. (1 March 2018)

MHCLG: Council Tax information letter – Council tax referendum principles for 2019-20: this information letter gives an update on Council Tax referendum principles for 2019/20 and billing requirements for 2018/19. (27 February 2018)

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

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Governance

CfPS: The how and why of government interventions in councils: this article considers central Government's powers to intervene in local authorities and the risks that the approach can bring. (21 February 2018)

MHCLG: Organisational chart: provides an overview of the top-level structure of the Department. (2 March 2018)

London Government (London Fire Commissioner and Policing) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/269): these regulations, which mainly come into force on 1 April 2018, make various amendments to governance arrangements in London for fire and policing. In particular they amend the arrangements for a new London Fire Commissioner to allow any person who holds the office of the London Fire Commissioner (LFC) and exercises operational responsibility to access the firefighters’ pension scheme in England and the firefighters’ compensation scheme in England. (28 February 2018)

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

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Housing

HC Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee: Housing for older people: this report calls for a national strategy which brings together and improves the policy on housing for older people. It recommends that the wider availability of housing advice and information should be central to this strategy and the existing FirstStop Advice Service should be re-funded by the Government to provide an expanded national telephone advice service. It recommends that the National Planning Policy Framework be amended to encourage the development of more housing for older people and that councils identify a target proportion of new housing to be developed for this purpose. The Committee also urges the Government to recognise the link between homes and health and social care in the forthcoming Social Care Green Paper. (9 February 2018)

MHCLG: Homelessness code of guidance for local authorities: the Government has published revised guidance on how local authorities should exercise their homelessness functions in accordance with the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, following consultation. From 3 April 2018, local housing and social services authorities must have regard to this guidance when exercising their functions relating to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. (23 February 2018)

MHCLG: Homelessness Reduction Act – New burdens funding: the Government has announced that it will provide £72.7m to local authorities to meet the new burdens costs associated with the additional duties contained within the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 over the course of the Spending Review. It is anticipated that the new duties to prevent homelessness will lead to savings for local authorities thereafter. It has published a new burdens assessment which explains how it has calculated the overall funding, along with a methodology note explaining how the funding is distributed between local authorities. There is a separate new burdens assessment on the application of the duty to refer on social service authorities – the Government will not be providing additional funding to local authorities for the duty to refer as the assessment concluded that the cost of referrals will be offset by savings as a result of preventing and resolving homelessness for actual and potential social care clients. (23 February 2018)

LGA: Consultation on procedures for referrals of homeless applicants to another local authority: seeks views on draft amendments to the voluntary guidelines for local authorities on the procedures for referrals of homeless applicants to another local authority. The main function of the voluntary guidelines on procedures is the avoidance and resolution without resort to legal proceedings of disputes between local authorities concerning local connection and homeless applications. The closing date for comments is 13 March 2018. (13 February 2018)

Homelessness (Review Procedure etc.) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/223): these regulations, which mainly come into force on 3 April 2018, set out the procedure to be followed by a local housing authority when issuing a notice under s.193B of the Housing Act 1996 to bring their duties to an end in cases of an applicant’s deliberate and unreasonable refusal to co-operate. They also sets out the procedure to be followed by a local housing authority in relation to reviews requested under s.202 of the 1996 Act. They specify which public authorities will have a duty, from 1 October 2018, to refer people whom they consider may be homeless or threatened with becoming homeless, for the purposes of s.213B of the 1996 Act. See also the new policy factsheets on the new procedures and the duty to refer regulations. (22 February 2018)

Housing (Management Orders and Financial Penalties) (Amounts Recovered) (England) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/209): the Housing and Planning Act 2016 amends Chapter 1 of Part 4 of the Housing Act 2004 to enable interim or final management orders to be made to be made in respect of property let in breach of a banning order made under s.16 of the 2016 Act. Under a management order, the local housing authority takes over the management of a property and receives any rent paid by its occupiers in place of the landlord. The local housing authority is entitled to retain monies to cover relevant expenditure related to the management of the property and any compensation payable to third parties. These regulations, which come into force on 6 April 2018, set out how a local housing authority must deal with any surplus monies recovered under management orders under the 2004 Act and any financial penalties received the 2016 Act. (22 February 2018)

MHCLG: Strengthening consumer redress in housing: seeks views on improving redress in the housing sector. It considers: the effectiveness of the current complaint process, or if more can be done to improve the experience; what standard of service should be expected and if a single housing ombudsman is needed; and how to fill the existing gaps in the current system, such as private landlords not having to register with a redress scheme. The consultation closes on 16 April 2018. (18 February 2018)

Draft Legislative Reform (Regulator of Social Housing) (England) Order 2018: this draft Order amends the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 so as to transfer the function for social housing regulation from the Homes and Communities Agency to a separate non-departmental public body, the Regulator of Social Housing. It implements the conclusion of the 2016 Tailored Review of the HCA that highlighted the potential for conflicts of interest between the Regulation Committee and the HCA. This measure will not change how registered providers are regulated – the regulatory framework and regulatory powers will not alter as a result of the changes. See also the Government's Explanatory Note. (28 February 2018)

Brown v Hyndburn BC [2018] EWCA Civ 242 (CA): this case considered the extent of local authorities' powers under Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 to include conditions regulating the management, use or occupation as part of the licence of a house that was within a selective licensing area.
B, a private sector landlord, appealed to the FTT against the Council's imposition of two conditions in a licence granted under Part 3. The conditions, which are common to all licences issued by the Council, required the installation of a carbon monoxide monitor and that the electrical installations had to meet the prescribed standard. The FTT determined that the Council had no power under the legislation to use the licensing regime to require landlords to upgrade their properties, or to introduce new equipment or facilities, by way of licence conditions. In particular, the FTT considered that the requirement to provide a carbon monoxide detector and a valid EICR went beyond regulating the "management, use or occupation of a house concerned" under s.90(1) of the 2004 Act. The council then successfully appealed to the Upper Tribunal, which allowed ruled that that the Council was empowered, and acting well within its discretion, to impose the relevant conditions as part of the "management" of a rented property under s.90.
The Court of Appeal held, allowing B's appeal, that it was clear from an examination of the 2004 Act and its overall architecture that it drew a distinction between (a) conditions regulating the management, use and occupation of the house concerned, and (b) conditions regulating its condition and contents. This distinction was illustrated by s.67 in Part 2 that conferred powers to include conditions in the case of HMOs both (a) regulating the management, use and occupation of the house concerned, and (b) its conditions and contents, illustrates the distinction apparently drawn. This should be contrasted with s.90(1), which did not expressly empower the inclusion of conditions to regulate "its condition and contents". The judge had failed to construe s.90(1) in accordance with the statute as a whole, and to appreciate that the scheme of the 2004 Act was that housing standards were intended to be addressed primarily by Part 1, not Part 3. Section 90(1) did not empower a local housing authority to include conditions in a licence to regulate the conditions and contents of a house, and in particular the availability and maintenance of facilities and equipment; nor did s.90(5) confer a residual discretion. (21 February 2018)

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

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Planning

LGA: Planning positively through partnership: these 12 case studies illustrate a number of different ways that councils and developers are working together to bring new development forward, from small residential sites and delivery of critical regional infrastructure, to new garden village communities. (27 February 2018)

MHCLG: Neighbourhood planning: updated guidance on the neighbourhood planning system introduced by the Localism Act 2011, including key stages and considerations required. (22 February 2018)

MHCLG: New money to build homes stalled by planning: announces the award of £15.8m funding under the first wave of the Planning Delivery Fund. The funding has been awarded to enable councils to process more applications, implement new reforms and also train planners to tackle the housing challenges faced by their local area. (24 February 2018)

Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 (Commencement No. 4 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/252 (C.25)): these regulations bring into force s.38 of the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 that applies in relation to a compulsory purchase of land which is authorised on or after 6 April 2018. This section amends s.52 and s.52ZC of the Land Compensation Act 1973 to ensure that, where an acquiring authority is required to make an advance payment to a claimant or a payment to a mortgagee, the payment does not have to be made before the acquiring authority has received any further information required under s.52(2A)(b) (to estimate the amount of compensation) or under s.52ZC(2)(b) (to establish the amount of the mortgage). There are also transitional provisions. (26 February 2018)

R (Holder) v Gedling BC [2018] EWCA Civ 214 (CA): H applied for judicial review of the Council's decision to grant permission for the erection of a wind turbine on a Green Belt site. He contended that in granting the planning permission, the Council had misinterpreted a Ministerial Statement which set out new considerations touching applications for planning permission for wind turbines. The Statement said that local authorities should only grant permission for wind energy developments involving one or more turbines if "following consultation, it can be demonstrated that the planning impacts identified by affected local communities have been fully addressed and therefore the proposal has their backing". The planning officer and the planning committee concluded that the development was in accordance with the Statement because the planning impacts were sufficiently addressed to sustain the conclusion that the proposal had local backing. H argued that the Statement meant that an authority had to be satisfied that the proposal had resolved (i.e. eliminated) all the negative planning impacts identified by any member of the relevant local community. Here, members of the local community referred to negative planning impacts, including certain impacts on visual amenity and cultural heritage, which could not be resolved, in the sense of eliminated, therefore the Council could not be satisfied that the proposal had the backing of the local community and could not find that it was acceptable, for the purposes of the Statement.
The court held, dismissing the application, that the Council was lawfully entitled to make the assessment, in the exercise of its planning judgement on the evidence available to it, that the balance of view in the local community as a whole was favourable to this wind turbine proposal. H's submissions were contrary to the natural meaning of the language used in the relevant part of the Statement, especially when read in the context of the Statement as a whole and in the wider legislative and policy context. The natural meaning of the relevant phrase was that a local planning authority could find the proposal acceptable if it had sufficiently addressed the planning impacts identified through consultation with the relevant local community to the extent that it could properly conclude, in the exercise of its planning judgement, that the balance of opinion in the local community was likely to be in favour of the proposal. A planning authority could find a proposal acceptable if it was satisfied that it had addressed the planning impacts identified by the affected local community and therefore had their backing. The planning authority had to make a judgement, taking account of the representations received and assessing the weight and significance of any objections raised, as to where the balance of opinion was likely to lie within the local community as a whole, including its members who had not made representations. The balance of view in the local community as a whole might well be positive, even though some planning impacts had not been wholly eliminated (but only sufficiently dealt with) and even though some members of the local community might never be persuaded to view the proposed development in a favourable light. The Statement did not elevate those members of the local community who were the most vehemently opposed to a proposal into the arbiters of the view of the local community as a whole. (16 February 2018)

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

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Police

Policing, Health and Social Care consensus – Working together to protect and prevent harm to vulnerable people: policing, health and social care organisations have agreed to improve people’s health and wellbeing, prevent crime and protect the most vulnerable people in England. The aim is to improve public safety and reduce crime by working together and intervening early to address the common factors that bring people into contact with the police and criminal justice system and lead to poor health. (7 February 2018)

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

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Procurement

European Commission: Public procurement – Guidance for practitioners: this is an updated version of the EC Guidance for public procurement practitioners on avoiding the most common errors in projects funded by the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs). This is essential reading where procurements/projects involve the use of ESIF funding. It contains guidance on how to avoid errors frequently seen in public procurement for projects co-financed by the ESIFs. It is intended to facilitate the implementation of operational programmes and to encourage good practice. It is not legally binding but aims to provide general recommendations and to reflect best practice. (13 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

LGA: Public health transformation five years on – Transformation in action: public health has been part of local government for five years now. The eight case studies in this report show the wide range of ways in which public health is transforming how it operates. (28 February 2018)

LGA: A matter of justice – Local government’s role in tackling health inequalities: this publication looks at how social and economic factors lead to long term ill health and premature death for the most deprived, and what local government can do about it. (28 February 2018)

LGA: Adding extra years to life and extra life to those years – Local government guide to healthy ageing: this publication contains examples of how partnership working between local government, the NHS, the voluntary sector and the communities can tackle long-term conditions and make sure that those in old age are able to maintain their health, wellbeing and independence for as long as possible. (28 February 2018)

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

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Regulatory Services

MHCLG: Circular letter – Dame Judith Hackitt’s interim report of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: this divisional circular letter draws attention to the key recommendations that concern building control bodies and fire and rescue authorities in the Dame Judith Hackitt’s interim report, published in December 2017, which contained several recommendations for Government and industry to act on to contribute to the provision of safer buildings. It includes guidance on building control bodies' duty to consult with FRAs, and provision of fire safety information. (15 February 2018)

Housing and Planning Act 2016 (Banning Order Offences) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/216): the 2016 Act introduced a package of measures designed to help local authorities take effective action against rogue landlords and property agents. The First-tier Tribunal has power to make a banning order against a residential landlord or property agent who has been convicted of a banning order offence, following an application by the local housing authority. A person who is subject to a banning order is banned from letting housing, engaging in letting agency work, engaging in property management work or doing two or more of those activities. These regulations, which come into force on 6 April 2018, specify which offences will constitute “banning order offences” for the purposes of Part 2 of the 2016 Act. The Government will be issuing statutory guidance for local authorities on using these powers to apply for a banning order. (22 February 2018)

Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Amendment) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/117): these regulations, which come into force on 26 February 2018, amend SI 2002/1674 so as to widen the power that representative bodies currently have to challenge certain contract terms and practices deemed ‘grossly unfair’. Under this change, representative bodies will have the flexibility to decide whether to take action on behalf of individual businesses or groups of individual businesses, and whether to take action on behalf of members or non-members. Where a representative body brings proceedings, the High Court can grant an injunction to stop the use of a grossly unfair term or practice. (5 February 2018)

Rochdale MBC v Heron (Unreported, QBD): the court granted the Council's application for the continuation of an interim injunction. The Council had successfully applied for a mandatory injunction under s.187B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, that created a borough-wide ban on unauthorised traveller encampments. The court held that there was plainly a serious issue to be tried and a good arguable case, and damages would not be an adequate alternative remedy. The restriction that an injunction placed on the travellers' life was outweighed by the rights of others and planning control. The court had concerns about the traveller children, but there was no evidence as to the impact of any injunction on such children and there was no doubt that the local authority would perform its statutory duty towards them. The frequency of the establishment of the encampments, the speed at which they had been set up, removed and re-established, and the extent to which they had spread throughout the borough coupled with the serious consequences for public health, environmental damage, and the behaviour of the campers, meant that a borough-wide injunction was appropriate. (19 February 2018)
The judgment is available on Lawtel (subscription required)

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

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Scrutiny

APSE: Bringing order to chaos – How does local government hold to account agencies delivering public services?: this research report, written and researched by the Local Governance Research Unit at De Montfort University, explores how public services, and the decisions made about them by unelected bodies, can be held to account by local government as an elected governing body. It seeks to understand the developing and expanding role of local government as both a vehicle for public accountability and in influencing and shaping the governance networks within which it exists. The report makes a series of recommendations including that a Local Public Accounts Committees should be formed by all councils and be given the same statutory powers over external agencies as has health scrutiny in relation to the NHS. There should be a legal requirement, through an extension of the principle of a ‘duty to co-operate’, on all public service providers to engage with local government, at the earliest possible time, when developing policy and taking decisions about public services. (27 February 2018)

CfPS: Scrutiny and council readiness for emergencies: this article by Councillor Ketan Sheth, Brent LBC, discusses how scrutiny can support council emergency preparedness. (22 February 2018)

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

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Transport

Draft Welsh Ministers (Transfer of Functions) (Railways) Order 2018: this draft Order devolves the procurement and management of Wales and Borders franchise train services within Wales by transferring certain functions of the Secretary of State under the Railways Act 1993 and the Railways Act 2005 to the Welsh Ministers. The Order is concerned primarily with functions connected with the franchising of railway passenger services and with functions relating to the discontinuance of railway services and the closure of stations. It includes safeguards to protect all passengers using franchise services that operate on both sides of the border between England and Wales. The Government has also announced that, as well as continuing with present franchise funding arrangements, it will also provide an extra £125m towards upgrading the Valley Lines, part of the Welsh Government’s metro project in South Wales. (28 February 2018)

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

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