12 Questions of Christmas
During lockdown we have seen an increase in… quizzes! As the last LA View for this year, and just for fun, we thought you may like to take a moment to see if you can answer our ‘12 Questions of Christmas’. Answers will be provided in the January edition.
- Can you name the current Permanent Secretary at MHCLG?
- Can you name three of Solace’s Policy Board themes?
- Who is the Chief Executive of Lawyers in Local Government?
- Can you name any three locations of the seven Nightingale Hospitals set up in England?
- How many of the ten themes in the Prime Minister’s ‘Ten Point Plan’ for the Green Industrial Revolution can you name?
- Which three areas were invited to submit proposals for local government reorganisation this year?
- Which two councils were unfortunately the subject to cybercrime hacking this year?
- What are the names of the two unitary councils to be created to replace Northamptonshire County Council?
- Which council officially launched its Children’s Trust in November 2020?
- What was the name of the review carried out on local authority financial reporting and external audit that reported in September and recommended an overhaul including a new regulatory body?
- The Spending Review introduced the Levelling Up Fund; how much can be bid for an individual project?
- Which local authority recently won ‘Smart City of the Year 2020’?
Good luck, and have a relaxing festive break.
Overview quick links
- Delivering Value Chris Harper & Kirtpal Kaur-Aujla
- Place & Growth Rebecca Pendlebury & Vicky Maher
- Governance & Reorganisation David Kitson & Victoria Barman
- Contract Management Richard Lane & Liz Fletcher
- Disputes & Regulatory Support Olivia Carter & Judith Hopper
- Resource Library
Cyber risk - How strong is your insurance?
Cyber risks never seem to be far from the news these days, and evidence suggests that hackers and fraudsters have increased their activities during the pandemic. In particular, the widespread adoption of homeworking practices has led to many organisations encountering increased cyber risk exposure.
Recent cyber attacks on world famous brands such as Twitter and Manchester United have grabbed the headlines, but several local authorities have also suffered attacks during the pandemic, including at least two serious attacks that brought a significant proportion of the authorities’ online services to a standstill.
Attacks of this nature can shut down an authority’s day-to-day online activities – ranging from planning and licensing applications, online appointment bookings, social care advice and housing complaints, through to the authority’s ability to collect council tax and business rates.
These attacks can be hugely sophisticated, and unfortunately can have an impact even where an authority has resilient cyber security in place. However, what can an authority do to reduce its risk exposure? The first thing is to check the extent of existing cyber insurance. Insurance will not, of course, prevent a cyber attack happening, but can assist with a rapid response, and in particular in limiting the extent of damage that is caused by the attack.
Most authorities will hold cyber insurance in some form, but the risks covered, and the limits on what the insurers will pay, will vary widely. Another effect of the pandemic has been to shine a harsh spotlight on how widely insurance cover for apparently similar risks can vary. Business interruption is a key example, where there is a dizzying variety in policy wordings, especially the triggers for cover, which have left many organisations without cover for business interruption losses caused by the pandemic.
The level of cover available under many cyber policies is, in fact, fairly basic. A strong cyber insurance policy will cover an authority for:
- Its own losses – including the cost of restoring data and replacing damaged hardware, legal fees, lost revenue, fines and even extortion payments;
- Event response – including crisis management, the cost of utilising external IT expertise to minimise and repair the damage caused by the attack, and the cost of notifying affected individuals whose data may have been accessed; and
- Third party claims – including data breach claims, and claims where a virus has been transferred on to third parties.
Authorities should work with their brokers to ensure that their cyber insurance policy provides adequate cover for the level of losses they might suffer as a consequence of a cyber attack – it seems that one of the authorities who suffered an attack this year might have had uninsured losses of over £10m.
Robust cyber risk management is also of key importance. This can be tricky to achieve; the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has recently highlighted that there is currently no shared baseline against which councils can measure their cyber health. The MHCLG is, therefore, currently working on creating a framework to allow authorities to apply a minimum level of cyber health.
That framework is, unfortunately, not likely to be available for some time. In the meantime, the LGA website contains a lot of useful cyber security resource information, as does the website of the National Cyber Security Centre. Authorities who do not have the internal resource to enable comprehensive cyber risk assessment and risk management to be carried out could consider bringing in external expertise. Although this will, of course, come at a cost, that cost is likely to be a fraction of the financial impact of an avoidable cyber attack.
Publications & Guidance
Evaluation of the early years local government programme
Department for Education | December 1 2020
Provides evidence about the effectiveness of the early years local government programme in tackling gaps in early language and literacy skills.
Containing and managing local coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreaks
Department of Health and Social Care | Updated December 1 2020
Guidance for local authorities and local decision-makers on containing and managing COVID-19 outbreaks at a local level.
COVID-19: guidance for supported living
Department of Health and Social Care + Public Health England | Updated 1 December 2020
This guidance is designed to update and build on the previous advice to supported living providers, which was withdrawn on 13 May 2020. It includes key messages to assist with planning and preparation in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic so that local procedures can be put in place to minimise risk and provide the best possible support to people in supported living settings.
COVID-19: Guidance for the safe use of council buildings
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government | Updated November 30 2020
This is guidance for those managing council buildings. It signposts to relevant guidance on a range of different activities that can take place in these buildings.
Financial impact of COVID-19 on parks and green spaces - Watford Borough Council
Local Government Association (LGA) | November 28 2020
Case study illustrating how the COVID-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on the parks service at Watford Borough Council. It is forecast that the loss of income will be £86,000 but the situation has resulted in a significant difference in the way the service now communicates and operates.
Financing green ambitions – full report
Local Government Association (LGA) | November 27 2020
This guide looks at some of these sources of funding, as well as green loans, community municipal bonds and more and how they might apply to different types of projects.
Over 600 vulnerable young people a day referred to councils after lockdown, with an increase in demand for family support during the pandemic
County Councils Network | November 24 2020
A new survey from the County Councils Network shows that councils saw a 15% increase in young people being referred for local authority support in the months of July, August, and September, compared to the three lockdown months prior when services and schools were closed. This is a rate of 634 young people a day in county areas. The survey also revealed that nine in ten councils had projected an over-spend on their budgets this year, and the CCN is calling for more government funding to help councils support families during the pandemic.
Lessons learnt from councils' response to rough sleeping during the COVID-19 pandemic
Local Government Association (LGA) | November 19 2020
The success of “Everyone In” demonstrates that, given the mandate and funding, councils, working with their partners, have the means to end the vast majority of rough sleeping. This report includes several case studies and suggestions for new ways of delivering homelessness services.
Lessons from COVID−19: major report on public services launched
The Public Services Committee | November 13 2020
The Public Services Committee has published its first report, A critical juncture for public services: lessons from COVID-19. In the report−the first comprehensive analysis of how public services responded to COVID-19−the Committee discusses lessons to be learned from the pandemic and recommends a number of principles to transform public service delivery.
Social security arrangements between the UK and the EU from 1 January 2021: staff guide
Joint issue from Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue & Customs, and Department of Health and Social Care | November 11 2020
This staff guidance explains the social security coordination arrangements between the UK and the EU under the EU Withdrawal Agreement from 1 January 2021.
More rapid COVID-19 tests to be rolled out across England
Department of Health and Social Care | November 9 2020
600,000 lateral flow tests to be sent out this week to kick-start the significant expansion of testing, followed by weekly local allocations.
Thousands refused help to self-isolate by cash-strapped English councils
The Guardian | November 30 2020
Council leaders and charities believe that thousands of people are being excluded from accessing the £500 one-off payments due to gaps in the policy announced by the Prime Minister two months ago. Councils also say the government “vastly underestimated” demand for the payments, which were introduced in September to support those who cannot afford to take time off work to self-isolate, and has provided insufficient funding.
Tier 3 communities in North and Midlands ‘stretched to breaking point’
LocalGov | November 30 2020
According to an analysis by Labour, the weekly value of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) is set to fall by millions between the end of national lockdown and Christmas. Tier 3 communities in the North and Midlands will be ‘stretched to breaking point’ once the grant aimed at supporting local business is cut at the end of the national lockdown.
More than 200 councils launch local contract tracing schemes
LocalGov | November 27 2020
200 local contact tracing partnerships have now been set up across England, and another 100 local schemes are also in the process of being implemented, to work alongside NHS Test and Trace. The LGA is calling for councils to receive clearer and more precise information on who they should be contacting, and increased funding for contract tracing.
Croydon publishes financial renewal plans
LocalGov | November 24 2020
The council has published financial recovery plans after it was forced to issue a Section 114 notice earlier this month banning all new expenditure, with the exception of safeguarding vulnerable people and statutory services.
Head teachers call for funding to support collaboration between schools, academies and councils
LocalGov | November 18 2020
A report from the School Improvement Commission, Improving Schools, has set out a number of ways in which schools can be improved. It includes recommendations to designate a senior leader to focus on staff development and a Government-funded support package for new head teachers.
Councils bid for vaccine role
LocalGov | November 17 2020
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils across the country, said directors of public health could use their knowledge and experience to support and expand on plans for GPs to provide at least one million doses of the vaccine each week. The LGA believes civic centres, sports halls, libraries, athletic stadiums, car parks and other council-owned facilities could be brought into rapid use to help the health service.
Councils warn that a million young people could be missing full-time education
LocalGov | November 17 2020
Council leaders have warned that ’significant gaps’ in legislation means more than a million young people in England could be missing formal full-time education. The Local Government Association (LGA) said a soaring number of parents are choosing to educate their children at home, partly due to fears over the pandemic. They are calling for councils to have the tools and flexibilities to check a child’s home schooling, and for schools to be forced to share attendance registers with councils.
Council chiefs call for culture funding to support people during lockdown
LocalGov | November 11 2020
Local authority leaders have called on the Government to invest more in culture, sport and leisure activities as a new report reveals councils spend over £2bn a year on these areas. Entitled Leisure under lockdown: how culture and leisure services responded to COVID-19, the report shows how people used culture, sport and leisure to connect and take care of each other during the first lockdown.
Ofsted warns of COVID impact on SEND support
LocalGov | November 9 2020
Ofsted made 900 visits to education and social care providers during September and October, and reported that the pandemic had ‘seriously affected’ support for special educational needs an disabilities (SEND), according to Ofsted. Chief inspector Amanda Spielman said: ‘Across all age groups, children with SEND were seriously affected in both their care and education, as the services that families relied on, particularly speech and language services, were unavailable.’
Government U-turn on school meals funding
Public Finance | November 9 2020
Councils in England are set to receive an additional £170m in government funding following a government U-turn over additional support for low-income families this winter.
Place & Growth
Dilapidations - the devil is in the detail
Dilapidations generally refers to costs which relate to reinstating the property into its original pre-let state, which can cover anything from repairs to removing alterations added by the tenant. A claim for dilapidations is not intended to profit the landlord – the aim is to return the landlord to the same position as if the tenant had performed its obligations under the lease.
In order to assess whether a claim for dilapidations can be made (and succeed) careful scrutiny of the relevant clauses containing the obligations to repair, redecorate and reinstate is required. Apart from the lease, covenants may be contained in supplemental documents such as a licence for alterations, so these will need to be checked and assessed to establish the exact extent of the tenant’s obligations.
Covenants to repair and redecorate
Certain covenants to repair are more onerous than others so it is important to check the wording of these covenants to assess the standard of repair expected. A covenant to “keep” the property in good repair can require the tenant to put the property into a better state of repair if it is in disrepair at the start of the lease, unless this has been qualified. Timescales relating to interior decoration should be adhered to as most leases expect redecoration to be carried out at regular intervals e.g. once every three or five years and usually in the last year of the term.
Covenants for reinstatement
These will state whether the landlord will require reinstatement or whether the works can remain at the end of the lease. If there is no obligation to reinstate then the tenant can hand back the property with any alterations it has made – it cannot be made to reinstate any (lawful) alterations. Any licence for alterations should be examined for reinstatement provisions as problems can arise if they differ from those in the lease – ideally they should be mirrored in both documents.
Most modern leases contain a Jervis v Harris clause which enables the landlord to re-enter a property to carry out repairs if the tenant defaults. Under this type of clause, the landlord has to serve notice on the tenant listing items which are in disrepair and requiring it to comply with its repairing obligations. The tenant has to be given a reasonable time to carry out the repairs (usually within two or three months) and if this does not happen then the landlord can enter the property to carry out those repairs and claim the costs from the tenant.
Landlords and tenants should keep dilapidations in mind throughout the term of the lease to ensure there are no nasty surprises at the end - claims for dilapidations can be very costly as they can easily amount to over 12 months’ rent. Landlords rely on successful claims for dilapidations to be able to return their property into a lettable state, for example by insisting on the removal of partitions and making good, as well as ensuring their assets are properly maintained.
Publications & Guidance
Managing flood risk
National Audit Office (NAO) | November 27 2020
In this report the National Audit Office (NAO) concludes the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) must plug ‘gaps in its understanding’ to assess whether councils have enough resources. It also found that while many flood schemes are expected to be to be part-funded by councils, a date has not been fixed for a promised review of local government funding for flooding, which is supposed to ‘ensure it is fair and matches the needs and resources of local areas’.
Landmark reforms to improve social housing and give residents a greater voice
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government | November 17 2020
The Charter for social housing residents sets out reforms that will speed up complaints procedure for residents and make landlords more accountable.
Local authority guidance for formal applications to disapply government rent policy
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | Updated November 10 2020
This document sets out the arrangements for a local authority to apply to the Secretary of State for agreement that it would be inappropriate for the Government’s Policy Statement on Rents for Social Housing (“Government Rent Policy”) to apply to specified accommodation because this would cause the authority unavoidable and serious financial difficulty. If the Secretary of State agrees to a local authority’s application, the effect would be that the Rent Standard would no longer apply to the accommodation in question.
Homes for all: Putting council housing at the heart of local recovery.
Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) | November 6 2020
This new report from RIBA examines what councils need to do in order to get building again and do so in a way that raises standards of design, quality and sustainability across the built environment. The report explores the challenges and opportunities that have faced councils that have already begun building, and looks at the early successes in this new period of council house building to establish a blueprint for how the public sector can build quality housing at scale.
Mayor awards green grants to help communities create green spaces
London Assembly | December 1 2020
The Mayor of London has awarded Grow Back Greener grants totalling almost £700,000 to 34 projects across the capital. 90% of the projects will be in areas of deprivation, where residents are less likely to have access to green space, and one third of projects will be led by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Londoners.
From benefits to bricks - the financial case for council housing
Public Finance | November 30 2020
Describes how shifting resources away from housing benefit subsidies to social housing provision is growing stronger.
Charity calls for new standards for accessible housing
LocalGov | November 18 2020
A survey by the Centre for Ageing Better, which received responses from 32 councils in England, found that 97% said their need for accessible homes will increase in the next 10 years, with a quarter already describing their need as severe.
Council raises £1m for solar panels through ‘community investment’
LocalGov | November 19 2020
Warrington Borough Council’s first Community Municipal Investment (CMI) has reached its £1m target thanks to investments from over 500 people across the UK. The CMI structure was developed by ethical investment platform Abundance Investment to offer an accessible, low-risk way for people to support councils in the fight to halt climate change.
Government announces ‘additional’ £40m of green funding
LocalGov | November 16 2020
The Government has announced that more areas are to be designated national parks and a second round of funding will be available to support the delivery of green jobs. The £40m Green Recovery Challenge Fund, initially launched in September, offers funding for environmental charities and their partners to begin work on projects to restore nature and tackle climate change.
Governance & Reorganisation
How is the ICO approaching fines under GDPR? Some Key Takeaways
2018 was a big year for data breaches. British Airways (BA) hit the headlines having been issued with a “notice of intent to fine” of £183m by the ICO; Marriott Hotels were subject to a cyber-attack involving an est. 339 million guest records and Ticketmaster UK Limited (Ticketmaster)’s attack on its website involved the data of 9.4 million data subjects.
The ICO’s decisions on the breaches have now been released. For both BA and Marriott, certain factors including the economic impact of COVID-19 have meant that the ultimate fines issued were significantly less. However, both of these companies failed to detect the attacks as quickly as they should have – in Marriott’s case the delay spanned two years.
So what are the key takeaways in understanding how the ICO is approaching fines under GDPR?
- Given the significant reductions in both the BA and Marriot fines, there is merit in contesting the ICO’s findings in these cases
- Upon finding a breach, ensure quick remedial action, prompt notification to data subjects and supervisory authorities, and a willingness to assist the ICO
- Data Controllers must put in place suitable security and technical measures and should consider how a layered approach can be adopted.
The ICO’s most recent fine of £1.25m was issued against Ticketmaster. Ticketmaster have confirmed they will appeal.
Publications & Guidance
Northamptonshire County Council: seventh commissioners' report
Department for Housing, Communities & Local Government | December 1 2020
Commissioners’ seventh report to the Secretary of State setting out the work they continue to carry out to ensure that the council is prepared for the restructure planned for 1 April 2021.
Local Restrictions Support Grants (LRSG) and Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG): guidance for local authorities
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy | Updated November 30 2020
This is guidance for local authorities on paying grants to support businesses during the November to December 2020 national lockdown and periods of local restrictions.
Spending Review 2020
HM Treasury | November 25 2020
The Spending Review 2020 (SR20) prioritises funding to support the government’s response to Covid-19, invest in the UK’s recovery and sets departmental budgets for 2021-22 and devolved administrations’ block grants for the same period.
The Review supports local authorities through increasing core spending power by an estimated 4.5 per cent in cash terms next year, which follows the largest real terms increase in core spending power for a decade at SR19. Local authorities will be able to increase their council tax bills by 2 per cent without needing to hold a referendum, and social care authorities will be able to charge an additional 3 per cent precept to help fund pressures in social care. SR20 also provides £254 million of additional funding to help end rough sleeping – a 60% cash increase compared to SR19.
See also – LGA’s response
Unitary local government
House of Commons Library | November 2020
This briefing paper provides a guide to the concept of ‘unitary local government’, in the context of debates over local government restructuring in England in 2019 and 2020. It includes an evaluation of previous restructures, plus details of recent proposals for unitary authorities .
Ministers urged to 'double down on devolution'
LocalGov | November 17 2020
A new study by Localis: Renewing Neighbourhood Democracy – Creating Powerful Communities urges the creation of a £2bn Community Wealth Fund to specifically target the social and civic infrastructure of ‘left behind’ neighbourhoods across the country.
Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Local Authority Enforcement Powers and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1375)
Coming into force December 2 2020
These Regulations are made in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health which is posed by the incidence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in England.
Welsh Government hails passing in Senedd of Bill “to revolutionise local government and democracy” Local Government Lawyer | November 19, 2020
The Bill has been designed with local government. Anything we do to achieve greater accessibility and improved public participation in local government will be hugely valuable to Welsh democracy.
Bexley mulls £15m capitalisation application
Public Finance | November 18 2020
A report has revealed that the London Borough of Bexley is in discussions with government over a possible application to use £15m of capital resources to fund revenue spending.
Majority of county councils to make cuts next year
Public Finance | November 12 2020
According to a survey from the County Councils Network around 80% of county and unitary authorities are expected to make cuts next year in order to set a balanced budget.
Combined authority expansion halted by ‘party politics’
LocalGov | November 9 2020
The expansion of the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has stalled after leaders failed to reach an agreement. North Somerset Council was set to join the authority, with a promise of up to £900m of additional funding from the Government on the table as a result, but there are currently no plans for it to join in the near future.
Amendments to public procurement regulations published
The Statutory Instrument amending the public procurement regulations has been made and published. Most of the provisions will take effect at the end of the Brexit implementation period: 11pm on 31 December 2020 (IP completion day).
The Public Procurement (Amendment etc.)(EU Exit) Regulations 2020 SI 1319 (PP Amendment Regulations 2020) set out amendments to the: Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR), Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 and Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016. It also amends other legislation requiring incidental changes, including the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. The focus of this note is on the PCR.
Most of the provisions in the public procurement regulations remain the same. More significant changes may lie ahead but, for the time being, the aim is to maintain a “steady state” so far as possible.
We would expect to see detailed guidance issued by Cabinet Office on the PP Amendment Regulations 2020. In the meantime, we thought it might be helpful to highlight three points of immediate practical relevance:
End of publication of notices in the OJEU – and start of publication of notices on UK’s Find a Tender service
Contract notices and other notices such as prior information notices, contract award notices, contract modification notices as well as voluntary transparency (VEAT) notices will no longer be dispatched to and published in the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). Instead, whenever you would have published a notice in the OJEU, you will now need to publish a very similarly worded notice using the UK’s new e-notification service “Find a Tender”. The same financial thresholds and timescales apply to publication of notices as before.
Existing requirements to publish on Contracts Finder, Sell2Wales or e-TendersNI continue to apply.
On 23 November 2020, Cabinet Office published PPN 08/20 Introduction of Find a Tender service (FTS) which includes FAQs and a flowchart illustrating where to publish procurement notices after the end of the Transition Period (IP completion day). A link to PPN 08/20 is included at the end of this article.
Amendments will not apply to procurements already under way
The PP Amendment Regulations 2020 include provisions (saving provisions) covering the situation where procurements are already under way, but not yet finalised, on IP completion day.
Put simply, Part 2 of the Schedule to the PP Amendment Regulations provides at section 3, that where a procurement procedure has been launched but not finalised at IP completion day the PCR will apply as if unamended by the PP Amendment Regulations 2020 or by subsequent amendments to the PCR.
The terms “launched”, “finalised” and “procedure” are explained for the purposes of the saving provisions. In summary:
- A procedure is “launched” when a call for competition or any other invitation to submit applications has been made in accordance with the PCR. Where the PCR do not require such a call or invitation, a procedure is “launched” when the contracting authority contacts economic operators in relation to a specific procedure.
- A procedure is “finalised” when a contract award notice is published or, where a contract award notice is not required, upon conclusion of the relevant contract. When an authority decides not to award the contract the procedure is “finalised” when it informs the tenderers or those otherwise entitled to participate of the reasons why the contract was not awarded.
- The saving provisions refer to a “procedure” as including a procedure using a dynamic purchasing system and also where a call for competition takes the form of a prior information notice.
Award of contracts/call-offs under existing framework agreements are not affected by the amending provisions
Part 2 of the Schedule provides, at section 4, that where:
- a framework agreement is concluded and has not expired or terminated before IP completion day, or
- a procedure for setting up a framework agreement was launched but not finalised before IP completion day.
The PCR will apply to the award of contracts under that framework agreement as if unamended by the PP Amendment Regulations 2020 or by subsequent amendments to the PCR.
Publications & Guidance
Investigation into government procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic
National Audit Office (NAO) | November 18 2020
The (NAO) has published a report following its investigation into UK government procurement during the coronavirus pandemic. This report found that the government’s procurement process had lacked transparency and adequate documentation of key decisions, including why certain suppliers were chosen and how conflicts of interest were managed. The report includes key recommendations, such as recommending that the government ensure basic information on contracts are published within 90 days of award and to ensure conflicts of interest and bias are considered earlier if a similar situation to the current pandemic occurred again in the future.
Lessons learned from Major Programmes
National Audit Office (NAO) | November 20 2020
This report draws together insights from recent reports on major programmes, including on Crossrail, Carrier Strike and Universal Credit. While there is a wealth of literature and courses on major programmes, we repeatedly see similar problems. Many of these problems have their roots in four key areas: scope, planning, managing interdependencies and oversight. This report examines the root causes of the issues seen most often and why they occur, in order to identify learning points that government should focus on in order to improve its performance on major programmes.
Guidance on using personal data from 1 January 2021
GOV.UK | 24 November 2020
The Departments for Digital, Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) and Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), along with the Office for Civil Society (OCS) and Information Commissioners Office (ICO) have collectively published updated guidance on data protection and data flows to help stakeholders prepare for the end of the transition period. Note that new and updated guidance may be issued as the transition period progresses.
Public-sector procurement from 1 January 2021
Cabinet office | November 10 2020
As above, information for public authorities, businesses and other organisations on the outcome for public procurement policy from 1 January 2021. The requirement to use Find a Tender replaces the requirement to publish notices in the Official Journal of the European Union, which will cease when the transition period post-Brexit ends.
See also - Procurement: PPN08/20 – Find a tender service
Bevan Brittan | November 25 2020
Ambitious plans for housing in Gateshead
Gateshead Council | November 20 2020
Gateshead council in the North East with around 19,000 homes has decided to shut down its ALMO and bring housing management in house. The authority said the move will ensure its housing stock is maintained “as effectively and efficiently as possible” and help to “deliver a new vision for all the council’s housing functions”.
County to take early control over four care homes
LocalGov | November 17 2020
Northamptonshire County Council is taking over the management of four care homes nine years earlier than planned after it negotiated a change to a long-running PFI contract. The four care homes were part of a 25-year contract with Shaw Healthcare that was due to run until 2029. The council will now take responsibility for providing care and staffing as its’ adult social care needs have changed significantly since the contract began.
London council to end outsourcing of parking enforcement
LocalGov | November 11 2020
Hackney Council is planning to bring parking wardens back in-house when its current contract ends in March 2022. The council said the move would improve services and protect the pay and conditions of 130 parking enforcement officers. The Unite union has welcomed the move and has called on other London boroughs to end their outsourced parking contracts too.
Alleged frustration of underlying contract due to coronavirus restrictions
Salam Air SAOC v Latam Airlines Group SA  EWHC 2414
BAILII.org | 8 September 2020
This case relates to an airlines argument that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been such to frustrate the leases of three aircraft so as to make it appropriate in injunct the lessor form issuing demands under standby letters of credit in place to secure the advance monthly rentals on the aircraft. The courts held that these arguments were “weak” in this case and there was not frustration of purpose.
Disputes & Regulatory Support
A County Council v LW and another  EWCOP 50
The case of A County Council v LW and another  EWCOP 50, will be of interest to local authorities, commissioners, providers and safeguarding teams. It reminds those caring for incapacitous adults to be vigilant for patterns of behaviour that may amount to controlling and coercive behaviour and the steps they can take to cease abusive contact.
In this case Hayden J considered an application in relation to LW’s capacity to decide where she should live, the nature and extent of the care she required and whether she should continue to have contact with her partner, who the Court found to be abusive towards her. Hayden J agreed with the professionals that LW lacked the capacity to take these interrelated decisions and that it was in her best interests to cease contact with her partner and progress the planning process for a return home.
Those caring for vulnerable adults should:
- Ensure that they are aware of the insidious nature of controlling and coercive behaviour and understand that the cumulative impact of this behaviour is crucial to effective safeguarding.
- At the end of his judgment Hayden J draws on statutory guidance and sets out a list of paradigm behaviour in controlling and coercive relationships, emphasising those which are seen with some frequency by those concerned with the welfare or vulnerable adults.
- Be mindful that manipulative abusers may extend their control to professionals caring for vulnerable adults.
- Co-operate with others involved in the care of vulnerable adults to enable effective assessments of patterns of behaviour that provide a clear picture of the nature of an abusive relationship.
- Where there are concerns that an individual is in a controlling and coercive relationship and lacks the capacity to decide whether to continue contact with their partner, capacity assessment and best interest considerations should be carried out and a timely application to the Court of Protection may be necessary.
Stratford-on-Avon Council takes legal action over Tier 3
LocalGov | December 2 2020
Stratford-on-Avon District Council has sent the Government a Judicial Review pre-action protocol letter over its decision to place the area in Tier 3. The council is arguing the data does now warrant the district being placed in the highest tier, and describes the decision as ‘arbitrary and irrational’.
Campaign group crowd funds judicial review challenge of Stonehenge dual carriageway plan
Local Government Lawyer | November 30, 2020
A group who opposes the government's recently approved plan to build a dual carriageway beneath the Stonehenge World Heritage Site has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund a judicial review of the decision. Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site, said the £1.7bn project would cause "massive and irreparable damage" to the archaeology and landscape in violation of the UK's international commitments to safeguard the site for future generations.
Administrative Court dismisses suggestion LGPS ‘exit credits’ claim was brought out of time
Local Government Lawyer | November 24 2020
A judge in the Administrative Court has rejected arguments that claims in relation to Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) ‘exit credits’ was brought out of time.
Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) Issue judicial review proceedings seeking to quash the Exit Payment Cap Regulations
LLG | November 20 2020
Amidst confusion caused by the Exit Payment Cap Regulations clashing with the requirements of the Local Government Pension Scheme, in the absence of any indication from HMT or MHCLG that they will take action to address the procedural and substantive legal flaws, LLG and ALACE have reluctantly taken the decision to issue judicial review proceedings seeking to quash the Exit Payment Cap Regulations.
Residents group files for judicial review over decision by council to build cycleway through Experimental Traffic Order
Local Government Lawyer | November 16 2020
A resident's group has applied for a judicial review of a London council's decision to install a 'cycleway' which they say will lead to increased pollution and congestion in their neighbourhood. 'One Chiswick', has claimed that Hounslow Council's use of an Experimental Traffic Order (ETO) to construct a temporary version of the cycle route was ‘undemocratic’.
Dolan & Ors, R(On the application Of) v Secretary of State for health and Social Care and Anor.  EWCA Civ 1605
The Court of Appeal urges consideration of rule changes to procedure for judicial review claims after dismissing challenge to ‘lockdown’ regulations
See comment in Local Government Lawyer.
Ombudsman finds county council failed to meet needs of man with dementia, leaving him to pay for some of his own care
Local Government Lawyer | November 27 2020 See also report
The man, who has dementia, had initially paid for the care he received in his home. But, in Spring 2019, when a relative alerted the council that the man’s capital had fallen below the £23,250 threshold, it did not complete a Care Act compliant assessment.
The Durham Company Ltd Ltd (t/a Max recycle v Durham County Council  EWHC 3200 (Ch)
The High Court has thrown out a claim by a recycling company that Durham County Council priced it out of business through unlawful state aid. See comment in Local Government Lawyer.
Community R4C Ltd v Gloucestershire County Council  EWHC 1803 (TCC)
Court of Appeal refuses permission to appeal in long-running battle over £600m procurement of incinerator
See comment in Local Government Lawyer.
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