25/04/2019

LA Spotlight

Cap on public sector exit payments to return
The Government has confirmed that it still plans to introduce a £95,000 cap on exit payments for public sector workers.  This is a step which was first announced in 2015 but had not yet been introduced, although it has already been legislated for, as part of the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, which became the Enterprise Act 2016.  

Relaunching the idea, the Treasury began a consultation on 10 April, setting out the proposed draft regulations, schedules and accompanying guidance and directions.

The intention is that the guidance and new regulations will not replace existing regulations applying to an organisation’s exit payments where these apply more stringent conditions than the regulations.  However, the regulations will take precedence over existing contractual agreements, regulations and other exit schemes where they make more generous provision than allowed by these regulations, unless these arrangements are exempt in the regulations

The following categories of public sector employer are within scope of the draft regulations:

  • the UK Civil Service, its executive agencies, non-ministerial departments and non-departmental public bodies (including Crown non-departmental public bodies and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service)
  • the NHS in England and Wales
  • academy schools
  • local government including fire authorities’ employees and maintained schools
  • police forces including civilian and uniformed officers

The exit payments (set out in regulation 6) include:

  • redundancy payments
  • payments in lieu of notice
  • payments to pension funds to cover
  • severance or ex gratia payments
  • voluntary severance payments
  • payments in consequence of termination of employment or loss of office.

There will be a power to relax the restrictions which can be exercised in “exceptional circumstances”, including where imposing the cap would cause genuine hardship by: a Minister of the Crown; full council of a local authority; and Fire & Rescue Authority. There will also be mandatory relaxation in specified circumstances including TUPE scenarios and settlements to avoid discrimination and whistleblowing Employment Tribunal claims.

The consultation is due to close on 3 July 2019.

 

 

Commercialisation

Report advocates commercial activity code for local authorities
Strategies for commercialisation have largely been subject to regional and bespoke local policy decisions. However, what remains unclear is the extent to which such decision making will be constrained centrally.

The recent joint report by the Commissioning Joint Committee, an independent body with input from the Local Government Association, the Association for Public Service Excellence, Southwark LBC, and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, advocates the implementation of a code for local authority commercial activity. To some extent, this would be a welcome support toolkit to assist authorities in managing their role as statutory public bodies. But what requires further development is the extent to which such regime would create additional burden or streamline the existing complex framework that regulates such activity.

 

Multi-agency working
Multi-agency working in public services has long been advocated in health and social care.  As such, it is promising to see that local government services will have the opportunity to bid for the latest pledge of funding for adult social care in technology (NHS Commits nearly £5m to digital social care projects). However, the limitations of levels of funding when applied on a regional scale, requires further innovation in local partnerships to make effective change.

 

Publications & Guidance

Chief Executives’ “must know” for children’s services
Local Government Association | 27 March, 2019
This guidance aims to be a clear summary guide for chief executives, showing how to avoid some of the more obvious and dangerous errors and challenges involved in leading this sensitive, expensive and high-risk area of local government.

Adult social care providers: EU exit planning update
Department of Health and Social Care | 14 March, 2019
This EU Exit letter includes the actions adult social care providers should take before the UK leaves the EU, to help manage the supply of medicines and medical products.

Poverty framing toolkit
Joseph Rowntree Foundation | 14 March
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has produced a toolkit as part of their ‘Talking About Poverty’ project. The toolkit aims to help reframe the conversation around tackling poverty, to counter common myths around this issue.

More families in need making significant progress
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 28 March, 2019
The Troubled Families programme which is supporting almost 400,000 families with multiple, high-cost problems, is making significant and sustained progress. The MHCLG has published the third annual report of the programme – Building Resilient Families.

Elective home education: departmental guidance for local authorities
Department for Education, updated 2 April 2019
The guidance has been updated following a consultation that included registration of children educated at home, monitoring of home education provision, and support for home educators. An estimated 60,000 children are educated at home and the DfE want to launch a new register of all children not educated at school, to help parents and to ensure that every child receives the best possible education.

Child safeguarding practice review: terms of reference and code of practice
Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel | 5 April, 2019
This document sets out the terms of reference and code of practice for the child safeguarding practice review panel. The panel oversees the review of serious child safeguarding cases which are complex or of national importance.

 

News

Modern slavery referrals by councils soar nine-fold
Local Government Association | 16 March, 2019
The LGA has warned that the rapid annual increase in referrals is further evidence of the current huge pressures on children’s services, housing and adult social care, which all child victims and some adult victims are entitled access to.

Brexit and the future of the UK's unbalanced economic geography
Political Quarterly |14 March 2019
Andrew Carter and Paul Swinney of Centre for Cities have written an article which concludes that Brexit leads to central government further centralising power in Whitehall, meaning the difficulty of adapting national policies to meet the economic and political needs of increasingly diverse places could only get worse.

Council chiefs call for “urgent investment” in children’s health visitors
LocalGov | 21 March, 2019
The Local Government Association has estimate that the number of full-time children’s health visitors has dropped from 10,000 to 8,000 since 2015. They describe the service has “stretched to its limits”, with under investment being a major factor.

Children’s homes system “catastrophically failing children, MPs warn
LocalGov | 26 March, 2019
MPs today launched a Parliamentary inquiry into the record number of children who are ‘farmed out’ to live in children’s homes miles away from family and friends.  According to the latest figures, nearly two thirds (64%) of all children living in children’s homes now live out of borough - up from 46% in 2012.

Councils to be part of “multi-agency initiative” against knife crime
LocalGov | 1 April, 2019
There will be  a summit in Downing Street this week to focus on ensuring that everyone coming into contact with young people including the police, health, education and the voluntary sector, as well as councils, works together to steer them away from violence. A new ‘public health duty’ will aim to spot the warning signs that a young person could be in danger, such as presenting in A&E with a suspicious injury, to worrying behaviour at school or issues at home.

Social care green paper delay
The MJ | 1 April 2019  [subscription only]
The MJ reported a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social care said the intention was to publish the paper, originally due at the end 2017, “at the earliest opportunity”. The Institute for Government has warned that “delays to the green paper make it impossible for councils to plan ahead” and urged ministers to “make a choice”.

Government draws up knife crime prevention strategy
Public Finance | 1 April 2019
The Home Office has launched a consultation on a new knife crime strategy. Public Finance reports that local authorities and teachers will form part of a ‘multi-agency’ approach to tackle knife crime. The consultation said Government is seeking to create better collaboration between all sectors that come into contact with young people, including professionals in local government, public health, social care, law enforcement, health and education. According to the Public Finance report Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, criticised the plan as she suggested cuts to youth services had impacted on knife crime levels.


Call for regulator to manage increasing commercial activity
The MJ | 2 April, 2019 [subscription only]
A new report has suggested that it is now necessary to have a code to guarantee the soundness of the sector’s plans as commercial activity gathers momentum.

NHS Commits nearly £5m to digital social care projects
LocalGov | 2 April, 2019
The Local Government Association have urged councils to bid for money to improve the use of technology for adult social care services.

Cash-strapped councils struggle to fulfil homelessness prevention duties
LocalGov | 4 April, 2019
The New Local Government Network Leadership Index survey has revealed that over two thirds of councils are struggling to pay for new duties included in the Homelessness Reduction Act.

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Place & Growth

National Infrastructure Commission – devolved funding to integrate transport and housing delivery
In the Next Steps for Cities event held in Birmingham in March, the chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, gave a speech discussing the importance of devolved funding for transport for cities. He stated that delivery of this vision depends on what the government decides in its National Infrastructure Strategy.

Whilst cities of all sizes are experiencing significant growth, this can lead to congestion and housing shortages. Housing shortages can in turn lead to rising house prices, meaning that the skilled graduates that a city needs, are priced out of the housing market. Sir John suggested that addressing this problem requires stable funding and a long-term strategy, but argued that the current system could almost have been designed to prevent this given that central government funding for cities is short-term, fragmented and inconsistent.

The National Infrastructure Commission has suggested that local city leaders should be given the power and funding to set and deliver infrastructure strategies. This requires stable five-year budgets for urban transport infrastructure, following the model already in place for Highways England and Network Rail, as well as any additional powers needed to integrate transport and housing delivery. The Commission has identified £43 billion of additional investment that could be made available to cities outside London by 2040.

However, if cities are going to persuade the government to allocate the additional funding, then they need to show that they’ve got a smart plan for spending it. The Commission wants to help England’s city authorities to learn from each other as they prepare their transport and housing plans. If this can be achieved in a collaborative way, work will not be duplicated and those working across different cities will face the same rules and regulations in each.  The Commission has asked that local councils now make the case for their recommendations, both by vocally supporting the recommendations, and by letting ministers see the “innovative, achievable visions” which could be delivered with the new powers.

 

Publications & Guidance

Building cohesive communities
Local Government Association | 25 March, 2019
This guidance is intended to be a helpful starting point for councils in promoting cohesion and working through their own local challenges.

Regulating the Standards
Regulator of Social Housing | 28 March, 2019
This report describes the Regulator’s operational approach to assessing providers’ compliance with the economic and consumer standards. It also includes information on RSH's planned work and its approach to reactive engagement, including notifications and consumer regulation.

Tenant Fees Act 2019: statutory guidance for enforcement authorities
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, 1 April, 2019
The aim of this document is to help enforcement authorities understand how to use their new powers to enforce the Tenant Fees Act 2019. The Act should be considered alongside other legislation that gives local authorities the power to protect tenants and tackle poor practice by landlords and letting agents.

Seaside towns must be inspired to reinvent themselves
House of Lords Committee Report | 4 April, 2019
The report urges councils to work with central government and LEPs to revitalise Britain’s rundown coastal towns. The Chairman, Lord Bassam said: ‘A single solution to their economic and social challenges doesn’t exist. What is needed is a package of strategic initiatives and interventions where national and local government work together to address issues such as transport, housing, post-school education and high-speed broadband.

Rogue landlord enforcement: guidance for local authorities
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | April 9, 2019
The aim of this document is to provide local authority enforcement officers with detailed information on the powers and options open to them to tackle rogue landlords in the private rented sector.

Highway Road Maintenance Survey
Asphalt Industry Alliance | March 2019
The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey (ALARM) aims to take a snapshot of the general condition of the local road network, based on information provided directly by those responsible for its maintenance. The 2019 survey shows that all, local authorities have increased their highway maintenance budgets for the second successive year and there are some small signs that this is helping to stem further decline in local road conditions. However, the amount needed to bring then local road network up to scratch is now almost £10 billion.

 

News

Nearly all councils to build new homes after scrapping of borrowing cap
LocalGov | March 14, 2019
94% of housing stock owning councils have indicated that last year’s scrapping of the housing borrowing cap will help them accelerate house building. However, nearly all of them (92%) said that more support from the Government is required if councils are to reverse the decline in social housing.

Protecting public spaces
LocalGov | 22 March, 2019
Last year a Freedom of Information Request by Locality, the national network supporting community organisations to be strong and successful, discovered that more than 4,000 publicly owned buildings and spaces are being sold off each year. These are our parks, libraries, town halls and swimming pools. The Director of Locality urges councils to open up discussion, meet local residents and come along to the asset that they want to discuss.

James Brokenshire confirms funding to help people off the streets
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 25 March, 2019
Investment totalling £46 million allocated to 246 areas nationwide – providing an estimated 750 additional staff and over 2,600 new beds in total.  Funding will be used for additional staff and outreach and accommodation services

£3.7 million to fund 5 new garden towns across the country
Department for Housing, Communities & Local Government | 25 March 2019
The Minister of State for Housing has announced that five new garden towns have been unveiled. These will provide 64,000 homes across England. Details of further successful bids will soon be announced.

Councils must finalise air quality plans or face legal action, lawyers say
LocalGov | 27 March 2019
The environmental law organisation ClientEarth has contacted 38 local authorities warning them to finalise their air quality plans or risk facing legal action. Several authorities have failed to publish their detailed proposals, months after the 31 December deadline set by ministers for their final plans.

Councils urge Government to fund sprinkler installations
LocalGov | 27 March, 2019
Local authorities have called on the Government to fund the installation of sprinklers in high-rise buildings two years after the Grenfell tragedy.

Rent Repayment Orders: Councils failing to tackle bad landlords
Residential Landlords Association | 27 March, 2019
Research carried out by the RLA shown that councils are failing to use the new Rent Repayment Order powers they have to fine landlords up to £30,000 if they fail to provide acceptable housing.

Suspend the right to buy, Chartered Institute of Housing says, as right to buy replacements continue to fall
CIH | 28 March, 2019
The CIH quotes figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Authorities stating that local authorities in England sold 2,645 dwellings under the right to buy scheme from October to December 2018, . This was an increase of 9.4% on the previous quarter. In the same quarter, only 1,038 replacement dwellings were stared or acquired, and this is 32% lower that the number of dwellings started or acquired in the same quarter of 2017-18.

Right to buy has made a “leaking bucket” of efforts to replenish social housing stock
National Federation of ALMOs | 5 April, 2019
The annual survey conducted by the National Federation of ALMOs, which represents 31 council-owned housing companies in England, shows a net loss of more than 800 properties over the past year.

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Governance & Reorganisation

Data Protection fine for London local authority
The ICO has fined a London Council a huge £145,000 for unlawfully disclosing sensitive personal data about alleged gang members. The fine was levied under the Data Protection Act 1998 (the breach took place pre-GDPR), and one wonders whether this fine would have been higher had it occurred under the new regime. Needless to say, this should serve to act as a reminder that good information governance is critical, particularly in the context of changing service provision and reorganisation, and the greater use of technology in local government, and is something we have been assisting various public bodies with.

 

Brexit preparations
With the future of Brexit still up in the air, the Commons Select Committee have called on Government to take urgent action to help local authorities prepare for Brexit, despite the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government having published guidance to local authorities some two weeks previous. On a more positive note, the deadline extension for Brexit might allow for Government to focus on other important matters, such as consideration of the Committee on Standards in Public Life’s recent recommendations on ethical standards. Fingers crossed!

 

A date to remember
Don’t forget that any comments on CIPFA’s proposed financial management code for local government need to be submitted by 30 April.

 

Cases

Local authorities cannot press their claim for unpaid rates against special purpose vehicle companies.

In the case of Rossendale Borough Council and Hurstwood Properties [2019] EWCA Civ 364, the Court of Appeal looked at the question of whether the corporate veil of special purpose vehicles (SPVs) could be pierced.

 

Legislation

EU Exit secondary legislation laid with impacts on local government
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, 5 April, 2019
Statutory instruments which have been laid and identified as having impacts on local authorities, Includes additional guidance from Defra.

 

Publications & Guidance

CIPFA consults on financial management guidance
CIPFA | 15 March, 2019
The institute has opened a consultation on a new Financial Management Code, aiming to encourage improvement in financial management for all local authorities in the UK. They are keen to hear from as many parties as possible, on what will become a new industry standard.

The community paradigm: Why public services need radical change and how it can be achieved
New Local Government Network | 17 March, 2019
Our public services, designed in previous eras, are struggling to adapt to the rising demand pressures they face today. Yet across public services in the UK and beyond, radical innovations are emerging which meet the challenge. The feature that connects these innovations is the handing over of significant power and resource to communities. Using these innovations as inspiration, The Community Paradigm sets out a compelling case for a deep shift in public services based on a completely new relationship between citizen and state.

Community engagement and EU Exit: guidance for local authorities
Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government | 18 March, 2019
Guidance for local authorities on the ways in which they can understand, engage and reassure their communities in the lead up to and following EU exit.

Think tank suggests introduction of local income tax
LocalGov | 21 March, 2019
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has suggested that local income tax would be the best option for fiscal devolution in the Government wanted to hand more powers to local authorities.

AI and Public Standards
Committee on Standards in Public Life | 25 March, 2019
The Committee has announced a review into artificial intelligence and its impact on standards across the public sector.

Local audit in England
House of Commons Library | 28 March, 2019
This paper explains the procedures for audit of local authorities and related bodies brought in by the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

Charter trustees have “had their day” says local council body
LocalGov | 29 March, 2019
The National Association of Local Councils believes that the 17 remaining charter trustees should be turned into parish and town councils. According to the NALC some charter trustee areas have become a block on new local councils being created.

Government failing to fully support local authorities to prepare for Brexit – urgent action needed
Commons Select Committee | 3 April, 2019
The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has called on the Government to take urgent action to enable local authorities to prepare for the consequences of Brexit. The Committee has set out five urgent priorities to improve information sharing and Brexit preparations at a local level.

How local authorities can minimise the risk of data breaches
LocalGov | 9 April, 2019
Describes the steps that can be taken to help prevent data breaches.

 

News

Call for more cash for troubled families programme
Public Finance | 19 March, 2019
Council leaders have urged the government to keep funding a programme that supports families with complex problems. According to the government’s evaluation of the policy, it has achieved “significant and sustained progress” with up to 400,000 families.

South Essex Councils to formalise joint working
Local Government Chronicle | 25 March, 2019
The Association of South Essex Local Authorities (Asela) was formed following the collapse of devolution discussions in 2016. Seven councils were involved: the unitaries Southend-on-Sea BC and Thurrock Council, Basildon, Brentwood, Castle Point BCs, Rochford DC and Essex CC. They signed a memorandum of understanding last year and are working to develop a joint strategic plan.

South Yorkshire devolution deadlock broken
LocalGov | 25 March, 2019
The leaders of Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley MBCs, Sheffield City Council, and the Sheffield City Region Combined Authority have today announced their decision to accept the devolution deal handed to them in 2015, until the end of Mayor Dan Jarvis’ term in 2022. The leaders have agreed to support each other to achieve their individual goals.

Typical council tax in England will rise by 4.7% in April
BBC News | 27 March, 2019
This year the typical council tax rise in England will be more than twice the level of inflation, which records the rising cost of living and currently stands at 1.8%.  One reason for the rise is that, in the year from April, a total of 85 out of 151 adult social care authorities will use some or all of their remaining allowance, or precept, earmarked for adult social care. Councils have also been given the opportunity to boost funding for policing.

Two unitaries and three new districts launched
Local Government Chronicle | 1 April, 2019
Five new councils, including two new unitaries and three districts, have been created.

  • Dorset Council has been established to replace Dorset CC, North Dorset, East Dorset, West Dorset and Purbeck DCs and Weymouth and Portland BC.
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council replaces Bournemouth and Christchurch BCs and Borough of Poole Council.
  • East Suffolk Council replaces Suffolk Coastal and Waveney DCs to create the largest district council in the country
  • Forest Heath DC and St Edmundsbury have been replaced by West Suffolk Council
  • Somerset West and Taunton Council has replaced West Somerset DC and Taunton Deane BC.

Birmingham intervention panel disbands itself urging “ongoing rigour”
Local Government Chronicle | 2 April, 2019
Birmingham City Council’s government-led intervention team has announced it is disbanding itself but warned the authority will continue to require “active monitoring”. In a letter to the communities and local government secretary, Birmingham Improvement Panel chair John Crabtree said he agreed with much of the council’s analysis that it is transforming, but said there are “some matters on which the panel does not entirely concur with the council’s assessment”. The report stated that “The situation with regard to industrial relations, in particular, is precarious. The resilience of much of the council’s progress is yet to be tested.”

Council fined for leak of its gang database
LocalGov | 5 April, 2019
The London Borough of Newham has been fined £145,000 by the data watchdog for revealing personal information on more than 200 people who were on a police database.  The Information Commissioner’s Office discovered that a council employee had sent an email to 44 recipients in January last year that contained both redacted and un-redacted versions of the 'gangs matrix.'

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Contract Management

Government plan could ban outsourcing
The Government currently spends in the region of £284 billion annually buying services from the third and private sectors.  The practice of outsourcing has come under scrutiny particular in recent months in the wake of a number of high profile companies collapsing.

In response to what the Labour party has described as a series of “outsourcing disasters” involving services handed to private firms, the government has drawn up a plan to restrict outsourcing (referencing various events including the MoJ seizing control of Birmingham prison from G4S, the testing for sickness benefits and the privatisation of cancer-scanning services). 

The plan would see private companies being banned from running services that deal with vulnerable people and their rights.  There would be exceptions in respect of certain values, or where it can be shown that “at risk” people are best served by an existing private contractor.

Whilst the think tank Reform has called for a review of the regulations governing outsourcing, its new report has urged the Government not to ban the practice.  The report recommends instead providing more training for the individuals who are tasked with dealing with the companies and charities.  There is also a call for the selection process to focus on social benefits, including boosting local employment.

 

Publications & Guidance

Crown Commercial Service has updated the core terms and joint schedules for public sector contracts
Crown Commercial Service | Last updated 29 March, 2019

Businesses urged to pay suppliers on time or risk losing out on government contracts
Cabinet Office | 5 April, 2019
More than 10,000 businesses have been warned by the government that they must pay their suppliers on time or face being prevented from winning further government contracts. Officials from the Cabinet Office have written to the businesses - which include all the government’s current strategic suppliers - to remind them of the new rules on prompt payment, which come into force this autumn.

 

News

Stevenage Borough Council signs “major” development deal worth £340m
LocalGov | 15 March, 2019
Stevenage Borough Council and Mace have signed a ‘major new agreement’ to work in partnership on the long-term transformation of Stevenage town centre.  The mixed-use regeneration scheme includes plans to create a series of new streets within Stevenage, as well as a redesigned, modern town square.

Council announces joint venture worth £1bn
LocalGov | March 22, 2019
Brentwood Borough Council has announced a new contract with Morgan Sindall Investments to deliver new homes and commercial facilities.  The joint venture aims to deliver new housing, mixed-use developments, public spaces, and commercial and leisure facilities on council land.

Labour “will ban” outsourcing of public services to private firms
The Observer | March 24, 2019
It is reported that a Labour government would ban private companies from running services that deal with vulnerable people and their rights, under a far-reaching plan to ban outsourcing.

Please procure responsibly. The state of public service commissioning
Reform Think Tank | March 2019
This report provides an overview of how public services are commissioned and procured. It suggests several key areas where weak or underperforming elements in the commissioning cycle have led to failings in the procurement of public services and highlights potential solutions to some of these challenges. However, the report urges the Government not to ban the buying services from the third and private sectors.

Councillors grill Capita over planning service
The MJ | 8 April, 2019 [subscription only]
Capita, who have run Breckland DC’s panning service since 2009, have been heavily criticised by residents. The company has failed to deliver the £6m of savings promised.

In Code we trust? Trustlessness and smart contracts
SCL | April 2019 [subscription only]
At first glance, smart contracts appear to do away with the need for trust in the counterparty. Since performance is automatic, smart contracts enable the promisee to obtain what has been promised to them, without the need to depend on interpersonal trust vis-à-vis the counterparty or a system of contract law to enforce the promise. However, if we take into account the social, economic, and political contexts in which smart contracts operate, do they override the need for trust? In other words, are they really ‘trustless’?

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Disputes

Air pollution – potential legal challenge for local authorities
ClientEarth have recently written to 38 local authorities warning them of the legal risk of inaction on air pollution, making reference to a possible legal challenge, as deadlines for publishing detailed air quality plans are being missed.

Whilst local authorities need local powers and funding to tackle air pollution, and ClientEarth acknowledge that it is ultimately the responsibility of central government to resolve this issue, they go on to say that “local authorities should not be using government inaction as an excuse not to do all they can from breathing dirty air.” 

From our experience of acting for multiple local authorities in the context of class actions, a coordinated response is likely to prove the most effective way of resolving a potential dispute and will simultaneously enable authorities to share ideas on tackling air pollution with a view to meeting their legal requirements on preparing and implementing an action plan.

 

Funding provision challenged for children with Special Educational Needs
In the latest legal challenge relating to the reduction of funding provision for children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), R (AD & Ors) v London Borough of Hackney [2019], the High Court rejected an argument that the use by the London Borough of Hackney of five bands for SEN funding provision and to reduce the funding allocation for each of these bands by 5% was unlawful. Numerous grounds of challenge were raised relating to various statutory duties including the duty to have regard to children’s welfare and equality, the public sector equality duty, and consultation.

In finding for the Council, the Court held that Hackney had conscientiously considered how to ensure that the needs of SEN children would be met when deciding on the 5% reduction and it had also properly considered their welfare and equality needs. This case should provide some welcome clarity on the legal requirements associated with changes to services at a time when resources are under critical pressure.

 

Publications & Guidance

Stansted expansion objectors seek to widen Judicial Review
Environment Analyst | 29 March, 2019
Campaigners have announced they are to take Judicial Review proceedings against transport secretary James Brokenshire over his decision not to intervene in Uttlesford District Council’s narrow approval of expansion of Stansted Airport

 

News

Thousands of vulnerable Staffordshire people deprived of their liberty without proper assessment.
Local Government & Social care Ombudsman | 1 April, 2019
Staffordshire County Council’s decision not to assess some vulnerable people who may have been unlawfully deprived of their liberty has been criticised in an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.  At the end of June 2018, the council had a backlog of 3,033 DoLS requests for which it had not carried out the relevant assessments, with some dating back to August 2014. Without the correct authorisation in place, there is a risk that people are being unlawfully deprived of their liberty.

County faces judicial review challenge over school transport policy changes and vulnerable pupils
Local Government Lawyer | 3 April, 2019
Leicestershire County Council is facing a judicial review after it decided in March to remove transport for eligible pupils aged 16-18, and instead provide their families with payments to arrange their own travel.

Council pays £1.75m in compensation to recycling contractor
LocalGov | 8 April, 2019
Milton Keynes Council has reached a settlement with the contractor Viridor to cover what the local authority describes as the ‘historic costs’ of contamination in its recycling sacks.

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Forthcoming Events

Procurement Update
Monday 13 May, Birmingham
Tuesday 14 May, Leeds
Wednesday 15 May, London
Thursday 16 May, Bristol 

Join our Procurement team to hear legislative and policy developments, as well as looking at recent EU and UK court cases and how these affect procurement in practice.

The First 72 hours After a Health or Social Care Crisis
Wednesday 22 May 2019, London

The First 72 Hours’ is crucial to establish a safe environment for your service users, the public and your workforce, informing and working with any investigators, the regulators and other stakeholders; and managing your internal communications and external reputation. This half day event is aimed at senior managers and professionals within the healthcare sector.

Employment seminars: Shining a light on wrongdoing at work
Thursday 23 May, Leeds
Tuesday 4 June, London
Tuesday 11 June, Birmingham
Wednesday 12 June, Bristol

Aimed primarily at HR and OD professionals and in-house legal advisers, this half day training session will look at current issues relating to the raising of concerns at work.

Annual Mental Health and Court of Protection Seminar
Tuesday 4 June, Leeds
Wednesday 5 June, London
Tuesday 11 June, Bristol
Wednesday 12 June, Birmingham

The pace of change in Mental Health Law gives rise to a range of challenges for mental health professionals, both clinical and in management. Our seminar will give an outline of what the changes mean for daily practice as well as how they will affect the structure and policy behind mental healthcare provision.

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