Make sure that you have not missed a key development in your area of the law by reading our In brief review of the latest Practical Law Local Government email.
Adult social services:
- The government has published its response to the Communities and Local Government’s Select Committee report on adult social care published in March 2017.
- The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper on supporting and safeguarding adults with learning disabilities.
- David Davis and Michel Barnier have provided closing remarks following the fifth round of Article 50 negotiations.
- The Joint Ministerial Committee on EU Negotiations has announced that the UK government and the devolved administrations have agreed on the principles that will underpin the repatriation of powers as the UK withdraws from the EU.
- The High Court has made an interim order under its inherent jurisdiction to protect a 17 year old, in circumstances where the court could not make an order under the Children Act 1989 or wardship, and there was an inadequate mental capacity assessment to permit making an order under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (London Borough of Wandsworth v M and others).
- The Court of Appeal has confirmed the High Court’s May 2017 decision that England was the appropriate jurisdiction for claims brought by Zambian individuals affected by mining operations against the Zambian mine operator and its English parent company. The claimants had brought proceedings in England on the basis that the parent company was domiciled in England and the Zambian mine operator was a necessary or proper party. The Court of Appeal rejected both defendants’ jurisdiction challenges (Lungowe and others v Vedanta Resources Plc and another).
- The Upper Tribunal has refused to allow the claimants to seek judicial review of the effects of HMRC’s policy in circumstances in which HMRC had previously inaccurately applied VAT law. The claimants’ action was out of time and they had no legitimate expectation for a more favourable treatment than the remedy published by HMRC (R (Clarke and others) v HMRC).
- HM Courts and Tribunals Service has published an updated Business and Property Courts advisory note, which includes the draft Business and Property Courts Practice Direction.
- The Modern Slavery taskforce has announced plans to reform the National Referral Mechanism, the system by which victims of modern slavery are identified and provided with support.
- The Court of Appeal has held that segregating pupils on the grounds of sex was directly discriminatory contrary to the Equality Act 2010 (Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills v The Interim Executive Board of Al-Hijrah School (Rev 1)).
- The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found that many foster children are at the risk of being disadvantaged by council school transport policies (Investigation into a complaint against Warwickshire County Council).
- The Department for Education (DfE) and Ofsted have updated four pieces of guidance, relating to the 2017-18 school census and school inspections.
- The DfE has published a consultation on revised guidance for virtual school heads and designated teachers.
Employment and pensions:
- The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill 2017-19 has been published. This is a Private Members’ Bill, but has government backing so is likely to become law.
- The government has introduced the Nuclear Safeguards Bill 2017-19 to Parliament. The Bill will amend the Energy Act 2013 to bolster the roles and responsibilities of the Office of Nuclear Regulation, the UK’s nuclear regulator, once the UK leaves Euratom following Brexit.
- The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has:
- published a call for evidence on decarbonising the public sector (not including central government) and higher education sector in England. The call for evidence is one of the actions announced in the Clean Growth Strategy; and
- launched a call for evidence on reform of the Green Deal framework of legislative, commercial and contractual arrangements supporting the Green Deal pay-as-you-save scheme for energy efficiency measures in buildings.
- The Welsh Government has published a consultation on the implementation and enforcement of a ban on the manufacture and sale of cosmetics and personal care products containing microbeads from 30 June 2018.
- The Health & Safety Executive has published a consultation on proposals to amend the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012.
FOI and data protection:
- The Data Protection Bill 2017-19 second reading debate has taken place in the House of Lords. Members debated the Bill’s key points and issues around EU-UK data flows in light of Brexit. The Information Commissioner published a briefing in advance of the second reading.
- The Information Commissioner’s Office has confirmed that data controllers will be legally required to pay a fee under the new data protection regime next year.
- The European Data Protection Supervisor has published further recommendations on specific aspects of the E-Privacy Regulation, supplementing his earlier opinions.
- The National Audit Office has published a report on the Care Quality Commission and its regulation of health and social care.
- The High Court has found that a two-storey flat above a restaurant required licensing as a house in multiple occupation under article 3(3) of the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Descriptions) (England) Order 2006 because the ground floor restaurant was to be taken into account in calculating the number of storeys (Woking BC v Johnson).
- The Department for Communities and Local Government has published a consultation on a draft homelessness code of guidance for local authorities.
- The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an inquiry into the role of local authorities in the private rented sector.
- The Department for Communities and Local Government has published a summary of responses and the government’s response to its consultation on local authorities’ capital finance regulations.
- The Welsh Government has issued a consultation on its draft regulations for determining whether a rented home is fit for human habitation, as referred to in section 94 of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.
Local government law:
- The Wales Audit Office has published a report examining how councils in Wales are reacting to changing council services.
Property and planning:
- Applications can now be made under permitted development rights to change the use of premises from light industrial (class B1(c)) to residential (class C3).
- The Welsh Government has published a consultation on reforming the non-domestic rates appeal process.
- The Joint Contracts Tribunal has published the third edition of its practice note on tendering, including the preliminary enquiry, invitation to tender and assessment and award stages.
Public procurement and state aid:
- The High Court has refused an application to extend the time limit to serve particulars of claim until a date after disclosure of documents in a procurement dispute (Cemex UK Operations Ltd v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd and another).
- The European Commission has published a report on the assessment of the European Standard on electronic invoicing.
- A European Commission notice on state aid recovery interest rates and reference/discount rates for all 28 EU member states applicable from 1 November 2017 has been published in the Official Journal.
Regulation and enforcement:
- An NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £125,000 for failing to provide safe care and treatment resulting in avoidable harm to a patient under regulations 12(1) and 22 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.
Practical Law In brief