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 Social Services Codes (Appointed Day) (Wales) Order 2016 has been made. The order appoints 6 April 2016 as the day on which codes of practice issued by the Welsh Ministers under section 145(1) of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 will come into force.
- The Cabinet Office has published a report on the outcomes of its consultation on language requirements for public sector workers.
- The National Audit Office has published a fraud landscape review concerning the scale of fraud within central government spending, excluding tax and social security fraud.
- The Court of Appeal has declared invalid the rule that applications for public funding in cases involving domestic violence required evidence of domestic violence in the previous 24 months (R (Rights of Women) v Lord Chancellor and another).
- The High Court has:
- allowed a council’s application to discharge an injunction made against a man who was mistakenly identified as a perpetrator of child sexual exploitation of a teenager (Birmingham City Council v SK); and
- clarified that local authorities cannot seek the return of a child under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court when it does not have or seek parental responsibility for the child (Re SA (A Child) (Inherent Jurisdiction: Local authority)).
- The High Court has:
- approved the use of predictive coding in an electronic disclosure exercise (Pyrrho Investments Limited and another v MWB Property Limited and others); and
- ordered the transfer of an existing case in the Chancery Division to the Shorter Trials Scheme. Although both parties agreed the transfer, and the application was made on paper, the court considered it appropriate to issue a judgment providing guidance on this process (Family Mosaic Home Ownership Ltd v Peer Real Estate Ltd).
- The MoJ has published its Single Departmental Plan for 2015 to 2020, which includes references to reform of the civil courts.
- The High Court has upheld a challenge by a claimant (a 16-year old boy) to his school’s decision to transfer him to off-site educational provision and to its failure to keep that decision under review as required by regulation 4 of the Education (Educational Provision for Improving Behaviour) Regulations 2010 (R (HA) v Governing Body of Hampstead School).
- The DfE has announced on its website that it is in the process of reviewing its statutory guidance on organisation changes to local authority maintained schools, including school closure.
Employment and pensions:
- The EAT has confirmed that when serving an appeal on the EAT, providing supporting documents by way of a link to Dropbox is not permitted (Majekodunmi v City Facilities Management UK Ltd and others).
- The government has published its response to a consultation paper on implementing the mandatory gender pay gap reporting duty under section 78 of the Equality Act 2010, and a new consultation paper on draft regulations, which are expected to come into force on 1 October 2016.
- The Pensions Ombudsman has determined that a Local Government Pensions Scheme employing authority had no duty to advise a member of the option of applying for an enhanced ill-health early retirement pension from active status on his redundancy in 2013 although it knew the member had taken sick leave in 2010 for a brain tumour (Determination in a complaint by Mrs Sarah Ascough).
- The Welsh Government has published its new energy efficiency strategy for 2016-2026.
- The Environment Agency has published for the first time a list of civil penalties that it has imposed, including details of fixed monetary penalties, one variable monetary penalty and stop notices.
FOI and data protection:
- The FTT(IR) has modified a decision notice from the Information Commissioner that ordered the Coal Authority to disclose information on all properties making subsidence claims since 1 June 2013 (Bartram v Information Commissioner).
- HM Government has published guidance regarding two tools to assist organisations in complying with the surveillance camera code of practice, a self assessment tool and a certification scheme.
Local government law:
- The Local Government Ombudsman has underlined the importance of recording the reasons for planning committee decisions, following an investigation involving a borough council.
- The House of Commons Library has published briefing papers on:
- proposals to introduce new rules and guidance limiting the extent to which local authorities can use boycotts in their procurement and pensions investment policies; and
- the political convention of “purdah” before elections and referendums.
Property and planning:
- The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications and Site Visits) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 have been made and will come into force on 16 March 2016.
- The Developments of National Significance (Procedure) (Wales) Order 2016 will come into force on 1 March 2016. The Order prescribes the manner in which applications for Developments of National Significance are to be dealt with by the Welsh Ministers.
- The Developments of National Significance (Fees) (Wales) Regulations 2016 will come into force on 1 March 2016. The regulations provide for the payment of fees by an applicant in respect of the handling of a DNS application.
- The High Court has:
- held that one of the exclusions in the definition of “previously developed land” in the National Planning Policy Framework did not include private residential gardens outside built-up areas (Dartford Borough Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government); and
- dismissed an application for judicial review of planning permission that was granted for development of land in the green belt for a crematorium (R (Timmins) v Gedling Borough Council and another).
- The DCLG has:
- launched a technical consultation seeking views on the proposed approach to implementation of planning measures in the Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16; and
- opened a rural planning review inviting views about the effectiveness of the current planning system in rural areas and improvements that could be made.
- Highways England has published a booklet, Your property and compulsory purchase, to provide guidance on how compulsory purchase procedures would affect property required for highway improvements.
- The Law Society has published the new versions of forms CON 29 and CON 29O on its website.
- The Scottish Court of Session handed down a ruling on an action regarding a challenge to a procurement award decision (Johnson & Johnson Medical Limited v Greater Glasgow Health Board).
- The Cabinet Office has published a procurement policy note explaining how contracting authorities can ensure compliance with wider international obligations when letting public contracts.
- Decision 2016/245 of the European Central Bank laying down rules on procurement has been published in the Official Journal.
Regulation and enforcement:
- The Supreme Court has ruled on an appeal concerning the mental element of intent that must be proved when a defendant is accused of being a secondary party to a crime. The court ruled that the issue, commonly referred to as joint enterprise, had been wrongly interpreted in previous cases and that the correct interpretation of foresight is simply evidence of intent to assist or encourage, the mental element for establishing secondary liability (R v Jogee).
- The Crown Court has ruled that evidence of acts or omissions that predate the commencement of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 can still be used as evidence in a corporate manslaughter charge (R v Cornish).
Practical Law In brief