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.
2015 Autumn Statement and Spending Review: key public sector announcements:
- The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has delivered a combined Spending Review and Autumn Statement. The Review and Statement cover a number of items of interest to those in local government.
Adult social services:
- The Care and Support (Choice of Accommodation) (Wales) Regulations 2015, which apply to cases where a local authority is meeting the care and support needs of adults and children through the provision of care home accommodation, have been made and will come into force on 6 April 2016.
- The High Court has held that as neither the Care Act 2014 or section 2(1) of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 impose a time limit for the care and support planning process, it should be completed within a reasonable period of time (R (D) v Brent Council).
- The Children (Secure Accommodation) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 7 December 2015. The Regulations change the age that secure accommodation can be used for children detained under section 38(6) of PACE 1984, from between 12 and 17 years old to between 12 and 18 years old.
- The House of Commons Library has published a briefing paper providing an analysis of the Childcare Bill 2015-16 ahead of the Bill’s second reading in the House of Commons.
- The Court of Appeal has:
- considered issues including whether to set aside an extension of time to appeal and the grant of permission to appeal (Secretary of State for the Home Department v Boyd); and
- allowed an application for a grant of permission to appeal to be overturned on the basis that the judge who gave permission to appeal had been misled (R (Sabir and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department).
- HM Courts and Tribunals Service has published a note titled Sealing of Court Documents.
- An explanatory memorandum to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (Consequential Amendments (No 2) Regulations 2015 has been published.
Employment and pensions:
- The EAT has held that it is not necessary for a claimant to go through the early conciliation process (EC) again in respect of a new claim arising after EC has concluded and an ET1 form presented to the tribunal (Science Warehouse Ltd v Mills).
- The European Commission has launched a public consultation on possible actions to address the challenges of work-life balance faced by working parents and caregivers.
- The House of Commons Justice Committee has heard evidence on the impact of the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees.
- The Court of Appeal has decided that operations to backfill an old quarry with inert waste constituted a “recovery operation” under the Waste Framework Directive 2008 (R (Tarmac Aggregates Ltd) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and another).
- The High Court has quashed a decision by Natural England to refuse to grant a licence to kill common buzzards, a protected species (R (McMorn) v Natural England and another).
- The Environment Agency has prosecuted three men and a haulage company, who have been ordered to pay more than £262,000 in fines, confiscation and costs for illegally dumping more than 60,000 tonnes of waste on two farms in Cornwall.
- The Law Commission has published its final report on its review of wildlife law, together with a draft Wildlife Bill implementing its recommendations.
- Defra has:
- published new guidance on special nature conservation orders; and
- announced that it has developed a definition of refuse-derived fuel for use as fuel in energy from waste facilities.
FOI and data protection:
- The Transfer of Functions (Information and Public Records) Order 2015 has been was made and will come into force on 9 December 2015.
- The Upper Tribunal has re-made a decision of the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights), holding that, although an information request was not vexatious at the time it was made, facts subsequent to that request being refused meant that the request had “in effect become vexatious” (RS v Information Commissioner and another).
- The FTT(IR) has held that:
- a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 made via Twitter did not meet the FOIA requirements for a valid request, because the requester’s Twitter username was not an address suitable for correspondence concerning his request and because the tweet did not contain the requester’s real name (Ghafoor v Information Commissioner); and
- Beccles Town Council must disclose a barrister’s opinion and advice regarding land it holds in trust for the people of Beccles (Hewlett v Information Commissioner).
- A House of Commons Library briefing paper has been published which sets out details of the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, published in November 2015.
- The Department of Health has published its response to a consultation on partnership arrangements between NHS bodies and local authorities, confirming that the NHS Bodies and Local Authorities Partnership Regulations 2000 will be amended.
- The Welsh Government has announced that the new registration and licensing regime for private landlords involved in residential lettings in Wales introduced by the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (known as Rent Smart Wales) will be fully in force by 23 November 2016.
Local government law:
- The Welsh Government has published a consultation inviting views on the content of the draft Local Government (Wales) Bill, draft explanatory memorandum and draft regulatory impact assessment.
Property and planning:
- The Town and Country Planning (Determination of Appeals by Appointed Persons) (Prescribed Classes) (Wales) Regulations 2015 have been made and will come into force on 16 December 2015.
- Defra has published a new collection of guidance documents for commons registration authorities.
- The Land Registry has announced that it will stop sending professional customers postal letters warning that applications are to be cancelled, from 11 January 2016.
- The House of Commons library has published a briefing paper on planning reform proposals.
- The European Commission has announced that it has opened infringement action against Hungary for breach of the public procurement rules.
Regulation and enforcement:
- The House of Commons Justice Committee has published a report considering the effects on the criminal justice of the introduction of the criminal courts charge in April 2015.
Practical Law In brief