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- The Constitutional Convention Bill 2015-16, which is intended to deliver a balanced devolution settlement for the whole of the UK, has had its first reading.
Education and children’s services:
- The Education and Adoption Bill 2015-16 has been published. The Bill, which was introduced by the Queen’s Speech 2015, deals with government intervention powers in schools that are “coasting” and makes provision about joint arrangements for carrying out local authority adoption functions in England.
- The Childcare Bill 2015-16 has had its first reading in the House of Lords. Among other reforms, the Bill includes provisions intended to double amount of free childcare that is currently available.
- The High Court has extended indefinitely a civil restraint order made against a McKenzie Friend who persistently acted beyond the confines of the proper role of a McKenzie Friend in family proceedings (Re Baggaley).
Employment and pensions:
- The European Union Referendum Bill 2015-16, which enables the government to hold a referendum on whether the UK and Gibraltar should remain in the EU no later than December 2017, has had its first reading in the House of Commons.
- The EAT has upheld an employment tribunal’s judgment that a nursery did not discriminate against a job applicant when it made clear at interview that its uniform policy meant that any garment worn should not present a tripping hazard (Begum v Pedagogy Auras UK Ltd (t/a Barley Lane Montessori Day Nursery)).
- The Environment Agency has published a regulatory position statement authorising the use of its Guidance on the classification and assessment of waste, pending the implementation of hazardous waste regulations in England. In addition the Welsh Government has launched a consultation on the draft Hazardous Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2015.
- Defra has confirmed that it has withdrawn its guidance on statutory nuisance.
FOI and data protection:
- The High Court has ruled that a decision by the police to disclose safeguarding concerns about a teacher to a local authority designated officer was unlawful, because it failed to have regard to the teacher’s rights to a private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (R (AB) v Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary).
- The First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) has held that an independent school must publish under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 the collated results of pupil, parent and staff surveys (King Edward VI Handsworth School v Information Commissioner).
- The Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill 2015-16 has had its first reading. The Bill takes forward reforms that are intended to allow for the implementation of devolution agreements with combined authority areas and other areas.
Property and planning:
- The Court of Appeal has considered whether rights of way had either been expressly granted or had passed under section 62 of the Law of Property Act 1925 where there was no prior diversity of occupation (Wood and another v Waddington).
- The High Court has held that, as a matter of construction, a restrictive covenant permitted the use of a Royal Mail site in Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall for residential purposes (Royal Mail Estates Ltd v Pridebank Ltd and others).
- The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published RICS Property Measurement,1st edition. This incorporates the RICS Code of Measuring Practice, 6th edition and the International Property Measurement Standards.
- The Land Registry has announced that it plans to despatch results of completed land registration applications electronically via the Land Registry portal from summer 2015.
- The Cabinet Office has published a procurement policy note on the requirements under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 for contracting authorities to assist with procurement investigations.
- The Crown Commercial Service has published guidance on framework agreements, as part of its guidance on the implementation of the 2014 EU Procurement Directives.
Regulation and enforcement:
- BIS has published guidance aimed principally at local authority trading standards officers to help them understand what the “enhanced consumer measures” introduced through the Consumer Rights Act 2015 are, how they are intended to work and when it might be appropriate to use them.
Practical Law In brief