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.
July 2015 Budget: implications for local government:
- The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made his Budget Statement to the House of Commons. The statement includes various policy announcements of interest to local government; for example, consulting on devolving powers on Sunday trading to city mayors and local authorities, reducing the benefit cap to £20,000 outside London and to £23,000 in Greater London, and doubling free childcare entitlement from 15 hours to 30 hours a week for working parents of three and four year olds.
Adult social services:
- The Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015 (Commencement No 1 and Transitory Provision) Regulations 2015 have been made and bring into force parts of the Health and Social Care (Safety and Quality) Act 2015.
- The Supreme Court has ruled on the ordinary residence of a young man with learning disabilities. The Supreme Court held that the man’s ordinary residence “base” could not be determined by reference to his family relationships and his brief periods of staying with his parents over holidays did not amount to ordinary residence (R (Cornwall Council) v Secretary of State for Health and R (Cornwall Council) v Somerset County Council).
- The Office of the Public Guardian has published standards for professionals and public authorities appointed as deputies by the Court of Protection.
- The Law Society has published a practice note on identifying and meeting the needs of vulnerable clients, including those who have physical or learning disabilities, lack mental capacity or are vulnerable to undue influence.
- The Law Commission has published a consultation on the law of mental capacity and deprivation of liberty. The consultation proposes replacing the existing Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards with a new system called “Protective Care”.
- The Court of Appeal has held that an individual whose actions while suffering from an extreme mental illness had caused injury to the claimant was liable in negligence. There is no principle that requires the law to excuse from liability in negligence a defendant who fails to meet the normal standard of care partly because of a medical problem (Dunnage v Randall and another).
- The Administrative Court has considered amendments to transcripts of ex tempore judgments and its jurisdiction to exercise the power of judicial review in relation to the County Court (MRH Solicitors Ltd v The County Court Sitting at Manchester and others).
- The TCC has refused to enforce an adjudicator’s decision, instead granting declarations that the claimant’s application for payment was invalid and the adjudicator was wrong to decide otherwise (Caledonian Modular Ltd v Mar City Developments Ltd).
Education and children’s services:
- The DfE has published:
- a policy statement on the Childcare Bill 2015-16. The policy statement sets out further details about the government’s intentions behind the Bill, to help members of the House of Lords in their scrutiny of it before its Committee Stage;
- new departmental advice and social media guidance for schools and childcare providers that deals with the prevention of radicalisation and extremism; and
- updated versions of privacy notices that schools and local authorities can use and amend to issue to school staff, parents and pupils.
- The Court of Appeal has:
- rejected the argument that a child had to be happy and well cared for to establish habitual residence in a country (Re R (A child)); and
- held that the refusal to join a child as a party and appoint a children’s guardian to a step-parent adoption made the proceedings unfair (Re S (A child)).
Employment and pensions:
- The Court of Appeal has given general guidance on how a tribunal should approach the requirement in indirect discrimination claims for claimants to show not only group disadvantage caused by application of a provision, criterion or practice, but also that this caused their personal disadvantage (Home Office (UK Border Agency) v Essop and others).
- The EAT has interpreted the correct definition of the term “cross-appeal” (Basildon & Thurrock NHS Foundation Trust v Weerasinghe).
- The government has confirmed that a consultation on implementing gender pay gap reporting under section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 is imminent and the House of Commons Library has published a note on the gender pay gap by reference to the Office of National Statistics annual survey on earnings.
- The Pensions Ombudsman has given his determination in a complaint against the Scheme Management Executive of the Cabinet Office (Determination in a complaint by Mr Ian George Mayes-Wright).
- The Government Actuary’s Department has issued an update on its actions following the Pensions Ombudsman’s determination in a complaint about the revision of commutation tables for the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme.
- The Landfill Tax (Amendment) (No 3) Regulations 2015 have been made and came into force on 2 July 2015. They amend the Landfill Tax Regulations 1996 to update references to other secondary legislation.
- Defra has:
- published an unredacted early draft of an internal document on the impacts of shale gas on the rural economy. Defra published the paper in response to a decision by the Information Commissioner; and
- announced proposals to release to the public at least 8,000 sets of data on subjects such as biodiversity, soils, air quality and water.
- The Welsh government has published a Green Paper setting out proposals to improve NHS Wales. Proposals in the Green Paper include a new legal duty for health providers to be transparent when admitting their mistakes, and dealing with some healthcare functions alongside social care ones.
- The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal against a finding that the publication of a CCTV image of a child suspected of involvement in criminal activities was a justified interference with the child’s Article 8 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (In the matter of an application by JR38 for Judicial Review).
Property and planning:
- The Planning (Wales) Bill has received Royal Assent to become the Planning (Wales) Act 2015.
- New draft regulations to establish Flood Re have been laid before Parliament, along with a new edition of the Scheme Document issued by Flood Re itself.
- The Court of Appeal has held that a local authority was wrong to refuse to amend its definitive map where an inclosure commissioner had purported to create a public bridleway under section 10 of the Inclosure Consolidation Act 1801 (R (Andrews) v Secretary of State for Environment Food & Rural Affairs and others).
- The High Court has considered the meaning of “quashed” for the purposes of section 24 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 (Grafton Group (Uk) Plc v Secretary Of State For Transport).
- Lancashire County Council (LCC) has rejected Cuadrilla’s planning application to drill, fracture and flow test four shale gas wells at Little Plumpton, despite recommendations from the planning officers that the application be approved. LCC rejected the application on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”.
- The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has published amendments to the ACE Agreements, addressing the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
- From 1 July 2015, the Bona Vacantia division of the Government Legal Department will pilot a change in procedure for selling bona vacantia land under a mortgagee’s power of sale.
- The Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal against HM Treasury’s decision that the government’s new tax free childcare scheme will be administered by National Savings and Investments via its existing outsourced services contract with a private company (Edenred (UK Group) Ltd and another v HM Treasury and others).
- The European Ombudsman has published a decision on a complaint in relation to the evaluation of a tender by the European Commission. The Ombudsman upheld the complainant’s submission that the Commission awarded the contract to a tenderer who offered a solution for the recovery of data in the event of a disaster that was inferior to what was required by the contract (Decision of the European Ombudsman closing the inquiry into complaint 2400/2012/ANA against the European Commission).
Regulation and enforcement:
- The County Court has found that a pub refusing admission to travellers discriminated against both those individuals and a charitable limited company representing them (Traveller Movement and others v JD Wetherspoon Plc).
Practical Law In brief