As 2015 draws to an end, the Practical Law Public Sector team is reflecting on the delights and disasters of the past year, both for us and for our subscribers.
In this post we take a look at our most popular content of 2015 and start to think about what the year ahead has in store.
2015 was a significant year for the Public Sector team, as it saw us split our service into two practice areas: Practical Law Local Government and Practical Law Public Law. We feel that this has enabled us to offer a more tailored service and we hope you are enjoying using one or both of the new services.
Looking at our most-read content, it is clear that the following areas are of particular interest to our Public Law and/or our Local Government subscribers:
- Public procurement.
- Contracting out and shared services issues.
- Adult social services.
- Judicial review.
- Freedom of information.
- Housing and right to buy.
- Litigation, including pre-action conduct.
- Assets of community value.
- Academies and education issues.
Digging deeper, we can reveal that the top five legal updates in 2015 over both our Public Law and Local Government services were:
- Guidance on enhanced consumer measures to be introduced by Consumer Rights Act 2015 against businesses.
- Queen’s Speech 2015: public sector implications.
- Changes to pre-action protocol for judicial review came into force on 6 April 2015.
- Framework agreements under PCR 2015: new Crown Commercial Service guidance.
- Removing personal data: ICO publishes guide to disclosing information safely.
In addition to the updates above, our Looking forward to 2015 piece was extremely popular. We will be publishing two versions for 2016, one for our Local Government service and one for our Public Law service, which will be published early in the new year and will take a detailed look at what to expect in these areas during 2016.
Our top ten maintained resources in 2015 over both our Local Government and Public Law services were:
- Public procurement in the UK.
- Services agreement for use by public sector bodies.
- Judicial review procedure: a practical guide.
- Freedom of information.
- Judicial review: an introduction.
- Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct and Protocols.
- Public procurement in the UK: a quick guide.
- Public procurement case tracker.
- Evaluation of tenders.
- Right to buy: the process.
Much of our content is written following requests from subscribers. For example, this year we started covering adult social services, following subscriber feedback. If there are any resources that you would particularly like Practical Law Public Sector to produce, please contact us using the Ask system. Our “looking forward to 2016” legal update to be published early in the new year will include details of our provisional publishing schedule for 2016.
During 2015, Practical Law Public Sector editors dealt with over 1,000 feedback queries from Local Government and Public Law subscribers, on issues ranging from public procurement, right to buy, freedom of information, contracting out, judicial review and local government decision-making. Examples of the type of questions we have answered include:
- What procurement regime applies to concession contracts?
- Is a local authority obliged to meet the needs of an aggressive/abusive service user?
- Do you have any guidance on legal issues to consider when drafting or checking committee/Cabinet reports?
Our @praclawprocure Twitter feed also posted many tweets during 2015, with popular ones including:
- Cabinet Office consults on transposition of new Concessions Directive and Utilities Directive.
- CO, CCS and ERG Myster Shopper results 2015 (gov.uk).
- Crown Commercial Service guidance on provisions that support market access for small businesses.
2015 saw significant challenges for many public sector organisations, with several significant changes in the law. In particular, the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 changed the procedures that public authorities must use in order to procure goods and services. One general election, two Budgets, a Spending Review and an Autumn Statement brought further upheaval for many government departments and local authorities during the course of the year. Inevitably, more challenges are expected in 2016. We look forward to helping our subscribers stay in touch with the key developments affecting them, and to providing guidance on how they can deliver the best service possible.
Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy new year from the Practical Law Public Sector team.