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NEWS HEADLINES

Council fined £70k by ICO over parking ticket system data breaches

London borough hit with £70,000 monetary penalty by Information Commissioner’s Office after authority failed to keep up to 89,000 people’s information secure on its parking ticket system website

Grenfell Tower inquiry to focus on council response and technical issues
Former appeal court judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick says he will focus his inquiry into Grenfell Tower fire disaster on Royal Boroigh of Kensington & Chelsea’s response and on technical issues of design, construction and renovation. See also: Claimant law firm fires warning over “narrow focus” for Grenfell Tower inquiry Hodge Jones & Allen questions whether terms of reference for inquiry will satisfy Government’s legal obligations to investigate full circumstances surrounding fire

Local authority apologises to councillor cleared of unlawfully handling newts
Forest of Dean councillor cleared both of unlawfully handling protected newts and of mouthing swear words at other councillors

Council sends abuse allegations to wrong address after Google Map search
North West council gives undertaking to Information Commissioner’s Office after number of data breaches including allegations of historic sexual abuse being sent to incorrect address due to taddress and postcode being obtained from Google Map search

LGO criticises city council for inappropriate use of confidentiality notices
Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman criticises council for excessive secrecy in dealing with complaints

Council to review homelessness procedures after disabled woman “left in limbo”
Borough council agreed to review its homelessness procedures after Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman investigation into how disabled woman was “left in limbo” and not given information on legal rights
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Ofsted report recommending special measures quashed over complaint procedures
High Court judge quashes Ofsted report that judged school to be ‘inadequate’ and recommended that it be placed in special measures

Taxi driver loses Crown Court appeal over licence suspension
Taxi driver whose licence was suspended by borough council for 30 days loses his second appeal against decision
 
City council wins injunctions in latest stage of dispute over tree felling
Sheffield secures High Court injunctions against those trespassing within safety barriers around its controversial tree replacement works, in latest stage of long-running battle
 
Police and council agree payouts for victims of child sexual exploitation: report
Victims of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation abuse scandal have started to receive compensation jointly from South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council.

SAVE given permission to challenge refusal to call in Paddington Cube scheme
SAVE Britain’s Heritage granted permission to challenge Communities Secretary’s refusal to call in major scheme for public inquiry
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MORE NEWS STORIES

LGA calls for simpler procurement rules after Brexit

Local Government Association calls for introduction of simpler rules regulating how councils buy goods and services after Brexit, arguing that it could boost local growth and create jobs

ICO warns NHS staff over accessing personal data as care assistant fined
Former health care assistant ordered to pay £1,715 in fines and costs after she pleaded guilty to offences of unlawfully obtaining and unlawfully disclosing personal data

School governor banned over involvement in 'Trojan Horse' affair
Former chair of governors at school involved in Birmingham’s ‘Trojan Horse’ affair banned from office

Joint council and police operation sees four drivers convicted for blagging
Enforcement operation carried out by Milton Keynes Council’s Taxi Enforcement team and Thames Valley Police leads to conviction this month of three private hire cab drivers and one out of district hackney carriage driver for picking up passengers illegally (known as ‘blagging’)

See all of our most recent news stories
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VWV bolsters commercial team with hire of procurement specialist
Manchester chambers wins £456k contract for advocacy in children cases
Ward Hadaway sees 3% rise in work volumes as part of "steady performance"

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This week's analysis

Unlawful subletting and the abuse of social housing
A High Court judge has overturned a suspended possession order and given unprecedented guidance on unlawful profits orders. Dean Underwood and Liam Wells explain the ruling.

The Annual Governance Statement
Dr Paul Feild of BDT Legal outlines recent key changes to the Annual Governance Statement requirements and provides guidance on structure and content.

Public rights over public spaces
Laura Renaudon of Durham County Council reports on a rights of way order decision concerning a definitive map modification application over a public park owned by the local authority.

Seeing through the smog
How can local authorities interpret DEFRA’s Clean Air Zone Framework in compliance with the law? Anna Heslop looks at the background and an important legal test.

Local authorities and the Modern Slavery Act 2015
Is your authority compliant with the Modern Slavery Act 2015? Raj Shah outlines what you need to know.

Fire safety and decanting
The High Court has this month considered a legal challenge brought by a tower block resident after her temporary accommodation was ended on the completion of fire safety works. Helen Tucker and Baljit Basra examine the case.

Voluntary overtime and holiday pay
Nathaniel Caiden considers a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) judgment - involving a local authority and members of its place directorate - that concerns the inclusion of voluntary overtime normally worked in calculating holiday pay.

GDPR and employee surveillance
Ibrahim Hasan looks at the challenges for local authorities around employee surveillance and the prospect of GDPR.
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Locums and IR35
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Management: Make or buy?
Governance in a commercial council
Time for a new standards regime?
Legal risks and Grenfell Tower
ASB: a practitioner's view
Stephen McNamara in Myanmar




 

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BLOGS: Understanding the objectives of clients
What will make your clients relish the opportunity to work with you again: content or delivery? Geoff Wild considers the issues.
Catch-up on recent articles on Local Government Lawyer and Public Law Today:

Adult Social Services: Treading carefully
The Court of Protection has recently considered the interplay between best interests and the observance of religious practices. The CoP team at 39 Essex Chambers analyse the judge's findings.

Adult Social Services: The role of the Care Quality Commission
LexisNexis Local Government, in partnership with Tim Spencer-Lane, sets out the role, powers and functions of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Adult Social Services: Litigation capacity under the spotlight
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers examine a recent case where the law relating to litigation capacity was applied in practice.

Adult Social Services: ADULT SOCIAL CARE 2017 SUPPLEMENT – including the findings of our exclusive survey of 56 local authority adult care lawyers. In association with LexisNexis, the publication also looks at the impact of the Care Act 2014, the Law Commission’s proposed replacement for the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, the challenges of health and social care integration, how to tackle bed blocking and much more.

Children: Relinquished babies and notification of family members
When it comes to relinquished babies, when does a local authority not have to notify extended family members? Kieran Coleman explains.

Children: Age assessment and withdrawal of support
A judge has considered the lawfulness of a council’s policy of withdrawing services from someone claiming to be an unaccompanied child asylum seeker at the same time as giving summary reasons for its decision that they were not under 18. Joshua Swirsky reports.

Children: Placement for adoption and procedural fairness
A recent High Court ruling that quashed a placement for adoption makes important reading for all local authorities, writes Sarah Tyler.

Children: The continuing duty under s.17 Children Act 1989
Natalie Connor examines a recent Administrative Court ruling on whether a council had complied with its duty under s.17 Children Act 1989.

Children: Managing professional differences for children’s safeguarding decisions
Deborah Jeremiah looks at the important role escalation processes play in safeguarding children and young people.

Children: The Children and Social Work Act 2017
Jonathan Auburn looks at the impact on local authorities of the significant changes to be introduced by the Children and Social Work Act 2017.

Dispute Resolution: The prosecution powers of local authorities
John Sharland examines a recent Court of Appeal ruling following an attempt by a council to bring a prosecution for legal aid fraud and asks what lessons can be learnt by local authorities.

Dispute Resolution: No more QOCS cherry picking
The Court of Appeal has shut the door on Qualified One-way Costs Shifting (‘QOCS’) cherry picking, writes Adam Burrell.

Dispute Resolution: Potholes galore!
John Collins reports on a Court of Appeal ruling in a case where a jogger injured himself in a pothole.

Dispute Resolution: ADR and unreasonable refusal
A recent Court of Appeal decision demonstrates an unexpected approach to the costs consequences of refusing to mediate. Gwendoline Davies and Lynsey Oakdene explain and offer their practical advice.

Dispute Resolution: Duties in relation to falls causing serious injury
Following the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Edwards v Sutton London Borough Council the Courts have again considered the question of the duties of occupiers and highway authorities in relation to a fall causing serious injury. Lea Brocklebank and David Williams report.

Dispute Resolution: Affordability after Well-Managed Highway Infrastructure
Steven Conway examines a key concept being introduced to Well-Managed Highway Infrastructure - affordability.

Dispute Resolution: Costs budgets and detailed assessment
The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in an important costs budgeting case involving a NHS trust. Roger Mallalieu sets out its findings.

Dispute Resolution: Roberts v Johnstone in a time of a negative discount
Andrew Parker, Paul Taylor and David Williams analyse a recent High Court ruling on the impact of a recent change in the discount rate on a Roberts v Johnstone claim for accommodation.

Education: The status of city technology colleges
The Administrative Court has ruled on the status of city technology colleges for the first time. Leon Glenister explains the outcome.

Education: SENDIST and local authorities
LexisPSL Local Government, in partnership with Shazia Akhtar of Hardwicke Chambers, look at the role and procedures of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST), and set out the issues of which local authorities should be mindful.

Education: Mergers in the further education sector
Mergers between further education colleges are becoming increasingly common. Caraline Johnson explains what can help make a combination successful.

Education: Getting schooled by the Supreme Court
The Isle of Wight Council, backed by the Government, recently won a high-profile appeal to the Supreme Court in a case on unauthorised school absence. Alexander Campbell analyses the judgment.

Education: The Upper Tribunal on Education, Health and Care plans
The Upper Tribunal has issued an important ruling on the education of young people with special educational needs. Tom Tabori highlights the key findings.

Employment: EU citizens working in the public sector
How will the rights of those EU citizens working in the public sector be affected after Brexit? Judith Hockin explains.

Employment: Goodbye Grayling’s Employment Tribunal fees
Rachel Coyle analyses the Supreme Court's ruling that the Government's introduction of fees in employment tribunals was unlawful, and considers the justices' comments in relation to indirect discrimination.

Employment: Testing beliefs: whistleblowing and 'public interest'
Julian Hoskins looks at a recent Court of Appeal case on defining a whistleblower's belief that their disclosure is in the 'public interest'. How 'public' does the 'interest' need to be?

Employment: Reference ruled discriminatory
An employment tribunal has ruled that a reference given by an employer was unfair and amounted to disability discrimination and victimisation. Harmajinder Hayre explains why.

Employment: Dismissing senior public servants and officers
Susan Belgrave sets out the lessons to be learned from a judicial review of the dismissal of a chief constable.

Employment: The Taylor Review into 'gig' working
Matthew Taylor's much anticipated report on modern employment practices has been published this week. Sarah Maddock sets out the key findings.

Employment: Context is all
Jodie Sinclair looks at fair redundancy following absence for cancer treatment.

Employment: Employee misconduct and LGPS pension forfeiture
Doug Mullen examines the ability to confiscate an employee’s pension for misconduct or negligence during employment.

Governance: Property held on trust and liability for council tax
If a property is held on trust, who has liability for council tax, the trustees or the beneficiary? The LexisPSL Local Government team, in partnership with Kevin Long of Hackney Community Law Centre, consider the issue.

Governance: Standards and investigating councillor misconduct
The High Court has dismissed a challenge to a council standards procedure. James Goudie QC, Peter Oldham QC and Ronnie Dennis set out why.

Governance: Councillors, council tax arrears and FOI
Ibrahim Hasan looks at how local authorities have responded when faced with FOI requests asking for the names of councillors in arrears over their council tax.

Governance: The impact of becoming British on EU rights
An Advocate General has recently concluded that becoming British does not mean the end of an EU citizen’s EU rights. George Peretz QC reports.

Governance: Election challenges
With the 2017 UK parliamentary general election this week, returning officers and their teams may be considering what options are open to the disgruntled candidate or elector who seeks to challenge the result of an election. Emyr Thomas explains.

Health: Putting yourself in the shoes of P
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Chambers analyse a case of standing in the shoes of P in a difficult decision as to cancer treatment.

Health: Deprivation of liberty on discharge: conditional discharge and CTOs
The Court of Appeal has handed down an important ruling in relation to deprivations of liberty, conditional discharge and community treatment orders. Louise Wilson analyses the judgment.

Highways: Outsourcing highway maintenance
James Fawcett examines the challenges of outsourcing highway maintenance in the new world of a ‘risk-based approach’.

Housing: The benefit cap and lone parents with children under two
The benefits cap was slammed by Mr Justice Collins as operating to unlawfully discriminate lone parents with children under the age of two. Rachel Coyle explains why.

Housing: Local authority housing company funding: no one size fits all
Imogen Fisher sets out some of the key considerations when local authorities fund wholly-owned housing companies.

Housing: Homelessness appeals and dependent children
Stefan Liberadzki discusses a court’s decision that a homelessness appellant’s children could not count as ‘dependent children’ because they were not 18 years of age or under.

Housing: Local authority employees, tied accommodation and Article 14 challenges
The High Court has rejected an Article 14 challenge regarding security of tenure for local authority employees occupying ‘tied accommodation’. Andrew Lane and Tara O'Leary explain why.

Housing: Preference for existing social housing tenants
A High Court judge has ruled that a London borough's housing allocation scheme preferring existing social housing tenants was not unlawfully discriminatory, but that the operation of a system of direct offers was unlawful. Christopher Baker and Richard Granby explain why.
 
Housing: Revisiting decisions on eligibility for homelessness assistance
A High Court judge has ruled that a London borough was not entitled to revisit a decision that an individual was eligible for homelessness assistance. Alice Richardson explains why.

Housing: Discretionary Housing Payment Policies: Long-term awards and relevant considerations
Jed Meers examines the lessons for local authorities on a key ruling in relation to discretionary housing payment policies.

Information Law: Don’t mention the bigger picture
Peter Lockley analyses an important Court of Appeal ruling on 'environmental information'.

Information Law: Subject access requests: the ICO revises its guidance
The Information Commissioner's Office has changed its guidance in relation to subject access requests. Robin Hopkins sets out the key points.

Information Law: Implementing the GDPR in the UK: lessons from Germany?
Can we learn from Germany's approach when it comes to implementation of the GDPR this time next year? Robin Hopkins looks at the lessons.

Information Law: Local government GDPR readiness: good and will get better
Press reports on recent research by the Information Commissioner's Office into councils' preparations for the General Data Protection Regulation suggested a lack of readiness. Ibrahim Hasan goes behind the headlines.

Licensing: Licensing fees: the Supreme Court rules
The Supreme Court recently handed down the latest ruling in the long-running battle over the fees payable for licensing sex shops in Westminster. James Goudie QC sets out the judges’ findings.
 
Licensing: Summary reviews: sometimes a sledgehammer to crack a nut?
Are expedited reviews the only tools available for dealing with problem premises, or should they be reserved for only the worst-offending premises? Paddy Whur considers the best approach.

Licensing: A new enforcement strategy at the Gambling Commission
The Gambling Commission has unveiled a new enforcement strategy. Anna Mathias looks at the key points.

Licensing: Licensing: the negative side of “Positive Partnerships”
Partnership working may be the current preoccupation in licensing but it is not the solution to all its ills, warns Gerald Gouriet QC.

Licensing: A spent conviction by any other name
There has been a significant change to the law regarding the convictions and cautions that can be taken into account when assessing whether someone is 'fit and proper' to hold a Hackney Carriage / Private Hire driver licence, which is leaving councils in the dark and unable to have regard to the totality of a person's criminal conduct, writes Tim Briton.

Licensing: Bingo in pubs
In a key judgment, the Court of Appeal has ruled on the power of the Gambling Commission to refuse operating licences for bingo in pubs. Philip Kolvin QC explains the outcome.

Licensing: Unlawful plying for hire – where now following Sajjad?
Tim Briton analyses an important High Court ruling on unlawfully plying for hire and driving without insurance, and discusses the options for licensing authorities.

Management: Have your cake, eat it … and lose weight
Who do local authority clients prefer to work with, in-house lawyers or external law firms? Geoff Wild looks at the relative attractions.


Planning: At your discretion?
Dr Sue Chadwick examines recent cases on the scope and limits of decision making in planning.

Planning: Varying planning permissions and failure to consult
The High Court recently quashed a variation of a planning permission over a failure to consult. Jack Parker explains why.

Planning: Local authorities and DCOs
Paul Irving and Jane Wakeham analyse the role of the local authority in the Development Consent Order process.

Planning: The Court of Appeal on the presumption in favour of sustainable development
The Court of Appeal has resolved conflicting judgments on paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework and the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Gwion Lewis explains how.

Procurement: Service level agreements and KPIs
The Court of Appeal has found minimum performance level examples and key performance indicators (KPIs) in a service level agreement with a housing association to be contractually binding. Karl Anders and Ben Sheppard review the decision.

Procurement: Stay on entering into contract
A High Court judge has recently considered a NHS trust's application to lift an automatic suspension on the award of a managed services contract in respect of pathology services. James Goudie QC sets out the key lessons.

Procurement: Consortium bidding in public procurement - examining the opportunities and the risks
This LexisPSL Public Law analysis by Peter Ware and Jennifer Grigg of Browne Jacobson LLP examines the opportunities and risks of consortium bidding in public procurement.

Procurement: Managing public procurement claims in the TCC
HM Courts & Tribunals Service is due to issue guidance for lawyers bringing complex public procurement claims to the Technology and Construction Court (TCC). As we await publication of the updated TCC Guide, Will Thomas and Peter Ware look at what the new protocol on public procurement cases will mean in practice.

Procurement: Approaches to the experience of tenderers
Melanie Pears and Tim Care provide an overview of a recent Court of Justice of the European Union decision that offers useful guidance to contracting authorities on the approach which can be taken to tenderers' experience both when creating a procurement specification and when seeking to clarify documents provided by a tenderer.

Projects: The pitfalls of contractual joint ventures
Rebecca Hazeldine looks at some of the opportunities and pitfalls of joint ventures.

Property: The scope of “highway” for GLA Roads vesting
The Court of Appeal has determined the scope of “highway” for GLA Roads vesting. David Elvin QC reports on a successful appeal by two councils.

Property: Break clauses – beware of vacant possession
Katie Hickman examines an important High Court ruling for public sector tenants and landlords on break clauses and vacant possession.
 
Property: TVGs and correcting defective applications
Karen Jones examines the outcome of a challenge by a Cambridge college to a county council's decisions in relation to a defective application to register a town or village green.

Property: The significance of heritage assets
The Planning Court has considered the correct interpretation of a paragraph of the National Planning Policy Framework on heritage assets for the first time – and has rejected the "literal meaning" of the Framework, writes Emma Dring.

Property: Relevant defects: functionality is not the test
The Court of Appeal recently considered whether the freeholders of a building were potentially liable under section 4 of the Defective Premises Act 1972 for injuries sustained by a man who fell down its stairs. Matthew Hyam and Simon Jones examine the outcome.

Property: The High Court clarifies the meaning of residential curtilage
The Planning Court has recently considered again the meaning of "residential curtilage". Estelle Dehon and Ashley Bowes report.

Regulatory: Eradicating hazards
The Court of Appeal has considered who should be served with improvement notices and what should be contained in them. Michael Paget examines its guidance.

Regulatory: Confiscation orders and S.10A POCA
Barnaby Hone examines the role of section 10A of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 in the enforcement of confiscation orders – a useful tool for local authorities to get it right first time.

Regulatory: Enforcement of confiscation orders
Barnaby Hone sets out some key considerations when it comes to ensuring confiscation orders are enforced.

Transport & Highways: The Bus Services Act 2017
Rob Hann looks at major changes in the bus industry following the introduction of new legislation, and considers the opportunities they bring for local authorities.
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