Editor's blog: Meeting of minds
A sense of dismay has been building among local government lawyers in recent weeks, ever since the Department for Communities and Local Government unveiled plans to introduce greater transparency in council decision-making. The story has moved on, with ACSeS obtaining an opinion from a leading QC. Read more...
New jobs on the site: Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council is looking for a Property and Planning Lawyer and Essex County Council is hiring two lawyers for its Corporate Law and Governance team. Meanwhile, the closing date for the Assistant Solicitor role at Derbyshire Dales is fast approaching (23 September). Don't miss out!
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Competitive Dialogue; Local Authority Joint Ventures; Shared Services after LAML; State Aid and Staff Mutuals
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ACSeS seeks urgent meeting with DCLG officials amid concern over transparency rules Association obtains advice from leading QC over regulations designed to increase greater openness in local government decision-making
Tribunal backs refusal to disclose severance agreement for senior officer Retail company in long-running battle with council over planning fails to secure information requested
Council takes steps to evict squatters who took over closed library Legal proceedings started as talks continue over re-opening site as volunteer-run library. Squatters moved in after new offence of squatting in a residential building came into force
Watchdog calls for urgent reform of electoral laws and role of petitions Electoral Commission calls for changes to "outdated" system of challenging results through election petitions
Council issues £500k+ tender against backdrop of shared legal service talks Contract for three years with option to extend
Group of 75 former pupils sue council over alleged abuse at school Claimants were at school in Stowmarket in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s
Gove backs down over forced academy conversion after council brings judicial review Primary school made sufficient progress and now exceeds government standards
Judge rejects "iron curtain" approach to cumulative impact policy Upmarket brewer secures premises licence in city's stress area
Tribunal upholds appeal after council seeking "critical friends" labelled FOI request as "vexatious" Appellant wins after Information Commissioner had concluded that refusal by council was correct
Cable unveils plan to cut compensation payment limit for unfair dismissal Consultation on proposals for cap of 12 months' pay or a reduced upper limit forms part of package of employment law reforms
Advisory group calls for significant reforms to Welsh planning system Recommendations include call for statutory framework for strategic planning at a level above individual local planning authorities
Councils need extra powers if higher earning tenants are to pay more: ARCH Association points out that councils have no powers to order tenants not applying for or in receipt of benefits to disclose incomes
Ministers set to devolve decision-making on local major transport schemes
LGO raps council for delays in dealing with homeless man with mental health issues
LGA takes Ofqual to task in grade boundaries row
See all of our most recent news stories
New articles on Local Government Lawyer
Opaque transparency and A Right Pickles' pickle
Regulations designed to introduce greater transparency in local government decision-making have come into effect, amid confusion over the extent to which a key requirement applies to decisions by officers. Nicholas Dobson explains the main findings of a QC's opinion commissioned by ACSeS. Meanwhile, Geoff Wild says the situation is a mess.
Robin Hopkins looks at the outcome of cases where local authorities and NHS trusts received freedom of information requests for compromise agreements, officers' identities and the like.
Cain Ormondroyd gives some tips for billing authorities seeking to recover rates in the Magistrates' Court.
Going for growth
The Government has set great store by its housing and growth stimulus package. Christopher Munday and Christopher Proudley consider what it means for councils, registered providers, house builders and other organisations.
The lessons from Winterbourne View
What are the lessons for providers, commissioners and regulators from the WInterbourne View case? Ben Troke and Chris Webb-Jenkins look at the findings of the serious case review.
Reasons to be cheerful
Paul O'Sullivan looks at a decision of the Scottish Court of Session which contains some helpful guidance for contracting authorities on the scope of the duty to give reasons to unsuccessful bidders.
Capacity to consent and adoption
The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street examine a HIgh Court ruling on a mother's capacity to consent to an agreement under s. 20 of the Children Act 1989 that would see her child placed for adoption.
Paddy Whur examines MPs' criticism of customs officials for failing to crack down on criminal gangs who dodge alcohol tax. He also highlights cases where one licensing authority has had success in prosecuting licensees for breaking the law in this regard.
Back for good?
The review of the Charities Act 2006 carried out by Lord Hodgson is significant for local authorities in their dealings with the third sector. Stephen O'Reilly and Clare Hardy examine the main findings.
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Cloud Computing and Data Protection Many organisations are contemplating using Cloud computing. But what happens to Data Protection when you surrender your data to the cloud? How can you ensure that you are complying with the Data Protection Act?
Competitive Dialogue This webinar provides an overview of the competitive dialogue process, looks at the various stages of a typical CD process in the local government sector and outlines public, private and funder experiences.
Article 5 and the Court of Protection This webinar analyses recent case law to find a clearer definition of a deprivation of liberty in Court of Protection cases.
Children's Rights and Decision-making Many childcare cases fall outside the purview of the Children Act 1989, leaving little guidance on best interests and participation. Increasingly filling this void is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Public Sector Equality Duty The aim of this course is to provide practical advice to local authorities and other public bodies on how to ensure that they comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty.
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The latest blogs...
Analysis of Planning Act project thresholds
by Angus Walker
Since the government has announced that it is going to review the Planning Act thresholds and categories, I thought I would get the ball rolling with an analysis of the current thresholds.
And some you may have missed....
Adult Social Services: Personal injury and the Court of Protection Simon Edwards
looks at the complex interplay between personal injury claims and Court of Protection proceedings.
Children's Services: Abuse in care cases and withdrawal of legal aid
More people are taking action over abuse in care ahead of the withdrawal of legal aid in 2013, writes Tony Hall
Community Safety: Police security clearance and public law powers
The Administrative Court recently found that a police authority could not alter the fundamental public law nature of security clearance functions by considering them to be mere private law contractual matters. Nicholas Dobson
Employment: Slot machine
A case before the Employment Appeal Tribunal involving a NHS trust has highlighted again the importance of employers following their own procedures when reorganising, writes Phil Allen
Governance: It's good to talk
The Cabinet Office has revamped its guidance on consultation. Nicola Wiliams
and Owain Morgan
assess the likely impact of the changes.
Housing: Attempts to prevent eviction
Following a recent judgment, Andrew Lane
, Simon Allison
, Dean Underwood
and Laura Tweedy
discuss the increasing use of public law and Article 8 arguments in attempts to prevent eviction in mandatory possession cases.
Licensing: Representation of the people Andy Woods
looks at the increasing number of representations made against betting premises licence applications and queries whether many of them are in fact invalid.
Litigation: Decision tree Andrew Plunkett
reviews two important tree root subsidence cases that considered the issue of reasonable foreseeability.
Planning: Building or structures - the Woolley Chickens case
A recent High Court ruling that mobile poultry units were development under the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 is a significant one, writes Martin Goodall
Procurement: On the waterfront
Areas of contract law such as "proceed with due diligence", "reasonable endeavours to procure", repudiatory breach and affirmation were all covered in one recent case. Mark Alsop
analyses the dispute.
Projects: Rights to light - ancient and modern Laura Tweedy
looks at the current law in relation to rights to light and touches upon some of the problems faced by developers and landowners alike.
Property: Moving in Phil Lawrence
outlines some of the key issues to be considered when public bodies share sites.
Regulatory: Watch your step
The new regime for judicial approval for local authority surveillance will start this November. Ibrahim Hasan
sets out what is involved.