Local Government Lawyer
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!

Local Government Lawyer is conducting a Management Survey in association with Kennedy Cater. It would be great if heads of legal and directors of law could complete the survey here.

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News headlines

ProjectsACSeS 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Watchdog calls for urgent reform of electoral laws and role of petitions Electoral Commission calls for changes to "outdated" system of challenging results through election petitions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

NoonOpaque 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.

No compromise
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.   

Recovery position
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.

Duty calls
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.

Local Government Law.tv

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Local PartnershipsCompetitive 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.

39 Essex StreetArticle 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.

St PhilipsChildren'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.

St PhilipsThe 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.

Walker MorrisRenewable Energy - An Introduction This webinar will provide an overview of renewable energy incentives in the UK, examining the 3 main financial incentives currently in place and consider why local authorities and other public bodies should take an interest in this area.

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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 explains why. 

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.

Property and Planning Lawyer

Jobs of the week

Essex Legal Services
£46,000 - £69,100. Essex County Council is looking for two high calibre lawyers to join its Corporate Law and Governance team.

Assistant Solicitor
£32,800-£36,313 (pro rata). Derbyshire Dales DC is looking for an enthusiastic and capable Solicitor or Barrister with at least two years' pqe to deal with legal matters across the whole of the council's core services. CLOSING DATE: 23 SEPTEMBER

Adult Social Services Lawyer
A great opportunity has arisen for an Adult Social Services Lawyer to join a local authority based in the South West.

Commercial or Property Solicitor
A Commercial Contracts or Property Solicitor is required to join one of the country's most forward-thinking local authorities, which is based in the Midlands.

Employment Lawyer
An opportunity has arisen for an Employment Solicitor to join a local authority in the Greater Manchester area until April 2013, with the possibility of extension.

Commercial Contracts and Property Locum
An excellent opportunity has arisen for a Commercial Contracts and Property Locum to join a local authority based in the South West. 

Senior Legal Services Officer and other roles
Bournemouth University is recruiting a Senior Legal Services Officer and Company Secretary, a Projects Lawyer and a Legal Services Officer on a permanent basis.

Head of Litigation
A truly exceptional opportunity has arisen to lead the in-house legal function of a highly respected public body. 

Other featured jobs

Contracts Legal Officer
A local authority in London is looking for a Contracts Legal Officer, ideally with a minimum of six months' experience working in the public sector.  

Senior Litigation and Employment Solicitor
An excellent opportunity has arisen for a Senior Litigation/Employment Solicitor to join a local authority in the East Midlands for an ongoing contract. 

Contracts & Property Locum
This highly regarded public sector organisation has a requirement for an experienced Solicitor to join its team for at least six months. 

Education Lawyer 
An Education Solicitor or Barrister is required by a well regarded firm on a purely temporary or a temporary to permanent basis. 

Housing Litigation Locum
A highly reputable local authority in London is recruiting for a Housing Litigation Locum. 

Childcare Lawyer
A public sector organisation in the West Midlands is looking to recruit a Childcare Lawyer. 

Childcare Solicitor
A well respected local authority in the Midlands requires a Childcare Solicitor to join its team for an ongoing period.

Childcare Solicitor
Our clients are based in central London and looking for an experienced public sector Childcare Solicitor to join their friendly team. 

Childcare Legal Assistant
An opportunity has arisen at an authority in the North West for a Legal Assistant with previous experience of dealing with child protection matters.

Search all jobs 

Featured courses and events

Employment Law Update - Jordans

Local Authority Conference 2012 - 11KBW
Leeds - 2 October

Housing Allocations and Homelessness - Jordans
London - 30 November
Leeds - 27 November
Birmingham - 29 November
Manchester - 28 November

Supporting Young People: Local Authorities and Part III of the Children Act 1989 - Field Court - 27 September

Evidence in Child Abuse Cases Conference 2012 - Family Law - 20 September

Land ownership issues between academies and local authorities - 4-5 Gray's Inn Square - 26 September

Planning Law Conference 2012 - 4-5 Gray's Inn Square - 1 October

Children Law and Practice Conference 2012 - Family Law - 4 October

Annual Mental Health Law Conference - RadcliffesLeBrasseur - 4 October

Advocacy Skills for Family Lawyers - Family Law - 12 October

Court of Protection Practice and Procedure 2012 - Jordans - 15 October

Search all courses and events

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