Local Government Lawyer
Editor's blog: Speak now

The Communities Secretary was once again on plain-speaking form last week when he announced plans to scrap the requirement to appoint an independent person to review dismissal and disciplinary cases for chief executives - and, it must be added, chief finances officers and monitoring officers. But could the move severely weaken corporate governance? Read more...

Last few hours to apply: Today (14 November) is the closing date for applications for this very interesting Senior Solicitor/Barrister role at Leicester City Council.

In LGL this week: vires and bad bargains; 'independent persons' and chief executive dismissals; care home fees; equal pay; Localism Act changes to homelessness laws; past performance of bidders and procurement; Zambrano rights and social welfare; care cases and time limits; court powers and consumer law breaches; FOIA and commercial confidence; SEN experts and exclusion; fraud threats; 'interim steps'; town and village greens....plus lots more. Average unique visitors in October 2012: 19,000+.

New course on Local Government Law.tv: The Draft Care and Support Bill by Browne Jacobson. This course is free-of-charge to London Boroughs Legal Alliance members - please contact Hannah Jennings (Hannah.Jennings@KennedyCater.com) for further details.

Unlimited access corporate subscriptions
to Local Government Law.tv are now available, starting at just £495 + VAT for 12 months, including free access for your client departments. For further details, please click here or contact Derek Bedlow on 0207 239 4917, email derek.bedlow@localgovernmentlaw.tv.

News headlines

ProjectsCommunities Secretary axes 'independent person' role in chief executive dismissals Requirement for appointment to be scrapped, says Pickles

Council cannot escape leases on grounds of own breaches of fiduciary: Court of Appeal Significant ruling for public authorities as CoA overturns High Court judgment that unitary could rid itself of bad bargains by invoking lack of capacity of predecessor authorities. Cornwall mulls appeal to Supreme Court, says it would have saved £4.5m if High Court ruling had been upheld

County council breached equality duty in setting care home fees: HIgh Court Judge said Devon had failed to discharge public sector equality duty in calculating fee increase. See also: Watchdog hails court ruling on court home fees and equalities Equality and Human Rights Commission also plans review of local authority commissioning

Birmingham estimates equal pay liability at £757m after Supreme Court ruling Local authority warns liability could increase further if it receives more claims

DCLG issues guidance on Localism Act changes to homelessness legislation Details on how duty to secure accommodation can be ended with offer of suitable accommodation in private rented sector

Government sets out policy on taking past performance of bidders into account on future procurement Admission that in the past there has not always been a consistent approach

Court of Appeal in landmark ruling on Zambrano rights and social welfare Judges confirm direct applicability of Zambrano rights in a social welfare context

Law Society demands clear guidelines on 26-week limit for care proceedings Chancery Lane also rejects restricting judge's role in scrutinising care plans

Courts to have beefed-up powers to deal with breaches of consumer law DBIS consultation suggests wider range of powers

Case on disclosure of identity of accuser to parties in contact proceedings heads to Supreme Court Social services had advised mother to take steps to protect her daughter. High Court rejected disclosure on grounds of accuser's fragile health, but ruling overturned by Court of Appeal

Council fights off JR over moving livestock centre from town centre Challenge to ministers' repeal of Acts also unsuccessful. But authority runs up £100,000 costs

Audit Commission warns councils of emerging fraud threats Areas identified include business rates, Right to Buy housing discounts and schools

Claimants ask CoA for permission to challenge 'critical-only' care policy West Berkshire is one of only three councils in country to operate on this basis

PM unveils plan to force further 400 primary schools to convert to academies

Ministers extend Red Tape Challenge to 500+ health and social care regulations

Stallholder ordered to pay £100k+ after prosecution by Kent CC legal team

ASBO landlord now fined for breach of fire regulations

Businesses praise Government policy on procurement but slam pace of reform

See all of our most recent news stories

New articles on Local Government Lawyer

NoonGambling with FOIA
The First Tier Tribunal recently gave a judgment which provides some guidance on how far 'confidential information' received during a competitive bidding process can be withheld under the Freedom of Information Act. Helen Prandy analyses the ruling.

More than you bargained for?
Christopher Knight  explains the significance of a key Court of Appeal ruling on the ability of local authorities to avoid bad bargains - in this case expensive leases - by relying on their own unlawful acts.

Expert advice
Derek Jones examines the new role of SEN expert in permanent exclusion independent review panels.

Back to school on data protection
Shelley Thomas and Michelle Morgan review the Information Commissioner’s recent report on the data protection guidance given to schools during 2012.

Fee for all
The High Court has delivered yet another blow to a local authority’s attempt to set fees for care home providers. Michael Wood looks at the ruling.

Stepping up to the plate
Paddy Whur looks at recent ‘Interim Steps’ hearings that he has conducted, leading to licences being suspended, but also highlights how on occasions these can be avoided if operators are willing to work in partnership with the police.

Seeing the wood from the trees
A High Court ruling has issued an important ruling on the enforcement of s. 106 planning obligations. Mary Tate analyses the judgment.

Not so unlucky section 13
The new Growth and Infrastructure Bill signals the end of last minute town and village green applications, write Andrew Beck and Emma Bingham.

Late to the party
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently issued a ruling covering lists of issues and late evidence. Allison Cook looks at the lessons to be learned.

The latest blogs...
Former civil servant reveals NPS wrangling by Angus Walker
A former civil servant at the DCLG has revealed a lack of co-operation between government departments as one of the main reasons for the initial delay in the prodution of national policy statements. 

And some you may have missed....

Adult Social Services: Home is where the heart is A High Court judge went against the views of an independent expert and all the professionals in deciding that an elderly woman had capacity to make decisions on her residence and care. The Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street examine why.

Children's Services: Tackling finance leases Mis-sold finance leases for IT equipment and the like can leave schools with huge debts. Alex Kynoch sets out what they and local authorities can do about the problem.

Community Safety: Deep impact Jeremy Phillips looks at some of the problems, particularly for licensees, surrounding cumulative impact zones.

Employment: Establishment figure A judgment involving a school teaches us the meaning of 'establishment' in relation to collective redundancies. Phil Allen analyses the ruling.

Governance: Requests for personal data on employees Eleanor Grey QC reviews the Information Commissioner's new guidance on requests for personal data about public authority employees.

Housing: A perfect match? Kent County Council recently launched what is though to be the first county-wide Local Authority Mortgage Scheme. Hilary Palmer explains how it was put together.

Licensing: Late nights and early mornings The regulations covering the late night levy and early morning restriction orders have finally been published. Andy Grimsey reviews what they say.

Litigation: Pushed to the limits The Supreme Court recently ruled that a group of former employees could bring equal pay claims in the High Court, where the time limits are considerably longer than those in the employment tribunals. Matthew Wort and Chris Plumley consider the impact of the judgment.

Planning: Straight to the core The High Court recently dismissed a sustainability appraisal challenge made to Core Strategy housing policies. Gregory Jones QC and Juan Lopez explain why.

Procurement: Suspended animation When will damages be an adequate remedy in automatic suspension cases? David Hansom looks at how a recent High Court decision was reached.

Projects: Priority booking The Priority Schools Building Programme has finally been given the green light. Annie Moy looks at what it entails.

Property: Heading for certain breakdown? Break clauses in leases can trap the unwary landlord or tenant. Marie-Louise Gobbi reviews the recent case law.

Regulatory: Watchful eye Councils need to spell out how their use of surveillance powers is saving taxpayers' money and protecting vulnerable residents, writes Cllr Mehboob Khan.

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Click here to see all courses on Local Government Law.tv (96) New courses due in the next few weeks include content on outsourcing, fostering and adoption, the Community Infrastructure Levy, mediation, shared services, child protection, redundancy, village greens and the NPPF. Other forthcoming content includes a webinar on resources and community care as well as updates on procurement and judicial review and a series of practical litigation courses including webinars on disclosure and preparing for trial.


Jobs of the week

Leicester City Council
Senior Solicitor/Barrister
Following a temporary increase in workload brought about by the transfer of public health functions and associated procurement and governance, we are looking a highly motivated Solicitor/Barrister to join our well-established Commercial and General Law Section.

Commercial Property Locum 
A local authority in Essex is looking for a Commercial Property Locum to join them asap. 

Head of Legal
A public sector body in the North West is looking for a Head of Legal and Governance for a 12-month term. 

Commercial Contracts and Procurement Lawyer
An excellent opportunity for a Commercial Contracts and Procurement Lawyer to join a local authority in Cambridgeshire. 

Legal Counsel
A leading national charity has an opportunity for an experienced solicitor to join them on a contract basis for six months. 

Commercial Contracts Solicitor
A Commercial Contracts Solicitor is required on an interim basis for a lovely local authority in the West Midlands. 

A well regarded local authority in the North of England is seeking a Conveyancer to join its commercial property department. 

Commercial Contracts Lawyer
An excellent opportunity has arisen for a Commercial Contracts Lawyer in Shropshire. 

Other featured jobs

Property Litigation Locum
A local authority based in Kent is recruiting a Property Litigation Locum. 

Childcare Solicitor
A large, well respected local authority in the North West requires a Childcare Solicitor for at least three months. 

Childcare Advocate
An interesting opportunity has arisen for a Childcare Advocate to join a borough in South London. 

General Local Government Locum
A well regarded local authority in the South West is recruiting a General Local Government Lawyer for a period of 6-12 months. 

Adult and Community Care Lawyer
This local authority based within a 50-minute commute of central London is seeking an Adult and Community Care Lawyer. 

Childcare Solicitor
An opportunity has arisen for a Childcare Solicitor to join a reputable local authority in the South Gloucestershire area. 

Contracts Lawyer
A local authority in South-West London is looking for a Contracts Lawyer. 

Commercial Lawyer
A public sector body in the North West is looking for a Commercial Lawyer with five years-plus pqe. 

Family and Childcare Solicitor
A maternity cover contract is available for an accredited family panel member. 

Childcare Legal Assistant
An excellent opportunity has arisen for a Childcare Legal Assistant to join a local authority in East Anglia. 

Childcare Paralegal
An opportunity has arisen for a temporary Childcare Paralegal in the South East London area. 

Junior Planning Lawyer
This ambitious firm is looking to strengthen its planning offering with the hire of a planning lawyer. 

Search all jobs 

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