Local Government Lawyer
Editor's blog: The art of complaining

There are just days to go until the long-awaited arrival of the new standards regime for England. Local authorities will be busy readying themselves, particularly following the publication earlier this month of the regulations on disclosable pecuniary interests as well as the commencement order containing transitional provisions and detail on how outstanding complaints should be resolved.

So it was interesting to see the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales report this week that code of conduct complaints there rocketed by 49% in 2011/12. In his annual report Peter Tyndall also revealed that complaints overall – including those in relation to maladministration or service failure by public bodies – had seen double-digit growth. Read more...

Help us build our Knowledge Bank. This is a new service we are developing that will contain in-depth papers and articles on a wide range of essential topics. Already we have contributions in areas such as governance, information law and adult social services from the likes of Pannone, 11KBW and 4-5 Gray's Inn Square. The documents are free for readers to download as a PDF and free for authors to publish. If you would like to contribute, email the Editor.

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Try our Local Government Law.tv site today! Remember the first course is free. New courses include Social Housing: Strategies, Finance and Regulation from Hardwicke, which outlines the new requirement for housing authorities to produce a tenancy strategy by early 2013. An annual subscription to Local Government Law.tv - providing unlimited access to all our courses - is just £199 +VAT. 

News headlines

StandardsCode of conduct complaints in Wales soar 49% Public Services Ombudsman for Wales also sees complaints overall - including those over maladministration or service failure - rise 13% in a year

Lambeth withdraws new 'children in need' eligibility criteria after JR challenge Claimants' lawyers to consider next steps in relation to 20+ other local authorities with similar drafting

Hampshire wins Legal Services category at MJ Awards for 2012 County council recognised for work on bus transport scheme. Forest of Dean District Council was "highly commended" for the range of work covered by a small team

Humber Consortium names 13 law firms to £4m legal services framework Appointments follow a re-run procurement exercise

Council wins injunction against minicab firm over ads on cigarette bins Latest stage in dispute between Westminster and Addison Lee 

New powers make it easier for London boroughs to fine motorists over litter Closure of legal loophole after London Councils group steers laws through Parliament

Bangor to have dispersal order covering whole town centre U-16s banned from specified areas between 9 pm and 6 am unless with parent or responsible adult over 18. More like North Korea than North Wales, claim critics

Ministers to back Bill making unlawful subletting a criminal offence Private Members Bill despite councils already using Fraud Act to prosecute. Legislation also seeks to reimburse proceeds to social landlords

Disabled claimants bring JR claim against county over traffic order Allegations of discrimination after experimental traffic regulation order impacts on access to town centre

Health trust fined £225k for data breach at disused site ICO monetary penalty highlights importance of security on property estate

Mental Health Alliance warns councils over new responsiblities Coalition says local authorities and clinical commissioning groups must ensure they uphold rights of people detained under Mental Health Act as they take up new responsibilities

MPs join LGA in calling for tougher park home licensing regime Residents - particularly the elderly - at risk of exploitation by unscrupulous site owners

President of the Family Division to chair board overseeing modernisation reforms 

DCLG issues regulations on reconsidering Sustainable Community proposals

Weightmans nets advisory role to Liverpool City Council on public health

See all of our most recent news stories

New articles on Local Government Lawyer


Express delivery
John Randall QC examines the interaction between repudiation at common law and express termination clauses and explains the advantages of each route.

Concealment, enforcement and the Localism Act 2011

Concerns were expressed during the passage of the then Localism Bill over unintended potential side effects from the planning enforcement provisions. David Merson looks at what has changed since then.

On the merits
Leeds City Council has just granted the new breed of sexual entertainment venue licences to a number of lap dancing operators. Paddy Whur reports on the authority's approach.

FOI under scrutiny
What changes will the post-legislative scrutiny of the Freedom of Information Act bring? Ibrahim Hasan considers the most likely recommendations.

Ready or not...
The High Court has reiterated that the burden is on the defendant to persuade the judge that there are substantive Article 8 and Equality Act issues meriting an adjournment of an possession hearing. Alexander Campbell reports.

The responsibilities of Approved Mental Health Practitioners
The High Court has confirmed the limits to the responsibilities of Approved Mental Health Practitioners, write Jill Mason and Lucy Johnston

Minimum fuss
Elizabeth Davies examines the new EU Regulation on de minimis aid for the provision of services of general economic interest.

Local Government Law.tv

Featured Courses on Local Government Law.tv

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All courses now also available on DVD


Blake LapthornUnused Material The problems with unused material very often start in the investigation stage. This webinar reviews the basics and see what should be happening a long time before the file hits your desk.

Hill DickinsonManaging a Local Authority Estate Keeping up-to-speed with property law developments is more important than ever for local authority solicitors and property professionals.This webinar outlines the key emerging topics for local authorities as owners, landlords and tenants.

ITCEffective Skills for Working Teams With the ever-increasing push for better performance and productivity the need for teams to be effective and have the ability to work well together is vital.

BirkettsEmployment Restructuring and Reorganisation This course will give an overview of the key employment issues that arise when carrying out a restructuring and reorganisation exercise, taking delegates through the steps that should be followed and the issues that need to be considered.

Field CourtClaims under the Equality Act 2010 This webinar examines the remedies available, the pitfalls for claimants and defendents and the most appropriate venues for claims under the Equality Act 2010.

HardwickeSocial Housing: Strategies, Finance and Regulation  This courses addresses two of the major changes brought about by the Localism Act: the need for housing authorities to produce a tenancy strategy by early 2013 and the new mechanism for dealing with tenants' complaints.
LGLtvUnlimited access for 12 months Unlimited access to all online content on Local Government Law.tv gor just £199 + VAT with the option to add a full day LGG course for £150 +VAT, covering all of your annual CPD needs for less than £350 (+VAT).

Click here to see all courses on Local Government Law.tv (74)

BlogsThe latest blogs...

Report says planning contributing to infrastructure costs by Angus Walker
Two reports were published last week on cutting the cost of offshore wind, which is supposed to form the majority of new renewable energy production over the next few years so the UK meets the EU target of 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Snap judgement: Only 1% of law students intend on a career in local government, according to a new survey. Do you regret making your career in local government?

....No, I've loved every minute of it

....Yes, I'd have been better off in the private sector

Click here to vote now

And some you may have missed....

Adult Social Services: Ties that bind A High Court judge has made some significant comments on how much courts should - in the absence of binding authority - take notice of first instance judgements when considering issues of capacity, says the Court of Protection team at 39 Essex Street.

Children's Services: Mission Impossible Peter Hill and Rebecca Hazeldine review the Department for Education's recent announcements in relation to the Priority School Building Programme.

Community Safety: Dealer's choice A recent report on Local Government Lawyer of a case where the Court of Appeal upheld the eviction of a drug dealer's family by a housing association generated huge interest. Dorota Pawlowski examines the background to the case.

Employment: TUPE transfers and pensions Long-established case law setting out which rights relating to pension benefits do/do not transfer on a TUPE transfer has been re-considered in the High Court, writes Jacqui Piper.

Governance: Complying with the public sector equality duty Anna Sweeney provides a remider of authorities' obligations under the public sector equality duty and sets out some practical considerations to assist with compliance.

Healthcare: Outsourcing, procurement and the NHS There are a number of lessons that NHS organisations can learn from the Lloyd v Gloucestershire PCT case, writes David Lock QC.

Housing: A hard edge Brendan Mullee analyses a recent case which raised the issue of factual disputes in section 204 Housing Act 1996 appeals.

Licensing: Guided reading In the second of two articles Roy Light continues his examination of the Home Office's amended guidance under the Licensing Act 2003 Part 2.

Litigation: Judicial review, settlement and costs The Court of Appeal has given clear guidance on the issue of costs in judicial review claims where a settlement is reached before trial, writes Catherine Rowlands.

Planning: The National Planning Policy Framework - now the dust has settled It is three months since the NPPF came into effect. John Bosworth looks at the lessons learned so far.

Procurement: The Community Right to Challenge edges closer The Community Right to Challenge is taking shape with the publication of new draft Regulations. Mark Johnson analyses the key elements of the scheme.

Projects: Throwing a spanner in the works The High Court's dismissal of a claim that a council's sale of a community facility site breached the Public Contracts Regulations is welcome news for local authorities, writes Anna Sweeney.

Property: Finding the way? In the second of two summaries of recent cases concerning easements, Emma Humphreys reports on a local authority's failure to show that use of the right of way had been with its permission.

Regulatory: Turning the tables Thanks to a little-known piece of legislation, a rare opportunity exists for local authorities to both enforce and gain business approval at the same time, argues Alan Conroy.

Practice area pages:  Adult social services, Children's services, Community safety, Employment, Governance and risk, Healthcare, Housing, Licensing, Litigation, Planning, Procurement and contracts, Projects, Property and assets, Transport, Management

Jobs of the week

Prosecutions and Licensing Lawyer
This London borough is seeking a strong Prosecutions or Litigation lawyer to join its team. The role is to start as soon as possible and will run for three months. The post will be recruited to on a permanent basis but the exact timing of this is still to be decided.

Projects/Public Sector Specialist
This leading commercial firm is looking to strengthen its highly acclaimed public sector team with a new hire. You will be a 2+pqe solicitor with experience in local government/public sector. 

Other featured jobs

Information Law Specialist
Our client, a public sector organisation based in the South East, is looking for an information law specialist to join its legal services team.

Commercial Contracts Lawyer
A commercial contracts lawyer is required to join a large local authority based in the Midlands for a period of 12 months. 

Senior Legal Counsel
A leading national charity has an opportunity for an experienced commercial solicitor to join them on a temp to perm basis. 

Town and Village Green Locum
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a town and village green specialist to jon a public sector organinsation in the West Midlands.

Employment and Litigation Lawyer
This local authority based in a great city is seeking an Employment and Litigation Lawyer to join its team for a period of six months.

Litigation Lawyer
An opportunity has arisen for a Litigation Lawyer in West London. You will have previous experience working for a local authority and handling a wide range of litigation matters.

Commercial Litigator
A PLC, with offices in the North West, is looking for a Commercial Litigator with five years plus PQE to join their team for a period of 12 months.

Childcare Advocate
This great local authority team based in the Home Counties is seeking an experienced Childcare Lawyer or Barrister to join its team.

Childcare Solicitor
Large, well respected local authority based in the North West requires a part-time Childcare Solicitor to assist on a three day a week basis.

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

Housing Solicitor
A highly regarded public sector organisation in the Midlands region has an exciting opportunity for an experienced housing solicitor to join their team.

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