Local Government Lawyer
Editor's blog: After the low-hanging fruit has gone

There were some pretty dire predictions this week from the Local Government Association, which published a financial forecast suggesting that councils could face a potential £16.5bn funding shortfall over the next few years. 

One of the possible solutions put forward was a fundamental change to the statutory demands placed on authorities. But how likely is this to happen? Read more...

Try our Local Government Law.tv site today! Remember the first course is free. New courses include The Localism Act and Housing from Hardwicke, which covers flexible tenures, homelessness duties, part allocations and 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.

Now on the Knowledge Bank: a Contracts Law Update from Walker Morris. This is a new service and there are already contributions such as Managing in a political environment by Nicholas Dobson of Pannone. If you would like to contribute, email the Editor.

Jobs latest: There is a wide range of permanent and locum positions available through the Local Government Lawyer jobs board, including this role as Head of Corporate Legal Affairs at a restructured regulatory body. Apply today!


News headlines

StandardsMany local authorities unprepared for new standards regime, warns watchdog Committee for Standards in Public Life has "significant concerns" about robustness of arrangements and the "inherent risks" BUT Incoming standards regime to be tough on council corruption: Minister 

Libraries JR to test balance of power between elected mayor and councillors Dispute over setting of Doncaster MBC's budget as elected mayor pursues plan for closures and volunteer-run services

High Court judge urges review of cases where children remain under unsuccessful freeing orders Comments made in case where council found to have breached human rights of two brothers who went through 96 and 77 foster placements in 11 years

Council wins judicial review against DCLG over changes to PFI payments Claims that switch from 'declining basis' for payment to 'annuity basis' left almost £10m shortfall

Half of learning disability services failing to meet government standards: CQC Watchdog says people held in assessment and treatment centres for too long. Also demands reduction in use of restraint and calls for review of independent advocacy

Community Right to Challenge comes into force Department for Communities and Local Government also publishes final statutory guidance

Taskforce calls for mutuals to be exempt from EU procurement regulations Number of public sector mutuals – outside central government – has grown from 9 to 58 since 2010, with a further 40 in the pipeline 

Judge upholds decision by council to revoke licence of "crime magnet" club Local police commander said London club had caused him more disquiet than any other club in 20 years of policing

More than 100 jobs to go at Equality and Human Rights Commission Restructuring brought on by significant reduction in watchdog's government funding

LGO takes rare step of issuing public report - even though no injustice found Complaints about processing of planning application for waste facility not upheld, amid concerns over officer fact-finding trip to Denmark with grant applicant

Transport authority to consider introduction of quality contract scheme for buses West Yorkshire plan, if implemented, would be first outside London

Minister moves to reassure Trading Standards officers over spot check powers Lamb says unannounced inspections will still be feature of revised consumer enforcement powers regime

Change in statutory demands needed as adult care costs grow: LGA Town hall chiefs warn of £16.5bn shortfall that could see popular services cut severely or even halted

Independent reviewer calls for evidence on barriers to choice in public services

Department of Health issues guidance on planning public health advice service

Walker Morris wins contract to advise on Norfolk recycling contract

Access concerns sees Welsh Government target online encyclopaedia of law

See all of our most recent news stories

New articles on Local Government Lawyer

JigsawOf special interest
Publication of the regulations governing disclosable pecuniary interests has completed the standards regime jigsaw. Olwen Dutton and Peter Keith-Lucas examine the detail and assess what it means for authorities. 

99 Problems....illegal ice cream trading and injunctions
Adam Blenkinsop and Katy Kidd report on Lambeth Council's recent success in obtaining injunctions against unlicensed ice cream traders in London's South Bank, and outline the legal framework for local authorities bringing such actions.

Tilting at turbines
When it comes to wind farms, tensions between the localism agenda and the presumption in favour of sustainable development will lead to protracted battles before local planning authorities, planning inspectors and the courts, writes David Merson.

A trip too far
Michael Pether and Hannah Mitchell report on a recent Court of Appeal case that highlights the importance of identifying the threshold of liability for local authorities in standard tripping cases.

Breaching the Agenda for Change
Jayne Flint explains how a ruling that a NHS trust breached the Agenda for Change by deferring pay progression in cases of unacceptable sickness absence could have wider implications for the public sector.

Public law and employment disputes
Rosalind English reports on a case where the High Court rapped a NHS trust on the knuckles for refusing to reinstate a union activist. The ruling explored the extent to which a judicial review claim, or a free-standing claim under the Human Rights Act, may be precluded by a statute covering the same issue.

Clear view
A recent court judgment has provided some welcome clarity to the areas of capacity to challenge, selection criteria and debrief feedback around tendering procedures, says Martin Vincent.

Local Government Law.tv

Featured Courses on Local Government Law.tv

All courses are CPD-qualifying. Your first course is FREE.

All courses now also available on DVD


Local PartnershipsCompetitive Dialogue  This webinar provides an overview of the competitive dialogue process, looks in depth at the various stages of a typical CD process in the local government sector and outlines public, private and funder views and experiences of CD to date.

Public Procurement PageAlcatel Letters and the Standstill Period This webinar will explain Standstill Periods and Alcatel Letters and Regulations 32 and 32A of the Public Procurement Regulations 2006 and the implications of the Remedies Directive on Standstill and Alcatel.

WarnerOutcomes Focused Regulation - A Practical Guide for In-House This course will include a detailed analysis of the mandatory Principles, Outcomes, the new Indicative Behaviours and gives practical guidance for in-house lawyers seeking to make the transition from the 2007 Code of Conduct to OFR.

EnCentreNoise Update  This webinar concerns the subject of noise as a statutory nuisance. Referencing some of the more notable noise nuisance cases the presentation runs through the statutory duties and provides an overview of the key stages and enforcement mechanisms in place

EvershedsRenegotiating Contracts In this webinar Ruth Connorton considers the main ways authorities can renegotiate their existing contracts and assesses the potential procurement implications.

HardwickeThe Localism Act 2011 and Housing This package consists of four courses covering the changes for social landlords and housing authorities brought about by the Localism Act 2011 - Flexible Tenures, Homelessness duties, Part 6 Allocations and Tenancy Strategies and Regulation.

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 (78)

BlogsThe latest blogs...

First project upgraded into Planning Act regime by Angus Walker
If you thought this entry was about the Thames Tunnel 'supersewer', you'd be wrong, but it is for another tunnel under the Thames.

Snap judgement: Is your authority ready for the new standards regime?

....Yes - errant members beware

....What new standards regime?

Click here to vote now

And some you may have missed....

Adult Social Services: 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

Children's Services: Coming to an accommodation Sally Gore considers a High Court ruling on the extent of care leavers' entitlement to the costs of term-time accommodation.

Community Safety: Warning signs A recent Court of Appeal ruling shows how the courts will not suffer tenants who fail to heed repeated warnings, write Suzanne Gregson and Sarah Glanville.

Employment: Adjusted vision What are reasonable adjustments and when are a claimant's feelings aggravated? John Moore reports on a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling.

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

Healthcare: Disciplinary procedures and the right to a fair hearing A recent Court of Appeal ruling on the relationship between disciplinary procedures and Article 6 of the ECHR (the right to a fair hearing) is welcome news for public sector organisations, says Michael Stokes.

Housing: 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 a possession hearing. Alexander Campbell reports.

Licensing: 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 examines the authority's approach. 

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

Planning: 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.

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

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

Property: Securing Commons - the Right and the Just? Robert Leonard examines the useful guidance recently provided by the Court of Appeal on two important issues arising under the Commons Registration Act 1965.

Regulatory: A positive approach Do building control departments of local authorities have a 'positive obligation' to homeowners under the Human Rights Act in relation to their functions under the Building Regulations? Stephen Homer reports. 

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

Head of Corporate Legal Affairs
This is an exciting new, permanent role for this recently restructured professional regulatory body. The job is to lead the in-house corporate team and manage the body's corporate legal work. £70-79,000 p/a. 

Commercial Contracts and Procurement Solicitor
An excellent opportunity for a Locum Commercial Contracts and Procurement Solicitor has arisen within a busy local authority on the South Coast for an initial three to six months. 

Planning Solicitors, Bristol
There are currently openings for talented planning solicitors with 1 to 3 years' pqe and 5+ pqe at a leading national firm. 

Adult Social Care Lawyer
We are currently recruiting for an Adult Social Care Lawyer to join a public sector organisation based in the Home Counties. The position is for a minimum of six months with the likelihood of extension. 

Other featured jobs

Housing Litigation Solicitor
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Housing Litigation Solicitor to join a local authority on a short-term contract. 

Criminal Lawyer
A government organisation is looking for a locum Criminal Lawyer of six years' pqe to cover a period of leave in Merseyside.

Housing Solicitor
A highly regarded public sector organisation in the Midlands region has an exciting opportunity for an experienced housing lawyer 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. 

Senior Planning and Property Locum
This large local authority in the North East requires a locum to manage a planning, highways and property caseload. The role will be part-time or full-time, and on an ongoing basis. 

Legal Practice Manager
A local authority based in the East Midlands is looking for a Legal Practice Manager to join them on an initial three-month assignment. 

Procurement and Contracts Lawyer
An opportunity has arisen for a Procurement and Contracts Lawyer on a contract basis in East London. 

Contracts and Property Lawyer
A position for a Solicitor has arisen in the Contracts and Property team within a successful local authority in the South West. 

Corporate Governance (FOI)
Set in an idyllic part of the country, this local authority requires a locum hire to work as part of the corporate governance team. You will be dealing with FOI requestss and broader corporate governance work. 

Litigation Paralegal
A Legal 100 firm in Leicester is looking to recruit a paralegal to join its expanding local government team. 

Litigation Lawyer
A large public sector body in London is keen to add an experienced solicitor to work on a part-time, permanent basis in its legal team. 

Senior Legal Counsel
A leading national charity has an opportunity for an experienced commercial solicitor to join them on a temp to perm basis. 
Search all jobs (130+)

Spotlight on Childcare  roles

Childcare Advocate
This great local authority team in the Home Counties is seeking an experienced Childcare Lawyer or Barrister to join their team. The role is ongoing and will last for at least three months.

Childcare Lawyer
An excellent opportunity has arisen in the West Midlands at a successful local authority team. The position is initially for 2-3 months but it could continue for 4-5 months.

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

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