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Local Authority round-up: 05/04/24

Our Local Authority round up provides brief summaries of topical information on a weekly basis, to keep you aware of the changes and updates relevant to you.


Government introduces Family Mediation Voucher Scheme to support separating families

The Family Mediation Voucher Scheme allows separating couples to access a contribution of up to £500 towards their mediation in order to increase the likelihood that issues such as childcare and finances are settled outside of court.

The Government has announced that two-thirds of the first 7,200 families to use the scheme reached an agreement without the need to go to court.

It is hoped that by increasing the accessibility of mediation, the interests of children can be at the forefront of negotiations, limiting the trauma experienced when going to court. To supplement this, the Government seeks to ensure mediators can easily apply for advanced Disclosure and Barring Service checks (DBS Checks), allowing for more child-inclusive mediation. There are currently over 350 specialist child-inclusive trained mediators across England and Wales.

For more information please click here.  


Government issues a PPN on the use of AI in procurement

The Cabinet Office has issued a Procurement Policy Note (PPN) on improving transparency when utilising AI in procurement. The notes makes it clear that suppliers’ are not prohibited for relying on AI during the commercial process but warns that the risks associated with its use should be understood.

In order to establish whether AI has been used by suppliers, the PPN advices that a disclosure question be added to the Invitation to Tender. This requires suppliers to disclose their use of AI when responding to the tender questions, or as part of their proposed delivery of the service. It is hoped that such questions will inform wider commercial strategy, and define how to undertake due diligence and manage risk.

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In addition, the Cabinet Office suggests allowing for more time to consider and evaluate the procurement process so as to fully engage in due diligence. Reliance on AI when submitting tenders is also likely to increase the volume of responses, and so extending the procurement process will also mitigate any delays.

For more information please click here.

Government to introduce new legislation to ensure NDAs that prevent criminal disclosures are unenforceable

The Ministry of Justice has announced that legislation will be introduced to ensure that non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that prevent victims from disclosing criminal conduct, reporting a crime, or accessing support are not enforceable.

The Government has stated that the legislation will ensure information related to criminal conduct can be discussed with the following groups without legal action being taken:

  • Police
  • Qualified and regulated lawyers
  • Other support services that operate under clear confidentiality principles such as counsellors, advocacy services or medical professionals

The proposed amendments will have no impact on the remainder of the NDA, such as provisions relating to financial agreements or commercially sensitive information.

For more information please click here.

For further information please contact Tim Care in our Public Sector Team.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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