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Local Authority round-up: 07/06/24

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.

Planning and Housing

Planning Inspectorate to continue examinations during pre-election period

The Planning Inspectorate has recently confirmed that the scheduled local plan examinations and hearing sessions will continue during the pre-election period.

However, the Planning Inspectorate has also stated that in order to avoid influencing the election, decisions or recommendations which are politically sensitive may not be announced until after the election. The Inspectorate has stressed that a decision to delay any announcements until the election results will be taken by senior managers. It added that it would ensure any such delayed decisions or recommendations will be issued promptly after the election.

Furthermore, the Planning Inspectorate will not be issuing any letters regarding the soundness or legal compliance of local plans, or final reports (including for fact check), until after the election.

For more information, please click here.


Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Act receives Royal Assent

The Act seeks to increase consumers rights by providing greater control and clarity over online purchases. To do this, the Act requires businesses to provide clearer information to consumers before they enter a subscription contract, remind consumers that their free trial or low-cost trial is coming to an end, and ensure consumers can easily exit a contract.

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Unavoidable hidden fees will also need to be included in the initial cost or clearly illustrated at the start of the purchasing journey. This will ensure consumers are clear from the offset about what they’re spending.

The Act will also affords the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) the power to set tailored ‘conduct requirements’ for large tech companies which can (among others) require the company to alter its operations to treat consumers more fairly.

If companies fail to comply with decisions made by the CMA, they could be subject to significant fines.

It is hoped that this will allow consumers to choose more freely the services they use, and prevent companies withholding information consumers need to make informed decisions.

For more information, please click here.

Government introduces the Commencement & Transitional Regulations for the Procurement Act 2023

On 22 May 2024, the Government introduced the Procurement Act 2023 (Commencement No 3 and Transitional and Saving Provisions) Regulations 2024.

The regulations bring into force, on 28th October 2024, the majority of the provisions within Procurement Act 2023.

The regulations also introduce transitional provisions which determine which legislation applies to procurements that have already been commenced under the previous legislation, such as the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

In particular, under the regulations:

  • Procurements that commence after the entry into force of the Act (28th October 2024) must be conducted by reference to the Act only.
  • Contracts awarded under the previous legislation will continue to be managed (which includes modified and terminated) under that legislation until the contract (or commercial tool, such as a contract awarded under a framework agreement, dynamic purchasing system or qualification system) ceases to exist.
  • Procurements (including for below-threshold contracts) commenced under previous legislation will be governed by that legislation. Any resulting contracts will continue to be managed (which includes modified and terminated) under the previous legislation.
  • For more information, please click here or see our Procurement in a Nutshell series.

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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