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Local Authority round-up 09/06/23

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.


Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Act receives Royal Assent

The Welsh Government (WG) has confirmed that the Social Partnership and Public Procurement (Wales) Act (Act) has received Royal Assent. The Act, which is Wales’ first piece of primary legislation on procurement, provides a framework to enhance the well-being of the Welsh people by improving public services through social partnership working, promoting fair work and socially responsible public procurement. The Act includes provision for:

  • The establishment of a statutory Social Partnership Council for Wales for the purposes of improving economic, environmental, social and cultural well-being (including public services) in Wales.
  • A statutory duty on certain public bodies to seek consensus or compromise with their recognised trade unions, or other staff representatives where there is no trade union, when settling (and delivering) on their well-being objectives under section 3(2) of the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 (WFGA 2015).
  • Certain public bodies to carry out contract management duties to ensure that socially responsible outcomes are pursued through supply chains. A contracting authority must seek to improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of its area by carrying out public procurement in a socially responsible way. This will be achieved by taking action, in accordance with the sustainable development principle, aimed at contributing to the achievement of the socially responsible procurement goals listed in section 4 of the WFGA 2015.

For more information please click here.

International Trade

Council of EU formally adopts three Regulations following Windsor Framework

The Council of the EU has formally adopted at first reading three Regulations setting out new rules for the movement of retail SPS goods, pets, seed potatoes, plants for planting, agricultural machinery and human medicines from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland and new rules for steel tariff rate quotas. The Windsor Framework, adopted on 23 February 2023, introduced a mechanism called the “Stormont brake”, which would allow the Northern Ireland Assembly to temporarily stop any changes to EU goods regulations from applying in Northern Ireland if the Assembly feared that the changes would have “significant and lasting effects on everyday lives”. Following the Windsor Framework, the European Commission adopted its proposals for these three Regulations on 27 February 2023. The three Regulations were agreed between the Council and the European Parliament through a fast-track procedure and will enter into force after their publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. They will be complemented by a set of implementing acts to be adopted by the Commission.

For more information please click here.

Planning and housing

Consultation on new permitted development rights allowing conversion of vacant high street premises

The government has published a consultation on High street rental auctions through which it is seeking views on the introduction of two new permitted development rights (PDRs) to support businesses and local authorities to implement and deliver high street rental auctions. The first PDR would enable “the temporary use of a premises for the suitable high street use determined by the local authority … for the term of the individual lease granted following the auction”.  The second PDR would “enable the premises to continue the high street rental auction use on a permanent footing once the initial lease period ends”. The PDRs would not have a size limit on the premises and would apply to listed buildings and to article 2(3) land including conservation areas, areas of outstanding natural beauty, the Broads, National Parks and World Heritage Sites. Physical works to the premises that amounted to development would not be covered by the PDRs and prior approval would not be required for development permitted by the first PDR as this use would only be a temporary use but would be required for the second PDR. The consultation closes on 23 June 2023 and relates to England only.

For more information please click here.

Government announces new boost to support rural communities

On 6 June 2023, the government published a policy paper Unleashing Rural Opportunity, which outlines four priority areas for the government, which are growing the rural economy, ensuring connectivity to broadband, facilitating home building and boosting rural communities. Of particular interest, the government announced that it will:

  • Consult on simplifying planning rules by potentially changing permitted development rights to make redundant farm buildings into homes and allowing changes to existing agricultural buildings to make them more productive.
  • Establish a new National Rural Crime Unit to support forces nationally in their response to rural crimes, such as the theft of farming or construction machinery, livestock theft, rural fly-tipping, rural fuel theft and equine crime. The government will also legislate by July to increase fly-tipping and litter penalties.
  • Provide support for affordable energy for rural communities by way of various grants including the Home Upgrade Grant Phase 2, the Boiler Upgrade Scheme, now extended to 2028, and the Great British Insulation Scheme.

A £7 million fund will provide improved satellite, wireless and fixed line internet connectivity, helping support farmers and tourism businesses. The increased connectivity will help rural businesses to enable the use of agricultural technologies, such as using new drone technology to monitor crops and livestock in real-time.

For more information please click here.

Upcoming events

TechNExt Fringe Event: Why Wellbeing Matters

Ward Hadaway partner, Jamie Gamble, will be joined by Sheena Widdowfield and Lauren O’Connor from Opencast’s people team on Friday 23 June at Hoults Yard to discuss the benefits of focusing on employee wellbeing, the trends in expectations from people and employment law cases and highlighting the work Opencast has been doing in this space.

For more information please click here.

Contract law update with Professor Ewan McKendrick

Professor Ewan McKendrick KC will share with us the latest insights and case law on the following topics, a must for all in-house legal teams:

  • Recent cases on the interpretation of contracts
  • The drafting of exclusion clauses, termination clauses and force majeure clauses
  • The meaning of an express term of the contract requiring parties to act in good faith
  • Incorporation of terms into a contract
  • Other topics include winning the battle of the forms, implied terms, the scope of the doctrine of duress and the role of estoppel and waiver in commercial transactions.

This event will take place in person at the Sage, Gateshead on 20 June 2023 at 9am.

For more information please click here.

Webinar series: Data Protection

Register your interest for our on-going webinar series on ‘Data Protection’ for in-house lawyers, DPOs and senior management in private and public sector organisations. The series will run throughout 2023 providing attendees with up to date information on key Data Protection topics. The short one hour sessions will be delivered by our experts with allocated time for you to ask any questions you may have. The next in our series ‘Data protection and the implications of AI tools’ will take place on 4 July 2023.

For more information or to book your place, please click here.

Transforming Workplace Health and Wellbeing

Ward Hadaway partner Jamie Gamble will be joined by a panel of experts on Tuesday 4th July between 8:30am – 12:30pm at the INNSiDE by Meliá Hotel who will provide valuable insight into how implementing focused Health and Wellbeing initiatives will help your workforce and in turn help you improve performance and productivity. We will also be joined by well-known regional employers who will share their own experiences of implementing Health and Wellbeing strategies in the workplace and the impact that they have had.

For more information or to book your place, please click here.

If you have any questions about the issues raised in this update, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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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