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Local Authority round-up 13/01/23

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.

Commercial

Domestic abuse fund gets boost

The Home Office has announced that up to £18 million per year over two years is set to go towards the next phase of the Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Intervention Fund.  The funding, which brings the intervention fund to a total of £36 million, will enable police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to increase the availability of domestic abuse perpetrator intervention schemes in their areas. Minister for safeguarding Sarah Dines said “I am fully committed to tackling domestic abuse and protecting victims from suffering the lasting impacts of these horrific crimes. Our vital Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Intervention Fund allows police forces to intervene early, and work with perpetrators to change their behaviour and reduce the risk they pose, in order to protect victims.”

For more information please click here.

Government announces new energy scheme for businesses

The government has announced the new “Energy Bills Discount Scheme” for UK businesses, charities, and the public sector from April under which businesses in sectors with particularly high levels of energy use and trade intensity will receive a higher level of support.  The current scheme will end in March after which this new scheme will come into force from 1 April 2023 until 31 March 2024.  Under the scheme, all eligible UK businesses and other non-domestic energy users who have a contract with a licensed energy supplier will receive a discount on high energy bills of up to £6.97/MWh automatically applied to their gas bill and a unit discount of up to £19.61/MWh applied to their electricity bill, except for those benefitting from lower energy prices.  The discounts will automatically be applied for eligible businesses.

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Government introduces anti-strike Bill

The government has introduced the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill which, if passed, will set minimum levels of service which must be met during strikes to ensure the safety of the public and their access to public services.  This will apply to crucial public services such as rail, ambulances, and fire services to ensure they maintain a minimum service during industrial action in order to reduce risk to life and ensure the public can still get to work. The government will first consult on minimum service levels for fire, ambulance, and rail services and expects parties in these sectors to reach a sensible and voluntary agreement between each other on delivering a reasonable level of service when there is strike action. Business Secretary Grant Shapps said “I am introducing a bill that will give government the power to ensure that vital public services will have to maintain a basic function, by delivering minimum safety levels ensuring that lives and livelihoods are not lost. We do not want to have to use this legislation unless we have to, but we must ensure the safety of the British public.”

For more information please click here.

Councils call for tougher powers in out-of-school settings

A report commissioned by the Department for Education has uncovered ‘major safeguarding concerns’ in out of school settings (OOSS), prompting calls from councils for increased powers for regulation. Out of school settings include uniformed organisations, sports and leisure clubs, supplementary schools, faith-based organisations and arts clubs. The Local Government Association (LGA) said the findings of the report reinforced “long-standing calls for councils to be given greater oversight of such settings and powers to intervene and act where necessary” – including being able to shut down illegal schools.  The LGA is calling on the Department for Education to act on the report’s findings and give councils tougher powers to ensure child safety, while ensuring they are adequately funded and resourced to do so.  Cllr Louise Gittins, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said “Current laws make it difficult for councils to act and at present OOSS are flying under the radar without being required to comply with any safeguarding checks. The fact an independent report commissioned by the Government has presented these findings is yet further evidence of why it is essential that councils are given oversight of such settings, requiring them to register and work with the local authority, while also ensuring the Department for Education gives councils the powers and resources they need to intervene where necessary.”

For more information please click here.


Upcoming webinars

Neurodiversity in the workplace

In partnership with Helen Musgrove, Director of Psychological Consulting at Lexxic, Caroline Shafar one of our Partners and Employment Law experts will be exploring the issues surrounding neurodiversity in the workplace at midday on 17th January.

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

How to provide the best support to your employees in respect of their health and wellbeing and invest your money wisely

Despite the increase in employer investment in implementing mental health initiatives, like mental health first aiders, it appears that poor mental health of employees is at an all-time high. With this in mind it is important that employers have a health and wellbeing strategy and are able to monitor the impact of health and wellbeing initiatives. Please join us on 26th January 2023 at 10am when we will be joined by Guy Robertson Co-Founder & CEO of Dittolo and Emily Pearson, Managing Director of Our Mind’s Work.

For more information and 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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