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Local Authority round-up 17/12/21

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

Government announces extra funding for devolved administrations

The UK government has announced that additional funding from the UK Reserve will be made available to the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to progress their vaccine rollout and wider health response in respect of COVID-19. The final amounts will be announced by HM Treasury in the coming days. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said “Throughout this pandemic, the United Kingdom has stood together as one family, and we will continue to do so. We are working with the governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to drive the vaccine rollout to all corners of the United Kingdom and ensure people and businesses all across the country are supported.”

For more information please click here.


Regulatory

Welsh regulations amending proof of vaccination status and face covering requirements made

On 10 December 2021, the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 22) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1407) were made, the material provisions of which came into force on 11 December 2021. They amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1609) (the Principal Regulations) in three ways. Firstly, they require proof of vaccination status or negative tests to enter premises. Natural immunity (that is, a positive result from a polymerase chain reaction test taken by a person no more than 180 days and no fewer than ten days before entering premises) is no longer sufficient to enter certain hospitality and entertainment venues. This means that persons responsible for such venues must ensure people have been fully vaccinated or have a negative result from a qualifying test taken within 48 hours prior to entering the premises. They also extend face covering requirements in venues where food or drink is consumed. Indoor public areas, the auditorium of a theatre, cinema or concert hall and the viewing area of an indoor arena or stadium are no longer deemed to be premises where food or drink is sold or provided for consumption on the premises. This means that people must wear face coverings in these areas unless one of the exemptions in regulation 20(2) of the Principal Regulations applies. They also require that face coverings are worn for driving lessons and tests. The Regulations amend the Principal Regulations so that an indoor public area includes a car that is being used for a paid driving lesson or a driving test.

For more information please click here.


International Trade

UK government makes statement to Parliament on review of retained EU law

On 9 December 2021, Lord Frost made a written ministerial statement to the House of Lords on the government’s review of retained EU law, setting out the progress made since the review was announced on 16 September 2021, and the next steps. The overall intention is to amend, replace, or repeal retained EU law “that is not right for the UK”. The government aims to issue proposals in spring 2022 and legislate as soon as parliamentary time allows. The government has launched two reviews. The first examines the substance of retained EU law and aims to identify the policy areas and government departments most affected by retained EU law. Government departments are establishing the content of retained EU law in policy areas for which they are responsible. The second review concerns the legal status of retained EU law. The statement identifies seven areas where EU law concepts retained by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EUWA) affect the UK, and the government’s approach to them which includes the requirement for UK courts to interpret retained EU law in accordance with retained general principles of EU law and whether it should instead be interpreted under UK principles of interpretation. It also includes the status in UK law of retained EU law for the purposes of amendment and repeal, revisiting the legislative framework in the EUWA (which gives much retained EU law the status of UK primary legislation) to give it a more appropriate status, and considering an accelerated process for amendment or repeal with appropriate oversight.

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National Audit Office publishes new report on UK trade negotiations

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a new report on the progress made by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and other government departments on trade negotiations with non-EU countries. The report concludes that, since the Brexit referendum in 2016, the government has developed the capacity, capability, processes and cross-government structures necessary to conduct trade negotiations, and that DIT has led the delivery of a challenging and intense programme of trade negotiations to a tight timeframe and against a backdrop of uncertainty. The report sets out five recommendations that DIT should take into account. The first includes that DIT should set out its trade strategy in one place, to clarify how the government’s international trade ambitions help it achieve domestic and wider policy objectives in areas including agriculture, the environment, international development and human rights, and to provide greater transparency to the public and stakeholders on what the government is aiming to achieve through trade agreements and clarify how DIT will use trade agreements alongside other mechanisms for promoting trade. It also says that DIT should work with other departments, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to further embed trade negotiating capacity and capability across government, including by providing staff across government with clear direction on how they can develop careers in international trade. It says that DIT should ensure it learns lessons from the progress it has made on multiple negotiations so far, including by ensuring that feedback, learning and sector knowledge from across departments and devolved administrations is recorded and shared, and used to inform an improved approach in future negotiations and improve the effectiveness of its engagement with businesses, consumers and the public, including by ensuring that the mechanisms it has established for engaging with stakeholders are sufficiently inclusive in giving all parties opportunities to engage, access information and provide their views on an ongoing basis. Finally, it says that DIT should consider how it can support improvements in the robustness and effectiveness of Parliamentary scrutiny and provide greater certainty about the arrangements for scrutiny of amendments to existing agreements.

For more information please click here.

New requirements to be introduced for importing some goods to Great Britain from the EU

Pre-notification will be required for imports to Great Britain of most products of animal origin, animal by-products, high risk food not of animal origin and regulated plants and plant products from the EU. Businesses (or a representative acting on their behalf) importing these goods from the EU may be required to pre-notify authorities on the relevant IT system that their consignment will be entering Great Britain. All current controls, including pre-notification, for products of animal origin under safeguard measures, live animals and high-priority plants and plant products remain unchanged. On 1 January 2022 full customs declarations will also be introduced which forms part of a longer phased approach throughout 2022. From 1 July 2022 SPS goods must enter via a Border Control Post (BCP) that has been designated to receive these goods – the consignment will be subject to documentary, ID, and physical checks and importers will need to receive an Export Health Certificate for Products of Animal Origin and Animal By-Products or a phytosanitary certificate for plants and plant products from their EU exporter. Safety and security declarations on imports will be required.

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

Regulator of Social Housing consults on introduction of tenant satisfaction measures

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has published a consultation on the introduction of tenant satisfaction measures (TSMs) which will apply to all social housing landlords. The social housing White Paper published in November 2020, stated that the RSH will introduce a set of TSMs for all landlords focusing on the things that it considers matter most to tenants (such as ensuring that properties are in good repair, dealing with anti-social behaviour, tenant engagement, complaint handling and building safety). The consultation proposes introducing 22 TSMs reflecting the themes and issues set out in the White Paper. These include measures around repair, building safety, complaint handling and tenant satisfaction and introducing a new consumer standard which will require registered providers to collect, publish and submit information about their performance against the TSMs. Registered providers will also be required to meet specified technical and tenant survey requirements. It also proposes that data around the TSMs is only sought in relation to low cost rental accommodation and low cost home ownership accommodation as defined by the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008. Leasehold homes or those which are non-social housing, or only social housing by virtue of legacy provisions in section 77 of the 2008 Act, are not included in the TSMs. Registered providers that own fewer than 1,000 relevant homes would be subject to different rules regarding submission of TSM data to the RSH. The consultation closes on 3 March 2022 and responses should be submitted online.

For more information please click here.

New building renovation framework to support councils

A new framework to help councils meet net zero targets through building renovation has been published. The Build Upon Framework from the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) will help cities and councils measure the impacts and wider benefits of building retrofit in a simple, standardised way. UKGBC worked alongside WorldGBC, BPIE, Climate Alliance, 7 European Green Building Councils and over 30 councils across Europe to develop the BUILD UPON Framework. From energy consumption to the indoor health of occupants, the 13 indicators provide clear guidance on what issues local authorities can and should measure.

For more information 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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