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Local Authority round-up: 24/05/24

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.


New AI technology to reduce cancer waiting lists

The Government has invested £15.5 million into reducing NHS waiting lists by capitalising on innovative AI technology which is said to locate cancer cells 2.5 times quicker than doctors.

This new technology works by automatically reviewing a CT or MRI scan, assisting doctors to quickly distinguish between healthy and cancerous cells, which prevents healthy organs from being damaged during radiation treatment.

The Government plans to roll out this technology to every NHS radiotherapy department in England in a matter of weeks.

It must be stressed that despite the introduction of AI technology in cancer diagnosis, trained medical professional will review any report before administering treatment to patients.

This funding acts as another step to help reduce NHS waiting lists and relieve pressure on medical professionals.

For more information, please click here.

Planning and Housing

Tenants could be afforded access to information regarding the quality of their homes

The Government has launched a consultation which could allow social housing tenants or a representative, such as a lawyer, to request information for free about the management of their homes. This could include:

Tenants experiencing damp and mould could request information on how many other homes in their building have the same problem and what action the landlord has taken to repair these issues.

Tenants can request any information landlords hold about breaches in their properties and the outcomes of any inspections. Tenants could take further action through the Housing Ombudsman if their landlord isn’t making the necessary repairs.

Under the Social Housing (Regulation) Act, landlords must fix emergency repairs within 24 hours. Tenants may be able to see how often their landlord is meeting this target in order to hold their landlord to account through the Housing Ombudsman or the courts for lack of compliance.

This is in response to the demand for greater transparency in social housing following the Grenfell Tower tragedy. It is hoped that by increasing the accessibility of information for social housing tenants, the quality of social housing, and the service provided by landlords will significantly increase.

For more information, please click here.


1 hour free mediation to be introduced for small claims

The Government has announced that money claims with a value of up to £10,000 must take part in a free one-hour mediation appointment, provided by HMCTS’ Small Claims Mediation Service.

HMCTS mediators will consult both parties separately and seek to find an agreeable solution. If the parties do not agree on a resolution at mediation, the case will progress to a hearing before a judge.

If a party does not attend the required mediation appointment without good reason, the judge may apply a sanction at the final hearing. This could include a fine, covering the cost of the wasted mediation appointment, or in extreme circumstances, having their claim or defence dismissed.

It must be noted that mediation will not be mandated where there are safeguarding concerns, for example in instances involving domestic abuse.

By integrating medication into the court process, it is anticipated that an extra 5,000 judicial sitting days per year could be made available to efficiently resolve cases less suited to mediation.

For more information, please click here.

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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