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Local Authority round-up 29/04/22

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.

Regulatory

Licences extended for Queen’s Jubilee

The government has announced that The Home Secretary, under Section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003, has made an order to relax licensing hours to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This means that between Thursday 2 June to Saturday 4 June licensing hours in pubs, clubs and bars across England and Wales are extended from 11pm to 1am so people can continue their celebrations. However, the extension will not apply to premises which sell alcohol for consumption off the premises, such as off-licences and supermarkets. Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said “Over the extended bank holiday weekend, we will be able to raise a glass to toast Her Majesty’s incredible service to our country, while also providing a boost to the hospitality industry after a challenging couple of years.”

For more information please click here.

Councils failing causes child to miss out on education and support

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) has upheld a complaint against Southend-on-Sea City Council (council) finding it at fault for failing to provide the agreed provision in a child’s Educational Health and Care plan (EHCP), and suitable alternative provision while the permanent provision was identified, causing them to miss out on education and support. A’s son (Child X) had several disabilities and special educational needs. He struggled after transitioning to a new school and was repeatedly excluded on a fixed term basis, most recently in March 2019. At the annual review of Child X’s EHCP in March 2019, the council and A disagreed on which educational establishment to name on Child X’s EHCP. In December 2020, following a legal challenge by A over the council continuing to name Child X’s current school in his EHCP, the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) confirmed that the previous placement was unsuitable but refused to name a specific establishment, only outlining the provision that Child X needed. Following this, the council attempted to locate an alternative permanent placement but in the interim failed to provide Child X with suitable alternative provision until January 2022, when an alternative package of support was offered, a total period of 14 months. This was contrary to section 19 of the Education Act 1996, which requires local authorities to make suitable arrangements for a child’s education where they are prevented from attending school by “illness, exclusion … or otherwise”. The LGSCO concluded that the council’s failure to provide Child X with suitable alternative provision during this period of non-attendance caused injustice and caused him to miss out on support and education. The council agreed to pay A £8,400, which represented the council’s failure to provide suitable education for Child X for a 14-month period (being the maximum end of the scale of £600 per month), as well as an additional £600 in compensation for the distress caused. They also urgently put in place alternative provision for Child X until a suitable school place can be provided in accordance with his EHCP and sent a reminder to relevant staff of their legal duties regarding alternative provision and of the importance of meeting the timescales set out in the council’s complaint procedure.

For more information please click here.

Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 laid before Parliament

On 25 April 2022, the government laid the draft Public Procurement (International Trade Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 (Regulations) before Parliament. The Regulations will be made under the Trade Act 2021 and will come into force on the day after they are made. The Regulations amend the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/102), the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/273) (CCR 2016) and the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/274) to implement the EEA EFTA Agreement (Agreement) between Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and the UK and, in particular, a provision in the Agreement concerning abnormally low tenders. The amendment concerning abnormally low tenders, which provides for tenderers proposing abnormally low tenders to explain whether the price or costs take into account the grant of subsidies, will apply to all procurements and economic operators. The amendment is not made to the CCR 2016. The Regulations’ transitional provisions state that these changes will not affect any procurement that has commenced before the Regulations come into force. Commencement, for this purpose, includes where a notice has been sent to the UK e-notification service in order to invite offers to tender or to negotiate in respect of a proposed contract, or to publicise an intention to hold a design contest, the contracting authority or utility has had published any form of advertising seeking offers or expressions of interest in a proposed contract, framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system and the contracting authority or utility has contacted any economic operator in order to seek expressions of interest or offers, or respond to unsolicited expressions of interest or offers, of a proposed contract, framework agreement or dynamic purchasing system.

For more information please click here.


International Trade

Further trade sanctions against Russia announced

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak have announced further trade sanctions against Russia. With effect from 21 April, they will be expanding the list of products facing import bans to include items such as silver, wood products and high-end products from Russia including caviar. They will also be increasing tariffs by 35 percentage points on around £130 million worth of products from Russia and Belarus, including diamonds and rubber. Ms Trevelyan said “We are taking every opportunity we can to ratchet the pressure to isolate the Russian economy and these further measures will tighten the screws, shutting down lucrative avenues of funding for Putin’s war machine.”

For more information please click here.

UK announces new measures to support Ukraine

Following a direct request from President Zelenskyy’s government to liberalise tariffs and support the Ukrainian economy, the UK government has announced that it will cut tariffs on all goods imported from Ukraine to zero and all quotas will be removed under the UK-Ukraine FTA. The UK government also announced an export ban on products and technology that Russia could use to repress the people of Ukraine including interception and monitoring equipment. Ms Trevelyan said “The UK will continue to do everything in its power to support Ukraine’s fight against Putin’s brutal and unprovoked invasion and help ensure the long-term security and prosperity of Ukraine and its people.”

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

Ban on charging ground rent on leases

With effect from 30 June 2022, anyone who buys a home on a new residential lease will no longer need to pay ground rent after the government imposed a ban on the annual costs under The Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Act in order to create fairer housing system. Landlords will also be banned from charging ground rent to future leaseholders of the properties. If any ground rent is demanded as part of a new residential long lease, it cannot be charged at more than the cost of one peppercorn per year. Leasehold Minister, Lord Stephen Greenhalgh said “This is an important milestone in our work to fix the leasehold system and to level up home ownership. Abolishing these unreasonable costs will make the dream of home ownership a more affordable reality for the next generation of home buyers.”

For more information please click here.


Upcoming webinar

CPD Programme – Dealing with misconduct – investigations and disciplinary matters

The fifth webinar in our CPD Programme focuses on dealing with misconduct. Join us on Tuesday 10th May at 10am. In this webinar we will cover: how to conduct a thorough investigation, how to manage potential conduct issues before formal action is necessary and how to deal with disciplinary issues robustly and with the aim of reducing risk.

For more information or to book your place 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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