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Local Authority round-up 29/10/21

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

£162.5 million new workforce retention and recruitment fund announced

The government has announced a new £162.5 million workforce retention and recruitment fund to bolster the care workforce. Councils will soon be able to access the fund, which will be available until the end of March 2022, in order to boost the number of people working in adult social care in their communities through both recruitment and retention of existing staff through overtime payments and staff banks of people ready to work in social care. Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said “This dedicated funding will help local authorities bolster staff numbers and care workers to continue delivering high-quality care for everyone who needs it.”

For more information please click here.


International Trade

UK and New Zealand reach agreement in principle for new free trade agreement

The Department for International Trade has announced an agreement in principle (AIP) for a new free trade agreement (FTA) with New Zealand. An AIP means that most of the substantive aspects of the negotiations have been resolved, although there may still be disagreement on some issues and the text of the agreement still needs to be finalised. The published AIP provides a detailed outline of the contents of the FTA, key features of which includes that tariffs will be eliminated on all UK-New Zealand trade in goods, subject to temporary UK protections on certain New Zealand agricultural products. The FTA will include sector-specific commitments addressing regulatory barriers to trade in wine, distilled spirits, cosmetics, medicines and medical devices. Both sides have also committed to applying a “lesser duty rule” and a “public interest test” when applying measures. The FTA will provide for market access, national treatment and most favoured nation commitments on cross-border trade in services, as well as sector-specific commitments on financial services, telecommunications, legal services, professional services, international maritime transport and express delivery services. The parties commit to provide special visa arrangements for contractual service suppliers, independent professionals, intra-corporate transferees and business visitors. The FTA will include commitments on both investment liberalisation and protection, and a higher investment screening threshold will apply for UK investors in New Zealand. There will be no provision for Investor-State Dispute Settlement. The parties have undertaken various commitments to facilitate digital trade, including to enable cross-border data flows and the use of electronic contracts and digital signatures, and to protect personal information. The FTA will include commitments on market access and procurement procedures that go beyond the parties’ current WTO commitments. The parties have committed to maintain and effectively enforce their domestic labour and environmental standards. Other areas covered by the FTA will include intellectual property, competition, consumer protection, state-owned enterprises and designated monopolies, small and medium enterprises, good regulatory practices, trade and gender equality, development, transparency and anti-corruption. There will also be a state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism. The AIP will also be seen as an important step towards the UK’s accession of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), to which New Zealand is a party.

For more information please click here.


Planning and housing

Funding announced to help councils clamp down on landlords

The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced that it will be providing an extra £4.3 million funding to councils across the country to support them to make an extra 100,000 engagements with difficult to reach landlords who are renting properties which do not meet the new minimum energy performance ratings. As from April last year, privately rented homes must meet a minimum energy performance rating of EPC Band E. It was made illegal to rent out properties which fell below those standards and landlords who are can be fined up to £5,000 per property and per breach. The new funding is now being provided to councils to track down landlords who are in breach of those new rules. Business and Energy Minister, Lord Callanan, said “This funding will help councils to support landlords with these important energy efficiency changes, but also enforce these standards, helping tackle fuel poverty and ensuring everyone can live in a warm home with fair energy bills.”

For more information please click here.

Low income households to benefit from £65 million support package

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced a £65 million support package to help vulnerable renters struggling due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will be given to councils across England in order to provide support to low-income earners in rent arrears through the winter months and households at risk of eviction or homelessness. Those who are facing difficulties should contact their local council if they require support.

For more information please click here.


Upcoming Webinars

As you may well know we run a programme of webinars on a wide range of topics, listed below are those webinars upcoming in the next few weeks which may be of interest to you:

An employment law update for in-house lawyers

Many in-house lawyers aren’t employment law specialists, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t asked to advise on employment-related issues. For example, hybrid working has given rise to concerns about data security, and the monitoring of staff, Brexit has changed the changed the landscape for recruitment of workers, IR35 has impacted on agreements for the provision of services. These are issues that aren’t restricted to employment specialists and present risks and complications that many organisations have had to address. Ward Hadaway is hosting “An employment law update for in-house lawyers” on 2nd November at 12pm, which is an update on a number of important compliance topics and is aimed at lawyers that aren’t from an employment law background.

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

HR and employment law update

On Thursday 4th November at 10am, our employment law specialists, solicitors James English and Claire Turner, will cover recent and upcoming updates on legislation and case law, focusing throughout on the practical points of what this means for employers, as well as specific guidance on how to deal with long Covid. You will be able to ask your own questions in advance via the registration form or you can use the Q&A feature in Zoom on the day.

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

Recruiting from overseas – an immigration law update

The skilled labour shortage in the UK is having a detrimental effect on countless businesses across many sectors. As a result, increasing numbers of employers are looking to recruit staff from overseas in order to fill these gaps in their workforce. It is now nearly a year since the UK’s immigration system was overhauled to apply to both EU and non-EU workers and on 10th November at 10am our immigration experts will be discussing the impact of the new UK immigration system, who needs a visa to work in the UK, how to apply for a sponsor licence to sponsor non-UK nationals for a visa, what you need to know about employing individuals who require a visa and alternative visa types that do not require sponsorship.

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

Housing Management Law School – Autumn term

We are delighted to invite you to the latest Autumn term of our Housing Management Law School, held online via Zoom on 11th November at 9.30am. As usual during this session, we will feature a roundup of recent case reports, regulatory and legislative changes in the housing law world.

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

CPD Programme – managing capability: performance and sickness absence

The second webinar in our CPD Programme will focus on managing capability: performance and sickness absence. Join us on Tuesday 23rd November at 10am. These sessions are completely free and will take place by Zoom, so they will not disrupt your day. They are perfect for HR professionals and managers who have responsibility for managing people. You will have the opportunity to ask questions via the Q&A feature, or our teams will be on hand for drop-in sessions for attendees after each event.

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

The office, reimagined for a post-Covid world

At this free webinar on 1st December at 10am, Simon and Daniel Harrison, CEO from True Potential will be talking to employment partner and health and wellbeing speaker Jamie Gamble. They will share their experiences of how businesses can create a “destination” office environment – a place to attract colleagues back into a shared workplace from their home working environments.

For more information or to secure 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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