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  LATEST HEADLINES

January 17, 2020

Ombudsman reminds councils of their foster carer school transport duties

Councils across England are being reminded about the financial support they must provide to foster carers’ school transport expenses following an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman into Wolverhampton council.
January 17, 2020

Ombudsman issues further report after Medway council fails to implement Ombudsman's recommendations

The Local Government Ombudsman has issued a rare further report stating their recommendations were not implemented by Medway Council and the correct process to disagree with the recommendations was not followed.
January 17, 2020

Councils call for tougher legislation, new powers to tackle business rates avoidance

The Local Government Association has called for tougher legislation in England to tackle business rates avoidance, saying research had shown that the problem is costing local services an estimated £250m a year.
Jan 16, 2020

Public sector focused barristers well represented in 2019 silk round

The appointment of 114 new Queen’s Counsel was announced today with a record number of successful BAME applicants and a significant number of Court of Protection and Child Protection Lawyers taking silk.
Jan 16, 2020

Pharmacy regulator appoints law firm to £3m legal services contract

The General Pharmaceutical Council has selected law firm Blake Morgan to provide legal services to its fitness to practice team under a contract worth an estimated £3m.
Jan 16, 2020

Government updates advice on adoption, calls on councils to ensure social workers "understand what the law says" on who can adopt

The Department for Education has called on directors of children’s services to review the processes for recruiting adopters to ensure their councils are compliant with the legislative framework on who can adopt.
Jan 16, 2020

Restaurant chain fined £40k over ‘misleading’ lobster dish

The 'Ask Italian' restaurant chain – part of the Azzuri Restaurants group – has been fined £40,000 by Swansea Magistrates after pleading guilty to an offence under the Food Safety Act 1990.
Jan 16, 2020

Government sets up taskforce to tackle serious and organised waste crime

The Government has launched a Joint Unit for Waste Crime (JUWC) bringing together law enforcement agencies, environmental regulators, HMRC and the National Crime Agency from across the UK to target waste criminals.
Jan 16, 2020

Wellbeing charity and universities launch online resource promoting mental wellbeing practices for legal professionals

Legal mental health and wellbeing charity LawCare and academics at the University of Sheffield and The Open University have launched a free, online resource for legal professionals in hopes of teaching better wellbeing practices in the sector.
Jan 16, 2020

Judge criticises children's trust and clinical commissioning group over "wholesale failure of best interest decisions" for man with epilepsy

A judge has awarded costs against Birmingham Children’s Trust (BCT) and NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) after what he called their “wholesale failure” in a case of a young man with severe epilepsy.
Jan 16, 2020

Welsh councillor suspended for four months for conduct breaches

Cardiff Council has handed a councillor a four months suspension after an investigation by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
Jan 16, 2020

Ombudsman criticises council for failing to properly involve complainant in assessment and support planning process

A council significantly delayed completing an assessment of a complainant's social care needs, failed to complete a support plan before reducing his personal budget and failed to properly involve him in the assessment and support planning process, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has…
Jan 16, 2020

Resident fails in High Court challenge to planning consent for sand and gravel extraction project

A local resident has seen all four grounds for judicial review rejected in her challenge to Shropshire Council’s planning consent for a sand and gravel extraction project.
Jan 15, 2020

New Family Court wellbeing protocol for Birmingham bids to tackle ‘by return, twenty-four-seven, last-minute culture’

The Wellbeing Committee of the Family Court at Birmingham has introduced a protocol this month with a view to professionals, practitioners, court staff and members of the judiciary being able to benefit from increased wellbeing, a reduction in unnecessary stress and the achievement of a better work…
Jan 15, 2020

Victims of child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester to have cases newly investigated after damning report

A major criminal investigation undertaken from 2004 to 2005 that uncovered the systematic exploitation of looked after children mainly in the care system in the city of Manchester, led to very few positive criminal justice outcomes, an independent review has found.
Jan 15, 2020

Countryside charity fails in legal challenge to grant of planning permission for multiple polytunnels

The Campaign To Protect Rural England (CPRE) has lost an attempt to stop Herefordshire Council’s decision to grant permission for 11 blocks of polytunnels.
Jan 15, 2020

Council prosecution sees nightclub and operators sentenced following customer death

A company that operated a former nightclub where a customer died in a fall, has been ordered to pay £24,000 in fines and costs.
Jan 15, 2020

High Court judge rejects argument by council that unincorporated association did not have capacity to challenge site allocations plan

An unincorporated association does have capacity to bring both a judicial review and a statutory challenge, a High Court judge has ruled.
Jan 15, 2020

Scottish housing association to appoint provider to £700k legal services contract

A Scottish housing association is to appoint a single provider to a legal services contract worth an estimated £700,000 over five years.
Jan 14, 2020

Council to undertake full audit of education provision, pay out £17,500 after Ombudsman finds multiple failures in SEN support

The London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames has agreed to carry out a full audit of its education provision and pay £17,500 to three families after the Local Government Ombudsman strongly criticised the council’s children’s service provider, Achieving for Children, for not effectively supporting…
Jan 13, 2020

Lord Reed sworn in as President of the Supreme Court

Lord Reed has today (13 January) been sworn in as President of the Supreme Court, in succession to Baroness Hale.
Jan 13, 2020

Social landlord to procure £1.8m legal services framework

A major housing association has launched the procurement of a legal services framework worth an estimated £1.8m.
Jan 13, 2020

Welsh utility appoints 10 law firms to £14m legal services framework

DWR Cymru Welsh Water has appointed ten law firms to a legal services framework agreement estimated to be worth £14m.
Jan 10, 2020

LGSS Law “on track to return to profit” after £1.2m loss in 2018/19, says Executive Director

LGSS Law, the social enterprise law firm owned by three councils, is on track to return to profit, its Executive Director has said, after its accounts for 2018/19 showed losses of more than £1.2m, up from £300,000 the previous year.
Jan 10, 2020

Grants of planning permission and consistency

A challenge to a district council’s decision on grounds of consistency was recently rejected. Saira Kabir Sheikh QC looks at the lessons of the case.
Jan 09, 2020

LGA updates guidance for officers and councillors on making planning decisions

The Local Government Association last month issued an updated version of Probity in Planning, its guidance for officers and councillors.
Jan 09, 2020

Vulnerable people "refused fair hearing" in way some councils deal with appeals against housing benefit decisions: Ombudsman

Families face homelessness because of errors in the way some councils deal with appeals against decisions on housing benefit claims, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has warned.
Jan 09, 2020

Social landlord to take legal action over "unfair" assessment by regulator

A provider of homes for vulnerable adults is to seek judicial review later this month of an assessment issued by the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) after the watchdog said its governance and financial viability were both inadequate.
Jan 09, 2020

Councils warn of "immense pressure" as number of children in care reaches record level

The number of children in care has risen by 28% in the past decade pushing the system to breaking point, the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.
Jan 09, 2020

Campaigners threaten legal challenge over plan to move primary school to new site

A campaign group has threatened the governing body of a school on the Isle of Wight with a judicial review challenge in a dispute over reorganisation.
Jan 08, 2020

Council secures injunction to ban proposed “tent city” homeless encampment

Leeds City Council has today (8 January) secured an injunction against a proposed homeless encampment which it claimed would create a “tent city” in a car park.
Jan 08, 2020

City council implements ‘Martyn’s Law’ on security at public venues, calls on government to introduce legislation

Manchester City Council is to enshrine the principles of ‘Martyn’s Law’, which is intended to improve security at public venues, into its future regulations.
Jan 08, 2020

Law firm advises borough council on £18.7m acquisition of long leasehold interest in leisure park

Law firm Ashfords has advised Maidstone Borough Council on the acquisition of a long leasehold interest in a leisure park for circa £18.7m.
Jan 08, 2020

Weightmans adds two partners to London office through lateral hires

National law firm Weightmans has bolstered its London office with the addition of two lateral hires in its healthcare and regulatory teams.
Jan 07, 2020

Proposals for changes to Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme "do not address fundamental issues of sustainability": Law Society

A Ministry of Justice consultation on proposed changes to the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme (HPCDS) fails to address the fundamental issues of sustainability, the Law Society has claimed.
Jan 07, 2020

Council officer ordered to pay £900+ after accessing social care records without authorisation

A former Reablement Officer at Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council has been prosecuted by the Information Commissioner’s Officer for accessing social care records without authorisation.
Jan 07, 2020

Council prosecution sees serial fly-tipper handed 30-month custodial sentence

A defendant found guilty of five separate fly-tipping offences has been given a 30-month custodial sentence, following a prosecution brought by Portsmouth City Council.
Jan 07, 2020

Threat of judicial review over permission for mixed-use scheme facilitating 23,000-seat football stadium recedes as appeal deadline passes

The deadline has reportedly passed for property investment company Capital & Regional to appeal the High Court's decision to dismiss its application for a judicial review challenge over the grant of planning permission for a mixed-use gateway scheme that would help delivery of a new 23,000-seater…
Jan 07, 2020

Ombudsman hits out at council after housing benefit miscalculations lead to eviction of young family

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) has criticised the London Borough of Haringey after a young, single-parent family, including a disabled child, had to leave their home after the council miscalculated their housing benefits.
Jan 07, 2020

Council rapped over treatment of pregnant woman who was made homeless

The London Borough of Tower Hamlets has agreed to consider service resources and “the changes it needs to make to work in line with the law” after a Local Government and Social Ombudsman investigation into how a pregnant woman, who approached the council for help when she was made homeless, was…
Jan 06, 2020

Leeds Council seeks injunction to ban ‘tent city’ homeless camp

Leeds City Council is to seek an injunction over a homeless support group’s plans to organise an encampment in a car park.
Jan 06, 2020

Lawyers in Local Government calls for nominations for 2020 Awards

Lawyers in Local Government has launched the LLG Awards 2020, with a deadline for submitting nominations of 20th January.
Jan 06, 2020

Defendant who claimed to be ‘Freeman of the land’ fined £15k for planning breaches

A resident who claimed to be a ‘Freeman of the land’ has been fined £15,000 for refusing to remove an unlawfully built extension that covered the whole of his back garden.
Jan 06, 2020

Ministry to provide £165m funding for Troubled Families programme in 2020/21

The Troubled Families programme, which involves work with the whole family unit across local services, is to receive up to £165m in new funding, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced.
Jan 06, 2020

Tougher sentences needed to deter fly-tipping, says Local Government Association

Councils have called for the introduction of tougher sentences for fly-tipping, after the latest figures showed it costs them £58m a year to clear up.
Jan 03, 2020

Timetable set for new inquest into ‘air quality’ death of child

A new inquest into the death of 9 year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah will be held November or December this year, following the ordering of a new inquest by the high court last year.
Jan 03, 2020

Ministry awards £4m to 100+ councils to help tackle criminal landlords and letting agents

More than 100 councils in England will share over £4m as part of a crackdown on criminal landlords and letting agents, the Housing Secretary has announced.
Jan 03, 2020

London borough fails in Planning Court challenge to ministerial approval for works on HS2 ecological mitigation site

The London Borough of Hillingdon has lost a judicial review challenge over a decision by government ministers to allow High Speed Two’s appeal over the council’s refusal to grant approval for proposed works for the creation of an ecological mitigation area.
Jan 02, 2020

Council prosecution sees landlord fined £27k for multiple HMO breaches

A landlord in Luton has been ordered to pay £27,000 at a sentencing hearing after previously pleading guilty to illegally managing a house in multiple occupation.
Dec 31, 2019

Fire authority to appoint solicitors, barristers to £480k specialist legal services framework

The West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority is to set up a specialist fire safety legal services framework agreement worth up to £480,000 over four years.
Dec 31, 2019

Magistrates order homeowner to pay £61,000 over damage to protected tree

A homeowner who damaged a 90-year-old tree so much that it had to be felled has been fined more than £60,000 following a criminal prosecution by Chelmsford City Council.
Dec 31, 2019

District council defeats second judicial review challenge over multi-storey car park development

A district council has successfully defended the grant of planning permission to itself for a multi-storey car park and other development on land in a conservation area, having previously lost an earlier judicial review challenge over a similar development.
Dec 31, 2019

Judge rules against council on meaning of 'needs' for Care Act assessment

An assessment carried out by a London borough did not constitute a discharge of its duties under the Care Act because it failed to include all the individual's needs, whether currently being met or not, a judge has ruled.
Dec 31, 2019

Court of Appeal to hear challenge to changes to school transport policies

The Court of Appeal earlier this month granted the family of a Leicestershire teenager with special educational needs permission to appeal a High Court ruling dismissing their legal challenge over proposed changes to the county council’s school transport policy.
Dec 30, 2019

Council wins appeal over refusal by judge of application for interim care order

A local authority has won an appeal over a Family Court judge’s refusal of its application for interim care orders for two children.
Dec 30, 2019

Council hit by legal action over planning permission for nuclear site development

East Suffolk Council has been threatened with a judicial review of its decision to grant planning permission for development of a nuclear power site.
Dec 30, 2019

Welsh minister hails plan to reform legislative framework for local government governance and public engagement

The Welsh Government has highlighted draft legislation aimed at enhancing the ability of councillors to attend council meetings remotely more easily and job share cabinet posts.
Dec 30, 2019

London borough defeats legal challenge over grant of planning permission for major redevelopment

The High Court has this month rejected a legal challenge to Southwark Council’s grant of planning permission for a major redevelopment of a large site that includes the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.
Dec 30, 2019

Judge refuses relief despite finding council failed to acquaint itself with legal status of land prior to granting permission for development

Shropshire Council failed to take reasonable steps to acquaint itself with the history and legal status of land off a recreation ground when it granted planning permission for a development of 15 dwellings, a High Court judge has ruled.
Dec 30, 2019

Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime gives notice for re-tender of £65m national legal services framework

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has issued a prior information notice on its plans to re-tender for a national legal services framework worth an estimated £65m.
Dec 30, 2019

Group of Scottish local authorities name seven firms to £12m legal services framework

A consortium of Scottish local authorities has appointed seven law firms to a legal services framework worth £12m.
Dec 28, 2019

Treasury Solicitor receives KCB, government lawyers recognised in New Year’s Honours List 2020

Four members of the Government Legal Service have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List 2020.
Dec 27, 2019

Council defeats High Court challenge over closure of day centre

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council has successfully defended a High Court challenge over its decision to close a day centre for adults with learning difficulties.
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