PLC Public Sector reports:
Make sure that you have not missed a key development in your area of the law by reviewing our latest list of recommended actions.
Compulsory purchase: anyone advising on innovative ways that local authorities may seek to exercise compulsory purchase powers should note the decision in R (Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, which found that the well-being power in section 2 of the Local Government Act 2000 was not sufficient to give the power to a local authority to exercise its powers of compulsory purchase under section 121 of the Local Government Act 1972.
Education: education lawyers should note that the time limit for submitting a responses in excluded pupil reinstatement cases has changed to 15 working days after the respondent has received the application notice (Tribunal Procedure (Amendment No 2) Rules 2012).
Employment law reform: employment lawyers should note that the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012-13 has been published and includes many of the government’s proposals for reform of employment law.
Equality Act 2010: local authorities in Scotland should be aware that the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) (Scotland) Regulations 2012 came into force on 27 May 2012. The Regulations require the public authorities listed in the regulations to demonstrate compliance with the equality duty under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. Alongside the regulations, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has also published non-statutory guidance on the public sector equality duty.
Landfill tax: anyone advising on the operation of a landfill site should be aware of the latest guidance on landfill tax published by HM Revenue and Customs.
Council tax: the confirmation from the government that it plans to give local authorities greater flexibility by amending council tax rules should be noted by local authorities as they will be able to pass savings onto residents.
Planning: planning lawyers should that note that the court found in R (Harbige) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government that different uses within the same use class for over ten years can benefit from immunity from planning enforcement.
Primary authority scheme: lawyers advising local authority enforcement teams should be aware that the newly published Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012-13 proposes to extend the primary authority scheme to include wider groupings, such as members of a trade association.
Project bank accounts: anyone advising on government construction projects should note the new Cabinet Office guide to project bank accounts.
Public appointments: anyone advising on the appointment of a senior public official should note the outcome of the government review of the tax arrangements for public appointments. The review concluded that senior staff should be on the payroll (and not employed as independent consultants), unless there are exceptional temporary circumstances. While not covered by the review, local authorities have been told by the Department for Communities and Local Government that they should comply with its findings.
Regeneration: local authorities involved in regeneration schemes should be aware of the recent Local Government Ombudsman report criticising Wolverhampton City Council for its handling and managing of the scheme including a failure to set a timetable for the compulsory purchasing of the properties involved.
Consultations: this week consultations were published on:
- Disapplying IR35 for controlling purposes.
- Information required from charities as part of registration with the Charity Commission.
- Proposed changes to child performance legislation.
- Giving greater control and choice to patients over their care.
- Tackling social housing fraud in Wales.
- Amending the definition of rights of way in Wales.
The government has also published its response to the consultation on Phase 2A of the Comprehensive Review of feed-in tariffs.