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Dialogue iStock 000009191235XSmall thumbLGO sees rise in complaints
Complaints about councils have soared in the past 12 months with the sharpest rises recorded for complaints relating to adult social care, benefits and council tax, according to the Local Government Ombudsman.

RCJ thumbLast word?
A High Court judge has quashed Lincolnshire County Council’s planned changes to its library services provision.

Scottish Council seeks external legal provider for £910,000 contract
22/07/14: Stirling Council
 is looking to appoint an external legal services provider to a £910,000 contract supporting its in-house lawyers.

Statutory guidance issued on reform of anti-social behaviour powers
22/07/14: The Home Office has issued statutory guidance for frontline professionals on the reform of anti-social behaviour powers.

Law Society delays new CON 29 and CON 29O enquiry forms
21/07/14: The Law Society has delayed the introduction of new CON 29 and CON 29O enquiry forms.

Audit Commission hits out at burden of proposed audit regulations for parishes
21/07/14: The Government’s proposed new auditing arrangements will “place a much greater burden on parish councils and their clerks than the Government intends”, the Audit Commission has warned.

Law Commission urges full reform project on data sharing and public bodies
21/07/14: The Law Commission has this month recommended that a full law reform project should be carried out “in order to create a principled and clear legal structure for data sharing, which will meet the needs of society”.

Chelmsford City Council becomes latest authority to back late night levy
21/07/14: The full council at Chelmsford has approved the introduction of a late night levy in November.

NW housing groups selects 15 law firms for legal services panels
21/07/14: Progress Housing Group has named 15 law firms to a legal services framework with an estimated value of £800,000 over four years.

County council loses High Court battle over library provision changes
18/07/14: A High Court judge has quashed a county council’s planned changes to its library services provision.

London school in multiple breaches of admissions code, says adjudicator
18/07/14: One of the country’s most famous faith schools has made dozens of breaches of the schools admissions code, an adjudicator has said.

Council slams revocation of Art 4 direction on office-to-flats conversions
18/07/14: The London Borough of Islington has reacted angrily to a decision by ministers to revoke an Article 4 direction that the council had made removing permitted development rights to convert properties from office to residential.

Building owner to pay £40k+ after failure to comply with enforcement notice
18/07/14: A building owner must pay more than £40,000 as part of a crackdown by Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea planning enforcement officers in some of London’s most exclusive areas.

Councils to secure powers to close roads for motor races: PM
18/07/14: Councils will gain powers to close roads to stage motor races, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.

Council sees legal costs reach £500k in football stadium loan dispute
17/07/14: Coventry City Council has spent some £500,000 to fight a legal case over the convoluted saga of the city’s football club and now faces a further appeal.

Council decides against challenge to report from watchdog on libel indemnity
17/07/14: A council criticised by an audit watchdog for giving its chief executive an indemnity to pursue a counterclaim in a libel case has decided not to try to challenge the auditor's finding of unlawfulness.

Ministers shelve Land Registry sale but local land charges transfer survives
17/07/14: The Government has shelved plans to privatise the Land Registry as the organisation goes through a period of major transformation.

Health Secretary unveils new inspection regime for care homes and providers
17/07/14: A new inspection regime will be imposed on care homes and their providers from October, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

City council refunds motorists after bus lane cameras found to be invalid
17/07/14: Birmingham City Council has refunded more than £13,000 to motorists after a parking adjudicator found some of its bus lane enforcement cameras were invalid.

Philip Kolvin QC named head of Cornerstone Barristers
17/07/14: Philip Kolvin QC, a licensing expert and regular contributor to Local Government Lawyer, has been named as the new head of Cornerstone Barristers.

Nottingham City Council approves introduction of late night levy
16/07/14: Nottingham City Council has become the latest authority to approve plans for the introduction of a late night levy.

ICO demands better funding as data protection and FOI complaints rise
16/07/14: The Information Commissioner has called for stronger powers and better funding after receiving a record number of complaints about data protection and freedom of information in 2013/14.

Divisional Court rules introduction of legal aid residence test unlawful
16/07/14: The Government’s proposed introduction by secondary legislation of a ‘residence test’ for civil legal aid eligibility is ultra vires and unlawful, a three-judge Divisional Court has held.

Housing organisation names seven law firms to panels worth £1.25m to £60m
16/07/14: Procurement for Housing, a national organisation for the social housing sector, has appointed seven law firms to panels potentially worth between £1.25m and £60m.

Ombudsman records sharp rise in complaints about local authorities
15/07/14: Complaints about councils have soared in the past 12 months with the sharpest rises recorded for complaints relating to adult social care, benefits and council tax, according to figures released today by the Local Government Ombudsman.

Age assessment disputes can be settled out of court
11/07/14: Parties to an age assessment dispute are free to settle their differences out of court and are not required to lay any additional material or evidence before the court for judicial scrutiny, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Government unveils new procurement models for public construction projects
10/07/14: The government's chief construction adviser Peter Hansford has issued guidance on the use of three new procurement models for construction contracts.

Council in dispute with Egyptian Government and Arts Council over artifact sale
10/07/14:Northampton Borough Council is embroiled in rows with the Egyptian Government and the Arts Council over its proposed sale of an ancient funerary statue.

Environment Agency action against waste dump rejected by High Court
10/07/14: A judge has rejected legal action by the Environment Agency against a waste firm whose site has persistently caught fire.

Review team suspends work as police widen Rochdale abuse investigation
09/07/14: The QC leading an independent review team looking into historic child abuse allegations in Rochdale has agreed to suspend its work.

Department for Health consults on changes to Mental Health Act code of practice
09/07/14: The Department of Health has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the Mental Health Act code of practice, saying that in its current form the code has been “inconsistently applied, misunderstood or ignored”.

Council wins at Court of Appeal over rugby and housing development
08/07/14: A planning dispute between a unitary and a parish council has ended with the Court of Appeal ruling in favour of a rugby club securing a new home.

Council chiefs demand radical reforms to housing finance
08/07/14: Councils have called on the Government to give them the powers to help solve the housing shortage.

CAMRA and think tank urge use of powers to protect pubs from closure
08/07/14: Councils should make creative use of their powers to protect pubs from closure, a report from the Local Government Information Unit and the Campaign for Real Ale has said.

City council complies with enforcement notice issued by ICO
08/07/14: The Information Commissioner’s Office has welcomed the actions taken by Wolverhampton City Council to meet the demands of an enforcement notice to give all staff data protection training.

Changes to JR "could see unlawful administrative action go unremedied"
07/07/14: Proposed changes to judicial review contained in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill risk unlawful administrative action going unremedied, the House of Lords Constitution Committee has warned.

District council loses High Court bid to stop DCLG claw back of EU funds
07/07/14: A district council has lost a judicial review challenge over the Communities Secretary’s decision to claw back almost £160,000 in payments made from the European Regional Development Fund.

Defendant to pay £225k under POCA after selling vehicles on Green Belt
07/07/14: A man who ignored a planning enforcement notice and continued to sell vehicles on Green Belt land has been ordered to pay back nearly £225,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

DBIS publishes guidance on core elements of revised State Aid rules
04/07/14: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published guidance on the core elements of new State Aid rules.

Court of Appeal sets out 3-stage test for applications for relief from sanctions
04/07/14: The Court of Appeal’s ruling today [4 July] in three linked appeals relating to its its earlier judgment in Mitchell will make civil litigation less adversarial and more co-operative, the Law Society has predicted.

Mystery shopper service sees 270 complaints over public procurement
03/07/14: The Cabinet Office’s ‘mystery shopper’ service received 270 complaints about public procurement practices in the 18 months to February 2014.

Revised mandatory licensing conditions issued dealing with drinks promotions
03/07/14: Draft amendments to the mandatory licence conditions dealing with ‘irresponsible’ drinks promotions have been issued by the Government.

Tower Hamlets warns Pickles of judicial review over investigation
02/07/14: The London Borough of Tower Hamlets plans to take Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to judicial review.

Local authority appoints lawyer amid claims of bullying by councillors
02/07/14: Portsmouth City Council has appointed a solicitor to investigate allegations of bullying by councillors.

LGA warns on funding 'black hole' as demand soars for adult care
02/07/14: A funding ‘black hole’ – driven largely by demand for adult social care – faces English councils, the Local Government Association has warned.

Council and police raid 25 properties in 2 weeks in rogue landlord crackdown
02/07/14: Four previously unknown criminal landlords, two cannabis factories and an illegal restaurant conversion were among discoveries made by Lewisham council officers in raids on rogue landlords.

Publican famed for selling £125 burger evicted from council house
02/07/14: A publican who found fame by selling a £125 burger is to be evicted from a home owned by the London Borough of Croydon.

LGO in second report on council that rejected recommendations
01/07/14: The Local Government Ombudsman has issued a second report into a district council after the authority refused to accept the recommendations of an earlier report into a planning complaint.

Electoral Commission issues guidelines in wake of election count delay
01/07/14: The Electoral Commission has issued a series of recommendations to the Returning Officer of Tower Hamlets following a review of the delays that occurred at a key count in May's local and European elections.

Third union sees local government members vote for strike action
01/07/14:Unite has become the third union to see those of its members working for councils and schools vote in favour of strike action next month.

Challenge to 'bedroom tax' over impact on sanctuary schemes gets go-ahead
30/06/14: A High Court judge has given permission for a judicial review challenge to the under-occupation provisions on housing benefit – or ‘bedroom tax’ – and their impact upon women living in ‘Sanctuary Schemes’.

GMB becomes second union to vote in favour of strike action in July
30/06/14: Members of the GMB union working in councils and schools have voted three to one in favour of strike action next month.

Council defeats claim that £14.4m loan was unlawful state aid
30/06/14: A council’s decision to lend £14.4m to a stadium management company it co-owns did not amount to unlawful state aid, a High Court judge has ruled.

Scottish Government to set up legal services panels worth £30-40m
30/06/14:The Scottish Government has issued a prior information notice for a legal services framework that could be worth £30-40m if it goes ahead.

Supreme Court to reject challenge to rule in Monk on notices to quit: report
27/06/14: The Supreme Court is to reject a challenge to the rule in Monk on notices to quit given by joint periodic tenants, it has been reported.

Review officer can substitute less favourable decision: Court of Appeal
27/06/14: A local authority’s review officer was entitled to substitute a less favourable decision than the original decision in relation to a homeless applicant because circumstances had changed, the Court of Appeal has ruled.

Use social value to deliver innovation and savings: Social Enterprise UK
27/06/14: Councils and housing associations should view social value as a route to innovation and cost savings, “not just as the creation of positive social outcomes or, worse, compliance to the Public Services (Social Value) Act", a report has said.

ICO revises guidance on charging and access to environmental information
26/06/14: The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued two revised pieces of guidance on how much public authorities can charge for access to environmental information.

London council demolishes 'bed in shed' itself after direct action
26/06/14: The London Borough of Hillingdon has for the first time had to take direct action against an outbuilding, or ‘bed in shed’, and complete the demolition works itself.

ICO tech chief issues reminder on wearable technology and data protection
26/06/14: Organisations that use ‘wearable technology’ to process personal information must do so in compliance with the Data Protection Act, the senior technology officer at the Information Commissioner’s Office has stressed.

Council eyes £150m savings after renegotiating key service contract
25/06/14: Birmingham City Council hopes to save some £150m over a seven-year period after renegotiating a key contract.

WLGA names review team examining governance arrangements at council
25/06/14: The Welsh Local Government Association has named the team that will undertake an independent peer review of Carmarthenshire County Council’s arrangements.

Minister rejects call from local authority for bye-law tackling 'chuggers'
25/06/14: Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis has turned down a request from Birmingham City Council to be allowed to regulate all face-to-face fundraising through a local bye-law.

Somerset parish wins DCLG backing for Sustainable Communities Act proposal
25/06/14: Bleadon in Somerset has become the first parish council to have a proposal for change submitted under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 accepted by the Government.

Deadline for submissions to first Local Government Legal Awards extended
24/06/14: The deadline for submissions to the inaugural Local Government Legal Awards has been extended by two weeks to 11 July.

Croydon mulls consultation on selective licensing for all landlords
24/06/14: The Cabinet at Croydon Council will next week consider issuing a consultation on a selective licensing scheme that would cover every landlord in the borough.

Nottingham City Council next to sign off plans for late night levy
24/06/14: The licensing committee at Nottingham City Council has backed plans for the introduction of a late night levy in November this year.

Nightclub loses High Court bid to overturn summary review proceedings
24/06/14: A High Court judge has rejected a nightclub’s attempt to overturn summary review proceedings on the basis that the certificate initiating the proceedings was not signed by a superintendent or above.

Barnet resumes meetings, hires investigator after proportionality issues
23/06/14: Barnet Council has decided – after obtaining advice from a leading local government QC – that its planned committee meetings can go ahead over the next month despite problems over its approach to proportionality.

Members of largest union in local government sector vote for strike action
23/06/14: Members of the largest union in the local government sector have voted in favour of strike action over pay.

Council wins injunction requiring demolition of house built behind straw bales
23/06/14: A council has obtained an injunction requiring a landowner to comply with enforcement notices and demolish a house he built without planning permission and kept hidden behind straw bales.

Regulator sets up fifth statutory inquiry into charity over business rates relief
23/06/14: The Charity Commission has launched an investigation into a fifth charity over concerns about business rates relief.

Ministers limit delegation of child social care functions to non-profit bodies
23/06/14: The Government has amended draft regulations so that local authorities will only be able to delegate children’s social care functions to non profit-making organisations.

LGA repeats warnings over minicab licensing changes in Deregulation Bill
23/06/14: The Local Government Association has repeated its warnings over the likely impact of changes in the Deregulation Bill affecting minicab licensing, which it claims could endanger lives.

Supreme Court to hold hearing into two key housing cases next week
20/06/14: The Supreme Court will next week hold a hearing in two key housing cases, one on notices to quit given by joint periodic tenants and the other on evictions from temporary accommodation provided under Part VII of the Housing Act 1996.

Deadline approaches for submissions to first Local Government Legal Awards
20/06/14: The deadline for submissions to the inaugural Local Government Legal Awards - organised by Lawyers in Local Government - is now just seven days away.

London borough to review committees after lawyers warn on proportionality
19/06/14: A London council is to review the membership of its committees after senior lawyers warned a report on proportionality agreed by members was “flawed”.

Address Seven Principles of Public Life in contracts, says standards watchdog
19/06/14: The Cabinet Office should ensure that ethical standards reflecting the Seven Principles of Public Life are addressed in contractual arrangements with those who deliver public services, a standards watchdog has said.

Claimant wins case over personal injury damages and social care charging
19/06/14: A council’s charging policy for social care services has been found unlawful because it took account of capital derived from a claimant's personal injury settlement.

DCLG to raise speed threshold for "under-performing" planning authorities
19/06/14: The Government has decided to increase the threshold for designating local planning authorities as “under-performing”, based on speed, to 40% or fewer of decisions being made on time.

LGA calls for Land Registry local land charges takeover plan to be axed
18/06/14: The Local Government Association has called on ministers to drop plans to transfer responsibility for local land charges to the Land Registry.

DfE issues new code of practice for special educational needs and disabilities
18/06/14: The Department for Education has published a new code of practice for organisations working with children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Man jailed for money laundering offences after gambling den prosecution
18/06/14: A man has been jailed in the first case of the running of a money laundering scheme in connection with an illegal poker den, following a council trading standards investigation.

Forced marriage now a crime as legislation takes effect
18/06/14: Forcing someone into marriage is now a crime in England and Wales, with a maximum penalty for the new offence of seven years' imprisonment.

Council chiefs call for return of powers over schools
18/06/14: Councils should have powers over schools restored to them to prevent further controversies such as Birmingham’s Trojan Horse affair, the Local Government Association has said.

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