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Supply chain sustainability

Supply chain sustainability 42846559 s 146x219LexisPSL, in partnership with Simon Garbett, Ian Skinner and Sarah Rathke of Squire Patton Boggs, examine how authorities can ensure sustainable supply chains.

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The public increasingly hold organisations responsible for the impact of their suppliers' practices on the environment and local communities. Forward thinking and progressive businesses recognise there is a growing need for integrating environmentally sound and sustainable choices into supply chain management. Indeed, many organisations now routinely monitor and guide supplier conduct for ethical reasons, for reputation-management reasons, and to protect their brands. Supply chain sustainability has therefore gained considerable traction as an internationally recognised concept.

A sustainable supply chain provides value creation opportunities and offers significant competitive advantages for early adopters and process innovators. No longer are mere monetary cost, value and speed considerations the only drivers among purchasing and supply chain professionals. Responsible and progressive businesses are increasingly looking to put supply chain sustainability at the forefront of their organisational and cultural decision-making from the board level down—and see such steps as an essential tool to deliver long-term profitability.

 

The UN Global Compact

At a supra-national level, the UN Global Compact leads the effort to improve organisations' supply chain sustainability performance. The UN started this initiative in 2000 to promote its values within the global business community. Its directives are, however, non-binding and advisory only. Many businesses have nevertheless, signed up to the UN Global Compact as it is seen as ‘best practice’ for socially responsible corporates.

References:

UN Global Compact Network UK

The UN Global Compact bases its work on ten principles, which are drawn from international declarations such as:

  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

References:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and

References:

ILO: Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work

  • the UN Convention against Corruption

References:

United Nations Convention against Corruption

This promotes universal human rights, labour, environmental and anti-corruption standards within the global business community.

In 2010, the UN Global Compact established an Advisory Group on Supply Chain Sustainability. This led to the first major organised work on supply chain sustainability issues.

References:

Advisory Group on Supply Chain Sustainability

The UN Global Compact now defines supply chain sustainability as:

‘…the management of environmental, social and economic impacts, and the encouragement of good governance practices, throughout the lifecycles of goods and services.’

The description of supply chain sustainability also says:

References:

Supply Chain Sustainability: A Practical Guide for Continuous Improvement

‘…the objective of supply chain sustainability is to create, protect and grow long-term environmental, social and economic value for all stakeholders involved in bringing products and services to market.’

The concept of supply chain sustainability therefore includes, but is not solely limited to, environmental and preservation efforts.

 

Getting started—establishing a supplier code of conduct

The first step of any supply chain sustainability programme involves identifying the particular human rights, labour, environmental, or corruption risks in an organisation's supply chain. This can be done with the help of a consultant, but most organisations will have many in-house experts capable of identifying potential problems and risks in the organisation's supplier base. While there is some common ground between most organisations' supply chain sustainability programmes, the emphasis of an organisation's programme will to an extent shift depending on its particular operations and supply base.

By way of illustration, a food manufacturer that uses sugar, for instance, might be most concerned about instituting practices against ‘land-grabbing’ (the practice of seizing the land of indigenous peoples without permission), deforestation and exhaustion/erosion of soil. An electronics manufacturer, on the other hand, might be more concerned about security/sustainability of some resources (eg metals, water, etc) or, about the procurement of cobalt, much of which (according to a 2016 report by Amnesty International and Afrewatch) comes from areas in Central Africa where child-mining and poor labour conditions are prevalent.

Whatever an organisation's primary concerns, however, it is common and advisable to set them out in a Supplier Code of Conduct, which is published to the organisation's supplier base. The UN Global Compact has set out a number of best practices for drafting and implementing Supplier Codes of Conduct, including:

References:

Supply Chain Sustainability: A Practical Guide for Continuous Improvement at 23–25:

  • as a minimum, requiring suppliers to comply with all applicable laws and ‘…take proactive measures to avoid environmental and social harm’
  • consideration of ‘joint’ or ‘template’ Codes of Conduct available in the relevant industry to mitigate suppliers' compliance burden, whilst ensuring any applicable individual or industry specific concerns are adequately reflected
  • being very clear about the organisation's expectations, enforcement mechanisms, and penalties for breach violations, and
  • provision of enforcement mechanisms that can be realistically and quickly implemented against non-compliant suppliers (including the ability to terminate the contract)

The UN Global Compact also recommends that organisations adopt internal policies, solidifying how an organisation plans to implement its supply chain sustainability principles within the organisation. Another good practice is to establish an anonymous reporting (whistle-blowing) mechanism, where infractions can be easily reported (and to follow-up on them when they are), so that individuals feel comfortable and are able to raise concerns/issues free from fear of reprisal.

It is also advisable for an organisation to require suppliers to ‘flow down’ the Supplier Code of Conduct as far down the supply chain (eg to Tiers 2, 3 and so on) as possible, to get the maximum impact and buy-in to the document and the core principles. This can be done via clauses in the relevant purchase order or supply agreement, or simply as a clause in the Supplier Code of Conduct itself (though it should be appreciated that this may not be held to be an enforceable contractual promise).

Finally, organisations should be practically-minded, rather than effusive, in choosing the language used in the Supplier Code of Conduct. Although likely well intentioned, expansive pledges that an organisation cannot live up to invite a degree of risk and could theoretically even become the basis of future litigation against the organisation.

 

Developing a supply chain sustainability programme addressing human rights and labour concerns

Although human rights and labour practices vary by industry and geography, most supply chain sustainability programs addressing human rights and labour issues usually include the same key areas of focus:

  • respect as to the personal and property rights of impacted individuals and workers that come into contact with the organisation's suppliers, and
  • prohibition on the use of forced, trafficked or child labour

Helpful guiding principles concerning human rights and labour practices can be found in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the ILO International Labour Standards.

References:

UN: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

ILO International Labour standards

The ILO is an international body that came into being in 1919 after the First World War, when the WWI Treaty of Versailles' signatories collectively determined to combat labour abuses worldwide, and particularly in developing economies. Over the years, ILO International Labour Standards have come to embody certain fundamental labour rights, namely:

References:

Rules of the Game: a brief introduction to International Labour Standards (3rd edition, 2014) at 16

  • the freedom and right to organise
  • the freedom from forced and trafficked labour
  • the prohibition against child labour
  • the right to a living wage, and
  • the freedom from discrimination in employment conditions.

The ILO also publishes a number of Codes of Practice in Safety and Health for specific industries, such as mining, agriculture and forestry.

Although the ILO has not promulgated specific guidance for eliminating poor human rights and labour practices in supply chains, its 2015 publication, ‘Combatting Forced Labour; A Handbook for Employers and Businesses’, does helpfully suggest best practice organisational policies that can be extrapolated to supply chains. Accordingly, ‘red flags’ identified in the publication that signify potentially problematic labour or human rights practices include:

References:

Combating forced labour: A handbook for employers and business

  • a work force that looks badly treated, malnourished, afraid or very young
  • a work force that is apparently not allowed to communicate with outsiders
  • apparent failure to make regular payment of wages, including delayed wages, ‘in-kind’ payments, or payment via promissory notes
  • evidence that workers are required to repay any sort of debt, including for so-called ‘training’ programmes
  • lack of established employment policies governing issues like overtime, meal breaks and disciplinary action
  • lack of official employment documents for workers, including verification of age and signed employment contracts
  • poor safety and working conditions, including failure to provide protective equipment, lack of water and sanitation facilities, etc
  • evidence that workers are not able to terminate their employment
  • evidence of physical confinement
  • the payment of recruitment fees for foreign workers, and
  • evidence that foreign workers are not permitted to retain control over their personal documents

By contrast, practices that indicate that a company is conscious of its obligations not to commit human rights abuses or to use improper labour sources include evidence of normal turnover at an organisation, regularly and accurately kept employment records, and published employment policies that permit normal occupational activities, including collective bargaining.

References:

Combating Forced Labour: A Handbook for Employers and Businesses

Organisations can implement good human rights and labour practices in their supply chains through one of several mechanisms:

  • supplier self-certification
  • buyer certification/verification, or
  • third-party auditing (eg SMETA audits by Sedex)

Whichever method is chosen, the principles set forth above can provide helpful and illustrative guidance as to what evidence organisations should ideally gather, records they should maintain and issues to to look out for. Moreover, labour practice standards have been established by Social Accountability International, at Standard SA 8000, and can be used either as supplier guidelines (as included in a Supplier Code of Conduct), or as certification standards.

References:

SA8000:2014: Social Accountability International

 

Developing a supply chain sustainability programme addressing environmental concerns

Unlike human rights and labour concerns, supply chain sustainability practices that focus on the environment and conservation vary based on industry, business operation, and sometimes geography. Pressing environmental issues may also change over time. Indeed, there are a myriad of potential environmental concerns across the globe, which may include the use and/or transportation of toxic chemicals, land use and overuse issues, exhaustion of some unsustainable resources (eg metals, water, etc), land-grabbing and the land right of indigenous peoples, pollution control and the treatment of animals.

Recognising that environmental concerns can vary by circumstances, in 1996, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) developed the ISO 14000 series of standards that:

‘…help organisations to take a proactive approach to managing environmental issues…environmental management standards that can…be implemented in any type of organisation in either public or private sectors[.]’

The ISO standards provide helpful guidance on how an organisation can evaluate its environmental performance and impact (once the principle concerns are identified), how to make valid environmental claims, and accreditation standards, among other guidance.

References:

Environmental management: The ISO 14000 family of International Standards

Although primarily designed and intended for use within an organisation's own operations, the ISO 14000 standards can be readily applied to supply chain partners too. And they can be used as either supplier guidelines or as certification standards, to be verified via self-certification, customer verification, or third-party auditor depending on the organisation's preference.

 

Developing a supply chain sustainability programme addressing corruption

It is essential for UK organisations, as part of their sustainability programmes, to have an adequate anti-corruption policy to comply with the Bribery Act 2010 (BA 2010).

References:

BA 2010

The BA 2010 created several statutory offences relating to corruption, including the offences of:

All of these illegal activities can take place within an unmonitored supply chain. For example, so called ‘facilitation payments’, to ease the passage of goods through certain ports, etc, may be bribes under the BA 2010. Even if those payments are in overseas locations, offences may occur in the UK.

So far as supply chains are concerned, section 7 of the BA 2010 also creates an offence of commercial organisations ‘failing to prevent bribery’. The obligation to ‘prevent bribery’ covers a commercial organisation's direct activities, ie it is an obligation for that commercial organisation to regulate its own employees. It can, however, also extend out to involve third party suppliers, if those suppliers are providing services for or on behalf of the underlying commercial organisation. For example, a commercial organisation may have an overseas agent who procures components for it, but sends those components (on the commercial organisation's instructions) to the overseas factory of a manufacturer, situated elsewhere in the supply chain. The commercial organisation would have an obligation under section 7 of the BA 2010 to ‘prevent bribery’ in the relationship between the agent and the manufacturer.

An anti-corruption policy, therefore, empowers stakeholders and employees to spot and prevent corruption, by monitoring and identifying its potential to occur within a business and its supply chain. Its existence and promulgation is also a defence to a charge under section 7 of the BA 2010 if bribery, notwithstanding an anti-corruption policy, nevertheless occurs within an organisation.

An effective anti-corruption policy will:

  • foster the correct culture and minimise the risk of corruption taking place
  • create a framework for compliance and reporting/whistle-blowing, and
  • allow an organisation to respond appropriately if corruption takes place

For more information on BA 2010, see Practice Notes: The Bribery Act 2010 and Failing to prevent bribery.

 

Supply chain sustainability as litigation and risk mitigation

A supply chain sustainability programme will potentially assist with and complement an organisation's efforts and ability to comply with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (MSA 2015). MSA 2015 requires organisations to produce an annual ‘Transparency in Supply Chain’ statement (‘Transparency Statement’) if their turnover exceeds £36m and they are ‘carrying on a business or part of a business’ in the UK. Government guidance also encourages smaller businesses to produce an annual Transparency Statement in relation to modern slavery as best practice. In particular, the statement must set out what steps an organisation has taken in the last financial year to ensure modern slavery and human trafficking is not taking place within its business or any of its supply chains. If no such steps have been taken, then the statement must state this.

References:

Transparency in Supply Chains etc. A practical guide

Instructive examples of some Transparency Statements can be found at the following website, which is a central repository maintained by a non-governmental organisation.

References:

Modern Slavery Registry

However, in the US at least, having publicly available supply chain policies can also be a litigation risk, if not drafted carefully. Over the last two years or so, putative classes of consumer claimants in the US have filed a handful of civil lawsuits against companies based on statements made in various supply chain sustainability policies that were available online—such statements being required under the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act 2010, being similar US legislation to the Modern Slavery Act. According to the claimants in these class action cases, the companies made promises about their supply chain practices that they failed to live up to—thus allegedly defrauding classes of consumers.

These cases included claims against:

  • Costco in respect of seafood products, claiming that their supply chains were free of forced and trafficked labour, when allegedly these products were sourced from Thai fishing operations that trafficked, coerced and forced migrant and child workers into employment, and
  • claims against Whole Foods for allegedly not enforcing the terms of its publicly-available supplier Animal Care Policy for the meat products that it sold

Although no claimants have yet prevailed on these types of claims in the US, their existence underlines the fact that, if an organisation, including in the UK, makes a supply chain sustainability policy public, it must ensure that the policy is true and accurate in all respects—companies really must be ‘walking the talk’ and if they are not, they may come unstuck.

More generally, clear and effective supply chain sustainability policies and procedures, as well as corresponding terms and provisions in contractual documents (eg terms and conditions), will allow companies to validly terminate contracts for good reason and/or to mitigate risk—thereby minimising the prospect of subsequent uncertain, costly and time-consuming litigation.

Some typical contractual protections, obligations and risk mitigation steps for organisations to consider with their suppliers are as follows:

  • ensuring supplier compliance with:

- all applicable local laws, including, for example, the Bribery Act 2010 and Modern Slavery Act 2015, and all international labour standards

- the organisation's policies, procedures and any supplier codes of conduct, and

= all applicable third-party labour and/or other codes

  • seeking warranties from suppliers that all applicable laws and labour standards are being adhered to
  • seeking warranties from suppliers that the supplier has not been investigated for, or convicted for any breaches of all relevant applicable laws
  • periodic audit rights, as well as step in rights to inspect workplaces and/or interview employees in the event that suppliers are investigated for labour and/or other violations
  • an obligation on suppliers to maintain and provide all relevant documentary records and annual reports, including, for example, going to issues of bribery and/or modern slavery compliance
  • cascading requirements obliging the supplier to mirror provisions in contracts with their sub-suppliers, and to do appropriate due diligence on all such sub-suppliers
  • contractual termination rights where labour and/or other sustainability issues are breached and not adequately remedied

For more information on the requirements of Modern Slavery Act 2015, see Practice Note: Slavery and human trafficking statement.

 

Working with NGOs to address supply chain concerns

Often, supply chain sustainability issues are not attributable to a sole supplier or actor, but rather to practices prevalent in an entire industry or geography—or both. In such cases, it can be difficult for an organisation to unilaterally push organisational change onto its supply base because the practices that it wishes to encourage or curtail are at odds with well-established and prevalent norms and practices.

In situations like these, knowledgeable non-governmental organisations (NGOs) may provide assistance in beginning to address the sustainability concern at issue. While many organisations' worst nightmares may be an NGO that challenges a practice in their supply chain, many NGOs have superior knowledge of the industry or geography at issue, and can very likely help establish effective programmes that can nudge an entire industry or geography to more sustainable practices.

A well-known example can be found in ‘fair trade’ sourcing programmes, which have been developed for commodities such as coffee, cocoa, cotton, sugar and palm oil. The essence of most fair trade programmes is that an NGO, often in collaboration with private industry, will establish certification standards governing labour, environmental, or other sustainability practices; and suppliers who can demonstrate compliance with the standards become certified, thereby gaining an advantage in western markets.

Organisations working with NGOs to improve sustainability initiatives in their supply chains will want to be cautious, however. Organisations should be careful to establish the bona fides of all proposed NGO partners. Most are legitimate organisations with superior knowledge in the relevant area. But some are simply out for publicity, or to embarrass private companies. Some NGOs merely operate as ‘fronts’ for competing products or industries. Some have principles with problematic records and/or ulterior motives. Working with NGOs to achieve sustainability goals in supply chains may be difficult, but it is often easier than doing the work without a qualified NGO partner and it helps to demonstrate a commitment to the issue, which in turn may provide helpful mitigation in the event of a subsequent issue emerging.

An alternative to NGO involvement might be to ‘partner’ with another company or stakeholder, or indeed a competitor, who may well be wrestling with exactly the same issues and challenges, and who may be directly drawing products from the very same supply chain where the abuses/unsustainable practices identified by your own organisation are present.

And above all, working with an organisation's suppliers proactively can be particularly beneficial so that everyone knows and readily understands the issues, including from the supplier's perspective, to mitigate those risks (eg labour exploitation or malpractices). This can often be key to delivering a step change. Indeed, building good links with suppliers and incentivising them is often vital to ensuring that suppliers are committed to positive change. For example, this may take the form of rewarding good supplier compliance with preferred supplier status, while contractually ‘black-balling’ those that are unwilling or highly resistant to change.

 

Sustainable procurement—guidance: ISO 20400

The ISO has developed guidance on best practices to develop sustainable development policies within organisations. It approaches this in four segments:

  • understanding the fundamentals
  • Integrating sustainability into the organisation's procurement policy and strategy
  • Organising the procurement function towards sustainability, and
  • Integrating sustainability into the procurement process

When engaging with supply chains, the ‘best practice’ guidance suggests going beyond strict contractual requirements. This might include initiatives beyond the contract term with any given supplier and with a broad scope of activity, ie across various contracts and engagement beyond Tier 1 suppliers.

The ISO guidance recognises these as business-to-business initiatives based on good faith going beyond public relations. Success is thought to be more likely and easily achieved if:

  • the interests, needs and capacities of suppliers throughout the chain have been identified
  • the relationship these interests establish between the organisation and the supplier is direct and important
  • a clear purpose and expectations for the engagement are understood
  • the organisation and its suppliers have the necessary information and understanding to make informed decisions, and
  • a fair and inclusive process and a balanced two-way communication is established

The guidance also suggests engagement techniques to develop, integrate and manage sustainability objectives in a given organisation's supply chains.

See paragraph 6.3.2, ISO 20400: ‘Sustainable Procurement—Guidance’, first edition 2017-04.

References:

ISO 20400: Sustainable procurement—Guidance

 

Conclusion

Supply chain sustainability is still very much an emerging field. However, there is now sufficient material publicly available for organisations to create and implement realistically effective national and international compliance programmes, whilst taking account of their UK legal obligations.

It is very much about businesses doing the right thing, because it is the right thing to do; and doing the right thing when no-one is looking. At its core, these sustainability programmes in essence will involve significant cultural and organisational change from the board level down, putting the promotion of anti-corruption methods, environmental concerns and international labour standards at the heart and forefront of the business. Organisations will need to push these sustainability values through their supply chains too. Indeed, continued supplier compliance will likely become a necessary pre-condition to a given supplier's on-going inclusion in the supply chain and/or in participating in large procurement programmes (eg government procurement exercises).

This article was originally published in LexisPSL Commercial. If you would like to read more quality content like this, then register for a free 1 week trial of LexisPSL.

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October 09, 2020

The Planning White Paper

LexisNexis looks at the government's proposals for a ‘whole new planning system for England’ in White Paper published for consultation, alongside interim reforms.
October 02, 2020

The Public Sector Equality Duty

The following LexisNexis Public Law guidance note, produced in partnership with Zoe Bedford of Ellis Whittam, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the scope of the Public Sector Equality Duty.
September 25, 2020

Housing disrepair for local authority landlords - a practical guide

The following LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Alexander Bastin of Hardwicke, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information for local authorities covering all aspects of dealing with disrepair issues.
September 17, 2020

Employment law and Covid-19

This Employment guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering employment law issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.
September 11, 2020

Introduction to Public Contracts Procurement

The following LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Walker Morris, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering public contracts procurement, including the impact of Brexit.
September 04, 2020

Guide to Care Act 2014 repeals

The following LexisNexis Private Client guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering repealed legislation (in whole or in part), secondary legislation revoked (in whole or in part), relevant new secondary legislation and statutory guidance and directions cancelled.
August 21, 2020

Obtaining possession of a secure tenancy

The following LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Karl King of Hardwicke Chambers, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the grounds on which and steps required to obtain possession of a secure tenancy.
August 14, 2020

Obstruction of highways

This LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Nicholas Hancox Solicitors, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering a wide variety of circumstances in which public highways may be obstructed and what measures are available to councils to deal with them.
August 07, 2020

LexisNexis Gross Legal Product (GLP) Index: Quantifying legal demand growth and the impact of COVID-19

LexisNexis has built a data model to track growth in demand for legal services – the Gross Legal Product Index, or GLP. The report provides a framework for quantifying the impact of COVID-19 on your sector.
July 31, 2020

COVID-19: What’s worrying lawyers?

Elizabeth Rimmer of LawCare examines some of the issues encountered by lawyers when working remotely during the pandemic.
June 19, 2020

The First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) - practice and procedure

This Property Disputes guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the jurisdiction, practice and procedure of the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
June 12, 2020

Quick guide to landlord’s remedies for breach of lease

The following property disputes guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information for commercial landlords.
June 05, 2020

The Public Law Outline 2014

This Practice Note provides practical guidance on key aspects of procedure and the PLO 2014 for public children proceedings.
May 07, 2020

Anti-social behaviour - powers to control behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

This LexisNexis Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Hardwicke Chambers, provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the powers available to control behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
May 01, 2020

Anti-social behaviour - powers to close premises under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

This Local Government guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information outlining the powers available to local authorities to close premises where anti-social behaviour is taking place.
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April 24, 2020

Coronavirus – What’s the impact on the legal profession?

With Coronavirus dominating the news and the majority of Europe now entering different stages of lockdown due to the rise in uncertainties about the virus, LexisNexis has rounded up its latest articles discussing the pandemic.
Human Rights 96780326 s 146x219
April 23, 2020

Why is advancing the rule of law so important?

Have you ever considered your human rights? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlines our various rights under the law, the most basic being: “We are all equal before the law."But, is this really the case?
April 16, 2020

Employment law and Covid-19

This following employment guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information on employment law changes caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
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February 28, 2020

Road traffic – order procedure notices

This Local Government guidance note from LexisNexis provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering road traffic orders, regulations, procedures and the powers available to local authorities.
Housing Rogue Landlord 99725772 s 146x219
February 13, 2020

Obtaining possession of a secure tenancy

Produced in partnership with Karl King of Hardwicke Chambers, this LexisNexis Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the range of tenancy types for social housing and the processes involved in obtaining possession for each.
February 06, 2020

Local authority social care duties

The following Local Government guidance note, produced in partnership with Ros Ashcroft of DAC Beachcroft and Stephanie Townley of Addleshaw Goddard LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering local authority duties towards social care.
January 31, 2020

Houses in multiple occupation

This LexisNexis Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering the management, licensing and definition of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
December 13, 2019

Granting assured and assured shorthold tenancies

This practice note from LexisNexis explains the criteria for assured tenancies (AT) and assured shorthold tenancies (AST) and the exceptions to those criteria, the main terms of AT and ASTs, the position regarding succession, and summarises a landlord’s obligations in respect of energy efficiency, gas safety and other health and safety obligations, right to rent and tenancy deposits.
December 05, 2019

Assignment and succession of tenancy

Morayo Fagborun Bennett looks at the circumstances in which social housing tenancies can be transferred to another tenant.
November 29, 2019

Powers to control anti-social behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

This guidance note provides a comprehensive and up to date overview of powers to control anti-social behaviour under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, Reform of anti-social behaviour powers (2014), Part 1 Civil Injunctions and Part 2 Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).
Missiles 91309216 s. 146x219
October 11, 2019

Exploring the court’s power to block sale of arms to Saudi Arabia

Sue Willman, senior partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn, analyses the case of R (on the application of Campaign Against Arms Trade) v Secretary of State for International Trade (Amnesty International and others intervening) and its implications for UK arms trade.
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October 11, 2019

Court rejects challenges to Heathrow expansion

Charles Streeten, barrister at Francis Taylor Building, explains how the court came to reject the claims for judicial review of the Heathrow runway expansion in R (on the application of Spurrier) v Secretary of State for Transport and other cases.
Housing family 96709182 s
October 04, 2019

Exploring the limits of public authority’s liability for children

Duncan Fairgrieve and Jim Duffy, barristers at 1 Crown Office Row, examine the Supreme Court’s decision in Poole Borough Council v GN and another that the respondent local authority did not owe a common law duty of care to exercise its functions under the Children Act 1989 to protect the appellants, who were children of a family which it had housed, from harm at the hands of anti-social neighbours.
Dead end road 32516564 s 146x219
October 04, 2019

Abandoning a procurement exercise - when can a contracting authority extinguish a challenge?

Lucy James looks at the legal effect of a decision to abandon a procurement exercise and whether it extinguishes an accrued cause of action a bidder may have against a contracting authority for breaches of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 SI 2015/102 (PCR 2015).
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August 23, 2019

‘Funding crisis’ - a detailed look at the funding shortage in UK schools

According to campaigners, more than 200 schools in England are cutting their school weeks short due to funding shortages. This raises questions over legal ramifications and the responsibility of the government. Jean Tsang, associate at Bates Wells and governor of a maintained primary school, addresses these questions and looks at the worrying effects of this ‘funding crisis’ on the ‘most vulnerable children’ in the educational system.
Cost cutting 21525611 s 146x219
August 16, 2019

Judicial review challenge over closure of children’s centres defeated by local authority

The case R (on the application of L, an infant (by his mother and litigation friend)) v Buckinghamshire County Council represents the first time when the High Court considered in detail the meaning of the ‘sufficiency duty’ in section 5A of the Childcare Act 2006 (ChA 2006) in the context of whether a council’s consultation on the closure of a number of children’s centres was unlawful or not. James Goudie QC examines the background to and the practical implications of the judgment.
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August 09, 2019

How does a local authority establish a market?

The LexisPSL team outline the powers available to local authorities looking to establish a new market.
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August 02, 2019

Forced academisation of schools - is resistance futile?

What are the circumstances which lead to a school being forced to become an academy, and is there anything that can be done to stop it happening? Katie Michelon provides an overview of the forced academisation process, and explains the options available to schools, parents and local authorities when faced with the possibility of an Academy Order.
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June 13, 2019

Home or away?

Katherine Illsley outlines how a local authority should approach the situation where a parent to be assessed for the purposes of public children care lives in another jurisdiction.
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June 07, 2019

Tenant Fees Act 2019 - government guidance

The government recently published guidance on the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (TFA 2019). Robin Stewart and David Smith of Anthony Gold Solicitors look at some of the key questions relating to the guidance, including enforcement, penalties and some controversial aspects such as guidance pertaining to payment of damages.
Choice 33452110 s 146x219
June 07, 2019

How should the courts approach cases with an ‘open’ pool of possible perpetrators?

Chris Stevenson, barrister at Fourteen, examines the Court of Appeal’s decision in Re B (children: uncertain perpetrator) to allow a father’s appeal against a Family Court judge’s finding that he was within a pool of possible perpetrators responsible for sexually transmitting gonorrhoea to three of his children (registration required).
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May 24, 2019

Court of Appeal finds permissive housing policies can restrict development elsewhere

In Gladman Developments Ltd v Canterbury City Council [2019] EWCA Civ 669, the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by developer Gladman against the decision of the High Court to quash planning permission granted on appeal for a residential development on a site not allocated for development, not on previously developed land, and outside the existing built-up area.
Child safety gate 36045624 s 146x219
May 24, 2019

Safety first?

Daljit Kaur looks at the implications for disability discrimination of a case concerning a nursery-age child prevented from accessing provision over 15 hours.
UK map 66823434 s 146x219
May 17, 2019

The changing landscape of local authority Trading Standards prosecutions?

Richard Heller considers the potential impact of Qualter and others v Crown Court at Preston [2019] EWHC 906 (Admin) could have on the way regional Trading Standards services investigate and prosecute criminal offences (registration required).
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May 17, 2019

Wish they weren't here?

Can a parent with parental responsibility object to their child, who is subject to an interim care order, being taken on holiday by their foster parents?
Housing Rogue Landlord 99725772 s 146x219
May 10, 2019

Exploring the new guidance on greater protections from rogue landlords

Jason Hobday, associate at Womble Bond Dickinson, discusses the implications of recent government guidance documents which intend to enforce greater protections from rogue landlords (registration required).
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May 09, 2019

Court finds judge in Uber licensing case was not biased

Philip Kolvin QC examines the High Court’s decision in R (United Cabbies Group) v Westminster Magistrates’ Court to dismiss the claimant’s application for judicial review of a district judge’s grant of an operator’s licence for London private hire vehicles to the third interested party, Uber.
Housing timer 45568205 s 146x219
May 03, 2019

End of the road?

Morayo Fagborun Bennett looks at the Court of Appeal's decision on waiving offers of alternative accommodation and the lawfulness of an earlier review decision on a subsequent homelessness appplication in Godson v London Borough of Enfield [2019] EWCA Civ 486.
Council Tax 89947548 s 146x219
May 03, 2019

Court rejects implied duty to report change of address for council tax purposes (R v D)

Samuel Genen, solicitor at Steel & Shamash, comments on the case of R v D [2019] EWCA Crim 209 where the Court of Appeal ruled that a failure to notify the local council of a change of address for the purpose of council tax did not constitute a criminal offence under the Fraud Act 2006 (FrA 2006). (Registration required)
Evidence in Foreign Courts 71283762 s 146x219
March 22, 2019

Is it in the best interests of a child to give evidence in a foreign trial?

Katherine Duncan explains how the court, in Re X, carried out a balancing exercise in determining whether a child, who was ward of the court, should be permitted to travel out of the jurisdiction to give evidence at a foreign criminal trial.
High Courts inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults 95112860 s 146x219
March 15, 2019

High Court’s inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults

The case of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council v Meyers [2019] EWHC 399 (Fam) highlights the wide and largely unfettered nature of the power to grant injunctive relief under the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction for the protection of vulnerable adults and the difficulty surrounding the issue of how the balance should be struck between protection of a person on grounds of vulnerability and respect for their autonomy, writes Bethan Harris.