Local Government Lawyer Home Page


Sharpe Edge Webpage Banner

Welcome to Sharpe Edge, Sharpe Pritchard’s local government legal hub on Local Government Lawyer.

Sharpe Edge features news, views and analysis from our team of specialist local government lawyers working at the heart of the latest legal developments. Sharpe Edge platform is also the only place where local government lawyers can get e-access to two law books by our Head of Local Government Rob Hann: The Guide to Local Authority Charging and Trading Powers (‘LACAT’) and The Guide to Local Authority Companies and Partnerships (‘LACAP’).

 

                                                                                                  

Slide background

The Queen’s Speech in Brief

Icons HouseThe number of Bills which affect public sector clients is greater than usual – and the government have got straight off the starting blocks by publishing some of them already.

Each Bill is outlined in this Guidance note published by the Government. Here are some of the Bills we’ll be particularly keeping an eye on. We are keeping a close eye and will be writing about each of these in more detail as they get released:

Data Reform Bill – Plans to introduce a Data Reform Bill follows the consultation the Government carried out last year. Following Brexit, the UK may now move away from the GDPR which was originally introduced through EU legislation, and we will follow whether this impacts on the adequacy decision granted by the EU to the UK for data transfers. The guidance on the Bill also specifically calls out that it will enable public bodies to share data to improve service delivery, which will be welcome. Data sharing, and how to do so in a compliant way, is a key consideration for local public bodies and data protection requirements often need to be balanced against a desire to improve services for the public.

Energy Security Bill – The Government says the Bill will encourage the development of a homegrown energy system, with affordability and cleanliness being priorities. The Bill will contain elements to encourage the development of carbon capture and other low carbon technologies, improve the consumer market and regulation of electric heat pump networks, and provide mechanisms for investment and regulation in various renewable energy sources (including hydrogen, offshore, and nuclear generation). We are keeping a close eye on this in conjunction with our articles and analysis on Net Zero opportunities for our public sector clients, over on our Green Goals page and when the Bill is published our specialists in local heat networks and energy infrastructure delivery will be looking carefully at the proposals for extending Ofgem’s remit over heat networks.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill – The Bill has already been published here. We will be focussing first on the planning elements and commenting soon. A significant part is Schedule 11 and the introduction of a new infrastructure levy. We’ll also be looking at compulsory purchase changes, empty high street premises, local plans, and the provisions for new Combined County Authorities.

Product Security and Telecoms Infrastructure Bill – This Bill was introduced in the last session of Parliament and will continue its passage in the House of Commons. We are following the infrastructure part of the Bill closely. It is set to encourage faster and more collaborative negotiations for the installation and maintenance of telecoms equipment on private land, encouraging the roll-out of digital infrastructure such as gigabit-broadband and 5G.

Procurement Bill – Following the Government’s response to its ‘Transforming Public Procurement’ consultation, the Procurement Bill has been announced as a way for the UK to take advantage of the benefits of Brexit, one of the bill’s key aims being to create a simpler and more transparent procurement system is UK-focused rather than EU-bound. The key snippets about the Procurement Bill published in the explanatory pack alongside the Queen’s Speech did not reveal any dramatic changes to the Government’s direction of travel published in its consultation response. Since then, the Bill was published on 12th May, with a second reading in the House of Lords provisionally scheduled for 25th May. We will publish our analysis on it shortly.

Bill of Rights – The Bill follows on from the consultation in December 2021 “Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights” which set out a number of drafted up clauses for comment (not many – this Bill could be a short one). The government says in its briefing that the Bill will establish the primacy of UK case law over Strasbourg; ensure that UK courts can no longer alter legislation contrary to its ordinary meaning; and constrain the ability of the UK courts to impose ‘positive obligations’ on public services without proper democratic oversight by restricting the scope for judicial legislation and guarantee spurious cases do not undermine public confidence in human rights so that courts focus on genuine and credible human rights claims. Whilst the Guidance seems to focus on the particular issue of deportation of foreign national offenders, there will clearly be wider ramifications across a wide range of public bodies’ functions.

UK Infrastructure Bank Bill – This Bill has been published here and second reading in the House of Lords is provisionally scheduled for 24th May. It will put the UK Infrastructure Bank (already in existence) on a statutory footing, to ensure it has the full range of spending and lending powers to utilise its £22 billion financial capacity. The delivery of economic growth and net zero goals are stated to be the main objectives of the UKIB. The Bank intends to focus on low carbon investment and investing in under-invested areas. This will be of particular interest to our local authority clients who themselves have net zero and social value goals they are striving to achieve in procurements – the Bill will give the Bank power to lend directly to local authorities.

Brexit Freedoms Bill – the government says this Bill will legislate for increased UK parliamentary powers to amend, repeal or replace retained EU law by reducing the need to always use primary legislation to make such changes. It will also clarify the status of the existing body of retained EU law and remove the concept of retained EU law taking any precedence over UK law. The government says this will be relevant to the 1,400 or so pieces of EU-derived law which the Government has identified as having been retained into UK law at the end of the Brexit transition period. This should be distinguished from existing UK law, even where originally derived from EU Directives, for example the Public Contracts Regulations, which have always applied in the UK.


For further insight and resources on local government legal issues from Sharpe Pritchard, please visit the SharpeEdge page by clicking on the banner below.

sharpe edge 600x100

This article is for general awareness only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this page was first published. If you would like further advice and assistance in relation to any issue raised in this article, please contact us by telephone or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LACAT BookFREE download!

A Guide to Local Authority Charging and Trading Powers

Written and edited by Sharpe Pritchard’s Head of Local Government, Rob Hann,

A Guide to Local Authority Charging and Trading Powers covers:

• Updated charging powers compendium          • Commercial trading options

• Teckal ‘public to public’                                    • Localism Act

FREE DOWNLOAD

LACAT BookAvailable to buy:

A Guide to Local Authority Companies and Partnerships

An invaluable, comprehensive toolkit for lawyers, law firms and others advising
on or participating in Local Authority Companies and Partnerships”

- Local Authority Chief Executive

BUY NOW

  More Articles

Icons House

A renewable future: focusing energy solutions at a local level

Natasha Barlow and Steve Gummer discuss the 'Energy Trilemma' and how it is playing out at a local level.
Icons Date

Procurement Bill – Initial impressions from the first draft

Juli Lau and Sophie Mcfie-Hyland outline their initial impressions from the first draft of the Procurement Bill.
Icons Hazard

Let’s paint the town green! Government plans for green homes

Laura Campbell discusses the change urgently needed in towns and cities to make the landscape greener.
Icons Hazard

Refurbishment and Retrofitting: In with the old, out with the new!

Sharpe Pritchard analyse the challenge of decarbonising the construction sector.
Icons House

NET ZERO – What obligations are there on the UK to achieve it?

Radhika Devesher takes a look at the legal duty to achieve net-zero placed upon the UK.
Icons House

Championing green goals through public buying

Juli Lau considers how public purchasing power can be used to champion Net Zero goals, and how public procurement might be used as another driver for change.
Icons Hazard

Top Tips for Local Authority Lawyers advising on Data Protection Matters

Charlotte Smith and Hannah Peto set out some of their top tips to consider when advising on data protection matters.
Icons Court

The Cost of Freedom of Information – The Council’s Failure to Advise

Charlotte Smith and Nadia Ahmed summarise the case and judgement of Moss v Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames and another (NJ/2018/007).
Rob Hann Photoshop

Ask the Author

These are frequently asked questions to Rob Hann from colleagues in Local Government via the Sharpe Pritchard ‘Ask-the-Author' facility concerning the subject matter of his books on local authority companies, partnerships, charging and trading.
Icons Court

A call to review public contracts with Russian suppliers

Juli Lau and Gonzalo Puertas discuss the first official document to consider public sector contracts with companies linked to the Russian and Belarusian state regimes, issued by the Cabinet Office.
Icons Date

A New NEC Option to tackle greenwashing in the construction industry

Allan Owen and Sophie Drysdale discuss 'greenwashing' in the construction industry and a new secondary option clause X29 for its NEC4 suite of contracts developed by NEC.
Icons House

The Pathway to the Future – The Road Map for Employment Tribunals

David Leach discusses and outlines the road map of the planned changes for modernising the Tribunals in 2022 and 2023 released by The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals.
Icons House

Farrar Out

Clare Mendelle and James Goldthorpe discuss how the insolvency of Farrar Construction leads to clarity from the Courts on dealing with an insolvent contractor under JCT.
Icons House

The UK government has this week introduced the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill

Peter Collins and Sophie Pilcher discuss the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill introduced by the UK Government this week.
Icons Hazard

A sweet truth for selectivity

Steve Gummer and Gonzalo Puertas discuss a case that concerns an application for judicial review seeking to challenge a decision to introduce a zero-duty autonomous tariff quota (“ATQ”) of 260,000 metric tonnes of raw cane sugar for refining.
Icons House

Adjudication 101: Introduction and Overview

Michael Comba traces the origins of adjudication and considers why the process was introduced, who it is aimed towards and how construction contracts must include certain provisions.
Icons Date

New Government Guidance on PFI Expiry

Rob Hann, Head of Local Government at Sharpe Pritchard, takes a look at new guidance on PFI expiry recently published by the IPA to help public bodies wrestle with the complexities of transition they will face as these contracts reach full term.
Icons Hazard

Three new Levels to ‘level up’ Local Government in England?

Rob Hann, Sharpe Pritchard’s Head of local government, takes a look at the new proposals under the Government’s Levelling Up White Paper to facilitate devolution to remaining regions of local government in England which are currently without a Mayoral Combined Authority.
Icons Hazard

Will employers still be able to use the practice of ‘fire and rehire’ in 2022?

Christian Grierson and Julie Bann discuss a recent case in which the High Court has granted an injunction preventing Tesco from using the controversial employment practice of ‘fire and rehire’.
Icons Hazard

Progress on Climate Change action plans in Local Government

Stephen Cirell discusses the progress on climate change and renewable energy action plans within Local Government.
<a href=

Witches’ hats, sexist comments, and a £2 million pay-out

Julie Bann and Christian Grierson discuss a case in which a finance specialist has won over £2 million in compensation, after claims of sex discrimination and unequal pay.
Icons Hazard

Stuck in traffic?

High Court rules “VIP Lanes” For PPE contracts breached fundamental procurement law principles, in latest Judicial Review victory for the Good Law Project.
<a href=

Local Authority Sports and Leisure provision – Challenges Post-Covid19

With the unique circumstances posed by the Covid 19 pandemic and temporary closures of Council-sponsored sports and leisure facilities, Rob Hann, Sharpe Pritchard’s Head of Local Government outlines some of the challenges the sector faces.
<a href=

Bucking the Trend on Specific Performance Buckinghamshire Council v FCC Buckinghamshire Limited

Clare Mendelle and James Hughes highlight the wide definition of Third-Party Income and the measures the courts are prepared to take to enforce the terms of longstanding contracts, by analysing the Buckinghamshire Council v FCC Buckinghamshire Limited case.
<a href=

The Government’s response to the Transforming Public Procurement consultation: what will change and what will not?

Juli Lau, Colin Ricciardiello, Beth Edwards and Natasha Barlow analyse the Government’s response to the Transforming Public Procurement consultation.
<a href=

Momentum for Heat Network Roll Out Gathers Pace

Steve Gummer discusses the increased momentum for a Heat Network Rollout.
Icons Hazard

Unconscious Bias, Discrimination and a Warning to Public Sector Employers

Christian Grierson and Julie Bann discuss two employment tribunal judgements, which provide a stark warning to public sector employers about unconscious bias and discrimination.
Icons Hazard

Levelling up – A new opportunity for further devolution in England?

Rob Hann explores the Government's 'levelling up' policy and looks at whether it is an opportunity for further devolution in England.
<a href=

Time limits for commencing proceedings in procurement challenges

Colin Ricciardiello discusses a landmark procurement challenge judgment on the time limit for commencing proceedings.
Icons Hazard

The Revised National Planning Policy Framework: Better design, greener outcomes?

Alastair Lewis and Sarah Wertheim outline the latest National Planning Policy Framework changes and explain how future developments will be impacted by the new rules.
Slide background