Public Spaces Protection

July 6th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Local Authority Powers

In Wycombe District Council v Snowball (2020) EWHC 1656 (Admin) a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), made under Section 59 of the Anti-Social Behaviour etc Act 2014, was in force. The PSPO prohibited consumption of alcohol, or having an open container for alcohol, in a restricted area. The respondent was in a restricted area. He was holding an open can. It was labelled as lager. He was seen drinking from it. He refused to surrender the can. He was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) under Section 68 of the Act.

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Expediency

May 14th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Local Authority Powers

Numerous statutory powers are expressed in terms of what is “ expedient “ or “ necessary or expedient “. What is meant by “ expedient”? The use of the word “ expedient” suggests that “ a broad balance or judgment is to be made by the decision-maker”. So said Lieven J at para 43 in Open Spaces Society v SoS for DEFRA (2020) EWHC 1085 ( Admin ), a case on diversion of a public footpath, in accordance with Section 119 of the Highways Act 1980.

 

Boycotts

April 29th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Local Authority Powers

Important powers of authorities for themselves and their employees and the authorities of others relate to the Local Government Pension Scheme (the LGPS), for which some authorities are “administering authorities” (AAs). AAs make investments. What are their powers as to what investments they make in that capacity?

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Community Protection Notice

April 27th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Local Authority Powers

A Community Protection Notice under Section 43 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 may not be served on person A in respect of anti-social behaviour by person B, say a child, on account of A being in a position to, and expected to, exert control over B. So held by a Divisional Court in Staffordshire Moorlands District Council v Sanderson (2020) EWHC 962 (Admin). Andrews J said, at para 35, that Parliament has chosen not to attribute the anti-social behaviour of one person to another person even if that other person has some power of control unless the behaviour can be treated as if it were the behaviour of that other person. Hickinbottom LJ, at para 41, gave the examples of when the anti-social behaviour is encouraged or supported.

 

Coronavirus

April 7th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Local Authority Powers

Further sets of Regulations are “ intended to be made in the coming weeks “ under the Coronavirus Act 2000, including Regulations to relax the date for the completion and publication of Annual Accounts, and further Regulations with Election-related provisions.

 

Residence Requirement

April 2nd, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Local Authority Powers

A residence requirement with respect to bearing of school transport costs may be unlawfully discriminatory, as in Case C-830/18, Landkreis Sudliche Weinstrasse v PF.

 

Vires

March 27th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Local Authority Powers

Non-compliance with procurement legislation does not necessarily affect power to enter into contract : Wallis Trading Inc v Air Tanzania (2020) EWHC 339 (Comm) at para 107 per Butcher J.

 

Arrangements Between Authorities

March 25th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Local Authority Powers

Centralised arrangements between local authorities ( 4 London Boroughs ) for the provision of secure accommodation for children at risk of being detained in police custody have been held to be lawful in R (AR) b Waltham Forest LBC (2020) EWHC 622 (Admin) (DC). There was no systemic breach of the statutory duty under Section 21(2)(b) of the Children Act 1989. Nor was there any breach of the sufficiency duty under Section 22G. The arrangements were rational and constituted a reasonable system.

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Coronavirus Bill, LAs and the right to emergency volunteering leave

March 21st, 2020 by Peter Oldham QC in General, Local Authority Powers

Cl 7 of the Coronavirus Bill gives effect to Schedule 6 –  provisions about a new right to emergency volunteering leave (“EVL”).

Under Schedule 6, a worker is entitled to be absent from work for the period specified in an emergency volunteering certificate (“EVC”) if, no later than 3 days before the first day of the period specified in the EVC, the worker gives notice to their employer of their intention to be absent for the period stated in the EVC.   The EVC may specify two, three or four consecutive weeks within a single volunteering period.  A volunteering period is the period of 16 weeks after the right under the Bill comes into force and each period of 16 weeks thereafter, unless shortened by the Secretary of State in regulations.  A worker may take EVL only once in the same volunteering period.  If a worker takes EVL, they have the right to return to their job, and not to suffer detriment as a result.  Dismissal by reason of EVL is automatically unfair.  Under cl 8 SoS must establish a scheme to compensate volunteers for lost income and expenses incurred.

LAs are given an important role.  The EVC is a document issued by “an appropriate authority”, a category which includes the Secretary of State, the NHS Commissioning Board, and local authorities – county councils, district councils where there is no county council, London boroughs and the City.

The EVC certifies that the worker has been approved by the appropriate authority as an emergency volunteer in health or social care.

The Government’s document “Coronavirus Bill – Summary of Impacts” tells us what the Government’s expectation of LAs is likely to be. It says:-

“Impact on Local Authorities – the policy requires LAs across the UK to identify volunteer social care opportunities and to match these opportunities to volunteers coming forward. This may add additional burdens to the work that LAs are doing in response to the outbreak. HM Government will provide detailed guidance for LAs to follow and will design a simple system in collaboration with them that is easy to administer. Additional funding may also be required.”

Peter Oldham QC

 

Coronavirus Bill

March 19th, 2020 by Peter Oldham QC in Local Authority Powers

As most relevant to English local authorities’ powers and duties, the Bill provides for the following, amongst other, measures – with a great deal of further detail:-

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