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LGiU Policy Briefings

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LGiU briefings can be accessed by elected members and officers in LGiU member authorities – and those on free trials. Check if your authority is a member or on a free trial. Briefings can also be downloaded at a cost to non-members.

Our briefings are written by our network of LGiU Associates. Find out more about our briefing authors here.

Search tip: Please note that when searching for a term or phrase, such as care bill or better care fund, you should frame the words in speech marks – e.g “care bill” or “better care fund”. Search findings are listed chronologically.

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Making the most of HS2: two recent reports

April 17, 2014

This briefing focuses primarily on two important reports on HS2 which were published within a week of each other in March 2014.
The first sets out the outcomes of the eight week review of the project by the new chairman of HS2 Ltd. David Higgins’ report was published on 17 March and sets out his thoughts on the progress made so far, ongoing development of the project and his plans for the future. Among other things this recommends a more comprehensive redevelopment of Euston station; taking the line further north more quickly than originally proposed; and more work on integrating HS2 into the existing rail network.
On 21 March, the HS2 Growth Taskforce’s report on maximising the benefits of HS2 was published. This is an independent report to government based on research into the growth and regeneration impacts of the project.
Both these reports have significant implications for the future development of the HS2 project and the extent to which different parts of the country will be affected by the proposals.
The briefing also sets out the government’s response to these reports and briefly examines the recent Environmental Audit Committee report on HS2 and the environment.
This briefing will be of interest to elected members and officers with transport, planning and economic development responsibilities.

House of Lords report on Mental Capacity Act

April 16, 2014

• The House of Lords Select Committee has published a report on the implementation of the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
• The Act gave significant legal rights to those who may lack the capacity to make decisions, defining the rights of people with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, senile dementia, brain injury and temporary impairment.
• The Act was widely acclaimed as a step forward for people who may lack capacity but the Select Committee found that it has not met the expectations it raised. The rights it creates have not been widely realised and the duties it imposes are not widely followed.
• The report also considers implementation of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS) which were inserted into the Act. The Committee has concluded that the safeguards are not well understood and are poorly implemented.
• Major recommendations include the setting up of an independent body to oversee implementation of the Act and a review of the DOLS with a view to replacing them.
• The briefing will be of interest to Members and officers with responsibilities in relation to learning disabilities and mental health, members of health and wellbeing boards, safeguarding boards and staff dealing with the legal aspects of mental health and independent mental capacity advocacy.

English Housing Survey 2012-13

April 16, 2014

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published the results of its annual English Housing Survey for 2012-13 on 26 February. This briefing compares key findings for social housing with other tenures and reports some more detailed statistics for social housing.

Children and Families Act 2014 (No.2)

April 16, 2014

This briefing updates the CSN Policy Briefing Children and Families Act 2014 (provisional) issued just after the Parliamentary stages had been completed on 10 February 2014 and before Royal Assent was granted on 13 March 2014. This briefing reports on the final shape of the Act with mention of significant amendments during it year-long passage through Parliament, as well as available information about implementation up to mid-April 2014.
The Children and Families Bill was introduced into the House of Commons on 4 February 2013. The Bill’s purpose (according to the ‘long title’) has been amended to include people with disabilities, and now reads:
An Act to make provision about children, families, and people with special educational needs or disabilities; to make provision about the right to request flexible working; and for connected purposes.
The Act covers the work of children’s services (for adoptions, family justice, special educational needs, childcare and the Children’s Commissioner), local government legal teams (for adoptions and family proceedings) and HR teams (shared parental leave, paternal time off work for ante-natal care, and reform of law on requesting flexible working). This briefing will therefore be of interest to local authority members and staff covering these areas. However, particular attention is paid to Parts 1 (Adoption), 3 (Children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities), 4 (Childcare) and 5 (Welfare of children).

Publicity during elections: the parameters

April 15, 2014

This briefing focuses on the constraints on local authority publicity during election periods. It discusses the impact of the rules on elected members and the capacity and necessity for leadership in councils to tackle discriminatory election campaigns.

Local Enterprise Partnerships: new LGiU essential guide

April 15, 2014

We have just published a new guide for members on LEPs.

The guide has been compiled by LGiU associate Majeed Neky, who is also part of the secretariat team for the All Party Parliamentary Group on Local Growth. The guide has been edited by Janet Sillett.

It brings together and updates a series of LGiU briefings on the establishment, activities and progress of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), with comment and analysis.

The guide provides a brief history of LEPs, considers issues around governance and accountability and looks at their powers and responsibilities. There is a section on strategic economic plans, local growth details and the single local growth fund. It looks at challenges and opportunities and finally at next steps for LEPs.

This guide is relevant to local authority councillors and officers across all areas of England and all tiers of local government, particularly those involved with planning, transport, employment and skills, public service reform, economic development and scrutiny. It will also be of interest to a wider audience looking to engage with LEPs, including staff of national agencies; those working in the further and higher education sectors and in research and innovation; trade associations and third sector organisations.

The rise of community food growing: what role for local planning authorities?

April 14, 2014

* Sustain has published a new report setting out how planners can provide more spaces for community food growing to help meet local authority strategic objectives
* It follows the government’s recent Planning Practice Guidance (PPG), which requires planners to support people to make healthy choices, including promoting access to healthier food
* The report highlights the range of strategic objectives that community food growing contributes to, and illustrates this with examples of planning policies and decisions, and projects, to show why and how to provide more growing spaces
* Getting elected members to understand the value of community food growing is vital for orientating the planning system to provide more spaces, especially in areas where developers say that viability is marginal
* This briefing will be relevant to elected members, regeneration, public health, community development, sustainability and housing professionals, and planners

Weekly Policy Summary – 11th April

April 11, 2014

This briefing can also be viewed as a pdf. LGiU is recruiting! We’re looking for a Partnerships Development Officer to play a key part in LGiU’s new Partnerships Team, growing our role in the sector by building our membership and …

The role of culture and leisure in improving wellbeing

April 10, 2014

The role of culture and leisure in improving wellbeing has been published by the Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association (CLOA). The report aims to help providers of culture and leisure services in England better demonstrate how culture and leisure can help tackle unhealthy lifestyles, address the social determinants of health, offer creative, cost-effective approaches, and engage communities, families and individuals in activities conducive to wellbeing.

Exclusions appeal systems – DfE research

April 10, 2014

The DfE commissioned research Independent Review Panel and First-tier Tribunal Exclusion Appeals systems (February 2014) examines the two routes which can be used to challenge a pupil’s permanent exclusion from school. The research was done by Sheffield Hallam University.
Key findings include:
• Two-thirds of parents appeal because they feel their child’s exclusion was unfair and want the exclusion removed from their child’s record. A third of heads feel the appeal was misguided or ill advised. Parents want to appeal, but looked for help in preparing for the appeal hearing.
• Making an appeal was straightforward for the majority of parents although some parents made extensive preparation. The financial costs to parents and schools was relatively low in most cases.
• The Independent Review Panel (IRP) process was seen as fair in terms in terms of the hearing but was felt to be unfair in terms of the limited outcomes from Panel hearings. Schools felt it to be fair even though the school was open to scrutiny. Both parents and teachers questioned the impartiality of local authority officers. Panel members were said to have acted professionally.
• An SEN expert was present at most Panel hearings although the opinions were mixed as to the usefulness of such a person. Half the parents felt that SEND issues had not been discussed as fully as they would have liked during the appeal.
This briefing will be of interest to local authorities, schools, governors, parents and those organisations providing support and advice to parents seeking an appeal including Parent Partnership Services.

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