A group of Anthony Collins Solicitors (ACS) experts from across our various client sectors have gazed into their crystal ball and given us a view on how 2021 is looking.
For those working in businesses seeking to achieve social aims, whether in the community sector, co-ops and mutuals, or social enterprises, the Brexit outcome creates some profound uncertainties – but there may also be some opportunities.
You will need all your resilience and flexibility over the coming months. As we have pointed out in our briefing for Charities on Brexit, the campaign has had a bruising and divisive effect on communities. Third-sector organisations and social enterprises have a very significant role in rebuilding trust and supporting resilience across the country. Those of you who seek to involve people in your governance or your organisation need to keep doing what you’re doing – we have been very struck by the way so many people feel disempowered and divorced from the political process.
The development implications for devaluation may well impact on those clients involved in building schemes, particularly community-led housing. House builders are already feeling the impact, and this will feed through into the wider marketplace, leading to schemes taking longer to develop. There may also be indirect impact if, for example, there is an increase in borrowing for the public sector from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) – we have a number of clients from the community sector developing schemes, working with their local authority, which are part funded by the PWLB. Costs of these schemes may increase to the point where they are no longer viable.
Change of sentiment
This is probably a much bigger issue than it might first appear. The long term impact of Brexit on EU funded programmes may start to “bite” sooner than you think – just by way of example, we have recently advised a number of third sector organisations involved in the second stage of bidding into the Building Better Opportunities Fund, a European Social Fund (ESF) backed programme run by the Big Lottery Fund.This is programmed to run until 2020. Will it? We are supporting a community organisation working with their local authority on a phased, 10 year building project to be part funded by ESF money. The project is due to start on site next year. Will it go ahead? At the moment, we simply don’t know what the future of European funding programmes might be, and the swiftly changing position of the “leave” campaign on funding commitments is not promising.
Government policy change
If there is indeed a shift in policy, it is likely to be a shift to a more right-wing agenda, given the position of much of the “leave” camp. We have already seen the indirect impacts of public sector reforms on, for example, tenant management organisations and other community-led housing projects, dealing with the fallout of the social housing rent reduction. If there is an economic impact of Brexit, then there are likely to be further cuts in public spending in response.
However (and more hopefully), there may be the opportunity for some careful and realistic thinking around the State Aid rules, and other regulatory matters that emanate from the EU. Certainly a number of our contacts are gearing up for some energetic lobbying!
In conclusion, there will be no substitute for watching developments carefully. Do keep in close contact with your normal ACS contact, and involve us in conversations where we can support you.
Luton Borough Council was prosecuted by the HSE late last year following an incident at a high school in which an assistant headteacher was attacked by a pupil and left with life-changing injuries.
This ebriefing looks at the proposal to set out 'public procurement principles' in the proposed procurement legislation.
Happy New Year - our first newsletter of 2021! Throughout this year we will continue to bring you news and developments relating to the charities sector.
Local authorities should be wary of reserving contracts for local suppliers, as recommended by Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 11/20. Other contracting authorities may want to maximise their use of this
Most housing practitioners have perhaps been waiting for this news since the latest lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on 4 January 2021.
Climate change and biodiversity is an area where significantly faster changes are needed on a global and local basis.
Chris Lloyd Smith, Adrian Leonard and Lisa Whitehouse discuss the planning opportunities available to owners of businesses and how to prepare for unforeseen events.
In their 3rd podcast of the series, Chris Lloyd-Smith and Maria Ramon discuss a number of problems with and difficulties that can arise in mediation and the mechanisms they use to overcome them.
Our previous round-up began by sharing the news that two vaccines had shown very promising test results. Here we are, not even a month later, and the first vaccines have already been administered!
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