The Prime Minister announced on Tuesday 22 September a new range of restrictions to protect us from the Covid crisis, some of which will apply to charities.
Section 17 of the Local Government Act 1988 has made that clear for many years. It prohibits the taking into account of non-commercial considerations in procurement decisions, including considerations relating to country of origin. The Public Contracts Regulations 2015 also do not allow for a contracting authority (off its own back) to boycott certain countries or organisations.
Councils do, from time to time, pass resolutions seeking to boycott. However, as The Queen (on the application of Jewish Rights Watch, t/a Jewish Human Rights Watch) v Leicester City Council demonstrates, these commissioning resolutions are either made by full Council (when the Executive rather than full Council has the power to make procurement decisions) or usually caveated by words to the effect of “so far as the law allows” (we sense the hand of a lawyer there). As the law does not allow it, any such resolution has no legal effect and is purely symbolic.
The issue of boycotts greatly concerns the Government; it was only last year that they issued a Procurement Policy Note on the subject. Now the Government proposes to amend the Revised Best Value Statutory Guidance to “Add a new paragraph stating that authorities should not implement or pursue boycotts other than where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the Government”.
In our view, given the clear understanding of what Section 17 means and that procurement law does not allow local authorities to boycott, there is no need for any change to the best value guidance.
Does this mean that the Government has some other motive? The consultation refers to “pursue boycotts”. Does this mean that the Government is also going after purely symbolic resolutions and restricting local authority members from even commenting on issues?
We wait to see the outcome of the consultation and the exact wording that goes into the guidance. For reference, the consultation can be found here.
Following the end of the possession stay on 21 September, Helen Tucker & Rebecca Sembuuze from our housing litigation team discuss the most recent guidance, priority cases and what to expect in court.
Covid-19 has resulted, on the whole, in a marked co-operation between contracting authorities and their suppliers as everybody focuses on maintaining delivery as far as possible.
Employment Tribunal rules in favour of claimants in minimum wage case – has the interpretation of “working time” changed?
As we enter a recession, we have been here before, and a key question is what did we learn and how can we benefit from that learning?
It is anticipated that as lockdown restrictions ease, and particularly with children and young adults returning to education, cases of meningitis will start to rise.
As we continue to emerge from lockdown measures and deal with local measures and the short and long term economic impact of Covid-19, local authorities will need to re-assess how services will be delivered for years to come.
The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
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