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Latest legal updates

Town and Village Green update: Making waves

Recent case highlights importance of addressing TVG risks early in a transaction.

South Northamptonshire and Cherwell District Councils announce pioneering new partnership

As the country gears up for the forthcoming elections, along with death and taxes, it seems certain that local authorities will once again become an easy target for government cuts.

Building Interest

Welcome to the February edition of Building Interest.

Five ways to tackle late payments

Cash flow is the life blood of every business. If you cannot settle your debts as they fall due you are very likely in financial distress and may be technically insolvent.

What’s underlying the HCA’s revised general consent to charge?

The regulator has no power without further legislation to directly restrict the ability of RPs to take out particular forms of finance.

What is an establishment?

The trigger for collective redundancy consultation - "20 or more redundancies within 90 days or less" - trips easily off the tongue for anyone who works within employee relations.  However, turn to the additional factor – at "one establishment" - and the certainty starts to fall away.

Asset and Liabilities Registers - February 2015

The introduction of the changes to the Regulatory Framework by the Homes and Communities Agency on 1 April 2015 will require RPs to have a comprehensive register of their assets and liabilities (Register).

Go all round the houses

To provide a tailored housing solution which meets the needs of each individual community, as the recent Elphicke-House report encourages local authorities to do, every local authority will have to look very carefully at the funding options available to them.

Drop in ‘traditional’ outsourcing models

Research has shown that the value of contracts signed by councils for outsourcing services plummeted last year as councils look at different ways of outsourcing. Helen Randall looks at the implications for local authorities.

Modelling in practice

What is the potential of Building Information Modelling for social landlords?

Anger rises in London over impact of the Vacant Building Credit

Councils and developers are united in opposing the recently introduced policy.

Drop in ‘traditional’ outsourcing contracts

The value of contracts signed by councils for outsourced IT and back-office services plummeted by more than £250m last year, according to research.

Is procurement worth it?

The European Union’s procurement regime has elicited mostly grumbles from social landlords since the sector came under its aegis in 2004.

Court rules in favour of leaseholders over repair costs

Landlords must consider the financial impact on leaseholders when seeking to charge for non-vital improvement works to their homes, an upper tribunal has ruled.

Get Britain Building - Infrastructure Act comes into force

On 12 February 2015, the Infrastructure Act came into force with the aim of making building in Britain easier, quicker and simpler.

No more broken promises – the Takeover Panel gets tough on post-offer commitments

Ever since Kraft's controversial takeover of Cadbury in 2010, the powers of the Takeover Panel to protect UK companies from overseas bidders have been in the spotlight. Kraft's reneging on its promise to keep Cadbury's Somerdale factory open raised questions as to how bidders can be held to account for pledges they make about a target's business. The debate about a Government public interest test for takeovers was reignited but ultimately it was left to the Takeover Panel to try to redress the balance of power in favour of target companies. A raft of amendments was introduced to the Takeover Code rulebook, but did the changes go far enough?

“Age of austerity” - what is a public body’s duty to consult?

A recent Court of Appeal case provides useful guidance on the law concerning a public body's duty to consult, especially in the "Age of Austerity".

EU Commission gets tough with amazon - should State aid rules be used to stem tax avoidance?

The run up to the general election will be dominated by the parties' proposals for reducing the budget deficit and funding public. services. Part of that debate will include competing explanations for one of the mysteries of the current economic recovery - the UK's rising GDP and falling unemployment has not increased tax receipts by as much as anticipated, leaving a bigger than expected hole in public

Housing Litigation Update Winter 2014/15

Welcome to the winter edition of Housing Litigation Update.

Payers beware

One of the first cases on the new payment provisions in the Construction Act underlines the importance of issuing payment and pay-less notices

Tighter reins on the use of VTNs – the Fastweb judgement

A European procurement case published in 2014 has whipped away the fig leaf that Voluntary Transparency Notices potentially provided to contracting authorities worried about their contracts being declared ineffective. In this article, first published in the Procurement and Outsourcing Journal, Rebecca Rees and Lucy Doran explore the Fastweb Case (C-19/13) and explore the repercussions for contracting authorities.

Sites for sore eyes

A rush to meet demand in an industry with a skills shortage could have fatal consequences if workers aren’t trained properly

Government response to consultation on new procurement regulations

The government has recently released its response to a consultation on the new EU Procurement Directive which came into force on 17 April 2014. The consultation related to the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 which implement the Directive, and which, for the most part, come into force on 26 February 2015.

Public Contracts Regulations 2015 - effective from 26 February

The final version of the long awaited Public Contracts Regulations 2015 was published yesterday and will take effect on 26 February 2015.

The Elphicke-House review: councils as housing delivery enablers

An independent review has called on local authorities to become "housing delivery enablers"

Council pension funds reject 3% challenge

A number of local authority pension funds have rejected calls for them to take on a ‘3% challenge’ to invest in housing projects in their area.

Cyber attacks and managing IT suppliers

The cyber attack on Sony Pictures in November, in which its servers were breached and an enormous amount of private content was downloaded and publically disseminated, has been regarded by many as the biggest security breach in recent history. In the financial services industry, it was reported that JP Morgan was recently subject to a cyber attack in which 76 million customer accounts were hacked and, in a separate incident, almost US$45 million was stolen from two banks in the Middle East.

Registration rules could deter new associations

Fewer organisations could register as housing associations in future due to stricter new rules around registration, lawyers have warned.

EU Commission gets tough with Amazon - should State aid rules be used to stem tax avoidance?

The run up to the general election will be dominated by the parties' proposals for reducing the budget deficit and funding public services.  Part of that debate will include competing explanations for one of the mysteries of the current economic recovery - the UK's rising GDP and falling unemployment has not increased tax receipts by as much as anticipated, leaving a bigger than expected hole in public finances.

BIM bytes: To BIM or not to BIM? That is the question for designers

If a client has not stated a requirement for the use of BIM, the increasing weight of opinion suggests it should nevertheless be recommended.

Way ahead: 2015 construction trends

Michael O’Reilly, head of international construction, outlines his predictions for 2015

Law firm says new HCA regulatory framework offers “clarity and certainty”

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has published the outcome of its consultation on changes to the regulatory framework that comes into effect from 1 April 2015.

Five things we learnt from the Elphicke-House review

The Elphicke-House report, published this week, represents arguably the most important Government commissioned report into the role of local authorities in housing supply in a generation.

Councils can play a greater role in getting the country building, finds report

Councils should be put at the heart of providing more homes across all tenures in their local area

Quarterly Housing Update Winter 2014/15

Welcome to the winter edition of Quarterly Housing Update.

Addressing the school places crisis

What powers and responsibilities do local authorities have to ensure sufficient school places? With a growing population and the introduction of academies and free schools, Helen Randall considers the legal position of local authorities.

Quarterly Commercial Update, Winter 2014/15

Welcome to the Winter 2014/15 edition of Quarterly Commercial Update.

All together now: legislative reform could give local authorities greater flexibility to combine

The Department for Communities and Local Government consultation on legislative reform to give local authorities greater flexibility in forming a combined authority or economic prosperity board closed on 26 January 2015.

The heat is on to comply with the Energy Efficiency Directive

Regulations came into force on 18 December 2014 applying to residential and commercial premises.

Councils turn builders: Why housebuilding is being reclaimed

Local authorities are set to finally turn a government policy shift in 2012 into a housebuilding surge in 2015 that could be lucrative for contractors.