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Comment and opinion from the legal front line.

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Trading companies and procurement

Public authorities are increasingly establishing trading companies (for local authrities these are often known as LATCs), either as wholly owned subsidiaries or, more and more, as joint ventures in local government with other authorities. They may do so either to deliver services in new, innovative, ways or to launch a trading business with the aim of generating revenue.

Reducing the administrative burden in public procurement – European Single Procurement Document

There will soon be less upfront administrative burden and investment of resource for tenderers participating in a public procurement procedure, and particularly for entities which ultimately fail to win the contract to be awarded under that procedure.

Authorities exposed to damages claims for procurement rule breaches

The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment on 15 December 2015 in the case of Energysolutions EU Ltd v Nuclear Decommissioning Authority [2015] EWCA Civ 1262.

Public Interest in revealing Academy Funding under the Freedom of Information Act

A recent First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) decision has ruled that the Department for Education (DfE) must disclose information about the funding provided to academy sponsors when they take over an academy from a previous sponsor.

New Budget Freedoms announced for Local Authorities - no time to lose

The Chancellor's Autumn statement included a commitment to allow Local Authorities to spend up to 100% of their fixed asset receipts (excluding Right to Buy receipts) on the revenue costs of reform projects.  At the time, the examples given were of projects which allow councils to deliver more for less – e.g. home improvements that can help keep older people from needing to go to hospital.

New threshold levels for public procurement

Even more contracts will be caught by the public procurement regime in the new year.

Making the most of your assets

Additional powers announced in the Spending Review are to give local authorities the ability to retain 100% of the receipts from asset sales to spend on public service qualifying 'reform projects'.  The details of the scheme are to be announced later this month but while some regard the proposals as a short-term fix to combat ever decreasing budgets, for many authorities looking to their existing estates to address recent pressures is not a new concept.

Devolution & Partnership Working

On 9 December 2015 public sector partner Helen Randall spoke at the Business Services Association's discussion on Devolution held at Trowers & Hamlins' Manchester office.

The means in which savings in PFI contracts may be made

Given the outcome of the Spending Review published on 26 November 2015, there is a drive for public sector entities to implement savings measures.  This includes an ongoing review of the terms of their PFI contracts with the purpose of reducing costs.

Autumn 2015 Spending Review - Impact on Local Authorities

Commentary by Helen Randall and James Hawkins (Public Sector Commercial)

CEL Annual Lecture - Current issues in public procurement: a view from Luxembourg

Solicitors from Trowers & Hamlins LLP's Public Sector Commercial department attended the Annual Lecture of the Centre of European Law at The Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London on the evening of Monday 2 November 2015.

Delivering a strategic vision of place

Partners from Trowers & Hamlins LLP's Public Sector Commercial department facilitated a discussion at MIPIM UK with senior officers from a range of local authorities and regional growth boards to debate the current opportunities and challenges in delivering a strategic vision of place including and how regeneration projects could be brought forward in light of current market conditions across the country.

Modern Slavery Act 2015: What does it mean for local authorities?

Modern Slavery. Perhaps more than any others, these are two words that sound like they should be an oxymoron in 21st century Britain.

What impact will the summer 2015 budget have on local government?

For local government, the summer 2015 budget contained few immediate surprises but the full impact is likely to be revealed as the autumn spending review progresses.

Thoughts from the LGA conference - Blackpool’s beacon for youth

Despite the prospect of further austerity, last week's LGA conference in Harrogate was largely a positive experience.