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Comment and opinion from the legal front line.

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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.

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.

“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".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Public Authorities in 2015: Four key legal updates you need to know

2015 looks to be an eventful year with royal baby number 2 on the way, London hosting the Rugby World Cup 2015 and the 800th birthday of the Magna Carta. 2015 will also be a year of change for the public sector. This article discusses what to expect in several areas of public sector law in 2015.

Managing in uncertain times

As local authorities count the cost of this year's financial settlement, it is clear that a significant number will face real challenges as they consider how to maintain vital public services whilst balancing the books.

SMEs and public procurement

SMEs' access to public contracts has recently been a prominent issue on the public procurement agenda. Following Lord Young's recommended reforms in his 2013 report 'Growing Your Business,' the Cabinet Office has implemented these measures into the draft 2015 Public Procurement Regulations.

New Exemptions in the Draft Procurement Regulations

The Government has recently published Draft Regulations to replace the Public Contracts Regulations 2006. The Draft Regulations implement the new procurement Directive (2014/24/EU) and are due to come into force in the spring of 2015.

Devolution: Just the Beginning?

As the dust settles and there is either relief or disappointment at the maintenance of the union, the Scottish referendum has invigorated the argument for greater devolution of powers to cities and regions.

Changes to a public authority’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

The recent case of Innes v Information Commissioner [2014] EWCA Civ 1086 (CA (Civ Div)) has resulted in a revised interpretation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (Act), now allowing applications to request data in a specific format.