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UKAJI March 2021 round up

Here’s is UKAJI’s round-up of important administrative justice news for March 2021. If you have anything to add to this round-up or any future round-ups, please contact Lee Marsons on lm17598@essex.ac.uk.

Publications:

Independent reports:

  • HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services released a report into the Metropolitan Police’s handling of a vigil held in commemoration of Sarah Everard, available here;
  • HM Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services released its annual report into the state of fire and rescue services in England, available here;
  • HM Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services released a report into how effectively the police deal with protests and balance competing rights involved, available here;
  • HM Inspector of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services released a report into stop and search and the use of force, available here;
  • Liberty released a briefing on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, available here;
  • The Corra Foundation released a report entitled Bold and Fearless: Towards an independent human rights funding agenda for Scotland;
  • The Social Security Advisory Committee released a report entitled Jobs and benefits: the Covid-19 challenge;
  • The Young Women’s Trust released a report into the experiences of young women during the coronavirus lockdowns, available here;
  • The Women’s Budget Group released a briefing in response to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s budget;
  • The Food Foundation released a report entitled A Crisis Within a Crisis: The Impact of Covid-19 on Household Food Security;
  • The Traveller Movement released a report into traveller’s access to further education, available here;
  • The National Audit Office released guidance on improving operational delivery in government;
  • The National Audit Office released a report into the role of the Department for Health in overseeing the social care market in England;
  • The National Audit Office released a report into government funding of charities during the coronavirus pandemic;
  • The National Audit Office released a report on how public service pensions have changed over the last twenty years;
  • The National Audit Office released a report on support for children’s education during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic;
  • The National Audit Office released a report on the timeliness of local auditor reporting on local government in England;
  • The National Audit Office released a report on the Culture Recovery Fund;
  • The National Audit Office released a report on local government finances during the coronavirus pandemic;
  • The National Audit Office released guidance into the detection of fraud and error in government spending;
  • The Public Law Project released its submission to the Independent Human Rights Act Review;
  • PohWer released its submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights investigation into the Independent Human Rights Act Review;
  • Sir Peter Hendy released the interim report of his Union connectivity review;
  • The Prime Minister’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities released a report into racial and ethnic disparities in the UK;
  • The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration released a report into the use of military bases as asylum accommodation;
  • The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration released a report into the work of Border Force, Immigration Enforcement, and UK Visas and Immigration to identify, investigate, disrupt and prosecute perpetrators of modern slavery and human trafficking.

Policy papers and open consultations:

  • The Department for Business released a policy paper and consultation on the future of subsidy control in the UK post-Brexit, open until 31 March 2021 at 23:45;
  • HM Treasury released a policy paper entitled Build Back Better: Our plan for growth;
  • The Home Office made a series of changes to the Immigration Rules on 4 March 2021, available here;
  • The Home Secretary announced changes to immigration and asylum laws via a policy called New Plan for Immigration;
  • The Independent Review of Administrative Law report was released by the Lord Chancellor on 18 March and the Lord Chancellor launched a consultation on judicial review reform;
  • The Home Office issued guidance on its ‘Building a Stronger Britain Together’ programme, a funding strategy which funds counter-terrorism organisations;
  • The Home Office released a number of impact assessments related to immigration policy;
  • The Home Office released guidance to officials related to sham marriages and civil partnerships;
  • The Home Office released a study on the issues raised via legal challenges by people facing deportation in immigration detention;
  • The Troubled Families Programme released its annual report and was renamed as the Supporting Families Programme.
  • The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government released a policy paper on its devolution deal with West Yorkshire;
  • The Ministry for Housing launched a Local Data Accelerator Fund to support data projects that will improve services for children and families;
  • The Ministry for Housing launched a call for evidence on the use of hybrid or virtual proceedings in local authority meetings;
  • The Disability Unit released a blog on government support for families with disabled children;
  • The Secretary of State for Housing gave a speech at the National Housing Federation Summit;
  • A Best Value inspection report was released into Liverpool City Council following allegations of corruption and the Secretary of State for Housing thereafter decided to exercise his powers of intervention under s.15 of the Local Government Act 1999;
  • The Ministry of Housing released a prospectus for the upcoming UK Community Renewal Fund, a fund designed to foster growth and renewal after coronavirus;
  • The Ministry of Housing launched a Welcome Back Fund to help foster recovery in high streets and seaside towns;
  • The Ministry of Housing released its response to a consultation on enforcement of the Parking Code against private operators;
  • The Ministry of Housing launched the Borderlands Growth Deal to promote growth in the borderlands between Scotland and England;
  • The Ministry of Housing released guidance for the Rough Sleeping Acommodation Programme 2021-24;
  • The Ministry of Housing launched a consultation on the so-called ‘Right to Contest’ whereby individuals or groups can require public bodies to consider the disposal of underused publicly owned land. The Ministry suggests that it could redesign this scheme as the ‘Right to Regenerate’;
  • The Department for Health released a policy paper on early years intervention, particularly in a child’s first 1001 days;
  • The Ministry of Justice proposed increasing the mandatory judicial retirement age to 75.

Events and appointments:

  • The Home Office reopened its consultation on violence against women and girls in light of the death of Sarah Everard. The consultation closed on 26 March 2021.
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Budget to the House of Commons on 3 March 2021. The supporting documents are available here.
  • The Independent Reviewer of Prevent, William Shawcross, reopened his call for evidence on the scheme;
  • Landmark Chambers held a Webinar on the Independent Review of Administrative Law report released by the Lord Chancellor;
  • The Lord Chancellor gave a speech entitled Law and politics – the nightmare and the noble dream;
  • Paul Daly (University of Ottawa) held a webinar with Margaret Doyle and Nick O’Brien, authors of Reimagining Administrative Justice: Human rights in small places;
  • The Committee on Standards in Public Life held an oral evidence session with Sir Alex Allen (former Prime Ministerial advisor on the Ministerial Code) and Sir Philip Mawer (former Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards). There was also an evidence session with William Wragg MP (Chair of PACAC), Peter Riddell CBE, Professor Tony Wright, and Dr Hannah White and Professor Matthew Flinders;
  • Robin Simcox was appointed as Interim Lead Commissioner of the Commission for Countering Extremism;
  • Lord Walney, the government’s Independent Advisor on Political Violence and Disruption, launched a call for evidence to run until 10 May 2021;
  • The Home Office released statistics related to the Windrush Compensation Scheme for March 2021;
  • The Home Office released a collection of freedom of information requests received by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner in 2020;
  • The Home Office has invited retailers to trial age verification technology, particularly in shops, bars, and restaurants;
  • The Home Secretary made a statement to the House of Commons in relation to strengthening the accountability of Police and Crime Commissioners to the public;
  • David Neal was appointed as the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration;
  • Fraser Sampson was appointed as the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner;
  • Sara Khan was appointed as the Independent Advisor on Social Cohesion and Resilience;
  • The Ministry of Housing launched the Make Things Right advertising campaign, designed to encourage social housing residents to complain to improve the quality of their accommodation;
  • The Ministry of Justice launched a call for evidence as part of its independent review of criminal legal aid;
  • The Ministry of Justice launched a Family Mediation Voucher Scheme designed to assist families to resolve disputes against the courts;
  • Sally Cheshire CBE was appointed as Chair of Cafcass;
  • Jo Farrar was appointed as Second Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Justice;
  • The Ministry of Justice released quarterly tribunal statistics for October to December 2020;
  • Douglas Marshall was appointed as Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman;
  • The Ministry of Justice released quarterly civil justice statistics, available here.

Ombuds affairs:

  • The PHSO released a report into NHS complaints standards;
  • Andrew Medlock (Assistant Director of Strategy and Partnerships, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman) posted a blog about complaints standards in the NHS;
  • The PHSO’s Radio Ombudsman released a podcast with Rob Behrens and Lady Hale, available here;
  • The LGSCO determined that a Surrey care home caused an elderly woman to die alone despite her daughter being present in a nearby room;
  • The LGSCO issued guidance for local authorities to assist them to handle complaints under the children’s services statutory complaints procedure;
  • The LGSCO determined that Lincolnshire County Council wrongly charged a fixed fee for respite care irrespective of affordability, contrary to statutory guidance;
  • The LGSCO determined that Isle of Wight Council failed to carry out an adequate investigation in relation to a mother’s complaint about the way the council removed her disabled son’s personal budget;
  • The LGSCO determined that the London Borough of Redbridge should audit all children who receive Special Educational Needs provision at a borough school after the council left a boy without adequate support for two years;
  • The LGSCO determined that Nottinghamshire County Council had breached a man’s human rights, namely Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (right to respect for private and family life), due to delays in the provision of his care for dementia;
  • The LGSCO criticised Cornwall Council for its processes in assessing care costs;
  • The SPSO laid the results of 33 complaints before the Scottish Parliament;
  • The Scottish Welfare Fund Independent Reviewer released summaries of 3 cases on its website;
  • The PSOW determined that Flintshire County Council was guilty of maladministration in relation to how it dealt with a planning decision;
  • The PSOW determined that an elderly woman was left housebound for 8 years due to delays in her care caused by Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Glan Clwyd Hospital;
  • The Housing Ombudsman published its Business Plan for 2021-22;
  • The Housing Ombudsman published its new Systemic Framework setting out how it would identify and handle systemic issues;
  • The Housing Ombudsman appointed Adam Sampson as its first Independent Reviewer of Service Complaints;
  • The Housing Ombudsman found that the London Borough of Newham was guilty of maladministration in relation to a complaint regarding a leak and that the council failed to apologise and offer appropriate compensation;
  • The Housing Ombudsman began to release a case summary of its decisions from March 2021;
  • The Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Forces released an update on its case backlog.

Westminster affairs:

  • The following Acts of Parliament received Royal Assent: the Contingencies Fund Act 2021; the Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) Act 2021; the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021; the Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) Act 2021; the Ministerial and other Maternity Allowances Act 2021; and the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021;
  • The Home Secretary released the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021;
  • The Home Office released its written evidence to the Home Affairs Committee on the use of military bases as asylum accommodation. The Chair of the Committee released a statement in response to the evidence.
  • The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee released a report on the government’s support for the homeless and those in private rented accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic;
  • The House of Lords Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee released a report entitled Common frameworks: Building a cooperative Union;
  • The House of Commons Committee on Standards released a report entitled Sanctions and confidentiality in the House’s standards system: revised proposals;
  • The House of Lords Constitution Committee released a report on the implications of coronavirus for the courts and tribunals system;
  • The House of Lords Constitution Committee launched a call for evidence into the revision of the Cabinet Manual;
  • The House of Lords Constitution Committee launched a call for evidence into the future governance of the United Kingdom;
  • The House of Commons European Statutory Instruments Committee released its 22nd Report of Session 2020-21 on The Criminal Justice (Electronic Commerce) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2021;
  • The Women and Equalities Committee is to examine how government can influence the ideas and culture associated with male violence against women;
  • The House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee launched an inquiry into the post-Brexit parliamentary scrutiny of trade agreements;
  • Parliament rose for its Easter recess and will return mid-April;
  • The House of Commons approved the six-monthly renewal of the Coronavirus Act 2020 on 25 March 2021. The House of Lords also approved the renewal of the Act;
  • The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee held an oral evidence session on the legal and ethical implications of coronavirus vaccine certification;
  • The House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee released a report on the future of public service broadcasting;
  • The House of Commons Library produced a briefing paper on the renewal of the Coronavirus Act 2020;
  • The Joint Committee on Human Rights held an evidence session with the UK’s three national human rights commissions on the work of the commissions and the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on the enforcement of rights in the UK;
  • The Commons Education Committee held an evidence session on the benefits of educating children at home;
  • The Prime Minister’s former advisor, Dominic Cummings, appeared before the Commons’ Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees to provide oral evidence on the government’s response to coronavirus;
  • The Home Affairs Committee held an oral evidence session on international approaches to border quarantine;
  • The Health and Social Care Committee held an oral evidence session with Sir Simon Steven, Chief Executive of NHS England, on proposals for reforming the NHS in England;
  • The House of Commons Procedure Committee the ninth version of its guidance for hybrid proceedings in the House of Commons;
  • The Scottish Affairs Committee held an oral evidence session with Holyrood’s Social Security Secretary on cooperation between Holyrood and Westminster on welfare issues;
  • The House of Commons launched the ‘Commonwealth Parliamentary Communications Network’, a professional network for those working in legislature communications;
  • The Covid-19 Committee held an evidence session of the use of wellbeing data to devise policy;
  • The House of Commons Business Committee endorsed the government’s preferred candidate for Chair of the Regulatory Policy Committee, Stephen Gibson;
  • William Shawcross, author of the independent report on provision of compensation for victims of IRA attacks sponsored by ex-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi appeared before the Northern Ireland Committee. Shawcross’s report has yet to be published by the government;
  • The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee launched an inquiry into the role of local authorities in contributing to the central government’s goal of being a net zero producer a greenhouse gases by 2050;
  • The House of Commons Procedure Committee released a report into Commons’ procedure following the easing of lockdown restrictions;
  • The Home Affairs Committee launched two inquiries – one into the actions of the Metropolitan Police during the Sarah Everard vigil and one into violence against women and girls;
  • The House of Lords European Union Committee released a report on the institutional framework provided for by the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement;
  • The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee released a report into the government’s use and transparency of data during coronavirus decision-making;
  • The House of Commons Justice Committee launched an inquiry into coronavirus and the criminal law;
  • The Joint Committee on Human Rights held an oral evidence session on the Independent Human Rights Act Review;
  • The House of Lords European Union Committee released a report into trade in goods post-Brexit;
  • The House of Lords Conduct Committee released a report into the registering and declaration of peers’ foreign interests;
  • There was a Westminster Hall debate on nationality and immigration application fees;
  • Sir Patrick Vallance and Professor Chris Whitty appeared before the Science and Technology Committee to answer questions in relation to the easing of lockdown restrictions;
  • The First Minster of Wales appeared before the House of Commons Wales Committee to give evidence on the relations between the devolved Welsh administration and the UK central government;

Devolved affairs:

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