Last month the government published the latest annual update on the numbers of looked after children.
Last month the government published the latest annual update on the numbers of looked after children. The headlines are that:
As the numbers of looked after children rise, all things being equal, the number of claims by looked after children will rise. The claims numbers rise should mirror the rise in looked after children numbers (4%) but experience suggests that where resources are stretched to breaking point the percentage increase in claims is likely to exceed this figure.
Prior to the GN v Poole judgment we faced claims, framed in negligence, alleging failure to remove a child from the family home. Following the judgment those claims are being recast as claims for breach of Human Rights. The high percentage of children who are removed because of the risk of abuse or neglect suggests that those breaches of Human Rights claims will not be declining anytime soon.
Claims for breach of Human Rights arising out of voluntary arrangements drove an increase in care orders and a decrease in voluntary arrangements in previous years. That trend seems to have come to an end. We should therefore expect those claims numbers to stabilise at current levels.
The broadening of the concept of vicarious liability (from Lister v Hesley Hall thorough to Armes v Nottinghamshire County Council) has increased the circumstances when local authorities can be found vicariously liable for abuse but simplified the liability issues. Based on the figures above, local authorities will be vicariously liable for abuse by care givers in about 71% of the care settings in which looked after children are placed.
Drawing those threads together, the number of breach of Human Rights claims is likely to rise, as an increase in failure to remove claims offsets a decline in voluntary arrangement claims. The number of negligence claims is likely to fall, as the rise in claims by looked after children is offset by the decline in failure to remove claims framed in negligence. Overall, there is unlikely to be a seismic change in the numbers of claims, but a continuing shift in the causes of action that underpin them.
Law firm Browne Jacobson has collaborated with Wiltshire Council and Christ Church Business School on the launch event of The Council Company Best Practice and Innovation Network, a platform which brings together academic experts and senior local authority leaders, allowing them to share best practice in relation to council companies.
In the Autumn Statement delivered on 17 November, rises to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates were announced, to take effect from 1 April 2023.
Announced in September but scrapped on 17 November the investment zone proposals were very short lived. The proposal has now morphed into the proposal for a smaller number of clustered zones earmarked for investment.
Settlement agreements are commonplace in an employment context and are ordinarily used to provide the parties to the agreement with certainty following the conclusion of an employment relationship.
On 2 November 2022, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in the much awaiting case of Hillside Parks Ltd v Snowdonia National Park Authority  UKSC 30. The Court’s judgment suggests that the long established practice of using drop-in applications is in fact much more restricted than previously thought. This judgment therefore has significant implications for both the developers and local planning authorities.