Local Government is facing unprecedented challenges. The increasing pressure on public sector budgets along with some of the most far reaching public sector reform in decades has resulted in local authorities requiring to fundamentally change the way they deliver their services.
Over the past few years, the centralisation of the delivery of fire and police services along with the introduction of health and social care partnerships (where local government and the NHS jointly have the responsibility to start shifting from hospital care to care at home and care in the community) along with the aspirations of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 has resulted in local government having to rethink its delivery model.
The options for local authorities in meeting this challenge will be to take a more strategic and long term approach and a greater openness to alternative forms of service delivery. As the service deliver models have become more complex it is necessary for legal advisers to the sector to have a detailed knowledge understanding of all aspects of the law as it affects local authorities.
Our local government team provide a full service to a number of local authorities which means that we are aware of every aspect of your business and therefore have an inherent understanding of your legal requirement and the political, social and commercial challenges that you face. This understanding gives our teams the skills to work with you in innovating whilst ensuring that such innovation stands up to public scrutiny.
How can we help?
The procurement of contracts by the public sector in Scotland now differs quite significantly from the rest of the UK. Over the past 10 years public procurement has become a fertile ground for litigation. With the recent changes in procurement law challenges are only likely to increase. We have considerable experience in providing strategic advice involving the design or health check of procurement processes as well as practical advice on the drafting of tender documentation and methodology and evaluation of tenders. We have experience of dealing with both formal and informal challenges for public sector bodies and managing these in a way to bring about the desired outcome. Our considerable experience in both bringing and defending procurement challenges in the Court of Session and the Sheriff Courts has put us at the cutting edge of this field. It is this all round experience that gives us the edge. It means that we can spot potential pitfalls – and keep you out of them!
Planning & Environment
Expert navigation of the Scottish planning process at both national and local level is central to achieving development objectives. We don’t just bring in-depth knowledge of the regulatory law and process but also a rigorous approach to local dynamics and the statutory powers of local government. Across the property development sector, our accredited town planners have delivered winning planning submissions through detailed knowledge backed by advocacy skills. A wealth of experience in dealing with section 75 agreements allows us to deliver the best possible advice to our clients in local government.
Environmental law is changing rapidly and in ways that can have profound effects on development proposals. We have specialist expertise in all aspects.
We advise on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) which play a major role in decisions on major developments and are mandatory for large and complex developments such as crude oil refineries or waste disposal installations and can be required for less significant developments such as wind farm applications.
Nature conservation law is also important to property development. Wildlife and habitat protection takes many forms, but you can be confident about getting the right advice to avoid any such difficulties.
Contamination, pollution control and waste management are all key issues which have to be taken into account in a wide range of developments.
So, we understand how much goes into a development project, and what is at risk if it fails. So our team aims to ensure that all proposals avoid the problems that arise from falling foul of environmental law and pass smoothly through the planning system.
We provide a wide range of expertise across our litigators including in judicial review, appeals, applications under the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 and the Adult Support & Protection (Scotland) Act 2007, applications for freeing for adoption, anti-social behaviour orders, evictions and rent arrears, licensing applications and licensing appeals, education support applications and many other court challenges which local authorities can face.
We have a dedicated and highly experienced team of litigators who are well used to acting on behalf of local authorities, understanding their needs and their challenges.
Data Protection & Freedom of Information
Local government authorities have to manage carefully the information they hold to comply with their various obligations to both protect and allow access to information. Our team has extensive knowledge and experience of advising public sector bodies, including local authorities, commissions and education institutions, on data protection and freedom of information. Our team regularly provide bespoke training on these matters.
Freedom of Information
We advise a wide range of local authorities and public bodies on all aspects of compliance with freedom of information legislation, including drafting publications schemes, handling and responding to information requests and the application of exemptions to disclosure, including the interaction with data protection law.
We advise local authorities and public sector bodies on all aspects of compliance with data protection legislation, including high profile and sensitive matters. Matters on which we advise include:
- drafting data protection policies, procedures and disclaimers;
- data protection in contracts, including data sharing and data processing agreements;
- handling of complex and voluminous requests for personal data and the application of exemptions;
- call recording and CCTV operation;
- conducting privacy impact assessments;
- the interaction of data protection legislation with other public sector disclosure obligations; and
- implications of the new General European Data Protection Regulation due to come into force in 2018