Legislation / Legal

WAG: The Deputy Minister for Housing, Jocelyn Davies, has introduced the proposed Sustainable Homes Legislative Competence Order (LCO) which would give the National Assembly powers to legislate on housing for the first time.  The proposed LCO has been agreed by UK Cabinet and is now introduced in the National Assembly for Wales for scrutiny. The competence within the LCO includes:
* Regulation of social landlords
* Homelessness
* Housing allocations
* The provision of Gypsy and Traveller sites
Press release ~ WAG: Housing and community
EHRC: The forthcoming Equality Bill includes provisions on positive action which should help employers recruit a more representative range of people to their staff, delegates were told at a recent conference organised by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The Bill is set to change the law on positive action and give employers the voluntary ability to choose between 2 equally qualified candidates if they need to recruit people who are currently under-represented in their organisation. 
For example, a primary school head teacher choosing between equally capable male & female applicants to a teaching post would be able to select the male candidate on the basis that overwhelming numbers of primary school teachers are female. 
Press release ~ Equality Bill ~ Equality Bill - EHRC response to Positive Action
EHRC: The Equality and Human Rights Commission has issued compliance notices to 3 local authorities warning that they need to take steps immediately to address gender inequality in their community or face legal action for failing to comply with the Sex Discrimination Act. The Commission has written to a further 14 councils also warning they may also be in breach, outlining that they too need to make changes within 3 months.
The Commission believes Arun District Council, Chiltern District Council and East Cambridgeshire District Council are in breach of the Act’s Gender Equality Duty.  This duty requires public authorities to address gender inequality in their communities, for example by providing specialist services such as domestic violence & rape crisis centres for women who have experienced violence.
The local authorities have not yet published their plan for addressing gender inequality - a legal requirement since April 2007.  They also appear to have not fulfilled their duty to gather information or considered the need for services to support women who have experienced violence.  They have also failed to consult their communities or gathered any information to assess what women in their area need, as they are compelled to do by the Duty.
Press release ~ Map of Gaps study ~ Gender Equality Duty ~  Enforcement under the Gender Equality Duty ~ End Violence Against Women coalition
BIS: It will be unlawful for trade union members to be denied employment through blacklists under plans outlined by Employment Relations Minister, Lord Young. The move comes as the Government publishes its response to a public consultation on the subject held over the summer and follows evidence that a number of employers in the construction sector had been unlawfully vetting workers.
The Government plans to table the regulations for Parliament to consider as soon as possible.  They will need to be debated & approved by each House before they can be implemented.  Provided Parliament gives its approval, the regulations could be brought into effect early next year.
Press release ~ Government response to consultation
ScotGov: The Scottish Law Commission has published its report on double jeopardy laws in Scotland.  This follows a request by the Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill in November 2007 for a detailed investigation by the SLC into whether there should be exceptions to the principle of double jeopardy in Scotland.
Press release ~ Scottish Law Commission ~ Report on Double Jeopardy