Legislation / Legal

OfcomOfcom has outlined new consumer protection powers which could soon boost its abilities to tackle scams & mis-selling. Currently if a company is found to have breached Ofcom’s rules it is given a month to address the problem.  If it complies within that time Ofcom does not currently have the power to take further action.
However the new rules – which are now before Parliament – would mean Ofcom could fine the company as soon as the breach was discovered.  This fine could be up to 10% of relevant turnover. Ofcom also expects to have strengthened powers to fine a company up to a maximum of £20,000 per day for each day if the breach carries on.
These changes to the law are part of a package of new powers & requirements under the revised European Electronic Communications Framework.  If Parliament approves proposed changes to the existing law, these new powers would be available to Ofcom from 26 May 2011.
Press release & links
BIS: The Government has announced new areas that it will consider reforming as part of its review of employment red tape – including:
* collective redundancy consultation periods
* the Transfer Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations (TUPE)
* compensation for discrimination awarded by employment tribunals
Press release & links ~ CBI comment ~ TUC comment
DfT: Plans to improve road safety education, while taking tough action against the small minority of dangerous drivers, have been set out by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.  Careless driving will be made a fixed penalty offence to allow the police more effectively to tackle reckless driving that puts other road users in danger, while disqualified drivers face having to take a new test before regaining their licence.
There will also be more educational courses that can be offered in place of a fixed penalty & points in appropriate cases as well as a new post-test qualification for novice drivers, under plans set out in the new Strategic Framework for Road Safety.
Press release & links ~ Strategic Framework for Road Safety
Defra: High welfare standards for travelling performing wild animals in circuses will be ensured through a strict new licensing regime, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said last week. Any circuses in England that wish to have wild animals performing in them will need to demonstrate that they meet high animal welfare standards for each animal before they can be granted a licence to keep those animals.
All kept animals in England including in circuses are covered by the Animal Welfare Act 2006.  The new licensing system will be brought in through the Act.
Press release & links
Newswire – LC: The Law Commission's latest report on Adult Social Care makes recommendations for a single, clear, modern statute and code of practice that would pave the way for a coherent social care system. Local councils across England & Wales will have clear & concise rules to govern when they must provide services – See ‘In the News Section’ for more information.
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