Legislation / Legal
CQC: Legislation introducing a new registration system for all regulated health & adult social care services in England has now been laid before Parliament. To help care providers get ready for registration, the Care Quality Commission have published 3 short guides. Further guidance, including the final version of the CQC guidance about compliance, will be available in December 2009:
Press release ~ A guide to the new system of registration ~ The scope of registration ~ NHS trusts: How to apply for registration overview ~ CQC: new system of registration
BIS: The Government has announced new action to crackdown on the ‘ugly face of the modelling & entertainment industry’. To prevent rogue entertainment & modelling agencies from exploiting people the Government will introduce new rules banning agencies from taking upfront fees from models, background artists, extras and walk-ons.
There is a concern that some agencies are charging exorbitant amounts without any likelihood of securing people castings or work. Draft regulations will be laid in Parliament in November 2009 and will come into force in October 2010. Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) will enforce the new regulations.
Press release ~ Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) ~ Closed consultation ~ Directgov: Entertainment and modelling work ~ Spotlight ~ Agency workers – Know your rights
HO: A series of proposals designed to ensure the right people are on the National DNA Database, as well as defining when people should come off has been announced by Home Secretary Alan Johnson. Following a public consultation which received more than 500 responses, the Government has ‘listened’ to the range of comments & has proposes to:
* remove profiles of all adults arrested but not charged or convicted of any recordable offence after 6 years
* remove profiles of 16 & 17 year old juveniles arrested but not charged or convicted of serious offences after six years
* remove profiles of all other juveniles arrested but not charged or convicted of a recordable offence after 3 years, regardless of age at arrest
* retain DNA profiles of all juveniles convicted of all but the most serious recordable offences for 5 years and indefinitely for any further convictions
The Government also plans to give police new powers to take DNA samples from anyone convicted abroad, or convicted before the creation of the DNA database in 1995.
DSA: Proposals to improve skills & safety for new motorcycle riders, drivers of lorries & buses and new drivers who want to tow medium sized trailers have been published for consultation (closes on 5 February 2010) by the Department for Transport (DfT) in conjunction with the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
The measures are contained in a consultation on the implementation of new European requirements on driver testing, training, examination & licensing which come into force in mid-January 2013. Other motorists will not be affected.
Press release ~ 'Driver Testing, Training, Examining and Licensing: Implementing New European Union Requirements'
HO: New measures to protect the public, increase police accountability and tackle crime & disorder have been welcomed by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson after the Policing and Crime Bill received Royal Assent.
New measures include the introduction of a mandatory code of practice for alcohol retailers, the creation of a new offence of paying for sex with a prostitute who has been coerced or deceived and the power for police & local authorities to apply for injunctions against people involved in gang-related violence.
DSA: Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) who pose a significant threat to the safety of the public will face immediate suspension under new legislation which gained Royal Assent last week. The Driving Instruction (Suspension and Exemption Powers) Act 2009 will close a loophole in existing law by allowing the Registrar of ADIs to immediately suspend ADIs who pose a threat to learner drivers and other road users while they are removed from the register permanently.
It currently takes 45 days to remove instructors from the register of Approved Driving Instructors, during which time they can continue to give driving instruction. The Driving Standards Agency intends to consult early in 2010 on the detailed arrangements for implementation of the Act. The new suspension power will also apply to Potential Driving Instructors, who are authorised to provide instruction using a trainee licence.
BIS: The Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act has received Royal Assent. The Act provides the first complete legislative overhaul of Apprenticeships legislation for nearly 200 years – putting the new Apprenticeship Offer for suitably qualified young people on a statutory basis from 2013 and ensures a good quality apprenticeship for apprentices & employers alike.
It introduces the landmark time to train initiative, which will give employees the legal right to request time to train throughout their working lives. The introduction of the right will be phased and will be made available to employees in large businesses from April 2010 before being extended to all employees from April 2011.
Press release ~ Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act ~ Consultation on New Statutory Children's Trust Guidance and New Children and Young People's Plan Regulations (closes on Friday 29 January 2010)
CLG: Councils will have new powers to engineer economic recovery locally, following the Royal Assent of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill. The Act is intended to strengthen the democratic role of councils to support local people & businesses to rebuild the local economy, increase jobs & skills, tackle housing shortages and improve infrastructure.
Defra: England’s sea life & habitats will benefit from greater protection after the Marine and Coastal Access Bill received Royal Assent last week, creating the Marine and Coastal Access Act. The government claims that ‘no other country in the world has successfully introduced a single piece of legislation to protect the marine environment’.
The Act will create a new marine planning system designed to bring together the conservation, social & economic needs of our seas. A network of Marine Conservation Zones will be created that will protect rare & threatened species and habitats. 4 regional projects have started working with local groups & businesses to identify which areas will be designated as Marine Conservation Zones.
Press release ~ Related Natural England press release ~ Marine and Coastal Access Act ~ Marine Management Organisation ~ Marine Conservation Zone Project ~ Natural England ~ Balanced Seas – south east Regional MCZ Project ~ Finding Sanctuary – south west Regional MCZ Project ~ Irish Seas Conservation Zones - north west Regional MCZ Project ~ Net Gain – north east Regional MCZ Project
MoJ: Better protection for witnesses during criminal investigations, more consistency in sentencing and modernisation of the coroners system are part of a raft of new measures that became law last week. The Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which received its Royal Assent, is intended to deliver a more responsive & transparent justice system for victims, witnesses & the wider public and place bereaved families at the heart of the coroner service.
DH: A new law that will help to protect children & young people from the harms of tobacco received Royal Assent last week. Provisions in the new Health Act 2009 mean that shops will no longer be allowed to display tobacco products and it will also enable the prohibition of sales of tobacco from vending machines.
The Act also places a legal duty on the NHS and its providers to have regard to the NHS Constitution, which will safeguard the principles & values of the NHS for the future and sets out the rights & responsibilities of patients and staff. The Act will also enable the piloting of direct payments for healthcare (giving patients more choice & greater control over the care they receive) and improving the quality of health services. The Act will come into effect over the next few months.
Press release ~ Health Act 2009 ~ NHS Constitution ~ Consultation on proposed tobacco control regulations for England (under the Health Bill 2009) – closes on 4 January 2010 ~ Consultation on direct payments for healthcare - closes on 8 January 2010 ~ Response to closed consultation on the de-authorisation of Foundation Trusts ~ Feedback on closed consultation on suspension powers ~ Responses to closed consultation on pharmacy in England
DCMS: The Government have warmly welcomed the giving of Royal Assent to the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Private Member’s Bill, as proposed by Andrew Dismore MP. The Bill will give the governing bodies of national institutions named in the Bill the power to return an object from their collection to its rightful owner, as determined by the Spoliation Advisory Panel.
Before the passing of the bill, the Spoliation Panel could recommend an object from a local institution be returned to the claimant, if they were satisfied that the item had been stolen during the Nazi era (1933-1945). However, national institutions are forbidden by legislation from ‘deaccessioning’ items, even if they too have been investigated & judged to have been stolen.
Up until now a valuation of the object has been carried out in such cases and an ex-gratia payment made in lieu of the return of the item. Due to the success of this Bill, national institutions will now be able to return treasures to claimants if the panel so recommends and Ministers agree.
Press release ~ Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Private Member’s Bill ~ Spoliation Advisory Panel
DCSF: New, smarter punishments, that will hopefully tackle the underlying causes of youth crime, help prevent re-offending and make our neighbourhoods safer & better places to live, will come into effect on 30 November 2009, Ed Balls & Jack Straw claimed last week.
The Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) will provide judges & magistrates with a choice of 18 options from which they will be able to create a sentence specifically designed to deal with the individual circumstances of the young offender before them and so help them turn their backs on crime.
The YRO provides a range of sentencing options including intensive fostering, intensive surveillance & supervision requirements, electronic monitoring, curfews, the required attendance of substance abuse or mental health programmes, as well as undertaking community work & reparation. This could include apologising to their victim, in order to make visible amends for their crimes.
Custody will continue to be available to punish those who commit the most serious offences. The Sentencing Guidelines Council will shortly publish the first sentencing guideline which sets out overarching principles for judges to take in account when they sentence young people.