A young child and her family have successfully challenged bankrupt Northamptonshire County Council’s decision to close 21 of the county’s 36 libraries. The High Court has ruled the council’s library cuts unlawful. The judge said it failed to consider whether it would operate a comprehensive and efficient library service after the closures. This meant a failure to comply with its statutory duties as a council. After being instructed by a local young girl with the help of her mother (they remain anonymous), Irwin Mitchell solicitors issued proceedings for a judicial review of the council’s decision in March. It was the council’s effective bankruptcy – which made national headlines in February – that led to its decision to close the threatened libraries. Northamptonshire County Council failed to properly consider the outcome of a public consultation on its libraries’ future, failed to account for how much money it … [Read more...] about ConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlightConsumerBusinessSpotlight Has a little girl from Northamptonshire just ended local government cuts?
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As Al Pacino said in The Godfather: Part III, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” On Monday morning James Brokenshire would have been forgiven for having this quote on his mind, as he took a call from Theresa May asking him to become the new Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, just four months after stepping down from the cabinet following a major health scare. His predecessor, Sajid Javid, who has been elevated to the Home Office, leaves the role at a crucial time just four months after the rebranding of the Department as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), intended to demonstrate the government’s seriousness about delivering new homes. There is little doubt that Brokenshire has been given the role for his experience in running a government department, rather than his expertise in planning During his 18 months in the role, Javid brought an enthusiasm and energy to the department and … [Read more...] about Opinion: Don’t expect much to change with James Brokenshire taking over the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
By Tina Bellon (Reuters) – A lawyer for a student wounded in February’s mass shooting at a Florida high school on Monday filed a legal notice of intent to sue the county sheriff’s office and the school district for failing to protect the students. The lawsuit would be the first for the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which a gunman killed 17 people and wounded or injured more than a dozen others. The so-called notice of intent to file a claim is required by Florida law before a lawsuit can be brought against government entities. It would be brought on behalf of 15-year-old Anthony Borges and his family. Borges was shot five times during the massacre, suffering life-threatening injuries, and remains hospitalized, according to the notice. “The failure of Broward County public schools, and of the principal and school resource officer to adequately protect students, and in particular our client, from life-threatening harm … [Read more...] about Florida school shooting victim files legal notice to sue local government
For anyone working in the cybersecurity industry, the recent report showing that UK local councils are unprepared to deal with cyber attacks shouldn't come as a surprise. A combination of budgetary constraints and the inability to afford to retain cyber talent plays a part in explaining why such news is not a revelation, but they are not excuses. Indeed, GCHQ studies have shown that 80 – 90 per cent of economic loss due to cybercrime is down to the neglect of basic best practice, which includes the training of employees on awareness of the threats they and their organisations face. What's more, while these council data breaches aren't necessarily about any significant financial gain for cybercriminals, they do highlight the important question of just how secure all levels of government are; the entire ecosystem, from central departments to local council. Basic best practice We know how hard it can be when dealing with a threat that's always growing and evolving, but councils … [Read more...] about Back to basics for cybersecurity in local government
Northern Ireland is gaining ground on Belgium's record of 589 days without an elected government in a democracy. It is 367 days since the devolved administration at Stormont collapsed, leaving one corner of the UK without a ruling executive in place.With no ministers in office, senior civil servants have had to step in to keep the various departments of government - health, education, etc - ticking over.Unelected officials are making decisions daily on how hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money should be spent.But that is not without precedent.In 2010-11, Belgium spent a year and a half in political limbo, and Spain found itself in a similar position for 10 months in 2016.Germany has been unable to form a coalition since the election last September but outgoing ministers remain in place in the interim.One year and two days after the power-sharing government fell apart in Northern Ireland, the civil servants fear they will soon run out of cash.David Sterling, head of the … [Read more...] about 367 days without a government