DCLG: Better Business Compliance Partnerships – Programme evaluation: the Better Business Compliance Partnership programme was designed to make joint working between national and local agencies more systematic, to strengthen the response to hidden and illicit economic activity and improve how agencies support businesses to comply with regulatory and other statutory regimes. It comprised five local authority-led partnerships in Cheshire West and Chester, Cornwall, Ealing, Hertfordshire and Manchester and Salford. The local areas developed different approaches based on local needs but across each one, this evaluation found that joint working helped target resources more effectively to crackdown on businesses breaking the law. (12 April 2016)

LGL: Council wins judicial review over advice given to Greggs under Primary Authority: Local Government Lawyer reports that the High Court has upheld Hull City Council’s judicial review claim over advice given by Newcastle City Council to Greggs under the ‘Primary Authority’ scheme. It followed from the BRDO's first ever primary authority decision, that advice given to Greggs by Newcastle City Council pursuant to a primary authority partnership arrangement was correct. That advice had prevented Hull City Council officers from enforcing s.20 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 so as to require two of Gregg’s establishments to provide toilets. The key question was the correct interpretation of s.20 and in particular the definition of ‘relevant place’ in s.20(9).

Kerr J held, quashing the BRDO's decision, that Newcastle City Council had misinterpreted the law and had therefore given incorrect advice which had been wrongly endorsed by the BRDO. He awarded Hull City Council’s legal costs to be paid. He also gave leave to appeal to the CA. (12 April 2016)

East Lindsey DC v Hanif (t/a Zaraf Restaurant & Takeaway) (Unreported, Admin Ct): the police applied for H's licence to be revoked, after an inspection revealed that H was employing an illegal worker whom he was paying cash in hand at less than the minimum wage; in addition, he did not keep PAYE records, he purported to deduct tax from the chef's salary and did not account to HMRC for the tax deducted. The district judge allowed H's appeal against the licensing committee's revocation, holding that the crime prevention objective had not been engaged because no crime had been committed. The Council appealed, arguing that the district judge had wrongly held that the crime prevention objective had not been engaged. The council contended that the duty of the licensing authority was prospective: it concerned the prevention of crime and disorder, not merely the reaction to it. In any event, crimes had been committed, namely failing to pay the minimum wage, tax evasion and employing an illegal worker.

The court held, allowing the council's appeal, that district judge had applied the law erroneously. A prosecution or criminal conviction was not required for the licensing authority's crime prevention objective to be engaged. Each case turned on its own facts, but in this case crimes had been committed in any event. The licence should have been revoked. (14 April 2016)

The judgment is available on Lawtel (subscription required).