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Public Sector Bulletin - 21 July 2017

Few could have imagined the shape of the current political landscape in the UK, just over one month on from the snap General Election. The legislative agenda for the upcoming two-year Parliament just announced in the Queen's Speech is likewise significantly different from what was expected before the General Election.

On 21 June 2017, the Queen gave her speech at the State Opening of Parliament. Although the primary focus of the Queen's Speech was Brexit, there are a number of other legislative changes which will be interesting to those working within the public sector.

We have asked lawyers who regularly undertake work for public sector clients to give their views on what the legal implications of this revised legislative agenda will be for the public sector.

Commercial

GDPR - Considerations for the Public Sector


There are fewer than 12 months to go until the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) takes effect across Europe. As a result of this, organisations should be well on their way to ensuring compliance from 25 May 2018. Whilst a recent poll revealed that 76% of public sector executives claimed that their organisation was either ready for, or on the way to being so, the GDPR, there are still a number of areas which will take some time in order to ensure complete compliance.

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Employment

Sex discrimination and equal pay - how are they being tackled in the public sector?


From April 2016 to March 2017 Employment Tribunals across the UK received 8,836 sex discrimination claims (10% of all claims) and 10,467 equal pay claims (11.8% of all claims). In 1997, on average women earned 27.5% less than men. In 2016 the gap had reduced to 9.5%. This is called the Gender Pay Gap. This demonstrates that gender inequality and sex discrimination are still prevalent in the workplace.

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Local Government

Local Government Finance Bill missing from the Queen's Speech - what now for Local Authorities?


The absence of the Local Government Finance Bill (the "Bill") from the Queen's speech has been described by the Local Government Association as "hugely concerning". The Bill was intended to set out a framework to enable local authorities retain business rates raised locally. This is estimated to be work £26 billion to local authorities each year. The Bill also sought to provide for Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority to raise an infrastructure supplement.

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Real Estate

The Queen's Speech - The Housing Market Programme


On 21st June 2017, the Queen gave her speech at the State Opening of Parliament. The speech has confirmed the Government's intention to implement the key measures proposed in the Housing White Paper published on 7th February 2017.

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