Adult Social Care in 2022: immigration review and tackling recruitment shortages

The adult social care sector in England is facing significant challenges in recruiting and retaining staff, matters which could be affected by post-EU exit policies that seek to reduce net migration. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recently reviewed these important issues and last month published a comprehensive report to government which runs to over 150 pages.

The key findings from the MAC – an independent, non-departmental public body that advises the government on migration issues – can be summarised as follows. The full report can be viewed here.

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Transport innovation – today’s Queen’s Speech heralds the regulation of e-scooters and more activity on automated driving

The Prince of Wales delivered the Queen’s Speech this morning. The Speech itself sets out, fairly briefly, the main themes of the government’s legislative programme for the new parliamentary session (the government’s accompanying background material is more comprehensive and runs to 140 pages).

In relation to a new Transport Bill, he said that the government “will improve transport across the United Kingdom, delivering safer, cleaner services and enabling more innovations.” This high-level summary is sufficiently broad to encompass introducing new regulations for e-scooters and further refinements of the law governing automated driving.

On the former, the Sectary of State told parliament late last month that he would legislate for e-scooters, saying that “What I want to do, and will do, is crack down on all the e-scooters that are being sold privately that are substandard, that can be tampered with without necessarily breaking the law, that do not have the required lighting and that are sometimes built to the wrong power, wattage and the like. We will crack down on the private market and make it illegal to sell e-scooters that do not meet the regulatory standards we will bring in … I shall announce it on 10 May.”

Turning to automated driving, the prospect of further legislation is very clearly stated in the background material to the Transport Bill, which refers to “introducing new laws that safely enable self-driving and remotely operated vehicles”. Considering the extensive and important work carried out on the topic by the Law Commission over the last three years, it seems highly likely that a good deal of those “new laws” would draw heavily from the Commission’s detailed recommendations that were published back in January.

Given that the new Transport Bill will also establish a new rail body, Great British Railways, and set out its role, remit and functions, it is going to be an extensive Bill and as such may not be published in full for several months.

Back in October, the Prince told the BBC that his 1970 Aston Martin had been converted to run on bioethanol that was produced from “surplus English white wine, and whey from the cheese process.”  That is a rather different style of transport innovation to those he announced earlier today, and which should, over the next two years or so, culminate in comprehensive new legal codes governing e-scooter use and automated driving.

Written by Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy & Government Affairs at BLM

Fixed recoverable costs (FRC): introduction of extended scope now scheduled for April 2023

A key Ministry of Justice policy is to extend the scope of FRC in civil litigation to (i) all fast track civil claims and to (ii) claims valued at under £100,000. Work on implementation of this policy was delayed by the pandemic but now looks to be resuming, with the stated aim being to implement these changes from April 2023.

This new proposed date emerged today in consultation materials issue by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee on behalf of the MoJ. The two areas open to consultation concern:

  • dealing with vulnerability of parties & witnesses in claims subject to FRC, and
  • a technical clarification around QOCS (Qualified One-way Costs Shifting).

The two brief consultation documents and a covering explanatory note have been posted today on the ‘about us’ section of the CPRC site.

The consultations close on 20 June 2022 – please get in touch if you might like to discuss either of them or the overall progress towards the long-standing* goal of extending fixed recoverable costs in civil litigation in England & Wales.

[* This has been a serious part of the broad debate on costs policy since the first Jackson report was published at the end of 2009.]