Has legislation aimed at tackling the misuse of disabled parking places been effective?
This is one of the questions Local Government & Communities Committee will ask as it launches an investigation into the Disabled Persons’ Parking Places (Scotland) Act 2009.
The Act, was aimed at stopping disabled parking spaces being used by those not entitled to use them. Whilst enforcement action can be taken against non-blue badge holders who park in a disabled persons’ place, some local authorities rely on the goodwill of drivers not to park in what is known as ‘advisory parking places’.
The D of H has reviewed and updated the guidance following the Supreme Court judgment in July in the case of R (on the application of Cornwall Council) v Secretary of State for Health.
The updates, which can be read from paragraphs 19.17 to 19.43 of the guidance, set out changes in the approach that should be used to determine ordinary residence or disputes between councils in relation to adults who lack capacity to decide where to live and looked-after children who are transitioning to certain adult social care services.
The Sentencing Council’s stated intention is to increase the level of fines for serious offences, particularly for larger companies; whilst reserving prison sentences for very serious offences.
The approach laid down in these new guidelines will increase fines across the board particularly for very large companies. More worryingly, many more directors, managers and junior employees will be handed custodial sentences due to a significantly lower threshold for imprisonment.
The new sentencing guidelines apply to health and safety offences committed by organisations and individuals, as well as to corporate manslaughter and food safety/hygiene offences. They introduce a structured approach that the Court should follow, so as to calculate sentences to reach recommended starting point fines, as well as ranges of fines above and below the starting points.
A bid to halt the government’s plans to exempt self employed people from the Health and Safety at Work Act failed
in the House of Lord’s on Tuesday (21 October), when members voted against an amendment that would have removed Clause 1 from the Deregulation Bill.
The amendment, which was tabled by Labour peer and former health and safety minister Lord McKenzie of Luton, was rejected by 253 votes to 175.
The proposed exemption stems from a recommendation in Professor Ragnar Löfstedt’s 2011 report Reclaiming Health and Safety For All, which suggested that self employed people whose work poses no risk to others could be exempted from health and safety regulations.