February 2014 Archive

Clark v Focus Asset Management

The Court of Appeal has determined whether an accepted Financial Ombudsman’s award prevents further legal proceedings on the same complaint. The Court of Appeal has decided that the Ombudsman award is a judicial decision for the purposes of the requirements of res judicata.

Using volunteers wisely

With volunteering becoming more popular and more organisations relying on the additional skillsets that volunteers can bring, many organisations have every reason to welcome volunteers. However there are a number of ground rules that employers must heed to avoid any misunderstandings regarding volunteer status. It is important that both volunteers know what is expected of them and for the existing, paid workforce to understand where they fit into the overall organisation.

New immigration fees proposed

The government has announced proposals to change the fees charged for visas, immigration and nationality applications and associated premium services. If Parliament approves the change the new fees will apply from 6 April 2014. Some fees for premium services overseas will apply from 31 March 2014.

CoS allocation renewal

UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) has been sending out reminders that sponsors will need to renew their Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) allocation for the next financial year commencing 6 April 2014. On 5 April 2014 all unused CoS for the current financial year will be cancelled and set to zero. Clients will wish to consider how many CoS they will require for the next financial year.

Data protection in the social housing sector - the latest ICO report

Registered Social Housing Providers collect and handle a vast amount of sensitive personal information in the life time of a tenancy. Data Protection is one of the single biggest risks to the housing sector today. We are tackling the growth of the social media, cloud computing, mobile working and the reliance on customer contact relationship systems to help our housing customers receive a positive customer experience in knowing their data is being handled and made secure in line with the law.

Agri-Environment schemes in limbo

There will be a gap between the expiry of current agri-environment schemes and the start of the new environmental land management scheme (NELMS). This means that many farmers with standard ELS agreements ending in 2014 will find themselves in limbo while the detail of the NELMS structure is finalised. Even when it is finalised, the earliest start date for any new agreement will be 1 January 2016 as the new schemes will start once at the beginning of each year rather than monthly as at present.

Building a new environment for city and county

Barry Sankey ponders the ambitious plans for revamping Coventry’s retail environment to make it worthy of its national standing as the country’s 10th biggest city. A number of developments are either in the pipeline or underway including the impressive Friargate scheme, the centrepiece of which will be a boulevard linking the rail station to Greyfriars Green in the city centre.

Registered provider fails to carry out gas safety checks

Your Housing Group has become the second registered provider (RP) to be placed on the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) watch list for failing to carry out its gas safety checks. Last October, another housing association was placed on the watch list which flags up those RPs that are at risk of becoming non-compliant with the HCA’s rules. A finding of non-compliance would diminish the governance rating for that RP.
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