Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - Printable Version
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RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - Gareth Wall - 01-02-2010 11:36 AM
Article about this in the Telegraph today too.
RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - Cllr Susan Watson - 01-02-2010 04:05 PM
The bill is here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmbills/016/10016.1-7.html#osc003
Am I reading it wrong or does it exclude districts (again)?
RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - Ed Hammond - 01-02-2010 04:56 PM
Thanks for the link Louise - we were told it would be published on Wednesday!
You are not reading it wrong. There are two particular issues which we are taking up with the Bill:
1) The exclusion of districts (s6(b)).
2) The involvement of executive members in the scrutiny process further to s8.
We are in active discussions with both David Chaytor and CLG about these issues and, notwithstanding the fact that we support the Bill generally (particularly section 9!!!) we do think that these changes are necessary to ensure that the Bill can fulfil its potential.
I will let you know if our discussions bear fruit. I am not sure about the protocol surrounding the amendment of PMBs; we will see how we go.
RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - Nick Beale - 01-02-2010 05:01 PM
Pity the press release was so OTT when what's proposed is actually quite helpful (and really what they should have done an Act or two ago, rather than tie us to certain organisations and LAA targets).
As ever, it's the Regulations that will be the important bit for us but check out Clause 9:
9 Resourcing of scrutiny officers
In section 21ZA of the Local Government Act 2000 (as inserted by section 31 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009) (scrutiny officers), after subsection (4) insert -
"(4A) The local authority must provide the scrutiny officer with such staff, accommodation and other resources as are, in the officer's opinion, sufficient to allow the officer to discharge the functions in subsection (2)."
P.S. Looking at Clauses 1(3)-(5) districts aren't necessarily excluded, are they? (Rather the Regulations will specifiy which local authorities are "designated" for which purposes).
RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - Ed Hammond - 01-02-2010 05:53 PM
Yes, section 9 is now my favourite legislative provision of all time.
Section 6(b) does expressly exclude districts, unfortunately, in its definition of "local authorities" (presumably district authorities no longer count as local authorities any more). I have already had a call from a robust Mark Lowe on this point and it is one that we will be pursuing with vigour.
RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - tim gilling - 02-02-2010 07:59 AM
Explanatory notes accompanying the Bill (prepared by CLG) are here:
RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - Tim Bowers - 02-02-2010 11:16 AM
a "public service" is a service provided to the public, or a section of the public, that -
(i) is provided in the exercise of functions of a public nature or under statutory authority, or
(ii) is wholly or partly funded by grants, subsidies or other financial assistance from central or local government funds;
Do you think we could get the manager of the local RBS in to discuss either his/her bonus or the provision of mortgages/finance in our locality?
RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - Ed Hammond - 02-02-2010 12:32 PM
It's worth a shot! I'm sure someone will try it...
I was going to write a long rambling post about the differing and blurred legal definitions of public and private services - you're lucky I'm too busy to do that. Just imagine that I've written it and that you have given it a cursory skim-read because it looked a bit boring.
RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - Josh Mynott - 02-02-2010 01:12 PM
I've only skim read your comments, obviously, but what I want to know is - how much use is section 9? I'm all in favour and everything, but it will depend on the strength of the Scrtiny Officers' position, and my reading of the LDEDC Act is that the SO role isn't all that strong really, if an authority doesn't want it to be. And if the authority does want the SO role to be strong, well then it's probably an authority with strong & independent O&S already.
Clearly O&S can't become untouchable, but what's to stop the SO being leaned on? Or even for an authority to specifically name a tame SO? Is there a need to enshrine the actual power, rather than the role, of the SO?
RE: Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill - Nick Beale - 02-02-2010 02:12 PM
jmynott Wrote:Clearly O&S can't become untouchable, but what's to stop the SO being leaned on? Or even for an authority to specifically name a tame SO? Is there a need to enshrine the actual power, rather than the role, of the SO?
I'm sure you're right but I wouldn't be surprised if someone in the inspection industry effectively sets a standard that councils will gravitate towards. In the consultation we advocated a defined reporting relationship for the SO (e.g. direct to the CX or Monitoring Officer). I could see that specifying minimum pay and status could be a trickier proposition though.
You do have to wonder how far this Bill is likely to get before this parliament is over, though. Meanwhile, we can at least enjoy making a mental list of all the "sufficient other resources" we could demand ...