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Miscellaneous Functions Of Commission

Volume 21: debated on Monday 5 April 1982

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I beg to move amendment No. 17, in page 16, line 42, at end insert

', but before making a request under this subsection a body shall consult such associations of employees as appear to the body to be appropriate. '
This amendment requires a body to consult its unions before requesting the commission to carry out a study into its value for money arrangements under clause 22(2). It is likely that the body concerned would consult the unions anyway, but we accept the view expressed by the Opposition in Committee that the Bill should safeguard the position by requiring such bodies to do so.

This is another Labour gain. This is an important amendment that was proposed to us by one of the principal local authority trade unions. We have delivered. We hope that the unions will.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move amendment No. 18, in page 17, line 4, at end insert "being a body which appears to the Secretary of State to be connected with local government.".

This amendment is a response to concern voiced in Committee by hon. Members on both sides. It was suggested that the scope of the clause was too wide. There was concern that it would be open to future Secretaries of State to extend unduly the role of the commission.

It is the Government's intention that clause 22(3) should apply only to bodies in local government. We stress that audits under that provision depend on the agreement of the body concerned. The clause is intended merely to permit the continuation of existing practice whereby the district audit service audits, by agreement, books of people such as the local government Ombudsman or bodies such as the regional tourist board.

We recognise the merit of the point that was made in Committee. Therefore, the Government have tabled this simple amendment to restrict the scope of the clause. We hope that the House will agree that it is a sensible and desirable change.

Yet another one of ours that we shall vote for with great satisfaction.

Amendment agreed to.