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Government And Public Bodies (Transferred Functions)

Volume 229: debated on Tuesday 27 July 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will list the functions transferred to central Government Departments and bodies, or to non-elected bodies, consequent upon (a) the abolition of the Greater London council, (b) the abolition of the metropolitan counties and (c) other legislation enacted since 3 May 1979.

I will deal first with (a) and (b) of the question. The Local Government Act 1985 provided for most of the functions of the Greater London council—GLC—and the metropolitan county councils—MCCs to be devolved respectively to the London borough councils and the City of London and the metropolitan district councils. The exceptions were responsibility for:

  • (i) police—which was was transferred to Joint Police Authorities (except in London), many of whose members are elected local authority councillors,
  • (ii) fire, civil defence and passenger transport—which was transferred respectively to Joint Fire and Civil Defence Authorities and Passenger Transport Authorities all of whose members are elected councillors
  • (iii) waste disposal—transferred to a mixture of statutory and voluntary joint bodies covering all the areas of the former metropolitan county councils and part of London
  • (iv) certain arts and museums responsibilities were transferred to the Arts Council, English Heritage and the Office of Arts and Libraries (now Department of National Heritage)
  • (v) Land Drainage (all areas)—to Regional Water Authorities (now water companies),
  • (vi) Trunk Roads (London) to the Secretary of State for Transport and,
  • (vii) Pensions Administration—for the GLC and South Yorkshire MCC, pensions administration was transferred to two pensions fund authorities.
To turn to (c), we have been able to identify the following functions:

the Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980 created 12 urban development corporations as development control planning authorities in place of certain local authorities.
the London Regional Transport Act 1984 transferred London Regional Transport from GLC to the Secretary of State for Transport.
the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 removed from local education authorities the responsibility for appointing all, or a majority of, the governors of county and controlled schools. Local management of schools (LMS) means that from April 1994 the governing body of every primary and secondary school will manage the school's budget and be responsible for appointing its staff.
the Education Reform Act 1988 removed from local authorities responsibility for the provision of higher education, made possible the introduction of independent City Technology Colleges (CTCs) and removed the power of LEAs to set schools' admission limits.
the Housing Act 1988 established Housing Action Trusts and removed a number of housing units from local authority control.
the Trade Union Reform and Employment Rights Act 1993 transfers the duty to provide a careers service to the Secretary of State.
the Health and Safety (Emissions into the Atmosphere) (Amendment) Regulations 1989 added a number of processes to those subject to control by Her Majesty's Inspection of Pollution.
the Poultry Meat (Hygiene) Amendment Regulations 1992 transferred responsibility for licensing poultry meat slaughterhouses from local government to the Minister of Agriculture Fisheries and Food.
the Further and Higher Education Act 1992 made colleges of further education including sixth form colleges, self-governing with their funding arrangements transferred to the Further Education Funding Councils for England and Wales. the Education (Schools) Act 1992 provided that from 1993 for secondary schools, and 1994 for all other schools, local authorities will lose their general power of school inspection. the Local Government Act 1992 transferred certain duties and powers in relation to parish reviews from district councils to the Local Government Commission.
the Leashold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 gives the Secretary of State power to designate an area within which the Urban Regeneration Agency would become the local planning authority and have development control powers within that area.
We have also identified the following functions which have been gained by local government since 3 May 1979: the Social Security and Housing Benefits Act 1982 transferred the administration of rents and rates rebates and allowances from the (then) DHSS to local authorities.
since the abolition of the GLC and the metropolitan county councils, metropolitan districts have been required to prepare unitary development plans (the Secretary of State was previously responsible for the final stages and adoptions).
the Health and Safety (Enforcing Authority) Regulations 1989 transferred certain enforcement responsibilities to local authorities.
as a result of our community care reforms, local authorities have been given lead responsibility for assessing people's needs for community care and purchasing residential and nursing home care (in place of the Department of Social Security).
the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 transferred responsibility for the final stages and adoption of structure plans in shire counties to county councils (the Secretary of State was previously responsible).
the Environmental Protection (Prescribed Processes and Substances) Regs 1991 returned certain processes to local authority control.
the Road Traffic Act 1991 transferred parking regulations from Department of Transport to local authorities.
the Products of Animal Origin (Import and Export) Regulations 1992 transferred responsibility for enforcing animal health controls at ports on products of animal origin from third world countries from MAFF to local authorities. Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 transferred power to determine exclusions from Right to Buy from the Environment Secretary to local government.