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Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill

Volume 694: debated on Wednesday 25 July 2007

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Lord Tordoff) in the Chair.]

Clause 235 [Exercise of functions by local councillors in England]:

242K: Clause 235, page 164, line 16, leave out “any member of a local” and insert “a member of the”

The noble Baroness said: The amendment seeks to make a minor drafting correction to Clause 235. Before I speak to the amendment, I will say a little about the intention behind the clause. Your Lordships will know by now that there is a consistent policy theme underlying the Bill, which is our desire to enable ordinary members of local authorities to be more effective champions of and advocates for the communities that they represent. This innovative step is another measure in that direction. We want local authorities to be able to make arrangements by which they can enable their ordinary members, the back-bench councillors, to take action that will directly resolve some of the problems in their local areas. One model for such arrangements would be to make small budgets available to councils, coupled with ground rules defining what it may be used for, how it might be administered and so on. However, some authorities might want to consider other approaches. Within limits, we are content to leave it to authorities to set up the arrangements that best suit them.

Such an approach is not entirely new because many local authorities already provide budgets for their members to disbursed to the community by way of small grants. Staffordshire County Council’s local members’ initiative scheme, for example, is a good and worthwhile measure to provide just that. This clause does something different, and goes further. If authorities so wish, they will now be able to authorise their members to act on behalf of the council, for example to invoke the services of a contractor. We originally conceived this clause as an adjunct to the community call for action. It seemed to us that there were many minor issues of practical concern to communities about which they might rightly look to their councillors for help. The community call for action involves reference to an overview and scrutiny committee, but sometimes that will not be an appropriate response. It will sometimes be a problem such as an unresolved incidence of fly-tipping or the need for practical help for a community which wants to clean up the local park. People want to see immediate action from their councillors in such circumstances. This clause enables authorities to set up a framework of delegation for such things.

The clause is drafted in general terms to allow arrangements to be made for the discharge of an authority’s function by an individual councillor. It is important that the generality of that part can be constrained by the Secretary of State, who will have to make an order if so moved, as provided for in Clause 235(4). I shall say more on that in the next group of amendments. A small budget will sometimes be attached, but it does not necessarily involve that.

The amendment is necessary because the clause’s original drafting contains a minor defect which Amendment No. 242K will correct. The clause as drafted appears to allow the delegation of one local authority’s functions to a member of another local authority. That was clearly not the policy intention. The amendment makes it clear that such a delegation can only be to one of the authority’s own members. I beg to move.

I apologise to the Minister; I was not here as the debate tipped over and missed the first couple lines of what she said. As I understood the last passage, any member of “a local authority” could be interpreted as “any local authority”, and the provision should read “a member of the” local authority. It is interesting because they are being entitled to perform a wide range of functions. “Any function” of a local authority could be anything at all. If they are going to be allowed to be charged with it, let us hope that this is adequate. I thank the Minister for her explanation.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

In calling Amendment No. 243, I should point out to the Committee that, were it to be agreed to, I should not be able to call Amendment No. 244 because of pre-emption.

243: Clause 235, page 164, line 19, leave out subsection (2)

The noble Baroness said: I shall also speak to Amendments Nos. 244, 245 and 245A. I am not at all surprised by the warning about pre-emption. I realised last night that my noble friend Lady Scott of Needham Market, who cannot be here this evening, tabled one pair of amendments, I tabled another, and both pairs have the same function. I apologise to the Minister if that made it harder for her officials to write a brief. I am sure that they all got the point.

In introducing the previous amendment, the Minister said that the Government want to leave it to authorities to set up their own arrangements and used the term “authorities” throughout her speech. My amendment is to provide precisely that in terms. It will be the whole authority and not an executive member—the relevant executive member or whatever—who makes the delegation. This is an important constitutional change. It should be for the council collectively as an authority to take the decision to pass certain functions to individual members and to take decisions on functions subject to the orders which we are used to.

The bigger picture of a council’s constitution is largely a matter for the authority itself. As an authority, whatever the executive arrangements, it has, and will continue to have, certain major functions, including determining the budget. The council can currently promote decentralisation, even devolution, to neighbourhood committees and it sometimes even allocates budgets to neighbourhood or area committees. As I said, it is right for the council as a whole and not for an individual to take the decisions.

In Committee on this clause in another place, the Minister gave an example which the noble Baroness did not give here. I did not think that it was a good example. It was a situation where a local councillor, approached by a constituent who needed to have window locks fitted, used his budget to fit them. If that is how this provision will go, it is a very bad idea. It will leave individual members open to difficult pressures to spend money on that sort of individual matter rather than as part of the community spend. It is not unlike the argument about charities. Should one give to charity, as it will let government off the hook in dealing with the issue? The noble Baroness gave the much better example of how this could be used more appropriately. The Minister went on to use the argument that it is not right for a body that does not have a responsibility for a function to delegate it and that the executive member who has the function should have the right to delegate it as well. This is potentially such a significant matter that it ought to rest with the council. I beg to move.

I slightly jumped the gun in replying to the Minister’s amendment because I, too, have considerable concerns about the breadth of the proposal. “Any function” of a local authority could cover a wide spectrum of services. If this can be passed down to “a member” of the local authority and “through an executive member”—so it is clearly not the executive member who will be doing it—where will accountability lie for what the member is doing? If it is limited in scope to a small aspect of the local authority’s responsibility, that is a different matter. But that is not what the Bill says. We need some clarity on whether the function might start as a little mouse and finish as a roaring lion. There has got to be a middle point where a member cannot be responsible for a function.

I take the point of the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, that this should not simply be passed through an executive member. If the principle is that a member can perform a function, then that should have the full authority of the local authority. Otherwise the issue of accountability will be very difficult to understand.

I shall deal with those points first because they straddle the amendments. There was always going to be tension between whether this measure went too far or not far enough. We have tried to provide discretion for the council; we know that some already use a version of this power, but this is a specific way of delegating the authority’s own power.

As for whether the measure goes too far, the clause allows us to prescribe. If we so wish, we can take powers to prescribe the delegation of some functions. That is an important reserve power. We will discuss with the sector whether any functions should be prescribed at the outset. That power would be available to us if we thought that councils were acting in a disproportionate way or for some reason—which is hard to imagine—did something bizarre by way of delegation. We would not expect any functions connected with billing, childcare or highways to be delegated.

I think that people understand that the purpose of this measure is to give local councillors a local power to act. An individual can say to a councillor, “The community is suffering because there is a persistent problem with litter. It is not worth taking it to the overview and scrutiny committee. We think that with your small budget, or just with your power, you can get something done”. I take the point that it is actually a community function rather than one that supports individuals.

The power that we have kept to make it possible to contain some of those powers is very important, and I shall return to it later. Some of the most appropriate powers would be environmental, in terms of the cleanliness of the community, the state of the local parks, and so on. That is the context in which we envisage the provision being used and the circumscription surrounding it.

We noticed some inconsistency in the amendment, which has now been explained. We are missing some of our regular cast this evening. Amendments Nos. 243 and 245A suggest that the power should rest with the whole council rather than the executive model. In framing the clause, we adopted a fairly straightforward principle, which we have discussed in many instances during the Bill’s proceedings. Arrangements for delegation of a function should be settled by whoever is ultimately responsible for that function. In an authority operating executive arrangements, that person is, for the vast majority of functions, the senior executive member. The powers of that person to arrange for delegation to members of the executive or to committees are set out in Section 14 of the Local Government Act 2000. The Bill updates the terminology of Section 14. We are using a generic term—“senior executive member” covers leaders, elected mayors and directly elected leaders. It does not change the substance. We are arguing, from the point of view of consistency, that as the executives have that power, that is where this power should rest as well.

The clause is drafted in very general terms. It permits local authorities to operate in a very different way from that which was contemplated when the 2000 Act was passed. In those circumstances, we think it would be rash to put it into law without retaining any power to influence the way it is used and to prevent people using it inappropriately.

Moreover, if these amendments were to be adopted, we would be in the very strange position of the 2000 Act vesting in the senior executive member power to delegate functions to executive members, committees and officers, with the Bill going in the opposite direction of travel and vesting power in the whole council to delegate to individual members. That cannot be right. It would allow a situation in which the whole council might choose to delegate some function to individual members which the senior executive member chooses not to delegate at all and would keep to himself or herself. For example—and it is a perverse example, which I use just to make the point—we would not tolerate a situation in which control of daycare centres for vulnerable children were delegated to a local councillor against the wishes of the council leader and the executive member responsible for social services. I cannot imagine that that would happen but we have to ensure that it does not. If Amendment No. 245A were accepted, the Secretary of State would be powerless to straighten things out, which is a reason for opposing the amendment.

We expect the clause to be used to empower individual members to take executive action and, in some circumstances, to sort out quickly minor problems afflicting their communities. It provides local authorities with the flexible means to make that happen. I hope that Members of the Committee will accept that we have the balance and the range of powers right.

The previous clause, which the Minister amended, refers to “any function”. Does the Minister consider it would be worth amending that to “a function”? There is a great difference between “any function”, which has an extremely broad scope and “a function” which can be delineated. You cannot claim that you can do anything under the Bill, but specifying “a function” allows you to be specific about what it is. I remain concerned that the clause still goes very wide, despite what the Minister has said.

I am not entirely sure of the implications. May I take it away, think about it and check with our lawyers? It may not be much more significant than we both think, but I should like to discuss it.

I knew that I would not win on this amendment. One reason was that I realised as I listened to the Minister that we have different views about the notion of leadership and the desirability of the models which we have been debating for seven and a bit days. It was telling that in answer to the noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, the reassurances about the scope of the clause are in the fact that the Secretary of State can prescribe what shall not be transferred. That says a lot, and the noble Baroness put her finger on it when she talked about accountability.

We will take a view over the summer on whether we will continue to press the matter. For now, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 244 to 245A not moved.]

Clause 235, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 236 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 245B not moved.]

[Amendment No. 246 had been withdrawn from the Marshalled List.]

Clause 237 agreed to.

Clause 238 [Contracting out]:

On Question, Whether Clause 238 shall stand part of the Bill?

I have given the Minister notice that I will speak to Clause 238 stand part as I want to try to get in something sensible about registered social landlords.

The preamble to the Bill states that it will make provision for local government and the functions and procedures of local authorities. Yet one area is missing—the function of local authorities in respect of registered social landlords. I think we have all agreed during the Bill’s proceedings that local authorities should be the community champion in their area. It is up to them to ensure the quality and delivery across all housing providers and tenures, including registered social landlords.

For local authorities to meet their targets on housing, they need to be able to ensure that registered social landlords are performing against agreed local set targets and priorities, as set by the local authority. In particular, there are two key omissions that we feel should be addressed. First, there is a need to give local authorities powers to ensure that social housing providers conform with important local strategies that have a bearing on housing. We touched on this throughout the other stages of the Bill. Secondly, a local authority should have the power to serve a notice on a poorly performing registered social landlord, so that he would have to explain himself to the local authority and so that the local authority could recommend what action the registered social landlord needed to take.

Currently, local authorities do not have powers to ensure that social housing providers, housing associations or other social landlords engage with and contribute to local strategies. Despite the key importance of these organisations—we have all agreed that they are important in delivering the targets at local level—problems with poorly performing social housing providers are particularly evident where those providers have only a few units in a particular area. They tend to focus more on managing areas in which they have more stock at the expense of their tenants who live outside those areas. We have given these figures before, but I shall repeat them: there are 390 registered social landlords in London, of which 266 have fewer than 10 units in some local authorities. One can easily imagine that poor management by housing associations or registered social landlords and failure to deal with anti-social behaviour can have a knock-on effect on other residents living nearby.

We do not believe that local authorities have adequate powers that would enable them to take action against poorly performing RSLs who let housing in their areas. All social housing tenants deserve a good service and a landlord who is responsive to their needs. While council landlords have to perform against national performance targets and are always in the lead in improving tenants’ quality of life, RSLs do not have the same obligations. Local authorities are accountable to their communities, so they should also be accountable for RSLs. Given that RSLs are an important part of housing provision and receive a large amount of public money, does the Minister accept that local authorities need to have powers to ensure that they meet priorities and targets? Although my remarks are probing for today, it might be helpful if I table amendments at a later stage for the Minister to consider so that we might get this issue, which we have discussed all the way through our deliberations, into the Bill.

I shall be brief. I note that in the previous sitting Clause 234 in Part 15 was not debated. It is not my duty to debate it now, except to say that I welcome all the transfer of powers to the Welsh Assembly contained in it. Some MPs in the other place have said that these aspects of the legislation are slipping through the net, but I note that the Secretary of State for Wales has said that he will now brief Welsh MPs on those aspects of Bills such as this.

Proposed new Section 79B in Clause 238 actually defines local authorities in Wales and how the legislation is brought about in relation to Wales. It was certainly not my wish to drag civil servants here from Cardiff to listen to what I was going to say, because that would be unnecessary, but the clause relates to contracting out, which is important in a Welsh context in which contracting out is well established, as in other local authorities in other parts of the UK. I am sure that Members of the National Assembly for Wales will have wished to have had some input into this part of the legislation, as contracting out can be contentious. I have a Welsh Assembly briefing note on new powers for the Assembly in which best value is matter 12.5. The briefing note—“Annex A: memorandum on new powers for the National Assembly for Wales” in the 11th report of the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform—talks about best value in the context of the Beecham review on local government in Wales, and states:

“The Assembly Government strongly agrees with the principle behind many of the proposed reforms”.

I note that it refers to the “Assembly Government”, but there is no comment on what other Members of the National Assembly for Wales felt about it. I would be very grateful if the Minister would write to me and let me know what consultation there was with anyone who is not a Member of the Assembly Government and what they think about this. I realise that the agreement in Wales for the Assembly Government has only just been completed. None the less, the briefing note, which is dated May, refers to it, and I simply wonder how the Assembly Members have been consulted.

The noble Baroness, Lady Hanham, talked about bringing housing associations and requirements on them within the scope of the legislation. I have two or three comments to make. First, we encounter the problem of landlords’ poor performance and not dealing with anti-social behaviour in the private sector as well as in what I like to think is a very small minority of cases in the social housing sector. There is no suggestion that private landlords, who I admit receive no subsidy but who do receive tax relief to help them to produce homes, would be encompassed by any part of this legislation.

I made the point earlier that the social housing grant available to the registered social landlords is now also available to housebuilders and developers, and it is very tricky to bring them within the scope of requirements in this legislation. So there are hazards in extending the legislation to embrace registered social landlords, although I am rather sympathetic to the idea that local authorities and the registered social landlords in their area should work in a more cohesive partnership in the future. Will the Minister say whether these issues might be addressed by the Government’s response to the Cave review on the regulation and inspection of housing associations, and whether relevant legislation is likely to be laid as early as November? That might be the time to mop up several of these issues.

This is an important debate because of the importance of housing and the contribution that RSLs make to the provision of housing. The relationships between local authorities and RSLs are critical. We have discussed in debates on previous parts of the Bill why the RSLs are private, not public, bodies and the implications of that. These not-for-profit bodies often have charitable objectives and are not part of the public sector, and I have said before that it is not appropriate to treat them as such. The noble Baroness raises a very serious issue, and she is right that improving conditions for tenants in the sector is absolutely vital. I will address the point about the Cave review in a moment.

One of the things that has marked the past 10 years has been the ability of the RSLs to raise capital outside the confines of the PSBR. That has been an enormous boon and has helped enormously with our capacity to provide decent homes. They engage with local authorities in different ways; indeed, there are some extremely robust and excellent partnerships. The corporation can make new regulatory demands on them if needed, though we are committed to minimising the burden.

While I am completely sympathetic to the Opposition’s intention here, the problem can be picked up in the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Best. We are sure that the regulation of RSLs needs to focus more on tenant protection and empowerment. That is the burden of the Cave review, and we have already taken in what was said there by proposing to accept much of it. One key thing was that, when Cave considered how the regulatory regime could be reformed to ensure better outcomes for tenants of all social landlords, he quite rightly recommended that the regulatory system should focus more on empowering and protecting tenants—and the need for a constructive engagement between social landlords and local authorities. So, when we launched a consultation on 19 June, we had already acknowledged that we proposed accepting, for example, that there needed to be a statutory independent regulator and that social housing regulation should be separated from investment.

It would be premature to try to legislate for that in this Bill, as the Cave review is so important in enabling us to look at both what constitutes smaller but better regulation—I am thinking in particular of those small RSLs that the noble Baroness talked about—and how we can ensure that whichever regulatory regime is put in place focuses not just on place shaping but on a better deal for tenants. That is the real burden of the Cave review—to be much more tenant-focused, with local authorities working much more positively with social landlords and engaging in joint roles.

The Cave review determined that it is the job of the regulator and the ombudsman—and no one else—to take action regarding how well an RSL performs, including how well it engages with local authorities on place-shaping issues. He therefore addressed the role of local authorities in some detail. The problem is that giving other bodies direct power to impose requirements and enforce penalties on RSLs, as is suggested, would be a confusing development when we are trying both to simplify regulation and to make regulation consistent.

The review and the Government recognise the important role that local authorities may play in bringing poor performance by landlords to light. So, the review recommends that local authorities and tenants have a right to trigger intervention by the regulator against a landlord, if there is evidence of misconduct or mismanagement in areas including tenant involvement, delivery of housing standards, efficiency, viability and engagement with local authorities. In his review, Cave proposes that this reformed regulator has a wider range of remedial powers to deal with poor performance. At present, when the Housing Corporation steps in, it tends to focus on emergency powers; under the new system, the regulator would have new and positive powers including improvement and enforcement notices, and administrative penalties such as fines. In extremis, it can require a change of management or ownership. That is, of course, part of the consultation—and a positive step forward in the direction that the noble Baroness wants.

The Government have proposed to accept these recommendations, and to legislate shortly. To pick up another point, Cave recommended that collective for-profit private bodies can now get a grant to build social housing, and that they be given the chance to register with the regulator instead. We want to ensure that tenants are protected to the same extent by the regulatory system, whether under contract or registration. We have promised to legislate as soon as possible and are having a thorough consultation. Many of the issues have been picked up by the Cave review and we have already responded to those. We look forward to bringing legislation forward when we can.

I thank the Minister for that detailed reply. I want to look at it, as I could not take it all in. I am also grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Best, for his intervention, which pointed out the issue that we have always had about money going off to private developers. That leads us into a completely different area, as we all knew that it would.

I thank the Minister for addressing this as closely and sympathetically as she has. I am very aware of the Cave review and that it has many details. I am also aware of the concerns raised with me by London Councils, which also knows about that review and its implications. It is clearly not happy about waiting to see how long that will take.

I apologise for interrupting, but it is worth telling the noble Baroness that we are looking to put this into the housing regeneration Bill this autumn, but we obviously cannot rush it; we need a proper consultation, because there are implications and details like those which the noble Lord pointed out. However, it will be quick.

I thank the Minister for that, but I may come back to this in some way at the next stage, if there are some things that will not impinge on what that housing Bill is going to do. If there are some assurances that most of this will be included there, that would be helpful.

Before the noble Baroness sits down, I must apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Livsey, for completely forgetting him. I will certainly do what he said, since the Beecham review has only just reported. Best value is treated slightly differently in Wales, and there are clear issues over who has been consulted. We will certainly write to the noble Lord about that.

Just to conclude, I was going to say that it was also nice to have the noble Lord, Lord Livsey, intervene with his nice Welsh burr, which livened up that debate enormously. I thank the Minister for that reply.

Clause 238 agreed to.

246A: After Clause 238, insert the following new Clause—

“Secretary of State to report on local government targets and plans

(1) The Secretary of State must prepare an annual report on progress during the previous 12 months to reduce the administrative burden for local government of compliance with duties under Part 5 of this Act and section 4 of the Local Government Act 2000 (c. 22) (strategies for promoting well-being) and any other duties of a similar nature that require local authorities to have regard to guidance, provide information to the Secretary of State or to a body acting on the Secretary of State’s behalf or obtain the approval of a Secretary of State in relation to the discharge of a function of the authority.

(2) The Secretary of State must annually lay before each House of Parliament the report he prepares under this section, the first report being laid before the Houses of Parliament on the anniversary of the commencement of this section.”

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 246A seeks to insert a new clause in order to support deregulation, and to add parliamentary accountability. It requires the Secretary of State to report on local government targets and plans, and to prepare an annual plan to report that to Parliament in order to reduce the administrative burden.

All sides of your Lordships’ House have, in the past, supported the reduction in the centrally imposed burden of regulation. We all feel strongly that such a burden of control on local government has held back an improvement in public services, and denied the ability of local people to make local decisions or to assess local needs and circumstances. It has, therefore, denied local choice. At the same time, it has wasted public money. Again, I think that all sides of the House have talked of the United Kingdom being quite unique in that centrally imposed system.

Therefore, last summer, in its document People and Places, the Local Government Association proposed a reduction in those controls. We had constructive meetings with the department for local government and the Treasury, and were very pleased that the White Paper, when it came out in October, sought to reduce the current 1,000 performance indicators and targets imposed on local authorities down to 200, with some 35 national outcomes. Yet it is not just those; there are the plans that must be submitted, the financial bid system, the guidance that comes down, and the whole burden of control.

I was a little confused to read—since that document had come out in October—the front-page headline in the Guardian last week about a dramatic reduction in central control, and of moving on from the Blair years. I wonder how that reduction announced in October to 200 targets has been reduced further, or are we still where we were in October? Was this a reannouncement of an old announcement already made in a White Paper in the autumn?

Nevertheless, the noble Baroness in the past has supported strongly a deregulatory agenda and parliamentary accountability. This amendment seeks to do that and we hope to have the support of the noble Baroness. I beg to move.

My name is not added to this amendment. I have a great deal of sympathy with my noble friend Lord Bruce-Lockhart’s proposal. I do not think that we need to commit to this and the other amendments in Committee, but they are probing amendments for a serious discussion on this area of deregulation. My noble friend has been very agile in moving this amendment and in providing us with this opportunity.

If my noble friend Lady Scott were here, she would say, because she said it before she went, “We have to, why shouldn’t they?”, as regards reporting. If my noble friend Lord Greaves were here, he would remind us that he raised the issue of consolidation. If local government legislation were consolidated, it would show dramatically the administrative burden. I shall not add my own comment.

I respect very much the intention of the amendment, but I wonder whether it takes fully into account the recent trend towards that intention. When I read the amendment, I am grateful that it includes the part of the Local Government Act which says,

“(strategies for promoting well-being) and any other duties of a similar nature that require local authorities to have regard to guidance, provide information to the Secretary of State or to a body acting on the Secretary of State’s behalf or obtain the approval of a Secretary of State in relation to the discharge of a function of the authority”.

I just wonder what would be left. As I see it, there is a dilemma. Colleagues are urging that burdens be lifted from local authorities to allow them to get on with the job. At the same time, a local authority which has been doing that is to have imposed on it a duty to report regularly on what it has done.

In the world of local government, I imagine everyone knows what is being done. I attended the recent meeting of London Councils under the chairmanship of Councillor Merrick Cockell. Frankly, I have never looked at a more respectable or more determined group of men and women than those representing London Councils. They would certainly use me, the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, and the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, if this was a burning issue, but I do not think that it is. When I look at what the Government have done—I am not talking about magic dates or issues—they appear generally to have recognised what the noble Lord is trying to do. They allow local authorities to get on with the job and try to lift some of the burdensome legislation or duties placed on them.

That may not be happening fast enough, but I cannot imagine that the Government and the department want to retain unnecessary power a minute longer. When the Government, after consultation, decide that there is no longer any need for reporting, monitoring or guidance, there will be a common consent that they are done away with. I respect where the noble Lord, Lord Bruce-Lockhart, is coming from, but at the moment I cannot see what this will add to the good relationship between councils and the Government.

Not for the first time my noble friend has put his finger on the spot. He has exposed very eloquently the paradox of the amendment. I was going to start by saying that under the amendment the Secretary of State would pick up a new power to add to the bureaucratic process, and then demonstrate in inordinate detail the whole process we have been through, which the noble Lord knows far better than most, to reduce the burden of bureaucracy with which local government has had to deal.

The other expectation is that the amendment somehow will pave the way to a situation where all duties relating to local area agreements and community strategies will somehow wither away; that is, the state in its local form will finally wither away. The noble Lord will also know that that is unlikely and not appropriate because there are very important duties on local authorities which have to be maintained.

The direction of travel since the local government White Paper in 2001 has been to implement a range of measures which incrementally have freed local authorities from plan requirements and consent regimes, and given them greater financial freedoms to charge, trade and borrow. We have reduced the separate number of plan requirements by 75 per cent against the 2001 figures—for example, the annual library plan and the contaminated land strategy. Today, we have laid a legislative reform order, subject to debate after the Recess, which will remove a further four measures—for example, prosecutions under taxi licensing provisions.

We have legislated to enhance charging, trading and borrowing freedoms through the Local Government Act 2003. The comprehensive performance assessment is proportionate and risk-based now instead of the 1,200 targets. We have rationalised area-based initiatives through the local area agreement. I know that all this has been very welcome indeed. It was reinforced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury when he set out on 18 July a reformed approach to national target setting. It was not new, but shed more light and picked up on the non-LAA service providers as well.

We are looking at setting targets at a national level where they genuinely drive up improvement on the ground. I know that Councillor Merrick Cockell, the chair of London Councils who has been praised by my noble friend, has welcomed this.

Hansard will be very confused by the pronunciation. The name is Councillor Merrick Cockell. He is getting called all sorts of things and I happen to know him quite well.

I am very grateful for that intervention. I apologise to the gentleman and I shall try hard to get it right next time.

The noble Lord wants to achieve knowledge about progress being made. The most recent White Paper implementation plan sets out how we will work with the LGA, representatives of local authorities and their local partners to keep guidance to a minimum. We all need to work together. That plan promises regular updates on progress against White Paper delivery. That sort of information will be useful, robust, informative and most helpful. The updates will be published on the White Paper section of the Communities and Local Government website. That is the way to do it. I do not think that the Secretary of State should have a role because it is not appropriate and is another layer. Ultimately, it will achieve what the noble Lord wants.

I thank the Minister for that. The noble Lord, Lord Graham, put his finger on it by saying that there is not a common understanding here, which is why we need a reporting mechanism. Central government thinks that the burden of bureaucracy is getting less and local government feels that it is getting more. The whole point of doing an annual report is to clarify that, so that we do not argue about it and can get on with improvement, and reporting that to Parliament I feel would be helpful. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

246C: After Clause 238, insert the following new Clause—

“Abolition of statutory codes of recommended practice as regards publicity

Section 4 of the Local Government Act 1986 (c. 10) (codes of recommended practice as regards publicity) is repealed.”

The noble Lord said: In the absence of my noble friend Lord Hanningfield, I shall take on the burden of moving this amendment, which I hasten to add for the Minister’s ease is an exploratory amendment, perhaps to give her an opportunity to take some action over the Summer Recess, which would help local government greatly.

The amendment would repeal Section 4 of the Local Government Act 1986 and the code of practice in relation to publicity, which is now a generation old. Some extraordinary characters bestrode the stage of local government in those days, and life—as I remember very well—was on occasions extremely interesting; but it was not always in the best interests of the public. I am bound to say that everything that I observe today about the present generation of councillors shows that they are far more responsible and do the job in a much more reasonable way.

The code of practice was devised in those days to be somewhat restrictive, but the whole process of how councils have worked as a consequence of a raft of legislation has made them much more flexible. They must now work much more by getting public consent for what they are doing. The local area agreements, which we have proposed in this Bill, will dramatically widen that need for consultation. It has got to the point when the code of practice in this field is too restrictive and it would be very useful if it could be relaxed.

That is the simple purpose of this amendment—to put to the Minister that we have an opportunity to do something about this, and there is plenty of time to do it because the Recess is coming. If she could give some assurance that she will consider this matter and see whether something can be done about it when we meet again in the autumn, it would be very encouraging for everybody. I beg to move.

I strongly support the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield, moved by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. I am not sure whether I have declared my interest as president of the Local Government Association. The time has come for local government to boldly proclaim the good news about what it does and not feel inhibited or restrained by this code. As was rightly pointed out, the code arose at a time when—I think that we have to be honest—the GLC and Mrs Thatcher were at loggerheads. Those days are long gone. Local government has grown up and there are better relationships between local government and central government. Those in local government are now the place-shapers and community leaders, and they need to feel uninhibited in putting out good information and using the power of communications, whereas this code greatly inhibits people from doing just that.

The code is interpreted in different ways; it is ambiguous, even though it is very narrowly confined. The heads of communications in local authorities take different views on what is in and what is out and how far you can go. Lawyers, when consulted, always take the most cautious possible view. It is important for local government to defend itself robustly when myths and misinformation are put out, not least by the BNP, on issues such as housing. We hear statements that are simply falsehoods in relation to local authority practices—for example, that they house only members of black and minority ethnic communities. Local authorities need to be able to robustly challenge misinformation and to feel uninhibited in so doing.

Members of the other place now receive the opportunity to spend a communications allowance of £10,000 on publicising the good work that they do, which is in interesting contrast to local government, in which people feel very inhibited. When the press often carries the bad news and negative stories about local government, it is very important that that inhibiting code be removed and the opportunity is given to say the good things about local government.

I, too, support the amendment. Democracy simply does not work without information, so this is an important amendment. We have heard a great deal, quite rightly, from the Government about the importance of strong leadership—indeed, it is a theme throughout the Bill. You cannot have strong leadership and people setting out clear visions and making hard decisions unless they can do so in the press. The amendment is absolutely right.

I do not oppose this amendment, but it is worth those of us in London reflecting sometimes on how we feel about the publicity put out by the Mayor of London, which is a very extreme example of the case. It is not all quite as straightforward as we may have heard. Of course, in part the view that you take of the publicity depends whether you are running the administration or in opposition. It is absolutely right that a council should be able to communicate as its own citizens feel appropriate, but the issues raised about the use of council resources and the facilities made available to other parties on the authority, and so on, require some attention as part of the overall approach.

I think that I can give the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, some support and good news, which he can pass on to the noble Lord, Lord Hanningfield.

When we consulted in January on the general principle of a central code, the overwhelming response from local authorities was that a national code was still important, because there needs to be consistency in how certain things—particularly the areas around political usage and types of information—are treated. So there is still continuing recognition of the value of that. However, it was also clear that there is concern about the content, style and ownership of the code, and I am very happy to indicate that we are now going to consult not only on the content of the code but on whether it is necessary for the code to be issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government, or whether it could be a matter for local government representatives.

We will maintain consistency through a national code, while thinking about what really needs to be in the code, exploring suggestions on the content of the code and on how it might be updated from the world of local government and the stakeholders, for the reasons given by the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith. We will think about how it could be simplified or clarified to support new roles such as advocacy, for example. We are ready to consult local authorities before issuing any new code, and about what form that might take. We are very keen to address robustly the challenge of misinformation—and clearly that will be one very important thing that we want to get right. In this context the help of the LGA will be invaluable as we come to frame a new code.

I am most grateful to the Minister for that very helpful reply. It is particularly good to know that the Government are intent on consulting local government and doing something about this matter. She has not put a timescale on it, but perhaps that would be going too far.

I note the reservations expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee. The Mayor was one of the persons—I nearly used an unparliamentary expression—who probably gave rise to the code as we have it, but that is one of the ironies of life.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Best, and my noble friend Lord Bruce-Lockhart for their interventions. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

246CA: After Clause 238, insert the following new Clause—

“Independent Commission for Local Government Finance for England

(1) There is to be a body corporate called the Independent Commission for Local Government Finance for England.

(2) Schedule (The Independent Commission for Local Government Finance for England) (which makes provision for the Commission) has effect.

The noble Lord said: This amendment proposes an independent commission for local government finance. We have not heard very much in Committee about the Lyons inquiry. The Minister will remember that in April there was an opposition debate and that Sir Michael Lyons has said that the present local government finance system for council tax was not broken but that it was discredited. We start with the problem that the current system lacks transparency, has little credibility on distribution and equalisation and often runs up to 10 years behind on population and demographic change. It is seen to be unfair by the public, who do not understand it. They feel that they have picked up a disproportionate share of national taxation, partly because of the burden of cost imposed through national legislation, policy and demands from central government. This leads to a lack of clear accountability about who is responsible for council tax rises. We know what happens every year—local government blame central government and central government say that it is up to the councils.

Independent commissions exist in Australia and Denmark and work well there. I feel that such a commission would work well here. In Australia it deals with the issues of distribution and equalisation mentioned in my new schedule. It ensures the most up-to-date use of statistics on population and demographic change. How useful that would have been with the escalating immigration over the past half dozen years. But perhaps most importantly of all, it identifies and independently establishes the cost to local government of complying with national legislative change, policy and directives. An independent commission would be seen to be fair and independent.

When we last discussed this in April the Minister was concerned that the commission could not be responsible for value for money issues, service improvement and local responsiveness. That is absolutely right. The greater accountability of knowing who was responsible would strengthen local accountability.

I was grateful to the Minister for saying that she might consider whether some other body might do this. That was helpful. I know that the Audit Commission has been suggested. However, we need to be bold about this. We need to add that accountability for council tax and to localise it. Therefore, an independent commission, which was proposed for the Government’s consideration by Michael Lyons, would be the best way to proceed. I beg to move.

Proposed new Subsection (1D) of the amendment states:

“The powers mentioned in subsection (1B) may include any of the following”,

which obviously implies that they could include all of the following. When I realise the enormous cost implications of decisions that might be taken independently, but which have to be carried financially by the Government, I sometimes wonder where we are getting to. At the end of the day, he who pays the piper calls the tune. If decisions which ultimately are the responsibility of central government—as they inevitably are—are influenced, guided or directed by others, we get into dangerous waters. Other mechanisms may provide some form of independence but if—

I always hesitate to interrupt the noble Lord, Lord Graham. I think that he is talking to Amendment No. 246CB, which looks as if it follows on from Amendment No. 246CA, which is about the independent commission. However, the independent commission is carried on in Amendment No. 252B. I think that the noble Lord is talking about the devolution of the community strategy, including welfare and pensions. If I am wrong about that, I hope that he will forgive me. My noble friend Lord Bruce-Lockhart will want to have a crack at the next amendment, in which case the noble Lord, Lord Graham, can have another go.

I assure the noble Baroness that I do not intend to come back to this and repeat my remarks because, standing on its own, I think that it was a very good contribution. I rest my case.

Interesting matters have been raised. Given the time, it is not appropriate to have the full-scale debate that I should like. However, I make a couple of comments. I absolutely take the point about the implication of all this—that local authorities would be left with next to no discretion. I was rather saddened that the approach seems to be a different centralised approach, not individually local as I should have liked. To say that it ducks the issue of how tax should be raised is too harsh, because it has not attempted to deal with that. It is interesting to see where the demarcation should be between analysing the costs and some of the other things laid out under “functions” and the debate about how money should be raised.

My next comment is not intended to be picky but truly to inquire. The “financial provisions” paragraph refers to the “total council tax precepted”. Is the word “precepted” intentional or should the phrase read “total council tax raised”? I believe that “precepted” has a particular meaning in this context. I hope that we get an opportunity to discuss all this when we are not under such time pressure.

I agree with the noble Baroness that these are important issues. I shall respond fairly quickly, which does not reflect the importance attached to the issues raised. This was not a firm proposal from Sir Michael. He raised it as a possibility. The idea has powerful advocates and I understand the rationale for it. However, I should point out two things. First, the existing process is complex. I would not say that it is confined to anoraks but people do not generally engage with it easily. However, central and local government have done their best over recent years to debate openly the issues involved in the way local government prioritises, dedicates and spends money. I shall give a few examples of that.

Secondly, as I said last time we debated this, however finely the line is drawn around the functionality of doing something, there will be a trespass into areas of political decisions. Paragraphs 6(1)(e) and (f) of Amendment No. 252B propose that the report of the independent commission could look at,

“the effectiveness of the mechanisms by which funding is made available to, or raised by, English local authorities”—

and—

“the basis of distribution of grants”

made to local authorities. These are political judgments. With the best will in the world one does not want to remove accountability. That was the burden of the argument that I made last time we debated this.

The noble Lord speaks with authority and integrity. The formula grant distribution system for local government is already the subject of extensive consultation with stakeholders and engagement with Parliament. The Department for Communities and Local Government leads discussion and consultation with local authority finance experts and all interested government departments through the officer level settlement working group. Consultation document, are published where changes are proposed. On 17 July the department published a consultation document, Local Government Finance: Formula Grant Distribution. Full details are available on the department’s website and printed copies are available in the Library. We invite responses. It is an open process which will be looking at the formula grant for 2008 to 2011.

Similarly, the process of looking at future spending plans in CSR07 has been open and rigorous. We have held seminars with those involved, with local authority representation, co-ordinated by the LGA. We have talked to interest groups, such as the Association of Directors of Social Services, and worked closely, as the noble Lord knows, to identify key spending areas, such as children’s services and adult social services to build up, improve and open out our evidence base. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Wanless report also drive us in that sense.

The noble Lord will know that we have tough measures in place in the form of the new burdens doctrine, to make sure that departments make realistic assessments of the costs of any net new burdens. Therefore, while the process may not be entirely satisfactory from many people’s points of view, it is tough and open, as far as we can make it open within the framework of negotiations, which by definition are sometimes rather sensitive.

Returning to the point, there is a difficult line to be drawn between those decisions and the question of where responsibility for spending stops. Is it not right that Ministers should be able to come to both Houses of Parliament and account for what has been decided and what is done?

I am grateful for the responses. Perhaps I did not explain that, as in Australia, the base increase in grant is always set by the Government. That is the Government’s job. It is simply the distribution, equalisation, population, demographic changes and the cost of new legislation which goes to the commission.

Sir Michael Lyons was careful in his suggestions and if the amendment’s objectives are shared, I hope that we can continue to discuss them with the Government. I hope that the Government will continue to discuss them with the Local Government Association. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

246CB: After Clause 238, insert the following new Clause—

“Community strategies to promote well-being

( ) In section 4 of the Local Government Act 2000 (c. 22) (strategies for promoting well-being), after subsection (1) insert—

“(1A) A community strategy prepared under subsection (1) or modified under subsection (2) may contain a scheme to allow the local authority to do anything which it would otherwise have been prohibited from doing under section 3(1) or (2).

(1B) Where a community strategy includes a scheme under subsection (1A), section 3(1) and (2) shall not apply in relation to the powers set out therein.

(1C) The operation of powers mentioned in subsection (1B) shall be restricted to the area of the local authority.

(1D) The powers mentioned in subsection (1B) may include any of the following—

(a) powers over benefits to the administration of which the Social Security Administration Act 1992 and the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 applies;(b) powers to vary the conditions for receipt of payments made under the Jobseekers Act 1995;(c) powers to assume the functions of the Secretary of State specified in sections 2 and 10 of the Employment and Training Act 1973;(d) powers to direct the use of funds by the Learning and Skills Council under Part I of the Learning and Skills Act 2000; and(e) powers to assume the functions of the Secretary of State specified in section 114 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000;and where powers are included in a scheme under subsection (1A), the Secretary of State shall pay to the authority grant as appropriate, out of monies voted by Parliament.””

The noble Lord said: As the Minister knows, I feel strongly about this amendment. It inserts a new clause to allow local authorities to take full responsibility and have full powers for the issues of worklessness and welfare dependency.

I have spoken in your Lordships’ House about this before. It is one of the most serious issues facing our country. I have said previously that it is, I think in everyone’s view, tragic that after a decade or more of a strong economy, social divisions are wider. Recent DWP figures have shown that the least well-off are worst off today. The 10 per cent least well-off saw their incomes fall by 2 per cent last year. The differentials are wider. Many people are leading extremely difficult lives, with high rates of crime, drug-taking and teenage pregnancy and low aspirations.

New figures show that the United Kingdom has the highest number of children living in workless homes in Europe. Seven million people between the ages of 16 and 65 are classified by the Government as economically inactive. Five million people are trapped in dependency on the state.

We have all agreed that the solutions are not central but local; they are not about the DWP. They are far too complex, multi-faceted and interrelated. They are about education in the broadest sense and the links between school, education, vocational training and businesses. They are about adult education, children leaving care, youth service issues, drugs issues, reoffender programmes, housing, transport and everything that local authorities and their partners do.

The complexity means that the issues must be solved locally and in partnership. The amendment seeks to allow local authorities and their partners in the private, community, social enterprise and voluntary sectors to work together to tackle these all-important worklessness issues. They need to work together and harness the capacity within communities to support people through carefully supported steps and allow them to get back into employment, to have greater independence and more fulfilling lives. The amendment seeks to allow this to happen through community strategies. I beg to move.

I know that the noble Lord feels passionately about this. I am at one with him about the outcomes he wants to achieve. He brings added value to this House as a result of his experience, and it would be good to have a proper debate rather than a truncated one. I hope that there will be an opportunity for that in the autumn, when we will be talking about contextual differences and the sort of things that the Government are bringing forward through, for example, the sub-national review and the proposed new duty regarding the assessment of economic issues.

I hope the noble Lord will not be too disappointed when I say that, although I understand why he feels passionately and we share his commitment to reducing worklessness and creating opportunity, his chosen method is not easy for us to accept. I will explain why.

The amendment would make modified sustainable community strategies a means through which local authorities could raise money and circumvent any legislative restrictions on their powers. That would have unwelcome consequences. It would permit local authorities that change their sustainable community strategies in the way he envisaged to vary the conditions by which claimants receive their benefits and to have much greater control over benefits administration. They would also be able to assume the Secretary of State’s role in respect, for example, of Jobcentre Plus and Connexions services. There are even more wide-ranging changes which would not be subject to parliamentary debate or wider consultation. The Secretary of State would be required to fund any transfer of powers or duties to such local authorities.

That is the context and part of the response to the amendment. However, the other argument is that the power of well-being, which is quite powerful, is available to local authorities under Section 2 of the 2000 Act. It was there to fill a gap, to become a power of first resort, to incur expenditure, give financial assistance to any person, enter into arrangements or agreements and do anything in relation to, or for the benefit of, any person or area situated outside the area as well as inside it. It is an extensive power but it has been so little used for innovative purposes that we are now going to address it. We plan to launch a publication to help different target audiences in local authorities to move the agenda forward. Some of what the noble Lord wants to achieve could be achieved by the better understanding and use of the well-being power. We have some good local examples of how it could be used.

Section 4 of the 2000 Act places on local authorities a related duty to set out a community strategy for improving well-being and they must link together. However, the well-being powers are subject to certain limitations, which are set out in Section 3(1) and (2) of the 2000 Act. Those limitations cover taking actions that are expressly prohibited in legislation and raising money by means of precepts, borrowing or otherwise. Among other things, the noble Lord’s amendment would permit local authorities to circumvent that. That would create a problem.

Section 3(1) prevents the exercise of the well-being power where there is a prohibition, restriction or limitation on their powers contained in any enactment. We know that those limitations are in legislation for good reasons. The well-being power framework also contains a power under Section 5 of the Local Government Act 2000 which permits the Secretary of State, by order, to amend legislation that prevents local authorities from exercising the power or obstructs them in doing so. Of necessity, this power is quite bureaucratic because, when it is used, it requires wide consultation with local government and is subject to parliamentary scrutiny and debate. The detail of this procedure is set out in Section 9 of the 2000 Act. We would expect local authorities to draw any such legislation to the attention of the Secretary of State, although it has not occurred very often.

The amendment would mean that legislative restrictions on local authority activity, which are there for good reasons, would cease to apply and new proposals would bypass the scrutiny, and potentially the safeguards, of Parliament. Therefore, first, the well-being powers are extensive but are not being used very effectively, and, secondly, the amendment would remove some of the important limitations on the controls over the way that the legislation works. Those are two separate arguments, and there is another subset with regard to limitation.

I move on to the restrictions on using the well-being power to raise money. As we all know, the framework for local government finance depends on stable and predictable funding. The amendment would compromise the framework on which local government finance rests and the work that local authorities have done with their partners to deliver services. We are certainly encouraging closer working through local area agreements, but I would be afraid that the safeguards surrounding the ability of local authorities to raise money could be removed. The implication of the amendment is that local authorities could, for example, introduce new means of raising money in an unregulated and inconsistent manner. Again, as the noble Lord knows full well, the local government finance system is firmly bedded down. We have to ensure that it is predictable and secure, and we would not want to open up more opportunities for local authorities to spend randomly. Those are the problems with the amendment.

Along with the well-being power, opportunities have recently arisen for local government to use new powers. I do not think that this Bill is the right place to take forward major legislative changes in the way that the noble Lord suggests, although, as I said, I am sympathetic to his reason for wanting local authorities to be able to address these very stubborn and difficult problems locally.

However, there is a case to be made for national frameworks and standards, particularly with regard to the administration and terms of benefits. We have had a national benefits system since 1947 and it is an extremely important way of ensuring equity and fairness in the administration of benefits across the country. Nevertheless, we should look at the way in which the well-being power is providing for local authorities to work together, including in the noble Lord’s own county of Kent, for example. Jobcentre Plus is being brought in powerfully in new and innovative ways, and we are also looking at new possibilities through local area agreements. In addition, we have made changes to devolve funding for the delivery of the Learning and Skills Council, and Connexions will pass to all local authorities with effect from April 2008. Funding for school sixth forms and colleges, including the contribution of FE colleges to the 14 to 19 phase, will transfer to local authorities.

We are giving local authorities more powers and more scope, particularly in skills and employment. This will not go as far as the noble Lord wants, but it is a start. It will bring skills to the local level and it will also bring opportunities to look at local labour markets.

Although I have used a range of arguments, I am conscious that I have given an inadequate reply to a very important issue. I shall be very happy to write to the noble Lord, particularly on the legal implications of the amendment, which are quite complex. I hope he will understand that I have thought about this issue and that I have tried to address it in its broadest form.

I thank the noble Baroness for her reply. I am grateful that she shares my objectives and motives, and I hope that we can continue to discuss this matter. I was not sure that I agreed with her when she said that equity means that we have to have a national system. One problem with a national system is that it tends to be a Whitehall, one-size-fits-all, top-down system. We need systems to be locally tailored to local circumstances and to individual circumstances.

I do not totally accept that this is just about being more ambitious with the power of well-being. In the United States, where individual states picked up President Clinton’s very bold welfare reforms and were able to bring in their own powers, we could see that devolution made a real difference on the ground. As I said, I am grateful for the Minister’s response and I hope that we can continue to discuss this issue. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 239 [Orders, regulations and guidance]:

246D: Clause 239, page 169, line 14, leave out subsections (4) and (5) and insert—

“(4) A statutory instrument containing an order made by the Welsh Ministers under section 211 or 219, other than an instrument to which subsection (5) applies, is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of the National Assembly for Wales.

(5) A statutory instrument containing—

an order under section 211 which includes provision amending an enactment, or

an order made by the Welsh Ministers under section 213,

may not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by a resolution of the National Assembly for Wales.”

The noble Baroness said: Noble Lords will recall that we debated and agreed amendments to Part 12 in response to one of the two recommendations from the 12th report of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee.

Amendments Nos. 246D, 246E and 246F are in response to the other DPRRC recommendation on Part 12 that the power at Clause 213(1) should be subject to the affirmative procedure. That recommendation was made because the power is wider than the one that the Secretary of State currently has in relation to companies under the control of a local authority, and also because it is difficult to discern the Government’s policy from the clause.

As should be clear by now, the principal policy intention behind Part 12 is to enable propriety controls to be attached to the wider range of bodies through which local authorities in England and Wales now operate.

The previous order-making power in the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 was subject to the negative resolution procedure and, although the new power is wider, it is suitably limited to entities which, according to proper practices in force at the time, are required to be included in the authority’s statement of accounts. That limits the scope of the power to those bodies in respect of which authorities have access to benefits or are exposed to loss arising from that relationship.

We were intending to pursue a negative resolution procedure because we thought that there might be exceptional circumstances where we would need to use the power urgently. However, the Government have taken on board the concerns raised by the committee, and Amendments Nos. 246D, 246E and 246F bring the power in Clause 213(1) into the affirmative resolution procedure. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

246E: Clause 239, page 169, line 21, after “order” insert “made by the Secretary of State”

246F: Clause 239, page 169, line 21, leave out “or 40” and insert “, 40 or 213”

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 246G not moved.]

247: Clause 239, page 169, line 21, leave out “or 8” and insert “, 9(3A)(b) or 10(2A)(b)”

The noble Baroness said: As with most legislation that passes through this House, a number of consequential technical amendments are required to give effect to the Bill’s provisions which have been considered by this Committee.

Amendment No. 247, which amends Clause 239, relates to councils operating a mayor and council manager executive. It requires that an order to change the date by which the authority must resolve to change to a different form of executive should be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

Amendments Nos. 250 to 252, which amend Clause 244, will provide certainty to the five authorities that do not currently hold mayoral elections in the years provided for in the Bill. It allows provision to be made in advance to enable them to continue to hold mayoral elections in those years and, if appropriate, to make the transition to holding mayoral elections in the years provided for in the Bill. The authorities concerned are Doncaster, north Tyneside, Hartlepool, Stoke-on-Trent and Watford.

Amendment No. 254A to Schedule 1 is necessary, as the procedure used under the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Act is the one currently in Part 2 of the Local Government Act 1992. The Bill amends this procedure for electoral reviews but this amendment ensures that the procedure to be used for reviews under the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Act is retained.

Amendments Nos. 255A to 262A make drafting changes to Schedule 4 and consequential changes to other legislation, in particular to ensure that references in other legislation to the existing forms of executive available to local authorities in England are updated to reflect the changes made by the Bill.

Amendments Nos. 263 to 272 make necessary changes to Parts 1 and 2 of Schedule 5, which relate to authorities operating a leader and cabinet executive and mayor and council manager before Part 3 is commenced. The amendments are needed to ensure consistency with the amendments I brought before this Committee on the new process outlined in Part 3 of the Bill for changing executive arrangements.

Amendments Nos. 281A to 281C to Schedule 18 repeal references in local government legislation to the mayor and council manager executive model, which is no longer to be available to local authorities, once the Bill is enacted. I commend these amendments to the Committee.

I understand that Amendment No. 255C excludes all members of an executive from a standards committee. Why did the Government think that necessary? What is being amended is the exclusion of the leader from the standards committee, but the executive is a part of the authority. There is a whiff of setting the back-benchers against the executive on this. I do not know whether that was in the Government’s mind.

The noble Baroness said that Amendment No. 272 would give clarity. I am delighted that those who need to know understand the provision. At an earlier stage, I raised the point that for some parts of the Bill it would be helpful to have a flow chart to follow through the processes and to find out when the relevant elections are and which elections are relevant. I am not sure whether the term “relevant elections” has the same meaning throughout the Bill. It is defined in different places. That observation is more indicative of weariness at this stage of the Bill than anything else. However, perhaps I have given the Minister an opportunity to consider the standards point.

There is nothing sinister in Amendment No. 255C. By amending Section 53 of the Local Government Act 2000 so that members of an elected executive are unable to sit on a standards committee of a local authority, it is consistent with the existing arrangements, which prevent an elected mayor or executive leader sitting on a standards committee. Since standards committees have been established, members of the executive have never been able to be members. It is not a policy change; it is simply terminology.

My background notes on Amendment No. 272 are elliptical in the extreme. The noble Baroness’s point refers to Part 3 of the Bill. I should be grateful if she will allow me to write to her on that.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 239, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 240 and 241 agreed to.

Clause 242 [Power to make further amendments and repeals]:

247ZA: Clause 242, page 170, line 32, leave out “supplementing or”

The noble Baroness said: This may be the last amendment that has not been debated. I am sorry that I cannot end the Committee stage with more of a bang. However, Amendment No. 247ZA again challenges the term “supplementing” in relation to the powers of the Secretary of State to amend and repeal certain enactments for the purposes of, as Clause 242(3) says,

“supplementing or giving full effect to this Act”.

“Supplementing” has to mean something different from “consequential on” because that is provided for in the next paragraph. As I understand it, “supplementing” is rather wider than putting into effect the provisions on the face of the Bill. I hope that the Minister can help me. I beg to move.

It may not be a bang but neither is it a whimper. It is an important point. The amendment seeks to narrow the Secretary of State’s power to amend other legislation in implementing the Bill by amending Clause 242. I am assured that provisions such as Clause 242 are very common in legislation. They are taken so that it is possible, in implementing a Bill, to make necessary amendments to other legislation that needs tidying up as a result of the Bill’s passing. They also ensure that Ministers have sufficient powers to ensure that Bills can be implemented in full.

Clause 242 would not allow Ministers to make secondary legislation that extended beyond the scope of the provisions of the Bill. It would be unfortunate, however, if necessary amendments to other legislation could not be made to give proper effect to the Bill because of technical doubts over whether the power to do so would be wide enough. The power already has built-in limits on its use. Moreover, all orders made under it will be laid before both Houses and, if the Government wish to amend primary legislation using the power, that will be subject to a debate in this House.

I appreciate the forensic techniques that the noble Baroness has employed throughout our consideration of the Bill. It is a fitting climax to Clause 242.

It is a fitting climax in that I get slapped down. I know that the wording is common. That does not make it right. The Minister used the phrase “tidying up”. In the amendments that we are no doubt about to race through, we see the complexity and scale of the provisions that any one Bill requires to tidy up other pieces of legislation. I still believe that “supplementing” is a broader term and has broader connotations than are appropriate. However, it would not be appropriate for me to continue at greater length now. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 242 agreed to.

Clause 243 [Extent]:

247A: Clause 243, page 170, line 39, after “10,” insert “(Consequential amendments relating to joint waste authorities),”

248: Clause 243, page 170, line 39, after “10,” insert “13,”

249: Clause 243, page 170, line 39, after second “9,” insert “14,”

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 243, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 244 [Commencement]:

250: Clause 244, page 171, line 7, after “sections” insert “75(2),”

251: Clause 244, page 171, line 7, after “245” insert “, and Part 3 of Schedule 5,”

252: Clause 244, page 171, line 12, after “Part 3” insert “(to the extent that it does not come into force in accordance with subsection (1))”

On Question, amendments agreed to.

[Amendment No. 252A not moved.]

Clause 244, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 245 agreed to.

[Amendment No. 252B not moved.]

Schedule 1 [Structural and boundary change: consequential amendments]:

253: Schedule 1, page 172, line 18, leave out from “omit” to end of line 20

254: Schedule 1, page 176, line 11, leave out from “for” to end of line 13 and insert ““, section 58 of the Local Government Act 1972 or section 17 of the Local Government Act 1992” substitute “or section 58 of the Local Government Act 1972””

254A: Schedule 1, page 176, leave out lines 22 to 27 and insert—

“This Act shall have effect as if the amendments of the Local Government Act 1992 made by the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 had not been made.””

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 1, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 2 agreed to.

Schedule 3 [Supplementary vote system: consequential amendments]:

[Amendment No. 255 not moved.]

Schedule 3 agreed to.

Schedule 4 [New arrangements for executives: further amendments]:

255A: Schedule 4, page 178, line 15, at end insert—

“Local Government Act 1972 (c. 70)1 The Local Government Act 1972 is amended as follows.

2 (1) Section 3 (chairman) is amended as follows.

(2) For subsection (4A) substitute—

“(4A) In relation to a district council which are operating relevant executive arrangements, subsection (4) shall have effect as if it provided for the senior executive member to have precedence in the district; but this subsection shall not apply if the relevant executive arrangements provide for it not to apply.

(4B) In subsection (4A)—

“relevant executive arrangements” means arrangements which involve—(a) a mayor and cabinet executive, or(b) an elected executive;“senior executive member” means—(a) in the case of a mayor and cabinet executive: the elected mayor;(b) in the case of an elected executive: the elected leader.”3 (1) Section 70 (restriction on promotion of Bills) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (3) after “elected mayor” insert “or elected executive”.

4 (1) Section 79 (qualifications for election and holding office) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1) after “elected mayor” insert “or a member of an elected executive”.

5 (1) Section 80 (disqualification for election and holding office) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1) after “elected mayor” insert “or a member of an elected executive”.

6 (1) Section 82 (validity of acts done by unqualified persons) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1) after “executive leader” insert “or as a member of an elected executive”.

7 (1) Section 83 (declaration of acceptance of office) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1) for “or elected mayor” substitute “, elected mayor or member of the elected executive”.

8 (1) Section 84 (resignation) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1) after “elected mayor” insert “or as a member of an elected executive”.

9 (1) Section 85 (vacation of office by failure to attend meetings) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2B)(b) after “mayor and cabinet executive” insert “or elected executive”.

10 (1) Section 270 (general provisions as to interpretation) is amended as follows

(2) In subsection (1) for the definition of “leader and cabinet executive” substitute—

““leader and cabinet executive” means—

(a) in relation to England: a leader and cabinet executive (England); (b) in relation to Wales: a leader and cabinet executive (Wales);”.(3) In subsection (1) insert the following definitions at the appropriate places—

““elected executive” has the same meaning as in Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2000;”

““elected leader” has the same meaning as in Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2000;”

““leader and cabinet executive (England) has the same meaning as in Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2000;”

““leader and cabinet executive (Wales) has the same meaning as in Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2000;”.

11 (1) Schedule 2 (constitution and membership of London borough councils) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 5B (constitution of council operating mayoral executive) omit “or a mayor and council manager executive”.

12 (1) Schedule 12 (meetings and proceedings of local authorities) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 5(5) (who presides over meeting of council operating mayoral executive) omit “or a mayor and council manager executive”.

Local Government Act 1974 (c. 7)13 The Local Government Act 1974 is amended as follows.

14 (1) Section 30 (reports on investigation) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (2AB) omit “or mayor and council manager executive”.

15 (1) Section 34 (Interpretation of Part 3) is amended as follows.

(2) In the definition of “mayor and cabinet executive” and “mayor and council manager executive” for “and “mayor and council manager executive” have” substitute “has”.

Local Government Act 1985 (c. 51)16 The Local Government Act 1985 is amended as follows.

17 (1) Section 35 (disqualification) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (4) for ““executive leader” and “leader and cabinet executive”” substitute “and executive leader”.

(3) After subsection (4) insert—

“(5) In this section “leader and cabinet executive” means—

(a) in relation to England: a leader and cabinet executive (England);(b) in relation to Wales: a leader and cabinet executive (Wales);and for this purpose “leader and cabinet executive (England)” and “leader and cabinet executive (Wales)” have the same meanings as in Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2000.”

18 The Local Government Finance Act 1988 is amended as follows.

19 (1) Section 111 (interpretation of Part 8) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (3A)—

(a) after “council manager,” insert “elected executive, elected leader,”;(b) omit “leader and cabinet executive,”.(3) After subsection (3A) insert—

“(3B) In this Part, “leader and cabinet executive” means—

(a) in relation to England: a leader and cabinet executive (England);(b) in relation to Wales: a leader and cabinet executive (Wales);and for this purpose “leader and cabinet executive (England)” and “leader and cabinet executive (Wales)” have the same meanings as in Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2000.”

(2) In subsection (1A), after paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) where the authority has an elected executive, the elected leader;”.(3) In subsection (2A), after paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) where the authority has an elected executive, the elected leader;”.

255B: Schedule 4, page 178, line 16, leave out “in accordance with this Schedule” and insert “as follows”

255C: Schedule 4, page 178, line 25, at end insert—

“4A (1) Section 53 (standards committees) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (5)(a), after “executive leader” insert “or any member of an elected executive”.”

256: Schedule 4, page 180, line 44, leave out “executive” and insert “elected”

257: Schedule 4, page 181, line 2, leave out “executive” and insert “elected”

258: Schedule 4, page 181, line 3, leave out “executive” and insert “elected”

259: Schedule 4, page 181, line 4, leave out “executive” and insert “elected”

260: Schedule 4, page 181, line 7, leave out “executive” and insert “elected”

261: Schedule 4, page 181, line 8, leave out “executive” and insert “elected”

262: Schedule 4, page 181, line 11, leave out second “executive” and insert “elected”

262A: Schedule 4, page 181, line 12, at end insert—

“Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (c. 41)10 The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 is amended as follows.

11 (1) Section 160 (general interpretation) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1), in the definition of “local government election” after “elected mayor” insert “or elected executive”.

12 (1) Schedule 7 (control of donations to individuals and members associations) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraph 1 (operation and interpretation of Schedule), for sub-paragraph (8)(g) and “or” preceding it substitute—

“(g) Mayor of London; or(h) elected mayor, or member of an elected executive, within the meaning of Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2000.””

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 4, as amended, agreed to.

Schedule 5 [New arrangements for executives: transitional provision]:

263: Schedule 5, page 181, line 35, leave out from beginning to second “period” in line 1 on page 182 and insert—

“(3) In the application of section 33G by virtue of this paragraph, “relevant elections” has the meaning given in paragraph 5.

(3A) Any resolution to make the change in governance arrangements must be passed during the permitted resolution”

264: Schedule 5, page 183, line 29, leave out sub-paragraph (3)

265: Schedule 5, page 183, line 38, at end insert—

“(3A) Any resolution to make the change in governance arrangements must be passed on or before—

(a) 31 December 2008, or(b) such later date as the Secretary of State may by order provide.”

265A: Schedule 5, page 184, line 17, after “executive” insert “—

(a)”

266: Schedule 5, page 184, line 19, at end insert “, and

(b) subject to any order under Part 3, apply in the same way to subsequent elections of the mayor of the mayor and cabinet executive.”

267: Schedule 5, page 184, line 24, leave out sub-paragraph (2) and insert—

“(2) Section 33K(2), (3), (3B) and (4) of the LGA 2000 apply to the change as they would if the change were, by virtue of section 33LA of the LGA 2000, subject to approval in a referendum.

(2A) Any resolution to make the change in governance arrangements must be passed on or before the earlier of these days—

(a) the last day of the period of 28 days that begins with the day when the referendum is held;(b) 31 December 2008, or such later date as the Secretary of State may by order provide.”

268: Schedule 5, page 184, line 26, leave out “45” and insert “45(1)”

269: Schedule 5, page 184, line 41, at end insert—

“(8) If the local authority—

(a) changes to a leader and cabinet executive (England), and(b) has held its annual meeting in 2009 before changing to that form of executive,the authority must hold a meeting within the 21 days following the day on which it changes to that form of executive.(9) For the purposes of section 44B of the LGA 2000, that meeting is to be treated as a relevant annual meeting.

(10) If the local authority adopts an elected executive, an election for the return of an elected executive (rather than an elected mayor) is to be held on the relevant election day.”

270: Schedule 5, page 185, leave out lines 23 and 24 and insert—

““relevant election day” means the day in 2009 on which an ordinary election of a mayor would take place if the local authority continued to operate a mayor and council manager executive;”

271: Schedule 5, page 185, line 31, leave out “day of the relevant elections” and insert “relevant election day”

272: Schedule 5, page 185, line 33, at end insert—

“Part 3Other transitional provision“13 (1) The Secretary of State may by order make transitional, saving or transitory provision for the purposes of—

(a) supplementing or giving full effect to Part 3 of this Act; or(b) making provision consequential on the passing of Part 3 of this Act.(2) An order under sub-paragraph (1) may, in particular, make—

(a) provision as to the dates on which and years in which relevant elections may or must be held;(b) provision as to the intervals between relevant elections;(c) provision as to the term of office of any member of any form of executive;(d) provision as to when sections 33A to 33D of the LGA 2000 are to begin to apply in relation to a local authority;(e) provision as to when section 39(6) and (7) of the LGA 2000 are to begin to apply in relation to a local authority. (3) An order under sub-paragraph (1) may, in particular, make provision to supplement any provision made in Part 1 or 2 of this Schedule.

(4) An order under sub-paragraph (1) may not make provision of the kind that may be made under section 242.

(5) In this paragraph “relevant election” means—

(a) an election for the return of an elected mayor;(b) an election for the return of elected executive members;(c) the election by a local authority of the executive leader of a leader and cabinet executive (England).”

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 5, as amended, agreed to.

Schedules 6 and 7 agreed to.

Schedule 10 agreed to.

Schedule 13 [The Commission for Local Administration in England: minor and consequential amendments]:

273: Schedule 13, page 206, line 11, at end insert—

“( ) In subsection (5)—

(a) for “a complaint” substitute “a matter”;(b) in paragraph (a)—(i) for “the complaint has” substitute “the matter has”;(ii) for “the person aggrieved” substitute “the person affected”;(iii) for “the complaint relates” substitute “it relates”;(iv) for “to investigate, and reply to, the complaint” substitute “to investigate the matter and to respond”;(c) in paragraph (b)—(i) for “the complaint to be” substitute “the matter to be”;(ii) for “to investigate, and reply to, the complaint” substitute “to investigate the matter and to respond”.”

274: Schedule 13, page 208, line 13, at end insert—

“( ) In subsection (1)(ba), for “any officer of the Commission,” substitute “any person discharging or assisting in the discharge of a function of a Local Commissioner”.”

275: Schedule 13, page 209, line 8, at end insert—

“8A (1) Section 33ZA (collaborative working between Local Commissioners and other Commissioners) is amended as follows.

(2) In subsection (1), for “the complaint relates partly to” substitute “the matters which are the subject of the investigation include”.

(3) In subsection (2)—

(a) for “the person aggrieved” substitute “the person affected”;(b) for “any person acting on his behalf in accordance with subsection (2) of section 27 of this Act” substitute “the complainant (if any)”.(4) In subsection (4), omit “of a complaint”.”

276: Schedule 13, page 209, line 32, leave out “sub-paragraph (5)” and insert “sub-paragraphs (5) and (6)”

277: Schedule 13, page 209, line 36, at end insert—

“Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 (c. 13)11A (1) The Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 3(2A) (administrative provisions) for “any officer or member of staff of the Commission for Local Administration in England” substitute “any person discharging or assisting in the discharge of a function of a Local Commissioner, but only if the person is”.

(3) In section 11 (provision for secrecy of information), in subsection (2)(aa) for “a complaint” substitute “a matter”.

(4) In section 11ZAA (collaborative working between Parliamentary Commissioner and other Commissioners)—

(a) in subsection (3)—(i) for “a complaint which is being investigated” substitute “matters which are the subject of an investigation”;(ii) for “relates partly to” substitute “include”;(iii) after “investigation” insert “of that matter”;(b) in subsection (4)—(i) for “a complaint” substitute “a matter”;(ii) for “the complaint” substitute “a complaint about the matter”;(c) in subsection (5), omit “of a complaint”.”

278: Schedule 13, page 209, line 39, leave out from “officer),” to end of line 40 and insert “in subsection (2)—

(a) after paragraph (a) insert—“(aa) any such maladministration or failure as is mentioned in Part 3 of the Local Government Act 1974 (Local Commissioners), or”;(b) in paragraph (b), omit “Part III of the Local Government Act 1974 (Local Commissioners) or”.”

279: Schedule 13, page 209, line 43, at end insert—

“Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 (c. 46)12A (1) The Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 15 (confidentiality of information), in subsection (1)(aa) for “a complaint” substitute “a matter”.

(3) In section 18ZA (collaborative working between the Commissioner and other Commissioners)—

(a) in subsection (3)—(i) for “a complaint which is being investigated” substitute “matters which are the subject of an investigation”;(ii) for “relates partly to” substitute “include”;(iii) after “investigation” insert “of that matter”;(b) in subsection (4), omit “of a complaint”;(c) in subsection (5), for “the interests of the complainant and of persons other than the complainant” substitute “the interests of the complainant (if any) and of other persons”.(4) In Schedule 1 (the English Commissioner), in paragraph 12A—

(a) after “performed by” insert “—(a) ”;(b) for “the Commission for Local Administration in England” substitute—“(b) any person discharging or assisting in the discharge of a function of a Local Commissioner,who is”.”

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 13, as amended, agreed to.

279A: After Schedule 13, insert the following new Schedule—

“SCHEDULEConsequential amendments relating to joint waste authoritiesPart 1Amendments of Local Government Act 19721 The Local Government Act 1972 (c.70) is amended in accordance with this Part of this Schedule.

2 In section 70 (restriction on promotion of Bills for changing local government areas), in subsections (1) and (3), for “or joint authority” substitute “, joint authority or joint waste authority”.

3 In section 80(2) (disqualifications for election and holding office as member of local authority), after “joint authority” insert “, joint waste authority”.

4 In section 85(4) (vacation of office by failure to attend meetings), at the end insert “and a joint waste authority”.

5 In section 86(2) (declaration by local authority of vacancy in office), at the end insert “and a joint waste authority”.

6 In section 92 (proceedings for disqualification), after subsection (7) insert—

“(7A) In this section “local authority” also includes a joint waste authority.

(7B) The reference in subsection (1) above to a local government elector for the area concerned shall—

(a) in relation to a joint waste authority established for an area that includes a local government area, be construed as including a reference to a local government elector for that local government area;(b) in relation to a joint waste authority established for an area that includes the City of London, be construed as including a reference to a person whose name appears in a ward list published under section 7 of the City of London (Various Powers) Act 1957;(c) in relation to a joint waste authority established for an area that includes the Inner Temple or the Middle Temple, be construed as including a reference to a person whose name appears in the ward list published with respect to the ward of Farrington Without in the City under section 7 of the City of London (Various Powers) Act 1957.”7 In section 98(1A) (interpretation), after “joint authority,” insert “a joint waste authority,”.

8 In section 100J (application to new authorities)—

(a) in subsection (1), after paragraph (b) insert—“(ba) a joint waste authority;”;(b) in subsection (2), in the words following paragraph (b), after “(b),” insert “(ba),”;(c) in subsection (3), after “(b),” insert “(ba),”;(d) in subsection (4)(a), after “joint authority” insert “, a joint waste authority”.9 In section 101(13) (arrangements for discharge of functions by local authorities), after “police authority,” insert “a joint waste authority,”.

10 In section 146A(1) (joint authorities etc), after “joint authority,” insert “a joint waste authority,”.

11 In section 175(3B) (allowances for attending conferences and meetings), after “London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority” insert “, a joint waste authority”.

12 In section 176(3) (payment of expenses of official visits), after “joint authority” insert “, a joint waste authority”.

13 In section 223(2) (appearance of local authorities in legal proceedings), after “joint authority,” insert “a joint waste authority,”.

14 In section 224(2) (arrangements by principal councils for custody of documents), after “joint authority” insert “or joint waste authority”.

15 In section 225(3) (deposit of documents with proper officer of authority), at the end insert “and a joint waste authority”.

16 In section 228 (inspection of documents), after subsection (7A) insert—

“(7B) This section shall apply to the minutes of proceedings and the accounts of a joint waste authority as if that authority were a local authority; and in relation to a joint waste authority the reference to a local government elector for the area of the authority is to be construed in accordance with section 92(7B).”

17 In section 229(8) (photographic copies of documents), after “joint authority” insert “, a joint waste authority”.

18 In section 230(2) (reports and returns), at the end insert “and a joint waste authority”.

19 In section 231(4) (service of notices on local authorities), after “joint authority” insert “, a joint waste authority”.

20 In section 232(1A) (public notices), after “joint authority” insert “, a joint waste authority”.

21 In section 233(11) (service of notices by local authorities), after “joint authority” insert “, a joint waste authority”.

22 In section 234(4) (authentication of documents), after “joint authority” insert “, a joint waste authority”.

23 In section 239(4A) (power to promote or oppose local or personal Bills), at the end insert “and a joint waste authority”.

24 In section 270(1) (general provisions as to interpretation), after the definition of “joint authority” insert—

““joint waste authority” means an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007;”.

Part 2Other AmendmentsLandlord and Tenant Act 1954 (c. 56)25 In section 69(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (interpretation), in the definition of “local authority”, after “National Park authority,” insert “an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities),”.

Trustee Investments Act 1961 (c. 62)26 In section 11(4)(a) of the Trustee Investments Act 1961 (local authority investment schemes), after “1985” insert “, an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities)”.

Leasehold Reform Act 1967 (c. 88)27 In section 28(5)(a) of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 (retention or resumption of land required for public purposes), after “1985,” insert “any authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities),”.

Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 (c. 57)28 In section 3(2)(b) of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 (employers exempted from insurance), after “1985,” insert “an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities),”.

Local Authorities (Goods and Services) Act 1970 (c. 39)29 In section 1(4) of the Local Authorities (Goods and Services) Act 1970 (supply of goods and services by local authorities), in the definition of “local authority”, after “1985” insert “, any authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities)”.

Employment Agencies Act 1973 (c. 35)30 In section 13(7) of the Employment Agencies Act 1973 (interpretation), after paragraph (f) insert—

“(fza) the exercise by an authority established for an area in England under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities) of any of its functions;”.Local Government Act 1974 (c. 7)31 (1) Part 3 of the Local Government Act 1974 (Commission for Local Administration in England) is amended as follows.

(2) In section 25(1) (authorities subject to investigation), after paragraph (cc) insert—

“(cd) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.(3) In section 26C(6) (referral of complaints by authorities) (inserted by section 175 of this Act), after paragraph (c) insert—

“(d) in relation to an authority established by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, a person who may be a member of the authority in accordance with section 209 of that Act.”Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (c. 37)32 In section 28(6) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (restrictions on disclosure of information), after “1985” insert “, an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities)”.

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (c. 57)33 In section 44(1) of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 (interpretation of Part 1), in the definition of “local authority”—

(a) in paragraph (a), after “1985” insert “, an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities)”;(b) in paragraph (c), after “authorities),” insert “an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities),”.Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 (c. 80)34 In section 5(3) of the Rent (Agriculture) Act 1976 (no statutory tenancy where landlord’s interest belongs to local authority etc), after paragraph (bb) insert—

“(bba) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.Rent Act 1977 (c. 42)35 In section 14 of the Rent Act 1977 (landlord’s interest belonging to local authority etc), after paragraph (cb) insert—

“(cba) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 (c. 65)36 (1) The Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 2(1) (duty of authorities to publish information), after paragraph (ka) insert—

“(kaa) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.(3) In section 98(8A) (authorities referred to by subsection (8)(d)), after paragraph (e) (and before the “and” following that paragraph) insert—

“(ea) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.(4) In section 99(4) (representations by certain bodies), after paragraph (db) insert—

“(dba) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”. (5) In section 100(1)(a) (meaning of “subsidiary), for “or a joint authority established by Part IV of the Local Government Act 1985,” substitute “, a joint authority established by Part 4 of the Local Government Act 1985 or an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities),”.

(6) In Schedule 16 (bodies to whom Part 10 applies), after paragraph 5B insert—

“5BA An authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities).”

Acquisition of Land Act 1981 (c. 67)37 In section 17(4) of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 (local authority and statutory undertakers’ land), in paragraph (a) of the definition of “local authority”, for “and a joint authority established by Part 1V of the Local Government Act 1985,” substitute “, a joint authority established by Part 4 of the Local Government Act 1985 or an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities),”.

Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 (c. 30)38 (1) The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 33(9) (enforceability by local authorities of certain covenants relating to land)—

(a) in paragraph (a), for “or a joint authority established by Part IV of the Local Government Act 1985” substitute “, a joint authority established by Part 4 of the Local Government Act 1985 or an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities)”;(b) in paragraph (b), after “joint authority” insert “or joint waste authority”.(3) In section 41(13) (lost and uncollected property), in the definition of “local authority”, after paragraph (e) (and before the “and” following that paragraph) insert—

“(ea) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.Stock Transfer Act 1982 (c. 41)39 In paragraph 7(2)(a) of Schedule 1 to the Stock Transfer Act 1982 (specified securities), after “1985” insert “, an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities)”.

County Courts Act 1984 (c. 28)40 In section 60(3) of the County Courts Act 1984 (right of audience), in the definition of “local authority”, after “1985,” insert “an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities),”.

Housing Act 1985 (c. 68)41 (1) Section 4 of the Housing Act 1985 (descriptions of authority) is renumbered subsection (1) of that section.

(2) In paragraph (e) of that subsection—

(a) for “and a joint authority established by Part IV of the Local Government Act 1985” substitute “, a joint authority established by Part 4 of the Local Government Act 1985, a joint waste authority”;(b) for “a joint authority established by Part IV of the Local Government Act 1985”, in the second place where it occurs, substitute “, a joint authority established by Part 4 of the Local Government Act 1985, a joint waste authority”.(3) After that subsection insert—

“(2) In this section “joint waste authority” means an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007.”

Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (c. 70)42 In section 38 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 (minor definitions), in the definition of “local authority”, after “1985” insert “, an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities)”.

Local Government Act 1988 (c. 9)43 In Schedule 2 to the Local Government Act 1988 (public supply or works contracts: the public authorities), after the entry relating to an authority established by an order under section 10(1) of the Local Government Act 1985 insert—

“An authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities).”

Housing Act 1988 (c. 50)44 In Schedule 1 to the Housing Act 1988 (tenancies that cannot be assured tenancies), in paragraph 12(1) after paragraph (f) insert—

“(fa) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.Road Traffic Act 1988 (c. 52)45 In section 144(2)(a)(i) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (exceptions from requirement of third-party insurance), after “the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority,” insert “an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities)”.

Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (c. 42)46 The Local Government and Housing Act 1989 is amended as follows.

47 In section 21(1) (interpretation of Part 1), after paragraph (g) insert—

“(ga) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.48 In section 152(2) (interpretation of sections 150 and 151), after paragraph (i) insert—

“(ia) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.Environmental Protection Act 1990 (c. 43)49 In section 52(1A) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (payments for recycling and disposal etc of waste), at the end insert “or any authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities)”.

Local Government (Overseas Assistance) Act 1993 (c. 25)50 In section 1(10) of the Local Government (Overseas Assistance) Act 1993 (power to provide advice and assistance), after paragraph (d) insert—

“(da) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (c. 53)51 In section 3(2) of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (ineligible applicants for grants), after paragraph (j) (and before the “or” following that paragraph) insert—

“(ja) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”. Audit Commission Act 1998 (c. 18)52 In Schedule 2 to the Audit Commission Act 1998 (accounts subject to audit), in paragraph 1, after paragraph (m) insert—

“(ma) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.Local Government Act 1999 (c. 27)53 In section 1(1) of the Local Government Act 1999 (best value authorities), after paragraph (g) insert—

“(ga) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.Freedom of Information Act 2000 (c. 36)54 In Schedule 1 to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (public authorities), after paragraph 15 insert—

“15A An authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities).”

Local Government Act 2003 (c. 26)55 (1) The Local Government Act 2003 is amended as follows.

(2) In section 23(1) (definition of local authority for purposes of Part 1), after paragraph (k) insert—

“(ka) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.(3) In section 33(1) (power to pay grant: interpretation), after paragraph (j) insert—

“(ja) an authority established for an area in England by an order under section 208 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 (joint waste authorities);”.”

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 16 [Consequential amendments relating to the creation of the Valuation Tribunal for England]:

[Amendments Nos. 279B to 279D not moved.]

Schedule 16 agreed to.

Schedule 18 [Repeals]:

280: Schedule 18, page 226, leave out lines 31 to 36 and insert “Section 15(7A)(a).”

281: Schedule 18, page 227, line 38, at end insert—

“Local Government Act 1992 (c. 19)

In section 15—

(a) subsection (1)(c) and the word “and” immediately preceding it;

(b) subsection (2);

(c) subsection (3)(a) and (c);

(d) in subsection (6)(a), the words “a further report under subsection (4) containing”;

(e) subsection (8).

Section 15A.

In section 17(2), the words “or the submission of a report”.”

281A: Schedule 18, page 227, line 42, column 2, at beginning insert—

“In Schedule 2, in paragraph 5B, the words “or a mayor and council manager executive”.”

281B: Schedule 18, page 227, line 42, column 2, at end insert—

“(b) in paragraph 5(5), the words “or a mayor and council manager executive”.”

281C: Schedule 18, page 227, line 43, at end insert—

“Local Government Act 1974 (c. 7)

In section 30(2AB), the words “or mayor and council manager executive”.

Local Government Finance Act 1988 (c. 41)

In section 111(3A), the words “leader and cabinet executive,”.”

282: Schedule 18, page 234, line 3, at end insert—

“Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 (c. 13)

In section 11ZAA(5), the words “of a complaint”.”

283: Schedule 18, page 234, line 31, column 2, at end insert—

“In section 33ZA(4), the words “of a complaint”.”

284: Schedule 18, page 234, line 44, at end insert “and (6)”

285: Schedule 18, page 234, line 47, column 2, at beginning insert—

“In section 5(2)(b), the words “Part III of the Local Government Act 1974 (Local Commissioners) or”.”

286: Schedule 18, page 234, line 48, at end insert—

“Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 (c. 46)

In section 18ZA(4), the words “of a complaint”.”

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Schedule 18, as amended, agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with amendments.