Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL] (HL Bill 8)

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 10

(4) Where a public body revises one or more of its objectives under subsection (3),
the report must include an explanation of the revision and the reasons for
making it.

Guidance

15 5Guidance

(1) The Secretary of State must issue guidance to other public bodies about the
exercise of functions under this Part.

(2) In exercising a function under this Part, a public body must take such guidance
into account.

10Role of the Comptroller and Auditor General

16 The future generations principle: Comptroller and Auditor General’s
examinations

(1) The Comptroller and Auditor General may carry out examinations of public
bodies for the purposes of assessing the extent to which a body has acted in
15accordance with the future generations principle when—

(a) setting wellbeing objectives, and

(b) taking steps to meet those objectives.

(2) Before the end of the period mentioned in subsection (4), the Comptroller and
Auditor General must report on the results of the examinations carried out
20under subsection (1) during that period to both Houses of Parliament.

(3) In carrying out an examination under subsection (1), the Comptroller and
Auditor General must—

(a) take into account any advice or assistance given to the public body, or
any review of and recommendations made to the body, by the
25Commissioner (see Part 3), and

(b) consult the Commissioner.

(4) The period referred to in subsection (2) begins on the day on which this Act
comes into force, and ends on the date falling five years from when this Act
comes into force.

(5) 30 The Comptroller and Auditor General must subsequently report on the results
of the examinations carried out under this section every five years.

(6) If a Comptroller and Auditor General’s examination under this section relates
to the remit, function or subject matter of a review or inquiry by any other
oversight body, the Comptroller and Auditor General may—

(a) 35 inform the other oversight body about the intention to conduct the
examination, and

(b) consult the other oversight body about the examination, and

(c) co-operate with the oversight body in jointly preparing and publishing
a document that is to be treated as both—

(i) 40the report of the examination required by this section, and

(ii) a report of the review or inquiry referred to in this section.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 11

17 Future generations impact assessments

(1) When proposing a change in public expenditure, taxation or policy, including
but not limited to legislative proposals, a public body to which this Act applies
must—

(a) 5publish an assessment (“future generations impact assessment“) of the
likely impact of the proposal on its wellbeing objectives, or

(b) publish a statement setting out its reasons for concluding that it does
not need to carry out a future generations impact assessment.

(2) In preparing a future generations impact assessment, a public body shall have
10regard to the likely impact of proposals on all future generations, including at
least 25 years from the date on which the assessment is published.

(3) A future generations impact assessment must conclude whether or not,
overall, the proposed change in expenditure, taxation or policy would impact
the public body’s wellbeing objectives.

(4) 15Where a future generations impact assessment finds that an expenditure,
taxation or policy change would have an adverse impact on a public body’s
wellbeing objectives, the public body concerned must publish a statement of
how it intends to mitigate the adverse impact identified.

(5) Publication under subsection (1) is not required if exemption from publication
20is required for the purpose of safeguarding national security or for defence
purposes.

18 Reporting on preventative spending

(1) Each public body must publish a report containing its annual draft budget
proposal which includes—

(a) 25the proportion and total amount of preventative spending, and

(b) breakdowns of spending in each category as defined in subsection (3),
and

(c) the public body’s justification for the categorising of spending in each
category in subsection (3).

(2) 30For the purposes of subsection (1), where appropriate spending and
accounting information for the purposes of subsection (1) is not available,
public bodies must include estimates for preventative spending.

(3) Preventative spending may be categorised as follows—

(a) Primary prevention: expenditure which has the purpose of creating
35societal conditions which mitigate risks to the future generations
principle;

(b) Secondary prevention: expenditure with the purpose of tackling
recognised issues in which there is a risk to the future generations
principle arising;

(c) 40 Tertiary prevention: expenditure on a recognised issue which currently
breaches the future generations principle to prevent the issue
deteriorating;

(d) Acute spending: expenditure with the purpose of managing the impact
of an issue which breaches the future generations principle but which
45is unlikely to prevent the issue deteriorating.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 12

(4) Where a public body has not increased its proportion of primary and
secondary preventative spending in a financial year, it must include in its next
published report under subsection (1) a statement which sets out—

(a) why it has not done so, and

(b) 5how it intends to increase its proportion of preventative spending in the
forthcoming financial year.

(5) The Treasury must publish an annual report which sets out how it intends to
promote the future generations principle, including increasing the proportion
of preventative spending across Her Majesty’s Government in future years.

10Part 3 The Future Generations Commissioner for the United Kingdom

The Commissioner

19 Future Generations Commissioner for the United Kingdom

(1) There is to be a Future Generations Commissioner for the United Kingdom
15(referred to in this Act as the “Commissioner”).

(2) The Commissioner is to be an individual appointed by the Prime Minister, in
consultation with the First Minister of Scotland, the First Minister of Wales and
the First Minister and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

(3) An appointment may not be made under subsection (2) unless—

(a) 20 a Minister has tabled a motion recommending the appointment of the
nominated candidate in each House of Parliament and it has been
approved, and

(b) each responsible parliamentary committee, including the Joint
Committee on Future Generations, and other committees with a remit
25covering the devolved nations of the United Kingdom, has held a pre-
appointment hearing, and recommended the appointment of the
nominated candidate.

(4) Schedule 2 makes further provision about the Commissioner.

20 Commissioner’s general duty

30The general duty of the Commissioner is—

(a) to promote the future generations principle, in particular to—

(i) act as a guardian of the ability of future generations to meet
their needs, and

(ii) encourage public bodies to take greater account of the long-
35term impact of the things that they do, and

(iii) engage members of the public on issues affecting the long-term
future of the United Kingdom;

(b) for that purpose to monitor and assess the extent to which wellbeing
objectives set by public bodies are being met.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 13

The Commissioner's functions

21 Commissioner’s functions

(1) The Commissioner may, in carrying out the Commissioner’s general duty—

(a) provide advice or assistance to a public body;

(b) 5 provide advice to the Comptroller and Auditor General on the future
generations principle;

(c) provide advice or assistance to any other person or public body which
the Commissioner considers is taking, or wishes to take, steps that may
contribute to the achievement of the wellbeing goals;

(d) 10 encourage best practice amongst public bodies in taking steps to meet
their wellbeing objectives in accordance with the future generations
principle;

(e) promote awareness amongst public bodies of the need to take steps to
meet their wellbeing objectives in accordance with the future
15generations principle;

(f) encourage public bodies to work with each other and with other
persons to meet their wellbeing objectives;

(g) seek the advice of advisory panels (see section 32) in relation to the
exercise of any of the Commissioner’s functions.

(2) 20The Commissioner may undertake research or other study into—

(a) the extent to which the wellbeing goals and national indicators are
consistent with the future generations principle,

(b) the extent to which the future generations principle is taken into
account in the national indicators,

(c) 25 the future generations principle itself, including how it is applied to
setting and meeting wellbeing objectives, and

(d) anything related to any of those things that impacts upon the economic,
social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of the United Kingdom.

(3) References in this section to providing assistance to a public body do not
30include providing financial assistance.

22 Reviews by the Commissioner

(1) The Commissioner may conduct a review of the extent to which a public body
is meeting its wellbeing duties under section 5, including but not limited to a
review of whether a public body is complying with meeting, in the exercise of
35its functions, its wellbeing objectives under section 5(2)(b).

(2) In conducting a review, the Commissioner must have regard to any
examination of the body carried out by the Comptroller and Auditor General
under section 16.

(3) In conducting a review, the Commissioner may make recommendations to the
40public body about—

(a) the steps the body has taken or proposes to take to meet its wellbeing
objectives;

(b) how to set wellbeing objectives and take steps to meet them in
accordance with the future generations principle.

(4) 45The Commissioner may conduct a single review of two or more public bodies.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 14

(5) The Commissioner must publish a report of a review (including any
recommendations made) and send a copy of it to the Secretary of State.

(6) In conducting a review, the Commissioner may require a public body to
provide such information as the Commissioner considers relevant to the
5review.

(7) A public body is not required to provide information to the Commissioner if
the body is prohibited from providing it by virtue of an enactment or any other
rule of law, or if the information is legally privileged material.

23 Recommendations made by the Commissioner

(1) 10In providing advice or assistance to a public body, the Commissioner may also
make recommendations to Her Majesty’s Government about the wellbeing
goals or the national indicators.

(2) If the Commissioner makes recommendations under this section, the
Commissioner must publish those recommendations.

24 Duty to follow recommendations

(1) A public body must take all reasonable steps to follow the course of action set
out in a recommendation made to it by the Commissioner under section 22,
unless—

(a) the public body is satisfied that there is good reason for it not to follow
20the recommendation in particular categories of case or at all, or

(b) it decides on an alternative course of action in respect of the subject
matter of the recommendation.

(2) The Secretary of State may issue guidance to other public bodies about how to
respond to a recommendation made by the Commissioner.

(3) 25 In deciding how to respond to such a recommendation, a public body must
take such guidance into account.

(4) A public body must publish its response to a recommendation made by the
Commissioner, and if the body does not follow a recommendation, the
response must include the body’s reasons for that and explain what alternative
30course of action, if any, it proposes to take.

25 Investigations

(1) The Commissioner may conduct an investigation if they suspect that the public
body concerned has failed to comply with its duties under section 5 or section
24.

(2) 35Any person may request the Commissioner to initiate an investigation if they
believe that a public body has failed to fulfil its duties under section 5.

(3) The Commissioner, after a period of at least six months after issuing a
recommendation or recommendations to a public body in accordance with
section 23, may conduct an investigation into whether or not a public body has
40complied with its duty to follow recommendations in accordance with section
24.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 15

(4) Before finalising a report of an investigation recording a finding that a public
body has committed an unlawful act the Commissioner shall—

(a) send a draft of the report to the public body,

(b) specify a period of at least 28 days during which the body may make
5written representations about the draft, and

(c) consider any representations made.

(5) Schedule 3 makes supplemental provision about investigations.

26 Applications to court

If, following an investigation under section 25, the Commissioner concludes
10that a public body has failed to fulfil its duties under section 5 or section 24, it
may apply to the High Court in England and Wales, the Court of Session in
Scotland or the High Court in Northern Ireland, for an order requiring the
public body—

(a) to comply with recommendations from the Commissioner, and

(b) 15 to take such other action as the court may specify.

27 Proceedings

(1) Proceedings may be brought against a public body by a person on the grounds
that it has acted (or proposes to act) in a way which breaches its obligations
under sections 5 and 24 of this Act.

(2) 20A person may—

(a) bring proceedings against a public body under this Act in the
appropriate court, or

(b) refer the case for investigation to the Commissioner in accordance with
section 25.

(3) 25In subsection (2)(a) “appropriate court” means the High Court in England and
Wales, the Court of Session in Scotland, or the High Court in Northern Ireland.

(4) Proceedings under subsection (2)(a) must be brought before the end of—

(a) the period of one year beginning with the date on which the act
complained of took place or the proposal to act complained of was
30made; or

(b) such longer period as the court or tribunal considers equitable having
regard to all the circumstances, subject to any rule imposing a stricter
time limit in relation to the procedure in question.

28 Judicial remedies

(1) 35In relation to any act (or proposed act) of a public body which the court finds
is (or would be) a breach of its obligations under sections 5 and 24 of this Act,
it may grant such relief or remedy, or make such order within its powers, as it
considers just and appropriate.

(2) A court may, having regard to guidance published by the Commissioner,
40impose a fine, payable to the Commissioner, in an amount prescribed by
regulations made by the Secretary of State.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 16

29 Future generations report

(1) The Commissioner must prepare and publish, before the end of each reporting
period, a report containing the Commissioner’s assessment of the
improvements public bodies should make in order to set and meet wellbeing
5objectives in accordance with the future generations principle.

(2) The Commissioner’s report must include, in particular, an assessment of how
public bodies should—

(a) better safeguard the ability of future generations to meet their needs,
and

(b) 10 take greater account of the long-term impact of the things that they do.

(3) In this section and section 30, the “reporting period” is the period—

(a) beginning with the day after that on which a future trends report under
section 12 is published, and

(b) ending on the date of publication of the next future trends report.

(4) 15In addition to the assessment mentioned in subsection (1), a report under this
section must also include—

(a) a summary of the evidence gathered and activities undertaken by the
Commissioner during the reporting period (see section 30);

(b) a summary of the reviews conducted by the Commissioner during the
20reporting period (see section 30);

(c) a summary of any other action taken by the Commissioner during the
reporting period in the exercise of the Commissioner’s functions.

(5) A report under this section may include—

(a) an account of any research or other study undertaken under section 21;

(b) 25 any other information the Commissioner considers appropriate.

(6) The Commissioner must send the Secretary of State a copy of a report
published under this section.

(7) The Secretary of State must lay a copy of the report before both Houses of
Parliament.

(8) 30 The Secretary of State may by regulations amend the reporting period.

30 Future generations report: activity during the reporting period

(1) During a reporting period (but before the report under section 29 is published)
the Commissioner must consult—

(a) the advisory panels (see section 32);

(b) 35 each public body;

(c) representatives of voluntary organisations;

(d) any person who the Commissioner considers is taking steps (or wishes
to take steps) that may contribute to the achievement of the wellbeing
goals;

(e) 40 representatives of persons resident in each local authority area;

(f) representatives of persons carrying on business;

(g) trade unions representing workers;

(h) the Committee on Climate Change;

(i) representatives of the United Kingdom Youth Parliament and the
45National Union of Students;

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 17

(j) any other person or organisations the Commissioner considers
appropriate to ensure that economic, social, environmental and
cultural interests are fully represented.

(2) In preparing a report under section 29 the Commissioner must (in addition to
5taking into account representations made by the persons consulted under
subsection (1)) take into account—

(a) each annual wellbeing goals report under section 11(10) published
during the reporting period;

(b) the future trends report published under section 12 on the day before
10the beginning of the reporting period;

(c) relevant reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Joint working

31 Joint working

(1) This section applies if the Commissioner intends to conduct a review of a
15public body under section 22 and it appears to the Commissioner that such a
review relates to a matter that is the same as, or substantially similar to, the
subject matter of a review or inquiry by—

(a) the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales;

(b) any person or public body charged with protecting the needs of future
20generations in Scotland;

(c) any person or public body charged with protecting the needs of future
generations in Northern Ireland;

(d) any other commissioner, person or public body deemed to be
appropriate by the Commissioner.

(2) 25 The Commissioner may—

(a) inform the other person or public body about the intention to conduct
the review, and

(b) consult the other person or public body about the review.

(3) The Commissioner and other person or public body, as defined in section 3,
30may—

(a) co-operate with each other;

(b) jointly prepare and publish a document that is to be treated as both—

(i) the report of the review required by section 22, and

(ii) a report of the review or inquiry referred to in subsection (1) of
35this section.

Advisory panels to the Commissioner

32 Advisory panels

There are to be two panels of advisers (the “advisory panels”) to the
Commissioner—

(a) 40the citizens panel, and

(b) the expert panel.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 18

33 Citizens panel

(1) There is to be a panel of residents of the United Kingdom (the “citizens panel”)
for the purpose of providing advice to the Commissioner on the exercise of the
Commissioner’s functions.

(2) 5 The citizens panel shall consist of at least 50 persons.

(3) The Secretary of State must provide by regulations for a “citizens panel
coordinating body” which must—

(a) select the members of the citizens panel, ensuring that the membership
of the citizens panel reflects the composition of the population of the
10United Kingdom as reflected in data obtained by the Office of National
Statistics;

(b) establish an advisory board to recommend to the citizens panel
coordinating body which persons and organisations it deems necessary
to advise the citizens panel;

(c) 15 establish a rotation process for the membership so as to replace
members of the citizens panel.

(4) For the purpose of (3)(c), one-third of selected citizens are to be rotated off the
citizens panel every six months, with the first rotation held one year after the
first meeting of the citizens panel.

(5) 20 The citizens panel must meet on a minimum of two days every three months.

(6) The Commissioner may require the citizens panel to meet more frequently if
he or she deems it appropriate.

(7) The Commissioner must publish any recommendations made by the citizens
panel in meetings with the Commissioner by methods the Commissioner
25deems appropriate.

(8) The Commissioner must publish a response to the recommendations within
one month of the recommendations being made.

(9) A member may resign from the citizens panel by giving the citizens panel
coordinating body not less than three months’ notice in writing.

(10) 30The citizens panel coordinating body may, following consultation with the
Commissioner, dismiss a member if satisfied that the member—

(a) is unfit to continue as a citizens panel member, or

(b) is unable or unwilling to act as a member.

(11) The Secretary of State must pay allowances (including travelling and
35subsistence allowances) and gratuities to the members of the citizens panel.

(12) The Secretary of State must pay remuneration to appointed members of the
citizens panel coordinating body, and pay the costs related to the functioning
of the citizens panel, out of money provided by Parliament.

34 Expert panel

(1) 40There is to be an expert panel of advisers (the “expert panel”) for the purpose
of providing advice to the Commissioner on the exercise of the
Commissioner’s functions.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 19

(2) The members of the expert panel are to be such persons as the Secretary of
State, in consultation with the Scottish Government, Welsh Ministers and
Northern Ireland Executive, may appoint.

(3) Before appointing a member, the Secretary of State must consult the
5Commissioner.

(4) An appointed member holds office for such period of no less than three years
and no more than five years as the Secretary of State may determine by
regulations.

(5) An appointed member may be reappointed once for a further period of no less
10than three years and no more than five years (whether or not this period runs
consecutively from the member’s first appointment).

(6) The Secretary of State may pay remuneration to appointed members.

(7) An appointed member may resign from the panel by giving the Secretary of
State not less than three months’ notice in writing of the member’s intention to
15do so.

(8) The Secretary of State may, following consultation with the Commissioner,
dismiss an appointed member if satisfied that the member—

(a) is unfit to continue as a panel member, or

(b) is unable or unwilling to act as a member.

(9) 20The Secretary of State may pay allowances (including travelling and
subsistence allowances) and gratuities to the members of the expert panel.

Part 4 Joint Committee on Future Generations

35 The Joint Committee on Future Generations

(1) 25There is to be a Joint Committee of both Houses of Parliament known as the
Joint Committee on Future Generations (in this Part referred to as “the
Committee”).

(2) The Committee is to consist of six members of the House of Lords and six
members of the House of Commons.

(3) 30Each member of the Committee is to be appointed by resolution of their
respective House of Parliament.

(4) A member appointed to the Committee may serve for the duration of that
Parliament.

36 Functions of the Joint Committee on Future Generations

(1) 35The Committee’s functions are to—

(a) examine any bill introduced into either House of Parliament with a
long-term perspective in order to consider the impact of the proposals
on the future generations principle and the relevant department’s
wellbeing objectives,