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

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 30

(4) An annual report may include—

(a) the Commissioner’s assessment of the improvements that public
bodies should make in order to meet their wellbeing objectives in
accordance with the future generations principle;

(b) 5 any other information the Commissioner considers appropriate.

(5) In preparing an annual report, the Commissioner must consult—

(a) the advisory panel, and

(b) any other person the Commissioner considers appropriate.

(6) The Commissioner must publish the annual report no later than 31 August
10in the following financial year.

(7) The Commissioner must send a copy of each annual report to the Secretary
of State.

(8) The Secretary of State must lay a copy of each annual report sent to them
before both Houses of Parliament.

15Accounting officer

18 (1) The Commissioner is the accounting officer for the office of the
Commissioner.

(2) The accounting officer has, in relation to the accounts and the finances of the
Commissioner, the responsibilities that are from time to time specified by
20the Treasury.

(3) In this paragraph references to responsibilities include—

(a) responsibilities in relation to the signing of accounts;

(b) responsibilities for the propriety and regularity of the finances of the
Commissioner;

(c) 25 responsibilities for the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with
which the resources of the Commissioner are used.

(4) The responsibilities that may be specified under this paragraph include
responsibilities owed to both Houses of Parliament, the Secretary of State,
the House of Commons or the Committee of Public Accounts of that House.

30Estimates

19 (1) For each financial year other than the first, the Commissioner must prepare
an estimate of the income and expenses of the Commissioner and the
Commissioner’s staff.

(2) The Commissioner must submit the estimate to the Secretary of State at least
35five months before the beginning of the financial year to which it relates.

(3) The Secretary of State must examine an estimate submitted to them in
accordance with this paragraph and must then lay the estimate before both
Houses of Parliament with any modifications they think appropriate.

Accounts

20 (1) 40The Commissioner must—

(a) keep proper accounting records;

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 31

(b) prepare accounts in respect of each financial year in accordance with
directions given, with the consent of the Treasury, by the Secretary
of State.

(2) The directions that the Secretary of State may give under this paragraph
5include directions as to—

(a) the information to be contained in the accounts and the manner in
which the accounts are to be presented;

(b) the methods and principles in accordance with which the accounts
are to be prepared;

(c) 10 any additional information that is to accompany the accounts.

(3) The Secretary of State may vary or revoke a direction they have given under
this paragraph.

Audit

21 (1) The Commissioner must submit the accounts prepared for a financial year
15to the Comptroller and Auditor General no later than 31 August in the
following financial year.

(2) The Comptroller and Auditor General must—

(a) examine, certify and report on accounts submitted under this
paragraph, and

(b) 20 no later than four months after the accounts are submitted, lay a copy
of the certified accounts and the report on them before both Houses
of Parliament.

(3) In examining accounts submitted under this paragraph, the Comptroller
and Auditor General must not certify the accounts unless satisfied that the
25expenditure to which the accounts relate has been incurred lawfully and in
accordance with the authority that governs it.

Examinations into the use of resources

22 (1) The Comptroller and Auditor General may carry out examinations into the
economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which resources have been used
30in discharging the Commissioner’s functions.

(2) But the Comptroller and Auditor General is not entitled to question the
merits of the policy objectives of the Commissioner.

(3) Before carrying out an examination under this paragraph, the Comptroller
and Auditor General must—

(a) 35consult the Committee of Public Accounts of the House of
Commons, and

(b) take into account the views of the Committee as to whether or not an
examination should be carried out.

(4) The Comptroller and Auditor General must—

(a) 40as soon as is reasonably practicable, publish a report of the results of
an examination carried out under this paragraph, and

(b) lay a copy of the report before both Houses of Parliament.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 32

Seal and validity of documents

23 (1) The Commissioner may have a seal.

(2) A document purporting to be—

(a) duly executed under the seal of the Commissioner, or

(b) 5signed by or on behalf of the Commissioner,

is to be received in evidence and, unless the contrary is proved, taken to be
so executed or signed.

Section 25

SCHEDULE 3 Investigations by the Future Generations Commissioner for the United
10Kingdom

Terms of Reference

1 This Schedule applies to investigations under section 25.

2 Before conducting an investigation the Commissioner must—

(a) prepare terms of reference specifying the public body to be
15investigated and the nature of the unlawful act which the
Commissioner suspects,

(b) give the public body to be investigated notice of the proposed terms
of reference,

(c) give the public body to be investigated an opportunity to make
20representations about the proposed terms of reference,

(d) consider any representations made, and

(e) publish the terms of reference once settled.

Representations

3 (1) The Commissioner must make arrangements for giving public bodies an
25opportunity to make representations in relation to investigations.

(2) In particular, in the course of an investigation the Commissioner must give
any public body specified in the terms of reference an opportunity to make
representations.

(3) In cases which have been referred by a person (not the Commissioner) for
30investigation, the Commissioner must make arrangements for that person to
make representations in relation to investigations.

(4) Arrangements under this paragraph may (but need not) include
arrangements for oral representations.

(5) The Commissioner must consider representations made in relation to an
35investigation.

Evidence

4 In the course of an investigation the Commissioner may give a notice under
paragraph 5 to any public body.

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 33

5 (1) A notice given to a public body under this paragraph may require it—

(a) to provide information in its possession,

(b) to produce documents in its possession, or

(c) to give oral evidence.

(2) 5A notice under paragraph 5(1) may include provision about—

(a) the form of information, documents or evidence;

(b) timing.

(3) A notice under paragraph 5(1)

(a) may not require a public body to provide information that it is
10prohibited from disclosing by virtue of an enactment,

(b) may not require a public body to do anything that it could not be
compelled to do in proceedings before the High Court or the Court
of Session.

6 The recipient of a notice under paragraph 5 may apply to the High Court in
15England and Wales, the Court of Session in Scotland or the High Court in
Northern Ireland to have the notice cancelled on the grounds that the
requirement imposed by the notice is—

(a) unnecessary having regard to the purpose of the investigation to
which the notice relates, or

(b) 20otherwise unreasonable.

7 (1) Sub-paragraph (2) applies where the Commissioner thinks that a public
body—

(a) has failed without reasonable excuse to comply with a notice under
paragraph 5, or

(b) 25is likely to fail without reasonable excuse to comply with a notice
under paragraph 5.

(2) The Commissioner 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 a public body to take such steps as may be specified in the
30order to comply with the notice.

8 (1) A public body commits an offence if without reasonable excuse it—

(a) fails to comply with a notice under paragraph 5 or an order under
paragraph 7(2),

(b) falsifies anything provided or produced in accordance with a notice
35under paragraph 5, or

(c) makes a false statement in giving oral evidence in accordance with a
notice under paragraph 5.

(2) A public body which is guilty of an offence under this paragraph shall be
liable to the penalties set out in section 28 of this Act.

40Reports

9 The Commissioner shall publish a report of the findings of an investigation.

Recommendations

10 The Commissioner may make recommendations—

(a) as part of a report of an investigation under paragraph 9, or

Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill [HL]Page 34

(b) in respect of a matter arising in the course of an investigation.

Effect of report

11 A court or tribunal—

(a) may have regard to a finding of the report of an investigation and its
5recommendations, but

(b) shall not treat it as conclusive.

12 A public body to whom a recommendation in the report of an investigation
is addressed shall have regard to it.

Courts and tribunals

13 10An investigation may not question (whether expressly or by necessary
implication) the findings of a court or tribunal.

Intelligence services

14 An inquiry may not consider whether an intelligence service has acted (or is
acting) in accordance with the wellbeing goals or future generations
15principle.