Utilities Bill - continued        House of Commons
PART II, TELECOMMUNICATIONS - continued
New regulatory arrangements - continued

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Payments by licence holders relating to new arrangements.     88. - (1) Conditions included in a licence by virtue of paragraph (b) of section 7(5) of the 1984 Act may, without prejudice to the generality of those paragraphs, require the payment of sums relating to-
 
 
    (a) the expenses of the Council; and
 
    (b) the expenses of the Secretary of State in relation to the establishment of the Council and the Authority.
      (2) The Secretary of State may give the Authority general directions as to the exercise of any power to modify, or to determine anything falling to be determined under, conditions included in licences by virtue of section 7(5)(b) of the 1984 Act; and the Authority shall comply with any such direction.
 
 
Objectives of regulation of telecommunications
Objectives and duties under 1984 Act.     89. For section 3 of the 1984 Act (general duties of Secretary of State and Director) there is substituted-
 
 
"The principal objective and general duties of the Secretary of State and the Authority.     3A. - (1) The principal objective of the Secretary of State and the Authority in carrying out their respective functions under Part II or III is to protect the interests of consumers in relation to telecommunication services and apparatus, wherever appropriate by promoting effective competition between persons engaged in commercial activities connected with telecommunications in the United Kingdom.
 
    (2) The Secretary of State and the Authority shall carry out those functions in the manner which he or it considers is best calculated to further the principal objective, having regard to-
 
 
    (a) the need to secure that there are provided throughout the United Kingdom (save in so far as their provision is not reasonably practicable) such telecommunications services as satisfy all reasonable demands for them; and
 
    (b) the need to secure that persons by whom any such services fall to be provided are able to finance the activities which are the subject of obligations imposed by or under Part II or III.
      (3) In performing that duty the Secretary of State and the Authority shall have regard to the interests of-
 
 
    (a) individuals who are disabled or chronically sick;
 
    (b) individuals of pensionable age;
 
    (c) individuals with low incomes; and
 
    (d) individuals residing in rural areas;
  but that is not to be taken as implying that regard may not be had to the interests of different descriptions of consumer.
 
      (4) In this section "consumers" includes both existing and future consumers (including purchasers and users of telecommunications services or apparatus).
 
Other objectives of the Secretary of State and the Authority.     3B. - (1) Subject to section 3A, the Secretary of State and the Authority shall carry out their functions under Part II or III of this Act in the manner in which he or it considers is best calculated to-
 
 
    (a) promote efficiency and economy on the part of persons engaged in commercial activities connected with telecommunications in the United Kingdom;
 
    (b) to promote research into and the development and use of new techniques by such persons;
 
    (c) to encourage major users of telecommunication services whose places of business are outside the United Kingdom to establish places of business in the United Kingdom;
 
    (d) to promote the provision of international transit services by persons providing telecommunication services in the United Kingdom;
 
    (e) to enable persons providing telecommunications services in the United Kingdom to compete effectively in the provision of such services outside the United Kingdom;
 
    (f) to enable persons producing telecommunication apparatus in the United Kingdom to compete effectively in the supply of such apparatus both in and outside the United Kingdom.
      (2) In subsection (1)(d) "international transit service" means a telecommunication service consisting in the conveyance of sounds, visual images or signals which have been conveyed from, and are to be conveyed to, places outside the United Kingdom."
 
Guidance to Authority on social and environmental matters.     90. After section 3B of the 1984 Act (which is inserted by section 89 above) there is inserted-
 
 
"Guidance on social and environmental matters.     3C. - (1) The Secretary of State shall from time to time issue guidance about the making by the Authority of a contribution towards the attainment of any social or environmental policies set out or referred to in the guidance.
 
    (2) The Authority shall, in carrying out its functions under Parts II and III, have regard to any guidance issued under this section.
 
      (3) Before issuing guidance under this section the Secretary of State shall consult-
 
 
    (a) the Authority;
 
    (b) the Council;
 
    (c) persons who are authorised to run a telecommunication system by a licence under section 7; and
 
    (d) such other persons as the Secretary of State considers it appropriate to consult in relation to the guidance.
      (4) A draft of any guidance proposed to be issued under this section shall be laid before each House of Parliament.
 
      (5) Guidance shall not be issued under this section until after the period of forty days beginning with-
 
 
    (a) the day on which the draft is laid before each House of Parliament; or
 
    (b) if the draft is laid before the House of Lords on one day and the House of Commons on another, the later of those two days.
      (6) If, before the end of that period, either House resolves that the guidance should not be issued, the Secretary of State must not issue it.
 
      (7) In reckoning any period of forty days for the purposes of subsection (5) or (6), no account shall be taken of any time during which-
 
 
    (a) Parliament is dissolved or prorogued; or
 
    (b) both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.
      (8) The Secretary of State shall arrange for any guidance issued under this section to be published in such manner as he considers appropriate."
 
Exceptions from the general duties under the 1984 Act.     91. After section 3C of the 1984 Act (which is inserted by section 90 above) there is inserted-
 
 
"Exceptions to sections 3A to 3C.     3D. - (1) Sections 3A to 3C do not apply in relation to-
 
    (a) anything done by the Secretary of State in the interests of national security or relations with the government of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom; or
 
    (b) anything done in the exercise of functions under section 10(3) or (8), 50 or 52;
  but in exercising functions under section 10(3) or (8) or 52 the Secretary of State shall have regard to the matters mentioned in section 3A(2)(a) and (b).
 
      (2) Section 3A to 3C do not apply in relation to the determination of disputes by the Authority under or by virtue of section 27A, 27F, 27G or 27I.
 
      (3) Sections 3A to 3C do not apply in relation to anything done by the Authority in the exercise of functions under section 50(3).
 
      (4) The Authority may nevertheless, when exercising any such function, have regard to any matter in respect of which a duty is imposed by section 3A, 3B or 3C ("a general matter"), if it is a matter to which the Director General of Fair Trading could have regard when exercising that function (but that is not to be taken as implying that, in relation to anything mentioned in subsection (1), regard may not be had to any general matter).
 
      (5) The duties imposed by sections 3A to 3C do not affect the obligation of the Authority or the Secretary of State to perform or comply with any other duty or requirement (whether arising under this Act or another enactment, by virtue of any Community obligation or otherwise)."
 
 
Functions of the Council
General functions of the Council.     92. After section 46B of the 1984 Act there is inserted-
 
 
"PART IIA
  OTHER FUNCTIONS OF COUNCIL
Acquisition and review of information.     46C. - (1) The Council shall have the function of obtaining and keeping under review-
 
 
    (a) information about consumer matters, including matters affecting consumers in different areas of the United Kingdom;
 
    (b) information about the views of consumers on such matters, including the views of consumers in different areas.
      (2) As part of the arrangements it makes for carrying out that function, the Council-
 
 
    (a) shall establish one or more committees of the Council for, or for areas within, each of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; and
 
    (b) may establish one or more committees of the Council for, or for areas within, England.
      (3) The purposes of a committee established under subsection (2) (in this Act referred to as a "regional committee") shall be-
 
 
    (a) the provision of advice and information to the Council on consumer matters affecting the area for which the committee is established; and
 
    (b) such other purposes as the Council may determine.
      (4) The Council shall maintain in each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland at least one office at which consumers may apply for information.
 
      (5) Where the Authority is required by any provision of this Act or any other enactment to give or publish a notice specifying a period within which representations may be made with respect to any matter mentioned in the notice, the Authority shall send a copy of the notice to the Council.
 
  This subsection does not apply if the enactment makes provision as to the sending of copies to the Council.
 
      (6) In this Act "consumer matters" means matters connected with the interests of consumers, purchasers and other users of telecommunications services and telecommunications apparatus.
 
      (7) Paragraphs 11 to 13 of Schedule 1B have effect in relation to regional committees.
 
Provision of advice and information to public authorities and licence holders.     46D. - (1) The Council has the function of-
 
 
    (a) making proposals, or providing advice and information, about consumer matters (including matters affecting consumers in different areas), and
 
    (b) representing the views of consumers on such matters (including the views of consumers in different areas),
  to public authorities, persons authorised by a licence under section 7 and other persons whose activities may affect the interests of consumers.
 
      (2) Subject to subsection (5), information which relates to the affairs of any particular individual or body of persons (corporate or unincorporate) shall not be disclosed in the exercise of the Council's function under this section unless one or more of paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (3) applies to the information.
 
      (3) Information relating to a particular individual or body may be disclosed if-
 
 
    (a) the individual or body has consented to the disclosure;
 
    (b) it is information that is available to the public from some other source; or
 
    (c) it is not information the disclosure of which would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of the individual or body.
      (4) Before deciding to disclose any information relating to a particular individual or body in pursuance of subsection (3)(c), the Council shall-
 
 
    (a) consult that person or body; and
 
    (b) have regard to any opinion expressed by the Authority as to the application of subsection (3)(c) to the information or as to the desirability or otherwise of its publication.
      (5) Subsections (2) to (4) do not apply to a disclosure of information which is made to the Authority, the Secretary of State, the Competition Commission or any other public authority.
 
      (6) The disclosure by the Council of information in the exercise of its function under this section does not contravene section 101.
 
      (7) In this section "interests of consumers" means the interests of consumers, purchasers and other users in respect of telecommunications services and telecommunications apparatus.
 
Provision of information to consumers.     46E. - (1) The Council has the function of providing information about consumer matters, in such form as appears to the Council to be most useful to the recipients, to consumers, purchasers and other users of telecommunications services and telecommunications apparatus.
 
      (2) That function may be exercised by-
 
 
    (a) publishing information in any manner as the Council thinks appropriate for the purpose of bringing it to the attention of those likely to be interested; or
 
    (b) furnishing information to any person (whether in response to a request or otherwise).
      (3) Information may only be disclosed in the exercise of that function if it is information that is available to the public from some other source.
 
Power to publish advice and information about consumer matters.     46F. - (1) If it appears to the Council that the publication of any advice and information about consumer matters (including information about the views of consumers on such matters) would promote the interests of consumers, the Council may publish that advice or information in such manner as it thinks appropriate.
 
      (2) Information which relates to the affairs of any particular individual or body of persons (corporate or unincorporate) shall not be published under this section unless one or more of paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (3) applies to the information.
 
      (3) Information relating to a particular individual or body may be published if-
 
 
    (a) that individual or body has consented to the disclosure;
 
    (b) it is information that is available to the public from some other source; or
 
    (c) it is not information the publication of which would or might, in the opinion of the Council, seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual or body.
      (4) Before deciding to disclose any information relating to a particular individual or body in pursuance of subsection (3)(c), the Council shall-
 
 
    (a) consult that person or body; and
 
    (b) have regard to any opinion expressed by the Authority as to the application of subsection (3)(c) to the information or as to the desirability or otherwise of its publication.
      (5) The publication of information under this section does not contravene section 101.
 
      (6) In this section "the interests of consumers" means the interests of consumers, purchasers and other users of telecommunications services and telecommunications apparatus."
 
Provision of information.     93. - (1) After section 46F of the 1984 Act (inserted by section 92) there is inserted-
 
 
"Provision of information to the Council.     46G. - (1) The Council may require the Authority to supply to it such information relating to the Authority's functions under this Act as the Council may require in the exercise of its functions.
 
    (2) The Council may require a telecommunications operator to supply to it such information as it may require in the exercise of its functions.
 
      (3) The Authority and any telecommunications operator shall comply with a requirement under this section as soon as reasonably practicable.
 
      (4) Information supplied to the Council under this section shall be supplied in such form as the Council may reasonably specify.
 
      (5) Before requiring information to be supplied under this section and in specifying the form in which any information is to be supplied, the Council shall have regard to the desirability of minimising the costs, or any other detriment, to the Authority or any telecommunications operator.
 
      (6) The Secretary of State may make regulations prescribing-
 
 
    (a) descriptions of information which the Authority or any telecommunications operator may refuse to supply under this section, or
 
    (b) circumstances in which the Authority or any telecommunications operator may refuse to supply information under this section.
      (7) Where a telecommunications operator refuses to supply any information required under this section, the Council may refer the refusal to the Authority.
 
      (8) On any referral under subsection (7) the Authority shall-
 
 
    (a) consider any representations made by the Council or the telecommunications operator, and
 
    (b) determine whether by virtue of any regulations made under subsection (6) the telecommunications operator is entitled to refuse to supply the information,
  and, if the Authority determines that it is not so entitled, the telecommunications operator shall supply the information to the Council.
 
      (9) The Authority shall, if required by the Council to do so, give notice to the Council of its reasons for-
 
 
    (a) a refusal to supply information under this section; or
 
    (b) a determination under subsection (8).
      (10) Sections 16 to 18 shall apply in relation to a telecommunications operator as if it were a condition of the licence granted to him under section 7 that he shall comply with the requirements of this section.
 
      (11) The power of the Secretary of State under subsection (6) to make regulations shall be exercisable by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
 
Publication of notice of reasons.     46H. - (1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, the Council may publish a notice given to it under section 46G(9).
 
      (2) Information which relates to the affairs of any particular individual or body of persons (corporate or unincorporate) shall not be published under subsection (1) unless one or more of paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (3) applies to the information.
 
      (3) Information relating to a particular individual or body may be published if-
 
 
    (a) that individual or body has consented to the disclosure;
 
    (b) it is information that is available to the public from some other source; or
 
    (c) it is not information the publication of which would or might, in the opinion of the Council, seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that individual or body.
      (4) Before deciding to disclose any information relating to a particular individual or body in pursuance of subsection (3)(c), the Council shall-
 
 
    (a) consult that person or body; and
 
    (b) have regard to any opinion expressed by the Authority as to the application of subsection (3)(c) to the information or as to the desirability or otherwise of its publication.
      (5) The publication by the Council of information under this section does not contravene section 101.
 
Provision of information by the Council to the Authority.     46I. - (1) The Council shall, as soon as reasonably practicable after being required to do so by the Authority, supply to the Authority such information as the Authority may require in the exercise of its functions under this Act.
 
      (2) The Secretary of State may make regulations prescribing-
 
 
    (a) descriptions of information which the Council may refuse to supply under this section, or
 
    (b) circumstances in which the Council may refuse to supply information under this section.
      (3) Where the Council refuses to supply any information under subsection (1), it must give notice to the Authority of its reason for the refusal and the Authority may publish that notice in such manner as it considers appropriate.
 
      (4) In publishing any notice under this section the Authority shall have regard to the need for excluding, so far as that is practicable, the matters specified in section 48(2)(a) and (b).
 
      (5) The power of the Secretary of State under subsection (2) to make regulations shall be exercisable by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament."
 
 
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