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Older People's Commissioners Bill


Older People’s Commissioners Bill

1

 

A

Bill

To

establish Older People’s Commissioners for England and Wales; to make

provision for the Commissioners’ duties in respect of the protection of the

rights and interests of older people; and for connected purposes. 

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1       

Establishment of Commissioners

(1)   

There are to be offices of—

(a)   

the Older People’s Commissioner for England; and

(b)   

the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales.

(2)   

The Schedule has effect with respect to the Commissioners.

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2       

General function of Commissioners

(1)   

The Commissioners will, subject to the provisions of this section, protect and

further the rights and interests of older people.

(2)   

The Commissioners may—

(a)   

encourage persons exercising functions or engaged in activities

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affecting older people to take account of the views and interests of older

people,

(b)   

advise the Secretary of State and the National Assembly for Wales

about the rights and interests of older people,

(c)   

consider, and undertake investigations into—

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(i)   

the operation of complaints procedures relating to the provision

of services to older people, and

(ii)   

any other matter relating to the interests of older people.

(3)   

In exercising their functions under subsection (2) in respect of the rights and

interests of older people, the Commissioners shall take into account—

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(a)   

physical and mental health,

(b)   

protection from harm and neglect,

 
Bill 3453/3
 
 

Older People’s Commissioners Bill

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(c)   

the contribution made by older people to society,

(d)   

social and economic well-being, and

(e)   

any other matters which appear relevant to the Commissioners.

(4)   

The Commissioners must take reasonable steps to involve older people in the

discharge of their functions under this section, and in particular to—

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(a)   

ensure that older people are made aware of the Commissioners’

functions and how they may communicate with the Commissioners;

(b)   

consult older people and organisations working with older people on

the matters they propose to consider, or undertake investigations into,

under subsection (2)(c).

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(5)   

For the purposes of subsection (4), the Commissioners shall have particular

regard to groups of older people who, in the opinion of the Commissioners, do

not have other adequate means by which they can make their views known.

(6)   

The Commissioners shall not undertake any investigation pursuant to

subsection (2)(c) of the case of any individual older person.

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3       

Annual reports of the Commissioners

(1)   

As soon as possible after the end of each financial year each Commissioner

shall report on—

(a)   

the way in which he has discharged his functions under section 2

during the year,

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(b)   

his findings in the course of exercising those functions during the year,

and

(c)   

the matters that he intends to consider, or undertake investigations

into, during the next financial year.

(2)   

Each Commissioner shall under subsection (1)(a) include an account of the

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steps taken by him under section 2(4).

(3)   

Where the Older People’s Commissioner for England reports under this

section he must—

(a)   

send a copy of the report to the Secretary of State, and

(b)   

lay a copy before each House of Parliament.

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(4)   

Where the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales reports under this section,

he must—

(a)   

make a report to the National Assembly for Wales,

(b)   

send a copy of the report tothe Secretary of State, and

(c)   

lay a copy of the report before each House of Parliament.

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(5)   

In this section, “financial year” has the same meaning as in paragraph 8 of the

Schedule.

4       

Inquiries held by Commissioner

(1)   

Where the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales considers that

the case of an individual older person raises issues of relevance to other older

40

people, the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales may direct a

Commissioner to hold an inquiry into that case.

 

 

Older People’s Commissioners Bill

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(2)   

A Commissioner may, if he thinks fit, hold an inquiry under this section, or any

part of it, in private.

(3)   

A Commissioner must, as soon as possible after the completion of an inquiry

under this section, make a report in relation to the inquiry and send a copy to

the Secretary of State, or if in Wales, to the National Assembly for Wales.

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(4)   

The Secretary of State, or the National Assembly for Wales, must, subject to

subsection (5), publish each report received by them under this section in such

manner as they think fit.

(5)   

Where a report made under this section identifies an individual older person

and the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales decides that it

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would be undesirable for the identity of that older person to be made public—

(a)   

the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales may amend

the report and publish the amended report only; or

(b)   

if they consider that it is not possible to publish the report without

identifying the older person, they need not publish the report.

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(6)   

In making a decision under subsection (5) the Secretary of State or the National

Assembly for Wales shall take into account the wishes of the individual older

person who is identified in the report.

(7)   

The Secretary of State must lay a copy of each report that he publishes under

subsection (4) before each House of Parliament.

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(8)   

Subsections (2) to (5) of section 250 of the Local Government Act 1972 (c. 70)

apply for the purposes of an inquiry held under this section in England and

Wales as they apply for the purposes of a local inquiry under that section.

5       

Interpretation

(1)   

In this Act—

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“The Commissioners” means the Older People’s Commissioner for

England and the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales;

   

“older person” means any person aged sixty years and over (and “older

people” is to be construed accordingly).

6       

Expenses

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There shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament

(a)   

any expenditure incurred by the Secretary of State by virtue of this Act;

(b)   

any increase attributable to this Act in the sums payable out of money so

provided by virtue of any other enactment.

7       

Short title, commencement and extent

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(1)   

This Act may be cited as the Older People’s Commissioners Act 2004.

(2)   

This Act comes into force on the day on which it is passed.

(3)   

This Act extends to England and Wales only.

 

 

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Older People’s Commissioners Bill
Schedule — Older People’s Commissioners

 

Schedule

Section 1

 

Older People’s Commissioners

Status

1     (1)  

A Commissioner is a corporation sole.

      (2)  

A Commissioner is not to be regarded as the servant or agent of the Crown

5

or as enjoying any status, immunity or privilege of the Crown; and his

property is not to be regarded as property of, or property held on behalf of,

the Crown.

General powers

2     (1)  

A Commissioner may do anything which appears to him to be necessary or

10

expedient for the purpose of, or in connection with, the exercise of his

functions.

      (2)  

In particular he may—

(a)   

co-operate with other public authorities in the United Kingdom;

(b)   

enter into contracts; and

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(c)   

acquire, hold and dispose of any property.

Appointment and tenure of office

3     (1)  

The Older People’s Commissioner for England is to be appointed by the

Secretary of State.

      (2)  

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales is to be appointed by the

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National Assembly.

      (3)  

Subject to the provisions of this paragraph, a person shall hold and vacate

office as a Commissioner in accordance with the terms and conditions of his

appointment as determined by the Secretary of State or the National

Assembly.

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      (4)  

An appointment as a Commissioner shall be for a term not exceeding five

years.

      (5)  

A person who has held office as a Commissioner is eligible for

reappointment once only.

      (6)  

A Commissioner may at any time resign by notice in writing—

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(a)   

in the case of the Older People’s Commissioner for England, to the

Secretary of State;

(b)   

in the case of the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, to the

National Assembly for Wales.

      (7)  

The Secretary of State may remove the Older People’s Commissioner for

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England from office if he is satisfied that he has—

(a)   

become unfit or unable properly to discharge his functions; or

(b)   

behaved in a way that is not compatible with his continuing in office.

 

 

Older People’s Commissioners Bill
Schedule — Older People’s Commissioners

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      (8)  

The National Assembly for Wales may remove the Older People’s

Commissioner for Wales from office if it is satisfied that he has—

(a)   

become unfit or unable properly to discharge his functions; or

(b)   

behaved in a way that is not compatible with his continuing in office.

Remuneration

5

4     (1)  

The Secretary of State must—

(a)   

pay the Older People’s Commissioner for England such remuneration and

allowances, and

(b)   

pay or make provision for the payment of such pension or gratuities to or in

respect of him,

10

           

as may be provided under the terms of his appointment.

      (2)  

The National Assembly must—

(a)   

pay the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales such remuneration and

allowances, and

(b)   

pay or make provision for the payment of such pension or gratuities to or in

15

respect of him,

           

as may be provided under the terms of his appointment.

Staff

5     (1)  

A Commissioner may appoint any staff he considers necessary for assisting

him in the exercise of his functions, one of whom shall be appointed as

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Deputy Commissioner.

      (2)  

During any vacancy in the office of a Commissioner or at any time when a

Commissioner is for any reason unable to act, the Deputy Commissioner

shall exercise his functions (and any property or rights vested in the

Commissioner may accordingly be dealt with by the Deputy Commissioner

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as if vested in him).

      (3)  

Without prejudice to sub-paragraph (2), any member of a Commissioner’s

staff may, so far as authorised by him, exercise any of his functions.

Pensions

6     (1)  

In the Superannuation Act 1972 (c. 11), in Schedule 1 (kinds of employment

30

etc to which section 1 of that Act applies)—

(a)   

in the list of “Other Bodies”, at the end insert “Employment by an

Older People's Commissioner”;

(b)   

in the list of “Offices”, at the appropriate place insert “Older People’s

Commissioner”.

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      (2)  

The Secretary of State must pay to the Minister for the Civil Service, at such times

as the Minister may direct, such sums as he may determine in respect of any increase

attributable to sub-paragraph (1) in the sums payable out of money provided by

Parliament under the Superannuation Act 1972.

Funding

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7     (1)  

The Secretary of State may make payments to the Older People’s Commissioner for

England of such amounts, at such times and on such conditions (if any) as the

Secretary of State considers appropriate.

 

 

Older People’s Commissioners Bill
Schedule — Older People’s Commissioners

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      (2)  

The National Assembly may make payments to the Older People’s Commissioner for

Wales of such amounts, at such times and on such conditions (if any) as the National

Assembly considers appropriate.

Accounts

8     (1)  

The Older People’s Commissioner for England must—

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(a)   

keep proper accounting records;

(b)   

prepare a statement of accounts for each financial year; and

(c)   

send a copy of each such statement of accounts to the Secretary of

State and the Comptroller and Auditor General as soon as possible

after the end of the financial year to which the statement relates.

10

      (2)  

The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales must—

(a)   

keep proper accounting records;

(b)   

prepare a statement of accounts for each financial year; and

(c)   

send a copy of each such statement of accounts to the National

Assembly, the Secretary of State and the Comptroller and Auditor

15

General as soon as possible after the end of the financial year to

which the statement relates.

      (3)  

The Comptroller and Auditor General must examine, certify and report on

each statement of accounts sent to him under sub-paragraphs (1)(c) and

(2)(c) and must lay copies of the statement and of his report before

20

Parliament.

      (4)  

In this paragraph, “financial year” means—

(a)   

in relation to England or Wales, the period beginning with the date

on which the first Commissioner is appointed and ending with 31st

March next following that date; and

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(b)   

each successive period of twelve months ending with 31st March.

Evidence

9          

A document purporting to be duly executed under the seal of the Older

People’s Commissioner or to be signed by him or on his behalf is to be

received in evidence and, unless the contrary is proved, taken to be so

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executed or signed.

Regulated positions

10         

In the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 (c. 43), in section 36(6)

(meaning of “regulated position”), after paragraph (g) insert—

“(ga)   

Older People’s Commissioner for England and Deputy Older

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People’s Commissioner appointed under the Older People's

Commissioners Act 2004,

(gb)   

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and Deputy Older

People’s Commissioner appointed under the Older People’s

Commissioners Act 2004,”.

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Disqualifications

11    (1)  

Schedule 1 of the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975 (c. 24)

(Offices disqualifying for membership) is amended as follows.

 

 

Older People’s Commissioners Bill
Schedule — Older People’s Commissioners

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      (2)  

In Part III, there is inserted—

   

“Older People’s Commissioner for England and Deputy Older

People's Commissioner.

   

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and Deputy Older

People’s Commissioner.”.

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