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These notes refer to the Greater London Authority Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 28th November 2006 [Bill 11]
GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY BILL
1. These explanatory notes relate to the Greater London Authority Bill as introduced in the House of Commons on 28th November 2006. They have been prepared by the Department for Communities and Local Government in order to assist the reader of the Bill and help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.
2. The notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.
Part 1 - General Functions of the Authority
3. Clauses 1 to 16 amend the Greater London Authority Act 1999 ("the Act") in relation to the general functions of the Greater London Authority ("the Authority"). Clause 1 allows the Authority to establish and administer a severance pay scheme for the Mayor of London ("the Mayor") and the members of the London Assembly (the "Assembly members") on ceasing to hold office. Clause 2 introduces additional procedures relating to consultation on Mayoral strategies. Clause 3 brings forward the date by which the Mayor must make a report to the London Assembly ("the Assembly") before each of the ten 'monthly' meetings the Assembly must hold every year. Clause 4 (and Schedule 1) introduces provision for the Assembly to hold confirmation hearings for certain statutory appointments made by the Mayor. Clause 5 extends the time limit for the Assembly to summon certain categories of people to attend an Assembly meeting for questioning and to produce documents. Clause 6 requires the Assembly to prepare and publish an annual report. Clauses 7 to 11 make amendments in relation to the appointment of certain members of staff of the Authority. Clauses 12 to 15 provide for a separate budget for the Assembly (and consequently, for the remainder of the Authority). Clause 16 requires the Deputy Mayor to exercise the responsibilities of the Mayor for setting the budget if he were temporarily unable to act.
Bill 11EN 54/2Part 2 - Transport
4. Clause 17 provides for the Secretary of State to give consent in writing to the disposal of operational land by Transport for London (TfL). Clause 18 removes the current restriction on political representatives being members of TfL. Clause 19 then prohibits the payment of allowances to TfL members who are also Assembly members unless they are chairman or deputy chairman of TfL.
5. Clause 20 removes the prohibition on payments of allowances to any chairman or deputy chairman of the London Development Agency (LDA) who is also an Assembly member.
6. Clauses 21 to 24 amend provisions in the Act relating to health. Clause 21 provides for the appointment of a Health Adviser and one or more Deputy Health Advisers to the Authority. Clause 22 imposes a duty on the Mayor to prepare and publish a health inequalities strategy. Clause 23 requires the Authority to consider the effects that any proposed exercise of its general power under section 30 of the Act would have on health inequalities between persons living in London. If it decides to exercise its powers it must do so in a way which is best calculated to promote the reduction of those inequalities. Clause 24 requires the Mayor to have regard to the effect his proposed strategies or revisions would have on health inequalities between persons living in London. It requires the Mayor, in preparing or revising his strategies, to include policies and proposals best calculated to promote the reduction of such health inequalities.
7. Clauses 25 to 27 extend the Mayor's powers in relation to the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA). Clause 25 enables the Mayor to make two appointments of his own nomination to LFEPA. Clause 26 removes the prohibition on LFEPA paying certain allowances to Assembly members who are chairman or vice-chairman of LFEPA. Clause 27 gives the Mayor the power to issue directions and guidance to LFEPA and gives the Secretary of State the power to give directions to the Mayor if the Mayor's directions or guidance conflict with specified frameworks or guidance.
8. Clause 28 places a duty on the Mayor to prepare and publish a housing strategy for London. This is to include a statement of the Mayor's recommendations as to the amount, type and location of new housing which should be provided in London. The Secretary of State will be able to give guidance to the Mayor in preparing or revising the strategy, and may give directions to the Mayor if any part of the strategy is inconsistent with national housing policy or is likely to be detrimental to any region adjoining Greater London. The Housing Corporation must have regard to the housing strategy when exercising certain functions. Local housing strategies prepared by local authorities in London should be in general conformity with the London housing strategy.
9. Clauses 29 to 35 concern town and country planning in Greater London. Clause 29 introduces additional procedures relating to consultation on the Mayor's spatial development strategy. Clause 30 gives the Mayor a power of intervention in respect of a local planning authority's local development scheme. Clauses 31 to 34 give the Mayor power to determine planning applications which are of "potential strategic importance" and certain related applications, in place of the local planning authority. There is power to modify enactments relating to enforcement, so as to allow the Mayor to enforce the terms of any planning permission he has granted. They also enable the Mayor to exercise functions of a local planning authority in relation to planning obligations under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Clause 35 enables regulations made under section 46 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 to provide for cases where a planning contribution is made in circumstances in which the Mayor is acting in place of the local planning authority.
10. Clauses 36 to 40 concern the Authority's role in waste, climate change and energy. Clauses 36 and 37 deal with waste. Clause 36 provides that London waste authorities must exercise their waste collection and disposal functions in general conformity with the Mayor's municipal waste management strategy. Clause 37 extends the requirement for waste authorities to inform the Mayor if they intend to tender for a waste contract.
11. Clauses 38 to 40 deal with climate change and energy. Clause 38 introduces a duty on each of the Mayor and the Assembly to address climate change. Clauses 39 and 40 require the Mayor to prepare and publish a London climate change mitigation and energy strategy and an adaptation to climate change strategy for London.
12. Clauses 41 to 45 concern the Museum of London. Clause 41 transfers from the Prime Minister to the Authority the power to appoint nine of the eighteen members of the Board of Governors, and clause 42 extends the period of appointment for all Governors. Subsection (2) of clause 42 gives this amendment retrospective force. This ensures that any appointment in the past of a Governor for a period of more than three years but less than four years will be treated as having complied with the provisions of the 1965 Act. Clauses 43 and 44 transfer from the Secretary of State to the Authority certain other powers in relation to the Board (including expenditure and appointment of staff).
13. Clause 46 amends the current provisions relating to the consultation process for the Mayor's culture strategy. The Cultural Strategy Group for London will be required to consult certain designated cultural bodies when proposing revisions to the strategy or when consulted by the Mayor if he makes revisions other than those proposed by the Group. The Secretary of State has power to amend the list of bodies.
14. Clause 47 makes provision for cases where the Mayor has a power of appointment to certain sport, culture or arts bodies. It imposes a duty on the Mayor to make appointments to the board of such a body as soon as reasonably practicable after receiving a written request from the body. The Secretary of State is given the power to prescribe the bodies concerned (and amend the list subsequently).
Part 10 - Miscellaneous and General
15. Clause 48 enables the Authority and the functional bodies to arrange for administrative, professional or technical services to be provided for them by any of the others, or to be shared by two or more of them, and includes power to delegate to each other their functions of providing such services for themselves.
16. The Authority comprises a directly elected Mayor and a separately elected Assembly of 25 members. The Authority was established by the Greater London Authority Act 1999 and the first elections took place in 2000.
17. In November 2005, the Government consulted on proposals to grant additional powers to the Authority. The proposals covered a wide range of areas, but focussed on housing, skills, planning and waste. In July 2006, the Government announced the final package of additional powers for the Mayor and Assembly. The proposals include new lead roles for the Mayor in housing and adult skills in London and additional strategic powers in a wide range of policy areas including planning, waste, culture and sport, health, climate change and energy and appointments to the boards of three of the four functional bodies (that is to say the LFEPA, the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) and TfL). The Assembly's role is enhanced to complement the additional powers of the Mayor. The Government's Policy Statement can be read on the DCLG website at: www.communities.gov.uk/glapowers.
18. The Bill gives effect to most of the additional powers that require primary legislation for their implementation. The Mayor's new role in adult skills and employment in London is included in the Further Education Bill currently before Parliament. The broad thrust of the Mayor's new powers to appoint the chairman and any vice chairman of the MPA is included in the Police and Justice Act 2006, with detail in relation to the powers to follow in regulations.
19. The Bill consists of eleven parts. These are:
20. It also contains two Schedules. These are:
21. The Bill's provisions extend to England and Wales only. The Scottish Parliament's consent is not required for any of the Bill's provisions. The provisions of the Bill in practice apply only to England.
PART 1: GENERAL FUNCTIONS OF THE AUTHORITY
Payments on loss of office
Clause 1: Payments on ceasing to hold office as Mayor or Assembly member
22. Clause 1 inserts into the Act a new section 26A. Sections 24 to 26 of the Act provide for the Mayor and Assembly members to be paid salaries and expenses and to establish a pension scheme. The new section enables the Authority to establish and administer schemes allowing for a Mayor or Assembly member to receive a payment on ceasing to hold office. A scheme may be set up if the Mayor and Assembly, acting jointly, decide to establish one.
23. The Assembly is required to include in its standing orders provision for publishing each determination made in relation to a scheme set up under this clause.
The Mayor's strategies
Clause 2: Consultation
24. The Act requires the Mayor to produce a number of strategies, and to carry out consultations in preparing or revising them. The Mayor consults in the first instance the Assembly and the four functional bodies before consulting more widely.
25. Clause 2 inserts into the Act a new section 42A. It requires the Mayor to have regard to any comments submitted to him by the Assembly or any of the functional bodies in response to consultation on his strategies. The Mayor shall also respond in writing to the Chair of the Assembly setting out which of the Assembly's comments he accepts for implementation in the strategy and, where he has not accepted a comment, giving the reasons why.
Clause 3: The Mayor's periodic report to the Assembly
26. Section 45 of the Act requires the Mayor to make a report to the Assembly at least three clear working days before each of the ten 'monthly' meetings the Assembly must hold each year.
27. Clause 3 amends section 45 to require the Mayor to submit his report to the Assembly at least five clear working days before each Assembly meeting.
Clause 4 & Schedule 1: Confirmation hearings etc for certain appointments by the Mayor
28. Clause 4 inserts into the Act a new section 60A which lists the offices to which confirmation hearings will apply. They are:
The Secretary of State may by order amend that list.
29. Schedule 1 sets out a new Schedule 4A to the Act which provides for the Assembly to hold confirmation hearings for appointments to the offices mentioned above. The Mayor must not make any of the above appointments until the confirmation hearing process has ended. He must notify the name and details of the proposed appointee to the Assembly and they may call that person before them. The Assembly must notify the Mayor stating whether it recommends the proposed appointee or not. The Mayor need not accept the recommendation.
Clause 5: Power to require attendance at Assembly meetings: time limits
30. Section 61 of the Act contains powers for the Assembly to summon certain categories of people to give evidence at its meetings and to produce documents e.g. a person who is a senior member of staff of the Authority, the chairman or a member of the board or a senior member of staff of one of the functional bodies, or a person who has a contractual relationship with the Authority. The Authority may summon such a person up to 3 years after the end of their period in office, contractual relationship, etc.
31. Clause 5 amends section 61 to extend the period during which the Assembly may summon a person from 3 years to 8 years.
Clause 6: Annual report by the Assembly
32. This clause inserts into the Act a new section 65A. It requires the Assembly to prepare an annual report on its work and achievements during the year. The Assembly must send the report to the Mayor before publishing it.
Officers and staff
Clauses 7 to 11: Officers and staff
33. Sections 67 to 73 and section 127 of the Act provide for the appointment of employees of the Authority.
34. Under the provisions of sections 67(1)(a) and 67(1)(b) the Mayor is able to appoint two political advisers and not more than 10 other members of staff. Under the provisions of section 67(2) the Assembly appoints all other staff, following consultation with the Mayor.
35. Clause 7 replaces section 67(2) so as to provide for the Authority's staff to be appointed by the Authority's Head of Paid Service, except for the appointments of Head of Paid Service himself, the Monitoring Officer and the Chief Finance Officer. The Head of Paid Service must consult the Mayor and Assembly before making appointments, and must have regard to available resources and the priorities of the Authority in making them. The clause also amends section 70(2) of the Act to provide for the Head of Paid Service to set the terms and conditions of those staff he appoints after consulting the Mayor and Assembly. The appointments, and terms and conditions, of the Authority's existing staff have effect as if they had been appointed or set by the Head of Paid Service.
36. Clause 8 amends section 72 of the Act. Under the provisions of that section as amended, the Mayor and Assembly acting jointly will appoint the Authority's Head of Paid Service, and set his terms and conditions. Subsection (6) inserts into section 72 of the Act a new subsection (11) which allows the Head of Paid Service to delegate to a member of staff of the Authority (other than a member of staff appointed under section 67(1)) his functions of making appointments and setting terms and conditions.
37. Clause 9 amends section 73 of the Act to require the Mayor and Assembly, acting jointly, to appoint the Authority's Monitoring Officer and set his terms and conditions.
38. Clause 10 amends section 127 of the Act and inserts a new section 127A to make similar provision with respect to the Authority's Chief Finance Officer.
The annual budget
39. Part 3 of the Act makes provision about the budget of the Authority. The Authority does not raise council tax directly from individual council taxpayers, but the Act instead requires each London borough council to raise a certain amount (the "precept") from council taxpayers in its area. The Act sets out rules which the Authority must follow in calculating its consolidated annual budget requirement. For each constituent body, that is the Authority and each of the four functional bodies, the Authority must calculate the component budget requirement - the difference between the sum of expenditure items and the sum of income items as described in the Act. The Authority must then calculate the consolidated budget requirement by adding together the component budget requirements of each of the constituent bodies. The Mayor must present the consolidated budget in draft to the Assembly, which may amend the budget.
40. Clause 12 amends section 85 of the Act to provide for separate component budget requirements for the Assembly and the Mayor. The Assembly's component budget requirement is the requirement in relation to the Assembly's functions, including in particular estimates of expenditure, allowance for contingencies and use of reserves, in respect of Assembly members and staff; goods and services procured solely for the purposes of the Assembly; and in relation to the London Transport Users' Committee. The Mayor's component budget requirement is everything else which would otherwise make up the Authority's component budget requirement.
41. Clause 13 amends Schedule 6 to the Act to include the separate component budget requirements for the Assembly and the Mayor in the procedure for determining the Authority's consolidated budget requirement. Schedule 6 provides for the Assembly to be able to amend the draft consolidated budget, and the draft component budgets comprised in it, by a simple majority of the Assembly members voting, and the final draft consolidated budget by at least a two-thirds majority.
42. Subsections (5) and (7) insert into Schedule 6 new paragraphs 5A and 8A respectively, limiting the Assembly's powers to increase its own component budget requirement by amendment. The Assembly may not amend its own component budget requirement so that its annual percentage increase is greater than the annual percentage increase in the Mayor's component budget requirement. In order to deal with unusual one-off payments, the Authority's Chief Finance Officer may direct that specified amounts are to be left out of the budget requirement calculations for the
purpose of determining this limit. The Secretary of State may give guidance to the Chief Finance Officer with respect to his exercise of the power.
43. Clause 14 amends Schedule 7 to the Act to make similar changes to the procedures for carrying out substitute budget calculations by the Authority.
44. Clause 15 provides for amounts to be designated as the component budget requirements of the Assembly and the Mayor for the financial year preceding the first financial year in which the new arrangements are to operate. The designation is needed so that the limit on the amount by which the Assembly's component budget requirement may be increased by Assembly amendments in the first year of operation of the new provisions can be calculated. Subsection (4) requires the Authority's Chief Finance Officer to make the designation by 31 December of the year preceding the first financial year in which the new arrangements operate. He must consult the Mayor and Assembly before making the designation.
45. Schedule 4 to the Act provides for the Deputy Mayor to be able to exercise functions of the Mayor where the Mayor is unable to do so. At present this provision does not cover the Mayor's functions under Schedules 6 and 7 in relation to the setting of the Authority's budget. So if the Mayor is temporarily unavailable, the Assembly must set the budget as if the Mayor had failed to exercise his functions. Clause 16 changes this by providing that the Deputy Mayor may exercise the Mayor's budget-setting functions if the Mayor is temporarily unable to act.
46. Clause 17 of the Bill amends section 163 of the Act. Section 163 provides that TfL cannot dispose of operational land such as railway or tramway lines or stations, either through freehold sale or lease of over 50 years, without the consent of the Secretary of State. That consent must currently be given by means of an order made by statutory instrument. This clause amends that requirement so that only the written approval of the Secretary of State is required.
47. Clause 18 removes the current prohibition in Schedule 10 to the Act on political representatives being appointed as members of TfL, in order to bring TfL in line with other functional bodies, where political representatives can be appointed.
48. Clause 19 then amends Schedule 10 to the Act to prohibit the payment of remuneration or allowances (other than expenses) to members of TfL who are also Assembly members, except allowances in the case of an Assembly member who is also the chairman or deputy chairman of TfL.
49. Clause 20 removes the prohibition on payments of allowances to any chairman or deputy chairman of the LDA who is also an Assembly member.
The Health Adviser and the Deputy Health Advisers
50. This clause inserts into the Act a new section 309A to provide for there to be a Health Adviser to the Authority. It will be the function of the Health Adviser to advise the Authority, the Mayor, any Assembly member and any functional body on major health issues, the performance of any person's health-related functions and the implementation of the provisions of the Act which impose duties relating to health inequalities between persons living in London.
51. This clause also inserts into the Act a new section 309B which provides for the current Regional Director of Public Health (RDPH) (for Greater London) to be the Health Adviser. If the post of RDPH ceases, the clause provides for the Health Adviser to be the person in the post which corresponds, or most closely corresponds, to that of RDPH. If there is a question as to which of two or more persons is to be the Health Adviser, the Secretary of State may designate one of them to be the Health Adviser. If there ceases to be an RDPH or equivalent post, the Secretary of State is to appoint the Health Adviser from among persons within the civil service or NHS who hold senior posts in which they have strategic responsibilities for public health in Greater London. Following such an appointment, if the person ceases to hold the post, he also ceases to be the Health Adviser.
52. This clause also inserts into the Act a new section 309C to make provision for there to be one or more Deputy Health Advisers. If there is a vacancy in the post of Health Adviser or if the Health Adviser is incapable of discharging his functions, one of the Deputy Health Advisers will exercise the Health Adviser's functions. The Health Adviser's functions are exercisable by a Deputy Health Adviser to the extent that the Health Adviser authorises, and subject to any conditions.
53. This clause also inserts into the Act a new section 309D to provide for the Deputy RDPHs (for Greater London) to be the Deputy Health Advisers to the Authority. If the post of Deputy RDPH ceases to exist, the Deputy Health Advisers are to be the persons in the posts which correspond, or most closely correspond, to that of Deputy RDPH. If there is a question as to which of two or more persons are to be the Deputy Health Advisers the Secretary of State may designate one or more to be the Deputy Health Advisers. If there ceases to be a Deputy RDPH or equivalent post, the Secretary of State is to appoint one or more Deputy Health Advisers from among persons within the civil service or NHS who hold senior posts in which they have strategic responsibilities for public health in Greater London. Following such an appointment, if the person ceases to hold the post, he also ceases to be a Deputy Health Adviser.
|© Parliamentary copyright 2006||Prepared: 28 November 2006|