House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Local Government And Public Involvement In Health Bill - continued          House of Commons

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Clause 156 - Services-providers' duties to allow entry by local involvement networks

379.     Clause 156 provides that the Secretary of State may, by regulations, impose a duty on services-providers to allow authorised representatives of local involvement networks to enter and view, and observe the carrying on of activities on, premises controlled by services-providers. Such visits will enable local involvement networks to carry on, in particular, their activities in connection with the scrutiny of local care services and in connection with the making of recommendations about improving local care services.

380.     Subsections (2) and (3) provide that the regulations may include conditions, restrictions and limitations.

381.     Subsection (4) provides that the Secretary of State must consult such persons as he considers appropriate before making regulations under this section.

382.     In clauses 155 and 156 "services-provider" includes: certain NHS bodies; and local authorities as defined in clause 159.

Clause 157 - Local involvement networks: referrals of social care matters

383.     Clause 157 provides that where a local involvement network refers a matter relating to social care services to an overview and scrutiny committee, that committee must acknowledge receipt of the referral and keep the referrer informed of the committee's actions in relation to the matter.

384.     Subsections (3) and (4) require the committee to decide whether its powers are exercisable in relation to the matter and, if they are, whether or not they are to be exercised.

385.     Subsection (5) provides that in exercising its powers in relation to the matter, the committee must take into account relevant information provided to it by a local involvement network.

386.     Subsection (6) provides that the Secretary of State may by regulations make provision as to the time by which an overview and scrutiny committee must acknowledge receipt of a referral made by a local involvement network.

387.     "Overview and scrutiny committee" is defined in subsection (8) since not all local authorities have overview and scrutiny committees appointed under section 21 of the Local Government Act 2000. In the case of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, it is required to appoint a committee under that section by virtue of the Isles of Scilly (Functions) (Review and Scrutiny of Health Services) Order 2004 (Statutory Instrument 2004 No. 1412) made under section 265 of the Local Government Act 1972.

Clause 158 - Local involvement networks: annual reports

388.     Clause 158 sets out the required provision about annual reports referred to in clause 154(6).

389.     Subsection (2) requires that the arrangements entered into by a local authority must make provision, for each local involvement network, for an annual report in relation to the activities of the network.

390.     Subsection (3) provides that the report must address, in particular, such matters as the Secretary of State may direct and must include details of amounts spent in relation to the network's activities.

391.     Subsection (5) provides that a copy of the report must be sent to:

  • the local authority;

  • each Primary Care Trust and Strategic Health Authority in the area concerned;

  • any relevant overview and scrutiny committee of the local authority;

  • the Secretary of State; and

  • any other person the Secretary of State directs.

Abolition of Patients' Forums etc

Clause 160 - Abolition of functions of Patients' Forums

392.     Clause 160 abolishes specified functions of Patients' Forums and makes provision for final reports and accounts.

Clause 161 - Abolition of Patients' Forums

393.     Clause 161 abolishes Patients' Forums and makes provision for the transfer of property, rights and liabilities of each forum to the Secretary of State for Health.

Clause 162 - Abolition of Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health

394.     Clause 162 abolishes the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health and makes provision for the transfer of property, rights and liabilities of the Commission to the Secretary of State for Health. Subsection (5) states that the Secretary of State may fix the Commission's final reporting period.

Consultation about health services

Clause 163 - Duty to consult users of health services

395.     This clause amends section 242 of the National Health Service Act 2006 ("the 2006 Act").

396.     Section 242 applies to Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts, NHS trusts and NHS Foundation Trusts. However, the amendments do not change how section 242 applies to NHS trusts all or most of whose hospitals, establishments and facilities are located in Wales. The amendments do alter how section 242 applies to the rest of the bodies to which the section applies, and the bodies to which the amendments do apply are referred to as "relevant English bodies". The amendments replace the existing duty imposed by section 242 on relevant English bodies with a new duty to make arrangements to consult with the users of health services.

397.     The new section 242(1B) provides that relevant English bodies must consult on the planning of the provision of services, the development and consideration of significant proposals for change in the way services are provided and significant decisions affecting the operation of services.

398.     New section 242(1C) to (1E) establish when proposals or decisions are "significant" for the purposes of new section 242(1B)(b) and (c).

399.     New section 242(1G) provides that a relevant English body must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State as to the discharge of its new duty under section 242(1B).

Clause 164 - Primary Care Trusts: reports on consultation

400.     This clause provides that each Primary Care Trust must, at such times as the Secretary of State may direct, prepare a report on the consultation it has (or proposes) to carry out and on the influence the results of consultation have on its commissioning decisions. Subsection (3) provides that the Secretary of State may give directions in this respect.



401.     Part 12, together with Schedule 14, of the Bill makes amendments to Part 1 of Schedule 5 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 (the 2006 Act) so as to confer enhanced legislative competence on the Assembly in specific fields. Section 93 of the 2006 Act enables the Assembly to make laws known as Assembly Measures. Section 94 of the 2006 Act provides that a provision of an Assembly Measure is within the Assembly's competence if it relates to (or is incidental or consequential on provision that relates to) one or more of the matters specified in the fields listed in Part 1 of Schedule 5 to the 2006 Act. Sections 93 and 94 of the 2006 Act are due to come into force mid 2007. Part 1 of Schedule 5 to the 2006 Act lists twenty fields in which the Assembly currently exercises functions and each field will be divided into matters. Field 12 provides for matters in the field of local government. An Assembly Measure may include any provision that could be made by Act of Parliament, subject to specific restrictions set out in Part 2 of Schedule 5 to the 2006 Act.

Clause 165 - Powers of National Assembly for Wales

402.     Clause 165 gives effect to Schedule 14 to the Bill.


Exercise of functions by members of local authorities in England

Clause 166 - Exercise of functions by members of local authorities in England

403.     This clause provides that an authority may make arrangements for individual members to exercise functions of the authority in relation to the electoral division or ward for which the member is elected. The clause applies to principal authorities. The Secretary of State may by order exclude functions from such arrangements, or place conditions on how such a function is exercised. Where the function to be included in the arrangements is the responsibility of the executive of the authority, it is for the senior executive member (i.e. leader) to make the arrangements. In all other cases, it is for the authority itself.

Clause 167 - Exercise of functions under section 166: records

404.     The purpose of this clause is to ensure transparency and accountability by allowing records of decisions or actions taken as a result of a Community Call for Action (see clause 92 above) to be made available to the public.


Clause 168 - Amendments relating to capital finance and accounting practices

405.     The "prudential" capital finance system, in Part 1 of the Local Government Act 2003, is the framework within which authorities finance their capital expenditure.

406.     Section 21 of the 2003 Act contains a power to make regulations on local authorities' accounting practices. This has been used, for example, to issue regulations about providing for debt repayment. This clause amends section 21 to give the Secretary of State a power to issue guidance on accounting practices, which authorities would be required to have regard to. The power is likely to be first used in relation to the regulations on debt repayment.

Contracting Out

Clause 169 - Contracting out

407.     The Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 gives the Secretary of State the power to make an order enabling bodies which are local authorities for the purposes of that Act to contract out the functions specified in the order. One such order was made in 1996 to permit the contracting out of investment functions - something which authorities often wish to contract out to private-sector specialists. The Bill will bring the definition of "local authority" for the purposes of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 broadly in line with the definition of a "local authority" used for the purposes of the "prudential" capital finance system, in Part 1 of the Local Government Act 2003. This will in particular enable a new order which applies to a wider class of bodies to be made on the contracting out of investment functions.


408.     Part 14 of the Bill makes general provision for orders, regulations and guidance under the Bill. It provides for regulations and orders to be made by statutory instrument and for the Parliamentary or Assembly procedure which is to apply in respect of these instruments. The Secretary of State is given power by order to amend, repeal or revoke enactments for the purposes of making supplementary or consequential provisions. This Part also provides for extent, commencement and the short title of the Bill.

Schedule 1 - Structural and boundary change: consequential amendments

409.     Schedule 1 makes amendments consequential upon Part 1 of the Bill.

Schedule 2 - Supplementary vote system: consequential amendments

410.     Schedule 2 amends the Local Government Act 2000 so as to extend the supplementary vote (SV) system used for election of elected mayors to the election of elected executives

411.     In relation to the election of an elected executive, under the supplementary vote system, the elector has two votes - a first preference vote cast for the elector's preferred "slate", and a second vote cast for the elector's second preference from among the remaining "slates". Schedule 2 specifies the procedure for returning a directly elected executive under this system

Schedule 3 - New arrangements for executives: further amendments

412.     Schedule 3 makes consequential amendments to the Local Government Act 2000.

Schedule 4 - New arrangements for executives: transitional provision

413.     Schedule 4 makes transitional provision with respect to local authorities operating the previous style of leader and cabinet executive in England which requires them to operate instead a form of executive permitted under section 11 of the Local Government Act 2000. Any such local authority must operate the new style of leader and cabinet executive, leader and cabinet executive (England), if they do not change their governance arrangements in accordance with the requirement to do so.

Schedule 5 - Parishes: further amendments

414.     This makes further amendments to the Local Government Act 1972 and omits Part 2 of the Local Government and Rating Act 1997 and repeals Part 2 of the Local Government and Rating Act 1997.

Schedule 6 - Byelaws: further amendments

415.     Schedule 6 repeals a number of provisions relating to certain matters which byelaws can address. Section 82(4) of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1907 provides that byelaws affecting the foreshore below high water require the consent of "the Board of Trade" (which is now given by the Secretary of State for Transport) before they can be confirmed. This requirement will be lifted. Section 231(1) of the Public Health Act 1936 will be amended to repeal the provisions which relate to byelaws regulating the location of bathing-machines and the costumes to be worn by bathers. It also provides for the repeal of section 56(2) and (3) of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 which provide for byelaws to prevent the spread of infectious disease by the occupants or users of tents, vans, sheds and similar structures used for human habitation. This provision has never been used.

Schedule 7 - Amendments consequential on removing parish councils etc from best value duties

416.     Schedule 7 provides for consequential amendments to enactments where parish and community councils were included by virtue of the fact they were best value authorities. These amendments ensure that parish and community councils are not removed from these provisions simply because they are no longer best value authorities.

417.     This Schedule repeals sections 34 and 35 of the Local Government Act 2003 (power to make grants to parishes and to communities in Wales towards expenditure incurred in complying with best value duties).

Schedule 8 - Best value: Minor and consequential amendments

418.     Schedule 8 provides for minor and consequential amendments to Part 1 of the Local Government Act 1999 and to other enactments arising from Part 7 of the Bill (best value).

419.     In particular, sections 4-9 of the Local Government Act 1999 are amended to reflect the fact that they will only apply to Welsh best value authorities (see clause 107).

Schedule 9 - Consequential amendments relating to the change of name of the Audit Commission

420.     Schedule 9 contains consequential amendments to a range of legislation to omit the reference to Wales from the Audit Commission's full name - "the Audit Commission for Local Authorities and the National Health Service in England and Wales".

Schedule 10 - Benefits Fraud Inspectorate: transfer schemes

421.     Schedule 10 makes detailed provision about the terms and effect of transfer schemes transferring staff, property, rights and liabilities from the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate to the Audit Commission. In particular, it provides for employees to transfer on their existing terms of employment and makes provision about their continuity of employment.

Schedule 11 - Schedule to be inserted in Audit Commission Act 1998 - "Interaction with other authorities"

422.     The new Schedule 2A to the Audit Commission Act 1998 inserted by this Schedule makes provision about the interaction of the Audit Commission with various persons and bodies, in particular "inspection authorities" and "public authorities".

423.     "Inspection authorities" are the criminal justice inspectorates, the Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection and the Commission for Social Care Inspection (see paragraph 1 of Schedule 2A).

424.     "Public authorities" are persons or bodies in the United Kingdom whose functions are of a public nature (excluding the Houses of Parliament).

Inspection programmes and inspection frameworks

425.     Paragraph 4 requires the Audit Commission from time to time to prepare documents setting out what inspections it proposes to carry out and the way in which it proposes to carry out those inspections. It must consult the Secretary of State, the inspection authorities and other persons specified in an order made by the Secretary of State before preparing such documents. It must also send copies of the final version of those documents to those people. The requirement to consult and to send copies of documents can be waived.

Inspections by other inspectors of organisations within the Commission's remit

426.     Paragraph 5 provides the Audit Commission with a "gatekeeper" role in relation to inspections of specified organisations by inspection authorities and others. The specified organisations will be set out in secondary legislation. This paragraph will enable the Audit Commission to prevent inspections of such organisations by other inspectorates where, in the Audit Commission's opinion, the inspection or manner of it would impose an unreasonable burden on the organisation in question. This paragraph provides the Secretary of State with residual powers, in certain situations, to allow an inspection to take place. The Secretary of State may also specify, in secondary legislation, circumstances in which the power to prevent inspection will not apply.


427.     Paragraph 6 requires the Audit Commission to co-operate with the inspection authorities, benefits inspectors and other public authorities specified by the Secretary of State where it is appropriate to do so for the efficient and effective discharge of its functions.

Joint working

428.     Paragraph 7 enables the Audit Commission to act jointly with an inspection authority or a benefits inspector where it is appropriate to do so for the efficient and effective discharge of its functions


429.     There will be situations where the work of the Audit Commission and other inspection authorities and certain public authorities will clearly overlap. Paragraph 8 allows the Audit Commission to delegate functions to such authorities.

Advice or assistance for other public authorities

430.     Paragraph 9 will confer a power on the Audit Commission to provide advice and assistance to other public bodies in England. The Audit Commission will be able to charge a fee for carrying out such work to the inspection authorities and, with the consent of the Secretary of State, to other public authorities. The Audit Commission may also provide advice and assistance to certain bodies outside England, namely the Auditors General for Wales and Scotland, Audit Scotland and the Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland.

Inspections carried out under arrangements

431.     Paragraph 10 enables the Audit Commission to exercise functions, which it does not ordinarily have, where another inspection authority has sought to delegate those functions to the Audit Commission.

Schedule 12 - The Valuation Tribunal for England


432.     Paragraphs 1 and 3 of Schedule 12 to this Bill amend Schedule 11 to the 1988 Act by dividing that Schedule into four Parts as follows. Part 1 (paragraphs A1 to A20) establishes the VTE and makes provision in relation to that Tribunal. Part 2 (paragraphs 1 to 7A) concern VTs in Wales only. Parts 3 and 4 (paragraphs 8 to 12A and 13 to 18 respectively) apply in relation to both England and Wales.

Establishment of the Tribunal

433.     Paragraph 2 of Schedule 12 establishes of the VTE and makes further provision in relation to the Tribunal through new paragraphs A1-A20 of Schedule 11 to the 1988.Act

Establishment and Jurisdiction

434.     Paragraph A1 states that there shall be a VTE and paragraph A2 transfers the jurisdiction of the VTs in England to the VTE. This jurisdiction includes the current jurisdiction of the VTs as well as their historic jurisdiction (for example in relation to the community charge).

435.     Paragraph A3 enables the Secretary of State to make provision (by way of regulations) for matters to be referred to arbitration where all of the parties to the appeal agree in writing.


436.     Paragraph A4 specifies four types of members of the VTE. These are the VTE President, one or more Vice-Presidents, a panel of chairmen and other members.

437.     Vice-Presidents have the functions assigned to them by the VTE President (paragraph A5) and may exercise the VTE President's functions in certain specified circumstances (paragraph A6).

438.     The Lord Chancellor makes appointments to the VTE and the Secretary of State determines the terms and conditions of their appointment (paragraph A7).

439.     The Secretary of State also determines (after consultation with the VTE President and the VTS) how many Vice-Presidents, chairmen and other members the VTE is to have. The determination may be a specific number, a minimum, a maximum, or a minimum and a maximum (paragraph A8).

Tenure of Office

440.     VTE members hold office in accordance with their terms and conditions (paragraph A9).

441.     The Lord Chancellor is able to remove a VTE member from post if satisfied the member is unable, unwilling, or unfit to perform their functions as a member (paragraph A10). Any removal must comply with the procedural requirements in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (see, in particular, section 108(1) of that Act).

Remuneration, allowances and pension

442.     Paragraphs A11, A12 and A13 enable the Secretary of State to determine any remuneration and pension payable to the VTE President or Vice-Presidents, and to determine what allowances (including travel and subsistence) are payable to VTE members.

443.     The VTS must pay these sums (paragraph A14). The Secretary of State has power to pay grant to the VTS under paragraph 18(1) of Schedule 4 to the 2003 Act.

Organisation and delegation

444.     The VTE President may make arrangements about the organisation of the VTE (paragraph A15).

445.     Paragraph A16 enables the VTE President and Vice-Presidents to delegate functions, in writing, to other VTE members, but not any function of deciding an appeal.

Dealing with appeals

446.     The VTE President must make arrangements (tribunal business arrangements) providing for the selection of VTE members to deal with appeals (paragraph A17). These arrangements must provide for at least one senior member of the VTE (that is, the VTE President, a VTE Vice-President or a chairman) to deal with an appeal.

447.     Appeals may continue if a member becomes unable to act, but not if that member is the only member dealing with the appeal (paragraph A18).


448.     The Secretary of State may make regulations in relation to the procedure or any other matter relating to the VTE (paragraph A19). In particular, these regulations may include provision about disqualification, or they may provide for functions to be discharged on the VTE's behalf by VTS staff.

449.     By inserting amendments into Schedule 5 of that Act paragraph A19(3) provides that regulations may not be made in relation to staff, accommodation and equipment. This is because these matters are functions of the VTS and are addressed by the 2003 Act.

450.     Paragraphs 4-9 of Schedule 12 to this Bill make various amendments to the new Part 2 of Schedule 11 to the 1988 Act (Valuation Tribunals: Wales). In particular, provision is made to enable the creation of one or more VTs in Wales and to allow members, in Wales, to be entitled to such remuneration as the Secretary of State may determine.

451.     Paragraphs 10-18 of Schedule 12 to this Bill make various amendments to the new Part 3 of Schedule 11 to the 1988 Act (Procedure, Orders, etc).

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Prepared: 13 December 2006