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Political Parties and Elections Bill


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Political Parties and Elections Bill
Schedule 1 — Investigatory powers of Commission: Schedule to be inserted into the 2000 Act

 

Schedules

Schedule 1

Section 2

 

Investigatory powers of Commission: Schedule to be inserted into the 2000 Act

“Schedule 19A

Section 146

 

Investigatory powers of Commission

5

Powers in relation to registered parties and others

1     (1)  

This paragraph applies to the following organisations and

individuals—

(a)   

a registered party or, in the case of a registered party with

accounting units—

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(i)   

the central organisation of the party;

(ii)   

an accounting unit of the party;

(b)   

a recognised third party (within the meaning of Part 6);

(c)   

a permitted participant (within the meaning of Part 7);

(d)   

a regulated donee (within the meaning of Schedule 7);

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(e)   

a regulated participant (within the meaning of Schedule

7A);

(f)   

a candidate at an election (other than a local government

election in Scotland);

(g)   

the election agent for such a candidate;

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(h)   

an organisation or individual formerly falling within any

of paragraphs (a) to (g).

      (2)  

The Commission may give a disclosure notice to a person who—

(a)   

is or has been the treasurer or another officer of an

organisation to which this paragraph applies, or

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(b)   

is an individual to whom this paragraph applies.

      (3)  

A disclosure notice is a notice requiring the person to whom it is

given—

(a)   

to produce, for inspection by the Commission or a person

authorised by the Commission, any documents which—

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(i)   

relate to the income and expenditure of the

organisation or individual in question, and

(ii)   

are reasonably required by the Commission for the

purposes of carrying out their functions;

   

or

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(b)   

to provide the Commission, or a person authorised by the

Commission, with any information or explanation which

 

 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Schedule 1 — Investigatory powers of Commission: Schedule to be inserted into the 2000 Act

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relates to that income and expenditure and is reasonably

required by the Commission for those purposes.

      (4)  

A person to whom a disclosure notice is given shall comply with

it within such reasonable time as is specified in the notice.

      (5)  

A person authorised by the Commission may, for the purposes of

5

the carrying out by the Commission of their functions—

(a)   

at any reasonable time enter premises occupied by an

organisation to which, or an individual to whom, this

paragraph applies, and

(b)   

having entered the premises, inspect any documents

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relating to the income and expenditure of the organisation

or individual.

           

This is subject to paragraph 2(6).

Powers in relation to suspected offences or contraventions

2     (1)  

This paragraph applies where the Commission have reasonable

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grounds to suspect that—

(a)   

a person has committed an offence under this Act, or

(b)   

a person has contravened (otherwise than by committing

an offence) any restriction or other requirement imposed

by or by virtue of this Act.

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In this paragraph “the suspected offence or contravention” means

the offence or contravention referred to above.

      (2)  

The Commission may by notice require any person (including an

organisation to which, or an individual to whom, paragraph 1

applies)—

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(a)   

to produce, for inspection by the Commission or a person

authorised by the Commission, any documents that they

reasonably require for the purposes of investigating the

suspected offence or contravention;

(b)   

to provide the Commission, or a person authorised by the

30

Commission, with any information or explanation that

they reasonably require for those purposes.

      (3)  

A person to whom a notice is given under sub-paragraph (2) shall

comply with it within such reasonable time as is specified in the

notice.

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      (4)  

A person authorised by the Commission (“the investigator”) may

require—

(a)   

the person mentioned in sub-paragraph (1), if that person

is an individual, or

(b)   

an individual who the investigator reasonably believes has

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relevant information,

           

to attend before the investigator at a specified time and place and

answer any questions that the investigator reasonably considers to

be relevant.

      (5)  

In sub-paragraph (4) “relevant” means relevant to an investigation

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by the Commission of the suspected offence or contravention.

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Schedule 1 — Investigatory powers of Commission: Schedule to be inserted into the 2000 Act

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      (6)  

The power conferred by paragraph 1(5) may not be used to enter

premises and inspect documents for the purposes of an

investigation by the Commission of the suspected offence or

contravention.

Powers of entry and search etc by warrant

5

3     (1)  

A justice of the peace may issue a warrant under this paragraph if

satisfied, on information on oath given by or on behalf of the

Commission, that there are reasonable grounds for believing

that—

(a)   

a person has committed an offence under this Act, or

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(b)   

a person has contravened (otherwise than by committing

an offence) any restriction or other requirement imposed

by or by virtue of this Act,

           

and that there are on any premises documents to which sub-

paragraph (2) applies.

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      (2)  

This sub-paragraph applies to—

(a)   

documents which a person has been required to produce

under paragraph 2(2) but which have not been produced

in compliance with the requirement;

(b)   

any other documents relevant to an investigation by the

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Commission of the offence or contravention mentioned in

sub-paragraph (1).

      (3)  

A warrant under this paragraph authorises a constable, together

with any other person named in it and any other constables—

(a)   

to enter the premises specified in the information, using

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such force as is reasonably necessary for the purpose;

(b)   

to search the premises and take possession of any

documents that appear to be ones to which sub-paragraph

(2) applies, or to take, in relation to any such documents,

any other steps that may appear to be necessary for

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preserving them or preventing interference with them;

(c)   

to require any person named in the warrant to provide an

explanation of any such documents or to state where they

may be found.

      (4)  

A warrant under this paragraph continues in force until the end of

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the period of one month beginning with the day on which it is

issued.

      (5)  

In the application of this paragraph to Scotland—

(a)   

a reference to a justice of the peace is to be read as a

reference to a justice of the peace or a sheriff;

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(b)   

a reference to information on oath is to be read as a

reference to evidence on oath.

Authorisation of application for warrant under paragraph 3

4     (1)  

An application for a warrant under paragraph 3 may not be made

without the written authorisation of—

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(a)   

the chief executive of the Commission, or

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Schedule 1 — Investigatory powers of Commission: Schedule to be inserted into the 2000 Act

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(b)   

where the office of chief executive is vacant or the chief

executive is absent or unable to act, a member of the staff

of the Commission who has previously been designated by

the chief executive for the purposes of this paragraph and

whose designation is still in force.

5

      (2)  

A person may be designated under sub-paragraph (1)(b) only if

the chief executive considers the person to be suitable having

regard to the person’s experience and level of seniority as a

member of the staff of the Commission.

Retention of documents taken under paragraph 3

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5     (1)  

Any documents of which possession is taken under paragraph 3

may be retained for a period of three months (or for longer if any

of following sub-paragraphs applies).

           

In this paragraph “the documents” and “the three-month period”

mean the documents and the period mentioned above.

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      (2)  

If within the three-month period proceedings to which the

documents are relevant are commenced against any person for

any criminal offence, the documents may be retained until the

conclusion of those proceedings.

      (3)  

If within the three-month period the Commission serve a notice

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under paragraph 2(1) of Schedule 19B of a proposal to impose a

fixed monetary penalty on any person and the documents are

relevant to the decision to serve the notice, the documents may be

retained—

(a)   

until liability for the penalty is discharged as mentioned in

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paragraph 2(2) of that Schedule (if it is);

(b)   

until the Commission decide not to impose a fixed

monetary penalty (if that is what they decide);

(c)   

until the end of the period given by sub-paragraph (5) (if

they do impose a fixed monetary penalty).

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      (4)  

If within the three-month period the Commission serve a notice

under paragraph 6(1) of Schedule 19B of a proposal to impose a

discretionary requirement on any person and the documents are

relevant to the decision to serve the notice, the documents may be

retained—

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(a)   

until the Commission decide not to impose a discretionary

requirement (if that is what they decide);

(b)   

until the end of the period given by sub-paragraph (5) (if

they do impose a discretionary requirement).

      (5)  

If within the three-month period—

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(a)   

a notice is served imposing a fixed monetary penalty on

any person under paragraph 2(4) of Schedule 19B and the

documents are relevant to the decision to impose the

penalty, or

(b)   

a notice is served imposing a discretionary requirement on

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any person under paragraph 6(5) of that Schedule and the

documents are relevant to the decision to impose the

requirement,

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Schedule 1 — Investigatory powers of Commission: Schedule to be inserted into the 2000 Act

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the documents may be retained until the end of the period allowed

for bringing an appeal against that decision or (if an appeal is

brought) until the conclusion of proceedings on the appeal.

      (6)  

If within the three-month period—

(a)   

a stop notice is served on any person under paragraph 10

5

of Schedule 19B, and

(b)   

the documents are relevant to the decision to serve the

notice,

           

the documents may be retained until the end of the period allowed

for bringing an appeal against that decision or (if an appeal is

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brought) until the conclusion of proceedings on the appeal.

      (7)  

If within the three-month period or the period given by sub-

paragraph (6) (or, if applicable, by sub-paragraph (4) or (5)(b))—

(a)   

the Commission, having served a stop notice on any

person under paragraph 10 of Schedule 19B, decide not to

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issue a completion certificate under paragraph 12 of that

Schedule in relation to the stop notice, and

(b)   

the documents are relevant to the decision not to issue the

certificate,

           

the documents may be retained until the end of the period allowed

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for bringing an appeal against that decision or (if an appeal is

brought) until the conclusion of proceedings on the appeal.

Power to make copies and records

6          

The Commission or a person authorised by the Commission—

(a)   

may make copies of, or make records of any information

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contained in—

(i)   

any documents produced or inspected under this

Schedule;

(ii)   

any documents in relation to which the powers

mentioned in paragraph 3(3)(b) are exercisable;

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(b)   

may make copies or records of any information or

explanation provided under this Schedule.

Authorisation to be in writing

7          

An authorisation of a person by the Commission under this

Schedule must be in writing.

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Evidence of authority to enter premises etc

8          

A person exercising in relation to any premises a power under—

(a)   

paragraph 1(5), or

(b)   

a warrant issued under paragraph 3,

           

shall produce evidence of the person’s authorisation or warrant if

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required to do so by or on behalf of the owner, occupier or person

in charge of the premises.

Meaning of “documents”

9          

In this Schedule “documents” includes any books or records.

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Schedule 1 — Investigatory powers of Commission: Schedule to be inserted into the 2000 Act

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Documents in electronic form

10    (1)  

In the case of documents kept in electronic form—

(a)   

a power of the Commission under this Schedule to require

documents to be produced for inspection includes power

to require a copy of the documents to be made available for

5

inspection in legible form;

(b)   

a power of a person (“the inspector”) under this Schedule

to inspect documents includes power to require any

person on the premises in question to give any assistance

that the inspector reasonably requires to enable the

10

inspector—

(i)   

to inspect and make copies of the documents in

legible form or to make records of information

contained in them, or

(ii)   

to inspect and check the operation of any

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computer, and any associated apparatus or

material, that is or has been in use in connection

with the keeping of the documents.

      (2)  

Paragraph 6(a) applies in relation to any copy made available as

mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(a) above.

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Legal professional privilege

11         

Nothing in this Schedule requires a person to produce or provide,

or authorises a person to inspect or take possession of, anything in

respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege (in

Scotland, to confidentiality of communications) could be

25

maintained in legal proceedings.

Admissibility of statements

12    (1)  

A statement made by a person (“P”) in compliance with a

requirement imposed under this Schedule is admissible in

evidence in any proceedings (as long as it also complies with any

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requirements governing the admissibility of evidence in the

circumstances in question).

      (2)  

But in criminal proceedings in which P is charged with an offence

other than one to which sub-paragraph (3) applies or in

proceedings within sub-paragraph (4) to which both the

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Commission and P are parties—

(a)   

no evidence relating to the statement is admissible against

P, and

(b)   

no question relating to the statement may be asked on

behalf of the prosecution or (as the case may be) the

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Commission in cross-examination of P,

           

unless evidence relating to it is adduced, or a question relating to

it is asked, in the proceedings by or on behalf of P.

      (3)  

This sub-paragraph applies to—

(a)   

an offence under paragraph 13(3);

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(b)   

an offence under section 5 of the Perjury Act 1911 (false

statements made otherwise than on oath);

 
 

Political Parties and Elections Bill
Schedule 1 — Investigatory powers of Commission: Schedule to be inserted into the 2000 Act

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(c)   

an offence under section 44(2) of the Criminal Law

(Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 (false statements made

otherwise than on oath);

(d)   

an offence under Article 10 of the Perjury (Northern

Ireland) Order 1979 (false statements made otherwise than

5

on oath).

      (4)  

Proceedings are within this sub-paragraph if they arise out of the

exercise by the Commission of any of their powers under Schedule

19B other than powers in relation to an offence under paragraph

13(3) below.

10

Offences

13    (1)  

A person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with

any requirement imposed under or by virtue of this Schedule

commits an offence.

      (2)  

A person who intentionally obstructs a person authorised by or by

15

virtue of this Schedule in the carrying out of that person’s

functions under the authorisation commits an offence.

      (3)  

A person who knowingly or recklessly provides false information

in purported compliance with a requirement imposed under or by

virtue of this Schedule commits an offence.

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Guidance by Commission

14    (1)  

The Commission shall prepare and publish guidance as to—

(a)   

the circumstances in which the Commission are likely to

give a notice under paragraph 1 or 2(2);

(b)   

the consequences (including criminal sanctions) that may

25

result from a failure to comply with such a notice;

(c)   

the circumstances in which the Commission are likely to

exercise their power under paragraph 1(5);

(d)   

the procedures to be followed in connection with

questioning under paragraph 2(4);

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(e)   

the circumstances in which the Commission are likely to

apply for a warrant under paragraph 3;

(f)   

the principles and practices to be applied in connection

with taking possession of, or taking other steps in relation

to, documents that appear to be ones to which paragraph

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3(2) applies;

(g)   

the principles and practices to be applied in connection

with the exercise of powers under paragraphs 5 and 6;

(h)   

any other matters concerning the exercise of powers under

this Schedule about which the Commission consider that

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guidance would be useful.

      (2)  

Where appropriate, the Commission shall revise guidance

published under this paragraph and publish the revised guidance.

      (3)  

The Commission shall consult such persons as they consider

appropriate before publishing guidance or revised guidance

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under this paragraph.

 
 

 
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