Select Committee on Regulatory Reform First Report

2  Description of the draft Order

5. The draft Order concerns the removal of statutory requirements to obtain the consent or approval of the Secretary of State or the Welsh Ministers (or in one case the Attorney General) before local authorities are able to take action in England and Wales in any of the four following instances:

a)  Instituting prosecutions for publishing certain advertisements concerning cancer treatment (s4, Cancer Act 1939);

b)  Amalgamating taxi licence zones within a local authority's area (paragraph 25 of Schedule 14 to the Local Government Act 1972);

c)  Providing advice and assistance to local government bodies overseas (s1, Local Government (Overseas Assistance) Act 1993;

d)  Handling complaints about the curriculum provisions at a Pupil Referral Unit (paragraph 6 of Schedule 1 to the Education Act 1996).

6. The Department states that the proposals are part of its commitment to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy for local authorities.[3]

Extent of the draft Order's application

7. The draft Order would apply only to England and Wales.

8. Any Order which removes a function of the Welsh Ministers may only be made with their agreement. In response to a question from us, the DCLG explained that the National Assembly for Wales gave agreement in March 2007 to the making of the Order, in accordance with s11 of the LRRA 2006 as it then stood. The amendments to s11 by the Government of Wales Act 2006 (Consequential Modifications and Transitional Provisions) Order 2007 came into force on 25 May 2007, from which date s11(2) of LRRA 2006 requires the agreement of the Welsh Ministers for any removal of their functions. However, the consent given by the National Assembly for Wales is a "transferred function"[4] and has effect as if it were the agreement of the Welsh Ministers[5]. The DCLG has also advised us that the relevant Welsh Ministers were consulted on and agreed the draft Order before it was presented to the National Assembly for Wales in March and that Welsh Ministers appointed following the National Assembly elections in May have been briefed on the Order.[6]

9. We consider that the necessary consent has been obtained from the Welsh Ministers.

3   Explanatory Document para 2.1 Back

4   By virtue of paragraph 38(1)(c) of Schedule 11 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 Back

5   Paragraph 39 of Schedule 11 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 Back

6   Appendix B, Letter from DCLG to the Committee Clerk, response to question 1 Back

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