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Baroness Hamwee: The Minister's response is helpful. The noble Baroness suggested that this amendment would pre-empt consultation. It seems to me that the whole of Clause 55(2) on that basis pre-empts consultation. It is perhaps a little late at night to pursue this further, but I hope that we are able to see that draft and that consultation will be well under way before Report stage. I am sure that all Members of the

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Committee want to ensure that the public understand our concern that impeccable propriety must be exercised in this unusual situation.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I am sure that the noble Baroness will be pleased to know that I am able to confirm that the draft will be available before Report stage.

Baroness Hamwee: I am grateful for that indication. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 207:

Page 30, line 36, at end insert--
("( ) In addition to the matters which may be included in the guidance issued under subsection (2) the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor and the Assembly members in accepting office and the members of the Authority's staff in accepting employment shall be deemed to agree to be bound by the "Seven Principles of Public Life" set out in the First Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life published in May 1995 and this obligation shall be specifically incorporated in any contract of employment.").

The noble Baroness said: I should like to move Amendment No. 207 and speak also to Amendment No. 212, but I can be extremely brief. The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, has dealt with a number of matters and in response the Minister has informed the Committee that guidance is to be available before Report stage. Clause 55 requires the Secretary of State to issue guidance on ethical standards to the mayor, assembly members and the authority's staff. Subsection (2) prescribes the contents of that guidance in very general terms. They are certainly not objectionable in themselves. Paragraph (e) includes the power of the Secretary of State to prescribe model codes of conduct.

However, the amendment seeks to ensure that the code of conduct includes the Nolan principles. We know not what the Secretary of State has in mind and we must wait until we see the guidance. However, we want to ensure that the standards are the minimum that should be applied; in other words, Nolan.

Amendment No. 212 relates to Clause 59 which set out the terms of employment of the mayor's personal staff and special advisers. All that our amendment does is to require the Nolan principles to be included as those minimum standards. I beg to move.

11.15 p.m.

Lord Whitty: Amendment No. 207 would require the mayor and assembly, in accepting office, and members of the authority staff, in accepting employment, to agree to be bound by the seven principles. This obligation would be included in any contract of employment made with the authority. Amendment No. 212 would require the mayor's 10 personal appointments also to be bound by the seven principles.

I have some doubts as to whether this is the best way to proceed. The GLA will in due course be subject to the new ethical framework for local authorities, as we explained a couple of amendments ago. That legislation

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will essentially give effect to the Government's formal response to the Third Report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in Local Government. It is our view that the ethical arrangements for the GLA should be firmly grounded in our wider proposals for local government generally.

Secondly, the principles in themselves have no statutory force in relation to any local authority or any public body. It would not be appropriate to incorporate them into law or into contracts of employment in respect of the GLA alone. Of course we anticipate that the ethics guidelines would be based very much on the framework already set out in the Nolan report and on the Government's response to it. But it is important that arrangements for the GLA are consistent with our proposals for local authorities more generally.

In relation to Amendment No. 212, this would require the seven principles to be written into the contracts of the mayor's two political advisers and 10 other staff. These mayoral appointments will all be members of the authority's staff under the terms of the Bill and will therefore be covered by the Secretary of State's guidance on ethical standards. In addition, noble Lords will wish to note that Clause 60 applies Section 117 of the Local Government Act 1972 to the GLA. This makes provision for the disclosure by employees of the authority, which will include both the 10 and the two, of interests in contracts and so on.

I hope that that will reassure the noble Baroness that we are planning to meet what I think is the intention behind these amendments, but we need to do so in a way that is consistent with the ethical framework which we will be advancing for local authorities in general.

Baroness Miller of Hendon : I should have thought that there would have been statutory force if they agree to these terms when they come into the ambit of the thing. I do not understand the Minister's answer. He says that that is not done normally in local government. There are all sorts of things that the Government are wanting to do in this Bill that are not done in local government, and what is good for the goose is good for the gander. But certainly at this time of night I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 208 not moved.]

Baroness Miller of Hendon moved Amendment No. 209:

Page 30, line 39, at end insert--
("( ) The Secretary of State shall publish the guidance issued pursuant to subsection (1) and any variation thereof he may issue from time to time.").

The noble Baroness said: This small amendment probably needs the least explanation of any that we have dealt with today. The Secretary of State is going to issue guidance to the mayor, the assembly and the staff about the ethical standards they will be required to follow. We want them to be published and put in the public domain so that the residents of Greater London can see that they are being complied with. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: It is of course important that the Secretary of State's guidance should

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be in the public domain, but it is not necessary to make specific provision for this. When the Secretary of State issues the guidance he will be publishing it. The guidance will be publicly available and the Secretary of State will of course ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place so that the guidance is widely disseminated. For example, departmental publications are made available on the Internet. Therefore I hope that the noble Baroness will feel able to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Miller of Hendon: I thank the Minister for that reply. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 55 agreed to.

Clause 56 [Appointment]:

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 210:

Page 30, line 42, leave out paragraphs (a) and (b) and insert ("political advisers and other members of staff whose aggregate remuneration and expenses in each year shall not exceed the amount provided for in the consolidated budget agreed pursuant to Part III of this Act.").

The noble Baroness said: Clause 56 provides for the mayor to be able to appoint not more than two people as his political advisers and not more than 10 other members of staff. My amendments suggests that rather than having a limit by numbers there should be a budgetary limit. At the very least, I wonder aloud whether the issue is not as regards the cost in aggregate of the mayor's staff, including political advisers. Of course, if a budgetary limit is set, it will be for the mayor to decide how to use that budget.

If one deals only with numbers, anomalies may arise; for example, the mayor's appointees may be paid well out of line with other staff working for the authority. That would be inappropriate. However, I am puzzled as to why the Government feel it necessary to impose a numerical limit on this when the issue may simply be one of cost. I beg to move.

Lord Whitty: In turn, I was rather puzzled by the amendment. As the noble Baroness explained, it limits the number of political and personal advisers in terms of aggregate remuneration rather than numbers. It deletes all reference to number.

The intention of having a limit by number is to ensure that there is not an over-balance of staff in relation to the rest of staff, including very senior members of staff, who will be appointed by the assembly and not by the mayor. The two plus 10 will be appointed by the mayor, although they will be authority staff.

As it stands, the amendment ignores that need to ensure a balance and, therefore, a limitation on numbers. Therefore, in an extreme situation it is open for the mayor to appoint 100 members of the staff so long as he pays them significantly below the national minimum wage or, indeed, they were people with a private income who did not need to be paid at all. That is not a sensible approach.

As regards the budget figure, the noble Baroness must recall that the budget is proposed by the mayor. The assembly needs a two-thirds majority to overturn the

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mayor. Therefore, the assembly could do so only if the mayor provided a profligate budget and if it could garner a two-thirds majority. On the other hand, if the mayor were in a position that he needed so many political advisers because he had so little political support within the assembly, the assembly could severely limit the amount provided in the budget for the remuneration and expenses of the staff so that, in fact, it would not be possible to appoint two plus 10 staff. The latter would be more difficult to achieve because of the role of the chief administrative officer who must ensure that both the mayor and assembly have adequate resources to fulfil their functions.

Moreover, some flexibility is required in relation to the budget once it is set. If we leave it as it is so that there is a limitation on the numbers that the mayor can appoint, it will preserve the balance in terms of numbers and within the budget-making process. It is then for the chief administrative officer to ensure that the budget is spent for the purposes for which it is dedicated.

This is a misplaced amendment which would not achieve the noble Baroness's intention. Therefore, I ask her to withdraw the amendment.

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