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Session 2003 - 04
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Housing Bill


Housing Bill
Schedule 8 — Registered social landlords

212

 

(c)   

any reference to a company meeting the report conditions

is to be read in accordance with section 249A(4) of the

Companies Act 1985; and

(d)   

any reference to a company meeting the total exemption

conditions is to be read in accordance with section 249A(3)

5

or section 249A(3) and (3A) of that Act, depending on

whether it is a charity.”

19         

For paragraph 17 of Schedule 1 (appointment of auditors by industrial and

provident societies), together with the heading preceding it, substitute—

“Industrial and provident societies exempt from audit requirements: accountant’s

10

report

17    (1)  

This paragraph applies to registered social landlords which are

industrial and provident societies.

      (2)  

Section 9A of the Friendly and Industrial and Provident Societies

Act 1968 (duty to obtain accountant’s reports where section 4

15

applied) shall have effect, in its application to such a landlord,

with the omission of subsection (1)(b) (accountant’s report

required only where turnover exceeds a specified sum).

      (3)  

The Relevant Authority may, in respect of any relevant year of

account of such a landlord, give a direction to the landlord

20

requiring it—

(a)   

to appoint a qualified auditor to audit its accounts and

balance sheet for that year, and

(b)   

to furnish to the Relevant Authority a copy of the auditor’s

report by such date as is specified in the direction.

25

      (4)  

For the purposes of sub-paragraph (3), a year of account of a

landlord is a “relevant year of account” if—

(a)   

it precedes that in which the direction is given, and

(b)   

at the end of it there is in force in relation to it a

disapplication under section 4A(1) of the Friendly and

30

Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1968.

      (5)  

In this paragraph—

“qualified auditor” means a person who is a qualified

auditor for the purposes of the Friendly and Industrial

and Provident Societies Act 1968;

35

“year of account” has the meaning given by section 21(1) of

that Act.”

20    (1)  

Paragraph 18 of Schedule 1 (accounting and audit requirements for

charities) is amended as follows.

      (2)  

In the cross-heading preceding the paragraph, after “and audit” insert “or

40

reporting”.

      (3)  

In sub-paragraph (1) (application of provisions to registered social landlord

which is a registered charity) omit the words from “(which impose”

onwards.

 

 

Housing Bill
Schedule 8 — Registered social landlords

213

 

      (4)  

For sub-paragraph (4) substitute—

     “(4)  

The charity must appoint a qualified auditor (“the auditor”) to

audit the accounts prepared in accordance with sub-paragraph (3)

in respect of each period of account in which—

(a)   

the charity’s gross income (within the meaning of the

5

Charities Act 1993) arising in connection with its housing

activities, or

(b)   

its total expenditure arising in connection with those

activities,

           

exceeds the sum for the time being specified in section 43(1) of the

10

Charities Act 1993 (audit required for charities where gross

income or total income exceeds the specified sum).

     (4A)  

Where sub-paragraph (4) does not apply in respect of a period of

account, the charity must appoint a qualified auditor (“the

reporting accountant”) to make such a report as is mentioned in

15

paragraph 18A(1) in respect of the period of account.

     (4B)  

In sub-paragraphs (4) and (4A) “qualified auditor” means a person

who is eligible for appointment as auditor of the charity under

Part 2 of the Companies Act 1989 or who would be so eligible if the

charity were a company registered under the Companies Act

20

1985.”

21         

After paragraph 18 of Schedule 1 insert—

“Charities exempt from audit requirements: accountant’s report

18A   (1)  

The report referred to in paragraph 18(4A) is a report—

(a)   

relating to the charity’s accounts prepared in accordance

25

with paragraph 18(3) in respect of the period of account in

question, and

(b)   

complying with sub-paragraphs (2) and (3) below.

      (2)  

The report must state whether, in the opinion of the reporting

accountant—

30

(a)   

the revenue account or accounts and the balance sheet are

in agreement with the books of account kept by the charity

under paragraph 18(2),

(b)   

on the basis of the information contained in those books of

account, the revenue account or accounts and the balance

35

sheet comply with the requirements of the Charities Act

1993, and

(c)   

on the basis of the information contained in those books of

account, paragraph 18(4A) applied to the charity in respect

of the period of account in question.

40

      (3)  

The report must also state the name of the reporting accountant

and be signed by him.

      (4)  

Paragraph 18(7) applies to the reporting accountant and his

functions under this paragraph as it applies to an auditor and his

functions under paragraph 18.

45

      (5)  

The Relevant Authority may, in respect of a relevant period of

account of a charity, give a direction to the charity requiring it—

 

 

Housing Bill
Schedule 8 — Registered social landlords

214

 

(a)   

to appoint a qualified auditor to audit its accounts for that

period, and

(b)   

to furnish to the Relevant Authority a copy of the auditor’s

report by such date as is specified in the direction;

           

and paragraph 18(5) to (7) apply to an auditor so appointed as they

5

apply to an auditor appointed under paragraph 18.

      (6)  

For the purposes of sub-paragraph (5), a period of account of a

charity is a relevant period of account if—

(a)   

it precedes that in which the direction is given; and

(b)   

paragraph 18(4A) applied in relation to it.

10

      (7)  

In this paragraph “period of account” and “qualified auditor” have

the same meaning as in paragraph 18(4A).”

22    (1)  

Paragraph 19 of Schedule 1 (responsibility for securing compliance with

accounting requirements) is amended as follows.

      (2)  

In sub-paragraph (2)—

15

(a)   

in paragraph (c), after “and audit” insert “or reporting”;

(b)   

omit paragraph (d) (but not the “or” at the end); and

(c)   

for “level 3” substitute “level 5”.

      (3)  

The amendment made by sub-paragraph (2)(c) does not apply in relation to

any offence committed before the day on which that sub-paragraph comes

20

into force.

      (4)  

After sub-paragraph (4) insert—

     “(5)  

Where any of paragraphs (a) to (e) of sub-paragraph (2) applies in

respect of any default on the part of a registered social landlord,

the High Court may, on the application of the Relevant Authority,

25

make such order as the court thinks fit for requiring the default to

be made good.

           

Any such order may provide that all the costs or expenses of and

incidental to the application shall be borne by the registered social

landlord or by any of its officers who are responsible for the

30

default.”

23         

After paragraph 19 of Schedule 1 insert—

“Disclosure of information by auditors etc. to the Relevant Authority

19A   (1)  

A person who is, or has been, an auditor of a registered social

landlord does not contravene any duty to which he is subject

35

merely because he gives to the Relevant Authority —

(a)   

information on a matter of which he became aware in his

capacity as auditor of the registered social landlord, or

(b)   

his opinion on such a matter,

           

if he is acting in good faith and he reasonably believes that the

40

information or opinion is relevant to any functions of the Relevant

Authority.

      (2)  

Sub-paragraph (1) applies whether or not the person is

responding to a request from the Relevant Authority.

      (3)  

This paragraph applies to a person who is, or has been, a reporting

45

accountant as it applies to a person who is, or has been, an auditor.

 

 

Housing Bill
Schedule 8 — Registered social landlords

215

 

      (4)  

A “reporting accountant” means a person appointed as mentioned

in paragraph 16(7)(b).”

24    (1)  

Paragraph 20 of Schedule 1 (inquiry into affairs of registered social landlord)

is amended as follows.

      (2)  

After sub-paragraph (4) insert—

5

         

“(4A) The person or persons conducting the inquiry may determine the

procedure to be followed in connection with the inquiry.”

      (3)  

At the end of sub-paragraph (7) add “, and the Relevant Authority may

arrange for the whole or part of an interim or final report to be published in

such manner as it considers appropriate.”

10

      (4)  

After sub-paragraph (7) insert—

     “(8)  

A local authority may, if they think fit, contribute to the expenses

of the Relevant Authority in connection with any inquiry under

this paragraph.”

25         

After paragraph 20 of Schedule 1 insert—

15

“Evidence

20A (1)    

For the purposes of an inquiry the person or persons conducting it

may serve a notice on an appropriate person directing him to

attend at a specified time and place and do either or both of the

following, namely—

20

(a)   

give evidence;

(b)   

produce any specified documents, or documents of a

specified description, which are in his custody or under his

control and relate to any matter relevant to the inquiry.

      (2)  

The person or persons conducting such an inquiry—

25

(a)   

may take evidence on oath and for that purpose administer

oaths, or

(b)   

instead of administering an oath, require the person

examined to make and subscribe a declaration of the truth

of the matters about which he is examined.

30

      (3)  

In this paragraph—

“appropriate person” means a person listed in section 30(2);

“document” has the same meaning as in section 30;

“inquiry” means an inquiry under paragraph 20.

      (4)  

A person may not be required under this paragraph to disclose

35

anything that, by virtue of section 30(4), he could not be required

to disclose under section 30.

     (5)   

Section 31 (enforcement of notice to provide information, &c)

applies in relation to a notice given under this paragraph by the

person or persons conducting an inquiry as it applies in relation to

40

a notice given under section 30 by the Relevant Authority, but

subject to sub-paragraph (6).

      (6)  

A person guilty of an offence under section 31(1) as it applies in

accordance with sub-paragraph (5) is liable—

(a)   

on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the

45

statutory maximum;

 

 

Housing Bill
Schedule 9 — New Schedule 2A to the Housing Act 1996

216

 

(b)   

on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term

not exceeding two years or to a fine, or both.

      (7)  

Any person who, in purported compliance with a notice given

under this paragraph by the person or persons conducting an

inquiry, knowingly or recklessly provides any information which

5

is false or misleading in a material particular commits an offence

and is liable to the penalties mentioned in sub-paragraph (6).

      (8)  

Proceedings for an offence under sub-paragraph (7) may be

brought only by or with the consent of the Relevant Authority or

the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

10

26    (1)  

Paragraph 21 of Schedule 1 (power of appointed person to obtain

information) is amended as follows.

      (2)  

At the end of sub-paragraph (3) (application of section 31 to notice under

paragraph 20) add “, but subject to sub-paragraph (4).”

      (3)  

After sub-paragraph (3) add—

15

     “(4)  

A person guilty of an offence under section 31(1) as it applies in

accordance with sub-paragraph (3) is liable—

(a)   

on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the

statutory maximum;

(b)   

on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term

20

not exceeding two years or to a fine, or both.

     (5)   

Any person who, in purported compliance with a notice given

under this paragraph by an appointed person, knowingly or

recklessly provides any information which is false or misleading

in a material particular commits an offence and is liable to the

25

penalties mentioned in sub-paragraph (4).

      (6)  

Proceedings for an offence under sub-paragraph (5) may be

brought only by or with the consent of the Relevant Authority or

the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

      (4)  

The amendments made by this paragraph do not apply in relation to any

30

offence committed or other thing done before the day on which this

paragraph comes into force.

Schedule 9

Section 193(3)

 

New Schedule 2A to the Housing Act 1996

“Schedule 2A

35

Section 51A(7)

 

Further Provision About The Social Housing Ombudsman For Wales

Status

1          

The Social Housing Ombudsman for Wales (“the Ombudsman”)

shall be a corporation sole.

 

 

Housing Bill
Schedule 9 — New Schedule 2A to the Housing Act 1996

217

 

Remuneration, etc.

2          

The National Assembly for Wales may pay to or in respect of the

Ombudsman such amounts, by way of remuneration, pensions,

allowances or gratuities or by way of provision for any such

benefits, as it considers appropriate.

5

3          

If a person ceases to be the Ombudsman and it appears to the

National Assembly for Wales that there are special circumstances

which make it right that the person should receive compensation,

the National Assembly for Wales may pay to that person a sum of

such amount as it considers appropriate.

10

Staff and advisers

4     (1)  

The Ombudsman may appoint such staff as he considers

necessary for assisting him in the exercise of his functions.

      (2)  

The Ombudsman shall include among his staff such persons

having a command of the Welsh language as he considers are

15

needed to enable him to investigate complaints in Welsh.

      (3)  

To assist him in the exercise of his functions, the Ombudsman may

obtain advice from any person who, in his opinion, is qualified to

give it.

      (4)  

The Ombudsman may pay to any person from whom he obtains

20

advice under sub-paragraph (3) such fees or allowances as he may

determine.

Delegation of functions

5     (1)  

Any function of the Ombudsman may be exercised by—

(a)   

a member of his staff, or

25

(b)   

a member of the staff of the Commission for Local

Administration in Wales,

           

if authorised by the Ombudsman for that purpose.

      (2)  

The Ombudsman may, with the approval of the National

Assembly for Wales, make arrangements with persons under

30

which they, or members of their staff, may perform functions of

the Ombudsman.

      (3)  

References in any provision made by or under an enactment to a

member of staff of the Ombudsman include any person exercising

any function of his by virtue of sub-paragraph (1)(b).

35

Reports and determinations

6     (1)  

The Ombudsman—

(a)   

shall annually prepare and lay before the National

Assembly for Wales a general report on the performance of

his functions; and

40

(b)   

may from time to time prepare and lay before the National

Assembly for Wales such other reports with respect to his

functions as he thinks fit.

 

 

Housing Bill
Schedule 9 — New Schedule 2A to the Housing Act 1996

218

 

      (2)  

The National Assembly for Wales shall, and the Ombudsman

may, publish reports laid before the National Assembly for Wales

under sub-paragraph (1).

7          

The Ombudsman may, subject to any provision made by

regulations under section 51B, publish his determination on any

5

complaint.

8     (1)  

The Ombudsman may include in any report or determination

published under paragraph 6 or 7 statements, communications,

reports, papers or other documentary evidence obtained in the

exercise of his functions.

10

      (2)  

In publishing any report or determination, the Ombudsman shall

have regard to the need for excluding so far as practicable—

(a)   

any matter which relates to the private affairs of an

individual, where publication would seriously and

prejudicially affect the interests of that individual; and

15

(b)   

any matter which relates specifically to a social landlord in

Wales, where publication would seriously and

prejudicially affect its interests;

           

unless inclusion of the matter concerned is necessary for the

purposes of the report or determination.

20

Expenses

9     (1)  

The expenses of the Ombudsman shall, so far as they cannot be

met out of income received by him, be met by the National

Assembly for Wales.

      (2)  

Those expenses include any sums payable by the Ombudsman in

25

consequence of a breach, in the course of the performance of any

of his functions, of any contractual or other duty (whether that

breach occurs by reason of his act or omission or that of a member

of his staff or any other person assisting him in the exercise of his

functions).

30

Absolute privilege for communications etc.

10         

For the purposes of the law of defamation absolute privilege

attaches to—

(a)   

any communication between the Ombudsman and any

person by or against whom a complaint is made to him;

35

(b)   

any determination by the Ombudsman; and

(c)   

the publication by him of any report or such a

determination under paragraph 6, 7 or 8.

Disclosure of information

11    (1)  

Information obtained by the Ombudsman in the course of or for

40

the purposes of an investigation of a complaint must not be

disclosed except—

(a)   

for the purposes of the investigation, of any determination

made in respect of the complaint or of the publication of a

determination under paragraph 7;

45

 

 

 
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