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Other Bills before Parliament

Housing Bill


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

219

 

(b)   

as provided in paragraph 12 or 17 or any regulations under

section 51B;

(c)   

for the purposes of any proceedings for an offence of

perjury alleged to have been committed in the course of an

investigation of a complaint by the Ombudsman; or

5

(d)   

for the purposes of an inquiry with a view to the taking of

any proceedings as mentioned in paragraph (c).

      (2)  

The Ombudsman shall not be called upon to give evidence in any

proceedings (other than proceedings within sub-paragraph (1)(c))

of matters coming to his knowledge in the course of an

10

investigation of a complaint.

      (3)  

Information obtained from the Information Commissioner by

virtue of section 76 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 shall

be treated for the purposes of sub-paragraph (1) as obtained for

the purposes of an investigation and, in relation to such

15

information, the reference in paragraph (a) of that sub-paragraph

to the investigation shall have effect as a reference to any

investigation.

12         

The Ombudsman may disclose to the Information Commissioner

any information obtained by, or furnished to, the Ombudsman by

20

virtue of or for the purposes of section 51A or 51B if the

information appears to him to relate to—

(a)   

a matter in respect of which the Information

Commissioner could exercise any power conferred by—

(i)   

Part V of the Data Protection Act 1998

25

(enforcement),

(ii)   

section 48 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000

(practice recommendations), or

(iii)   

Part IV of that Act (enforcement), or

(b)   

the commission of an offence under—

30

(i)   

any provision of the Data Protection Act 1998 other

than paragraph 12 of Schedule 9 (obstruction of

execution of warrant), or

(ii)   

section 77 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000

(offence of altering etc. records with intent to

35

prevent disclosure).

Accounts and audit

13    (1)  

The Ombudsman shall keep proper accounting records.

      (2)  

The Ombudsman shall, for each financial year, prepare accounts

in accordance with directions given to him by the Treasury.

40

      (3)  

The directions which the Treasury may give under sub-paragraph

(2) include, in particular, directions as to—

(a)   

the information to be contained in the accounts and the

manner in which it is to be presented,

(b)   

the methods and principles in accordance with which the

45

accounts are to be prepared, and

(c)   

the additional information (if any) that is to accompany the

accounts.

 

 

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

220

 

      (4)  

In this paragraph and in paragraph 14, “financial year” means the

twelve months ending with 31st March.

14    (1)  

The accounts prepared by the Ombudsman for any financial year

shall be submitted by him to the Auditor General for Wales no

later than the 30th November of the following year.

5

      (2)  

The Auditor General for Wales shall—

(a)   

examine and certify any accounts submitted to him under

this paragraph, and

(b)   

no later than four months after the accounts are submitted

to him, lay before the National Assembly for Wales a copy

10

of them as certified by him together with his report on

them.

      (3)  

In examining any accounts submitted to him under this

paragraph, the Auditor General for Wales shall, in particular,

satisfy himself that the expenditure to which the accounts relate

15

has been incurred lawfully and in accordance with the authority

which governs it.

Accounting officer

15    (1)  

The accounting officer for the Office of the Ombudsman shall be

the Ombudsman.

20

      (2)  

But where—

(a)   

the Ombudsman is incapable of discharging his

responsibilities as accounting officer, or

(b)   

the office of the Ombudsman is vacant (and there is no

acting Ombudsman),

25

           

the Treasury may designate a member of the Ombudsman’s staff

to be the accounting officer for so long as paragraph (a) or (b)

applies.

      (3)  

The accounting officer for the Office of the Ombudsman shall

have, in relation to—

30

(a)   

the accounts of the Ombudsman, and

(b)   

the finances of the Office of the Ombudsman,

           

the responsibilities which are from time to time specified by the

Treasury.

      (4)  

In this paragraph references to responsibilities include in

35

particular—

(a)   

responsibilities in relation to the signing of accounts,

(b)   

responsibilities for the propriety and regularity of the

finances of the Office of the Ombudsman, and

(c)   

responsibilities for the economy, efficiency and

40

effectiveness with which the resources of the Office of the

Ombudsman are used.

      (5)  

The responsibilities which may be specified under this paragraph

include responsibilities owed to—

(a)   

the National Assembly for Wales, the executive committee

45

or the Audit Committee, or

(b)   

the House of Commons or its Committee of Public

Accounts.

 

 

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

221

 

      (6)  

If requested to do so by the House of Commons Committee of

Public Accounts, the Audit Committee may—

(a)   

on behalf of the Committee of Public Accounts take

evidence from the accounting officer for the Office of the

Ombudsman, and

5

(b)   

report to the Committee of Public Accounts and transmit

to that Committee any evidence so taken.

      (7)  

In this paragraph and paragraphs 16 and 17, “the Office of the

Ombudsman” means the Ombudsman and the members of his

staff.

10

      (8)  

Section 13 of the National Audit Act 1983 (interpretation of

references to the Committee of Public Accounts) applies for the

purposes of this paragraph as for those of that Act.

Examinations into use of resources

16    (1)  

The Auditor General for Wales may carry out examinations into

15

the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which the

Ombudsman has used the resources of the Office of the

Ombudsman in discharging his functions.

      (2)  

Sub-paragraph (1) shall not be construed as entitling the Auditor

General for Wales to question the merits of the policy objectives of

20

the Ombudsman.

      (3)  

In determining how to exercise his functions under this

paragraph, the Auditor General for Wales shall take into account

the views of the Audit Committee as to the examinations which he

should carry out under this paragraph.

25

      (4)  

The Auditor General for Wales may lay before the National

Assembly for Wales a report of the results of any examination

carried out by him under this paragraph.

      (5)  

Section 7 of the National Audit Act 1983 (economy, efficiency and

effectiveness examinations by Comptroller and Auditor General)

30

applies to the Ombudsman.

      (6)  

The Auditor General for Wales and the Comptroller and Auditor

General may co-operate with, and give assistance to, each other in

connection with the carrying out of examinations in respect of the

Ombudsman under this paragraph or section 7 of the National

35

Audit Act 1983.

17    (1)  

For the purpose of enabling him to carry out examinations into,

and report to Parliament on, the finances of the Office of the

Ombudsman, the Comptroller and Auditor General—

(a)   

shall have a right of access at all reasonable times to all

40

such documents in the custody or under the control of the

Ombudsman, or of the Auditor General for Wales, as he

may reasonably require for that purpose, and

(b)   

shall be entitled to required from any person holding or

accountable for any of those documents any assistance,

45

information or explanation which he reasonably thinks

necessary for that purpose.

      (2)  

The Comptroller and Auditor General shall—

 

 

Housing Bill
Schedule 10 — Residential property tribunals: procedure

222

 

(a)   

consult the Auditor General for Wales, and

(b)   

take into account any relevant work done or being done by

the Auditor General for Wales,

           

before he acts in reliance on sub-paragraph (1) or carries out an

examination in respect of the Ombudsman under section 7 of the

5

National Audit Act 1983 (economy etc. examinations).”

Schedule 10

Section 194

 

Residential property tribunals: procedure

Procedure regulations

1     (1)  

The appropriate national authority may make regulations about the

10

procedure of residential property tribunals.

      (2)  

Nothing in the following provisions of this Schedule affects the generality of

sub-paragraph (1).

      (3)  

In those provisions—

         

“procedure regulations” means regulations under this paragraph;

15

         

“tribunal” means a residential property tribunal.

Appeals

2     (1)  

Procedure regulations may include provision, in relation to applications to

tribunals—

(a)   

about the form of such applications and the particulars to be

20

contained in them, and

(b)   

requiring the service of notices of such applications.

      (2)  

Procedure regulations may include provision, in relation to appeals to

tribunals—

(a)   

about the form of notices of appeal and the particulars to be

25

contained in them, and

(b)   

requiring the service of copies of such notices.

      (3)  

Procedure regulations may include provision dispensing with the service of

the notices or copies mentioned in sub-paragraph (1)(b) or (2)(b) in such

cases of urgency as are specified in the regulations.

30

Transfers

3     (1)  

This paragraph applies where, in any proceedings before a court, there falls

for determination a question which a tribunal would have jurisdiction to

determine on an application or appeal to the tribunal.

      (2)  

The court—

35

(a)   

may by order transfer to the tribunal so much of the proceedings as

relate to the determination of that question, and

(b)   

may then dispose of all or any remaining proceedings, or adjourn the

disposal of all or any remaining proceedings pending the

determination of that question by the tribunal, as it thinks fit.

40

 

 

Housing Bill
Schedule 10 — Residential property tribunals: procedure

223

 

      (3)  

When the tribunal has determined the question, the court may give effect to

the determination in an order of the court.

      (4)  

Rules of court may prescribe the procedure to be followed in a court in

connection with or in consequence of a transfer under this paragraph.

      (5)  

Procedure regulations may prescribe the procedure to be followed in a

5

tribunal consequent on a transfer under this paragraph.

      (6)  

Nothing in this Act affects any power of a court to make an order that could

be made by a tribunal (such as an order quashing a licence granted or order

made by a local housing authority) in a case where—

(a)   

the court has not made a transfer under this paragraph, and

10

(b)   

the order is made by the court in connection with disposing of any

proceedings before it.

Parties etc.

4     (1)  

Procedure regulations may include provision enabling persons to be joined

as parties to the proceedings.

15

      (2)  

Procedure regulations may include provision enabling persons who are not

parties to proceedings before a tribunal to make oral or written

representations to the tribunal.

Information

5     (1)  

A tribunal may serve a notice requiring any party to proceedings before it to

20

give to the tribunal any information which the tribunal may require.

      (2)  

The information must be given to the tribunal within such period (of not less

than 14 days) from the date of service of the notice as is specified in the

notice.

      (3)  

A person commits an offence if he fails to comply with a notice served on

25

him under sub-paragraph (1).

      (4)  

A person who commits an offence under sub-paragraph (3) is liable on

summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

      (5)  

In proceedings against a person for an offence under sub-paragraph (3) it is

a defence that he had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply with the

30

notice.

Pre-trial reviews etc.

6     (1)  

Procedure regulations may include provision for the holding of a pre-trial

review (on the application of a party to the proceedings or on the tribunal’s

own initiative).

35

      (2)  

Procedure regulations may provide for functions of a tribunal in relation to,

or at, a pre-trial review to be exercised by a single qualified member of the

panel.

      (3)  

Procedure regulations may provide for other functions as to preliminary or

incidental matters to be exercised by a single qualified member of the panel.

40

      (4)  

For the purposes of this paragraph—

(a)   

a person is a qualified member of the panel if he was appointed to it

by the Lord Chancellor; and

 

 

Housing Bill
Schedule 10 — Residential property tribunals: procedure

224

 

(b)   

“the panel” means the panel provided for in Schedule 10 to the Rent

Act 1977 (c. 42).

Interim orders

7          

Procedure regulations may include provision empowering tribunals to

make orders, on an interim basis—

5

(a)   

suspending, in whole or in part, the effect of any decision, notice,

order or licence which is the subject matter of proceedings before

them;

(b)   

granting any remedy which they would have had power to grant in

their final decisions.

10

Additional relief

8     (1)  

Procedure regulations may include provision as to—

(a)   

any additional relief which tribunals may grant in respect of

proceedings before them; and

(b)   

the grounds on which such relief may be granted.

15

      (2)  

In this paragraph “additional relief” means relief additional to any relief

specifically authorised by any provision of Parts 1 to 4 of this Act.

Dismissal

9          

Procedure regulations may include provision empowering tribunals to

dismiss applications, appeals or transferred proceedings, in whole or in part,

20

on the ground that they are—

(a)   

frivolous or vexatious, or

(b)   

otherwise an abuse of process.

Determination without hearing

10    (1)  

Procedure regulations may include provision for the determination of

25

applications, appeals or transferred proceedings without an oral hearing.

      (2)  

Procedure regulations may include provision enabling a single qualified

member of the panel to decide whether an oral hearing is appropriate in a

particular case.

      (3)  

Procedure regulations may provide for a single qualified member of the

30

panel to make determinations without an oral hearing.

      (4)  

For the purposes of this paragraph—

(a)   

a person is a qualified member of the panel if he was appointed to it

by the Lord Chancellor; and

(b)   

“the panel” means the panel provided for in Schedule 10 to the Rent

35

Act 1977 (c. 42).

Fees

11    (1)  

Procedure regulations may include provision requiring the payment of fees

in respect of applications, appeals or transfers of proceedings to, or oral

hearings by, tribunals.

40

      (2)  

The fees payable shall be such as are specified in or determined in

accordance with procedure regulations.

 

 

Housing Bill
Schedule 10 — Residential property tribunals: procedure

225

 

      (3)  

But the fee (or, where fees are payable in respect of both an application,

appeal or transfer and an oral hearing, the aggregate of the fees) payable by

a person in respect of any proceedings must not exceed—

(a)   

£500, or

(b)   

such other amount as may be specified in procedure regulations.

5

      (4)  

Procedure regulations may empower a tribunal to require a party to

proceedings before it to reimburse another party to the proceedings the

whole or any part of any fees paid by him.

      (5)  

Procedure regulations may provide for the reduction or waiver of fees by

reference to the financial resources of the party by whom they are to be paid

10

or met.

      (6)  

If they do so they may apply, subject to such modifications as may be

specified in the regulations, any other statutory means-testing regime as it

has effect from time to time.

Costs

15

12    (1)  

A tribunal may determine that a party to proceedings before it is to pay the

costs incurred by another party in connection with the proceedings in any

circumstances falling within sub-paragraph (2).

      (2)  

The circumstances are where—

(a)   

he has made an application or appeal to the tribunal which is

20

dismissed in accordance with regulations made by virtue of

paragraph 9, or

(b)   

he has, in the opinion of the tribunal, acted frivolously, vexatiously,

abusively, disruptively or otherwise unreasonably in connection

with the proceedings.

25

      (3)  

The amount which a party to proceedings may be ordered to pay in the

proceedings by a determination under this paragraph must not exceed—

(a)   

£500, or

(b)   

such other amount as may be specified in procedure regulations.

      (4)  

A person may not be required to pay costs incurred by another person in

30

connection with proceedings before a tribunal, except—

(a)   

by a determination under this paragraph, or

(b)   

in accordance with provision made by any enactment other than this

paragraph.

Enforcement

35

13         

Procedure regulations may provide for decisions of tribunals to be

enforceable, with the permission of a county court, in the same way as

orders of such a court.

 

 

 
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