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Baroness Hamwee: Amendments Nos. 40 and 41, tabled in my name, are part of this group. Amendment No. 41 might appear to go against what the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran, said, but I am searching for clarity rather than making a point of principle. Schedule 2(4) provides that:
The amendment inserts the word "agreed" because I thought that I had seen some reference to dispute resolution but then I could not find it. Perhaps the Minister can remind us how this will work. Is it a matter of the Secretary of State's direction again or is there something in here about reaching agreement?
Lord Davies of Oldham: I am grateful to the two Members of the Committee who have spoken although I think there is an element of misunderstanding about just how limited the clause is in its effect. I hear the anxieties expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Glentoran. He created the rather graphic figure of the Mayor of London having superior powers, in certain circumstances, to the Secretary of State. That clearly chilled his blood; it might have a different effect on this side of the Committee, although I would not dare ask. I reassure the noble Lord that that is not the position.
The clause is very restricted. Before the ODA has come into existence, contracts are already being entered into to progress works for the games. Bodies such as the London Development Agency and Transport for London are engaged in this work as we speak. The transfer schemes provided by Clause 8 and Schedule 2 are needed to transfer these contracts to the ODA quickly once it is in existence. At present, the contracts are struck with different participants.
Only three bodies will be required to make transfer schemesthe GLA, the LDA and Transport for London. All three are under the Mayor of London's control. That is why the Mayor of London figures so significantly in the clause; it is entirely appropriate that he should give consent to transfer schemes for contracts struck in his name, preparatory and prior to the ODA being established and before it can take on this work.
Amendment No. 39 would remove the need for this consent. Even the noble Lord might think that this was a little unfair to the Mayor, whoever that might be at any one time. The Mayor has only narrowly drawn powers to give his consent to schemes that involve bodies under his control. He will need to balance his duties to the bodies making the transfer with his obligations wearing his other hat under the host city contract and to the Olympic board on which he serves. So he has a duality of personality as well.
We need not get greatly exercised that the Mayor is likely to exercise untrammelled authority, even that superior to the Secretary of State, in creating difficulties in an area involved in the functional transfer of schemes currently under his aegis. That is why he is obliged to give his consent.
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As the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, indicated, her Amendment No. 41 comes at the situation from the opposite end. These issues are so limited that I do not think the collision is such as to cause the Committee to shudder or for me to be greatly anxious.
On Amendment No. 41, the Mayor's consent will be required for all transfer schemes. Paragraph 4(c) of Schedule 2, to which the amendment refers, does nothing to dispose of or amend this requirement. This paragraph provides that a transfer scheme may itself dispense with a requirement for consent on the part of third parties. It does not disapply the requirement for the Mayor to give his consent to the transfer scheme. I hope that I have reassured the noble Baroness, but I do not think that the amendment is necessary.
That is a reasonable point but we believe that the Bill already gives effect to that. When making transfer schemes, the Secretary of State must consult those whom he believes will be affected by the scheme, and the Mayor of London must consent to the scheme. This process of consultation and mayoral consent should provide the necessary assurances sought by the noble Baroness that the terms of any transfer scheme will be agreed in advance of it being put into effect. It provides a structured approach to the drawing-up of any scheme. At official level, preparatory steps are already being taken to achieve an agreed way forward on this issue. If either side were unhappy, they could make that known to either the Secretary of State or the Mayor, who could withhold consent until agreement had been reached.
The noble Lord said: This is another probing amendment because I think that the Government have been a little coy in drafting this part of the Bill. Clause 9 deals with the dissolution of the authority.
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The authority is established for a particular function and we all accept that it will be dissolved. Subsection (3) states:
It is remarkable to draft such a subsection. In effect, it deals with ending the work of a lot of people without including in the list of consultees the people most directly concernedthe authority. I am sure that the Minister will tell me that it was always intended that the authority would be consulted. I cannot believe that this could possibly be done without such consultation. As I said, I think that the Government were being a little coy in drafting the clause, and I tabled the amendment simply to clarify that that good intent was there. I beg to move.
Lord Glentoran: I should like to add a little to what my noble friend saidagain, in relation to my experiences with the Millennium Commission. When the time approached for the Millennium Commission to be wound upI do not think that it has happened, as an Act of Parliament is required, but that is beside the pointthe Secretary of State chose to consult the commission very widely and in depth. That, as the noble Lord knows only too well, led to a much more satisfactory winding-down. I hope that the amendment can be taken on board because I am sure that, when the time comes, it can only have a positive effect. If, at that time, feelings between the members of the ODA and the department and the Secretary of State and so on are not so good, the amendment could make matters easier.
Lord Davies of Oldham: I greatly respect those representations and the way in which they have been put forward, although, of all the definitions of government that I have heard, "coy" is not one that I automatically associate them with. I agree with the arguments. It goes without saying that the ODA will have an important duty to reconfigure venues to ensure the benefits of the Olympic legacy. We will discuss the importance of that legacy in due course. However, once the authority's duties are fulfilled, it will clearly no longer be necessary for it to exist. It is likely that any assets it has in land will be transferred to other bodies. Before making an order to dissolve the authority, the Bill provides that the Secretary of State consult with the Mayor of London and any other person she thinks appropriate. The Mayor of London is specified for the obvious purpose. The category:
is very important. As noble Lords have indicated, it is not conceivable that this action could be carried out without consultation with the ODA. However, the decision to dissolve is not the ODA's but the Secretary of State's.
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The clause provides for the Secretary of State to consult anyone she thinks appropriate. Just like noble Lords opposite, I cannot conceive how that could be done effectively without the chair of the authority being involved, not least because he will, by then, be having praise heaped on his head and will be regarded as one of the heroes of the nation for the successful completion of the games. Any idea, therefore, that the Secretary of State would not wind up the ODA without due regard to the opinion of the chair of the authority would be quite unthinkable.
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