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Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill


Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill
Part 8 — Local services: inspection and audit
Chapter 2 — Audit Commission and auditors: functions and procedure

113

 

156     

Reports on English local authorities

(1)   

In Part 3 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (c. 18), after section 47 insert—

“Reports on performance

“47A    

Reports relating to performance of English local authorities

(1)   

The Commission may produce comparative and other reports in

5

relation to one or more of the following aspects of the performance of

English local authorities in exercising their functions—

(a)   

the risk that authorities may fail to perform their functions or

fail to perform their functions adequately;

(b)   

the rate at which authorities’ performance is improving;

10

(c)   

the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of authorities’ use of

resources.

(2)   

A report under subsection (1) may relate to—

(a)   

all English local authorities;

(b)   

any particular English local authority or authorities; or

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(c)   

particular descriptions of English local authority.

(3)   

A report under subsection (1) may relate to particular functions of

authorities.

(4)   

In this section, “English local authority” means—

(a)   

a county council in England;

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(b)   

a district council;

(c)   

a London borough council;

(d)   

the Council of the Isles of Scilly;

(e)   

the Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as a

local authority;

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(f)   

a metropolitan fire and civil defence authority;

(g)   

the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority; or

(h)   

a fire and rescue authority constituted by a scheme under

section 2 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 or a scheme to

which section 4 of that Act applies.

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(5)   

The Secretary of State may by order amend the definition of “English

local authority” in subsection (4) by adding any authority or body

which is a best value authority, other than—

(a)   

an authority or body which is a Welsh best value authority for

the purposes of Part 1 of the Local Government Act 1999;

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(b)   

a police authority for a police area in Wales.

(6)   

The Secretary of State may by order remove from that definition any

authority or body for the time being mentioned in it.

(7)   

The powers in subsections (5) and (6) may be exercised to add or

remove an authority or body to the extent that it acts in a capacity, or

40

exercises functions, specified in the order.

(8)   

Before making an order under subsection (5) or (6) the Secretary of State

must consult the best value authorities concerned or persons appearing

to him to represent the best value authorities concerned.”

 
 

Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill
Part 8 — Local services: inspection and audit
Chapter 2 — Audit Commission and auditors: functions and procedure

114

 

(2)   

In section 48 of that Act (provision of information etc to the Commission), in

subsection (2) (functions in relation to which powers to obtain information etc

do not apply), at the end insert “or 47A”.

157     

Reports categorising English local authorities

(1)   

Section 99 of the Local Government Act 2003 (c. 26) (categorisation of English

5

local authorities by reference to performance) is amended as follows.

(2)   

In subsection (1)—

(a)   

for “from time to time” substitute “, if the Secretary of State so directs,”;

(b)   

after “English local authorities” insert “, or of English local authorities

of a description specified in the direction,”.

10

(3)   

After subsection (2) insert—

“(2A)   

A direction by the Secretary of State under subsection (1) may specify—

(a)   

the period or periods of performance to be covered by the

report;

(b)   

the form of the report;

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(c)   

the time by which the report must be produced.

(2B)   

The power to give a direction under subsection (1) includes power to

give a direction varying or revoking a previous direction given in

exercise of that power.

(2C)   

The Secretary of State must consult the Audit Commission before

20

giving a direction under subsection (1).”

Miscellaneous

158     

Appointment of auditors

In section 3(6) of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (c. 18) (appointment of firm

as auditor) for “each of its members” substitute “the appointment provides that

25

the audit may be conducted only by a member or employee of the firm who”.

159     

Inspection and disclosure of personal information

(1)   

Section 15 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (inspection of documents and

questions at audit) is amended as follows.

(2)   

In subsection (3) for “about a member of the staff of the body whose accounts

30

are being audited” substitute “within the meaning of subsection (3A) or (4)”.

(3)   

After subsection (3) insert—

“(3A)   

Information is personal information if—

(a)   

it identifies a particular individual or enables a particular

individual to be identified; and

35

(b)   

the auditor considers that it should not be inspected or

disclosed.”

(4)   

In subsection (4), for the words from the beginning to “if it” substitute

“Information is personal information if it is information about a member of the

staff of the body whose accounts are being audited which”.

40

 
 

Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill
Part 8 — Local services: inspection and audit
Chapter 2 — Audit Commission and auditors: functions and procedure

115

 

160     

Right to make objections at audit

(1)   

Section 16 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (c. 18) (right to make objections

at audit) is amended as follows.

(2)   

In subsection (1), for the words from “, or any representative” to “objections”

substitute “may make objections to the auditor”.

5

(3)   

For subsections (2) and (3) substitute—

“(2)   

An objection under subsection (1) must be sent to the auditor in writing.

(3)   

At the same time as the objection is sent to the auditor, a copy of the

objection must be sent to the body whose accounts are being audited.”

(4)   

Nothing in this section affects section 16 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 in

10

so far as it relates to accounts prepared for a period beginning before the

commencement of this section.

161     

Appointment of auditor to carry out agreed audits

(1)   

Section 29 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (agreed audit of accounts) is

amended as follows.

15

(2)   

In subsection (1), for “undertake the audit of” substitute “appoint an auditor to

audit”.

(3)   

After subsection (1) insert—

“(1A)   

An auditor appointed under subsection (1) may be—

(a)   

an officer of the Commission,

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(b)   

an individual who is not an officer of the Commission, or

(c)   

a firm of individuals who are not officers of the Commission.”

(4)   

In subsection (2), after “the Commission” insert “, the auditor”.

162     

Consent for the purposes of agreed audit

In section 29 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (agreed audit of accounts),

25

after subsection (4) insert—

“(5)   

Consent for the purposes of subsection (1) may be given in respect of

any particular body or description of body.

(6)   

If the Secretary of State thinks fit he may notify any person of, or

publish in any manner—

30

(a)   

a consent that he has given for the purposes of subsection (1);

(b)   

any matter related to the consent.”

163     

Disclosure of information obtained by the Audit Commission or an auditor

(1)   

The Audit Commission Act 1998 is amended as follows.

(2)   

In section 49 of that Act (restriction on disclosure of information) omit

35

subsection (1A).

 
 

Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill
Part 8 — Local services: inspection and audit
Chapter 2 — Audit Commission and auditors: functions and procedure

116

 

(3)   

After subsection (2) of that section insert—

“(2A)   

A person who is, or acts on behalf of a person who is, a public authority

for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, may also

disclose such information—

(a)   

in accordance with section 41(4); or

5

(b)   

in any other circumstances, except where the disclosure would,

or would be likely to, prejudice the effective performance of a

function imposed or conferred on the person by or under an

enactment.

(2B)   

An auditor who does not fall within subsection (2A), or a person acting

10

on his behalf, may also disclose such information except where the

disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the effective

performance of a function imposed or conferred on the auditor by or

under an enactment.

(2C)   

A person who does not fall within subsection (2A) or (2B) may also

15

disclose such information in accordance with consent given by the

Commission or an auditor.

(2D)   

Section 49ZA makes further provision about consent for the purposes

of subsection (2C).”.

(4)   

In subsection (3) of that section—

20

(a)   

for “subsection (1)” substitute “this section”;

(b)   

in paragraph (a), omit “to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six

months or” and “or to both; or”;

(c)   

omit paragraph (b).

(5)   

After that section insert—

25

“49ZA   

Consent under section 49(2C)

(1)   

Consent for the purposes of section 49(2C) must be obtained in

accordance with this section.

(2)   

A person requesting consent (“the applicant”) must make a request for

consent which—

30

(a)   

is in writing,

(b)   

states the name of the applicant and an address for

correspondence,

(c)   

describes the information in relation to which consent is

requested, and

35

(d)   

identifies the person to whom the information will be disclosed.

(3)   

Consent must be given except where the disclosure would, or would be

likely to, prejudice the effective performance of a function imposed or

conferred on the Commission or an auditor by or under an enactment.

(4)   

Consent may be given or refused orally or in writing; but where it is

40

given or refused orally the consent or refusal must be confirmed in

writing.

(5)   

A refusal (or, where the refusal is oral, the confirmation of the refusal)

must contain the reasons for the refusal.

 
 

Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill
Part 8 — Local services: inspection and audit
Chapter 3 — Auditor General for Wales and auditors

117

 

(6)   

A person to whom a request for consent is made must give or refuse

consent not later than the twentieth working day following the day on

which the request is received.

(7)   

“Working day” means any day other than a Saturday, a Sunday,

Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day which is a bank holiday under the

5

Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 in any part of the United

Kingdom.”.

(6)   

Omit section 49A of that Act (disclosure of information by or on behalf of

public authorities).

(7)   

Nothing in this section has effect in relation to a disclosure made before the

10

commencement of this section.

164     

Publication of information by the Audit Commission

For subsections (1) to (3) of section 51 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (c. 18)

(publication of information by the Audit Commission) substitute—

“(1)   

The Commission may publish such information as it thinks fit except

15

where the publication would, or would be likely to, prejudice the

effective performance of a function imposed or conferred on the

Commission or an auditor by or under an enactment.”.

Chapter 3

Auditor General for Wales and auditors

20

165     

Registered social landlords in Wales

After section 145C of the Government of Wales Act 1998 (c. 38) insert—

“145D   

Advice and assistance for registered social landlords

(1)   

The Auditor General for Wales may, if he thinks it appropriate to do so,

provide advice or assistance to a registered social landlord in Wales for

25

the purpose of the exercise by the registered social landlord of its

functions.

(2)   

Advice or assistance under this section may be provided on such terms

and conditions, including conditions as to payment, as the Auditor

General for Wales thinks fit.

30

(3)   

This section has effect without prejudice to paragraph 21 of Schedule 8

to the Government of Wales Act 2006 (arrangements between Auditor

General for Wales and certain bodies).

(4)   

In this section, “registered social landlord in Wales” means a body

which is—

35

(a)   

registered as a social landlord under Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the

Housing Act 1996, and

(b)   

mentioned in any of paragraphs (a) to (c) of section 56(2) of that

Act.”

 
 

 
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