Certificate from the Examiners, Statement of Reasons and Record of Hearing before the Examiners - Local Government Bill [HL] Contents



3 June 2010

Dear Lady Hanham,

Local Government Bill [HL] - Hybridity

Thank you for your letter of today's date. I am writing to confirm the Public Bill Office (PBO)'s view that the Local Government Bill currently before the House is not prima facie hybrid and to set out the reasons why we take this view.

A hybrid bill is defined as "a public bill which affects a particular private interest in a manner different from the private interests of other persons or bodies of the same category or class." I attach a pdf of pages 640-641 of the current (23rd) edition of Erskine May, which gives more background on hybridity.

The practical significance of a bill being found to be hybrid is that persons or bodies whose private interests, when compared to the private interests of other persons or bodies in the same category or class, are adversely affected by the bill can petition against the bill and have those petitions considered by select committees in each House.

The concept of "class" is therefore crucial to deciding whether a bill is hybrid or not. Erskine May states that: "A class must be defined by reference to criteria germane to the subject matter of the bill."

The Local Government Bill is a tightly drafted one-topic Bill which relates only to proposals made, but not yet implemented, for the creation of unitary authorities under Part 1 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. It does not affect Orders made under Part 1 of the 2007 Act which have already been implemented. So for the purpose of judging hybridity, the class, defined by reference to criteria germane to the subject matter of the bill, is those councils which have made proposals - as yet un-implemented - for unitary status under Part 1 of the 2007 Act.

Section 1 of the bill contains the substantive provisions preventing the implementation of proposals under Part 1 of the 2007 Act. Subsection (1) prevents any further Orders being made under Part 1 of the 2007 Act to implement existing proposals for unitary authorities. I understand that at the moment the only proposal which has not been the subject of an Order is that which was made by Ipswich Borough Council. Subsection (3) revokes the Orders which have already been made (but not implemented) in respect of Norwich and Exeter.

The class of bodies affected by the bill is clear, and all members of the class are treated equally, so we do not think that any hybridity arises. The fact that Norwich and Exeter are named on the face of the Bill, in the Titles of the Orders to be revoked, while Ipswich is not, does not make any difference to our view on hybridity. All three bodies are being treated equally.

If another council were, before this Bill becomes an Act, to make a proposal for unitary status, it would be treated in exactly the same way as the proposals relating to the three existing members of the class - the bill would prevent an implementing Order being made. So this would make no difference to the PBO view on hybridity.

I am copying this letter to Baroness Anelay of St Johns, the Government Chief Whip, to David Beamish, the Clerk Assistant and to Kate Lawrence, Private Secretary to the Government Chief Whip.

Tom Mohan

Clerk of the Public & Private Bill Office

Baroness Hanham CBE

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

Department for Communities and Local Government

Eland House, Bressenden Place

London, SW1E 5DU

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