Clause 4

Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 3rd March 2010.

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Power to require response to report or recommendations

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Nick Raynsford Nick Raynsford Labour, Greenwich and Woolwich

Section 21(2)(e) of the Local Government Act 2000 provides that overview and scrutiny committees may

“make reports or recommendations to the authority or the executive on matters which affect the authority’s area or the inhabitants of that area.”

These reports will obviously have no effect if they are left to gather dust on a shelf unread. Clause 4 therefore makes provisions about what should happen after a  scrutiny report or recommendations have been made. Subsection (2) provides that where an overview and scrutiny committee makes a report or recommendation under the provisions of the Bill, it may also by notice in writing require the designated body or person to have regard to the report or recommendations when exercising any function of a public nature.

The committee may also, in making a report or recommendations, require the designated authority or person to respond to the report within two months of receipt, indicating what action, if any, they intend to take. There are various consequential provisions, including those relating to regulation conditions. This seems a sensible way to ensure that scrutiny reports are not just left to gather dust on the shelf.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Labour, Islington North

I understand the point about the requirements of a limited time to reply—two months seems reasonable and fair. Would that also apply to private sector organisations, such as Warm Front, which receive large amounts of public money and virtually become a delivery agency for the public sector?

Photo of Nick Raynsford Nick Raynsford Labour, Greenwich and Woolwich

The purpose of the Bill is to cover all those involved in the delivery of public services. The definition of public services in clause 1—which includes services discharged either as part of a statutory function or as a result of receipt of grant from the public sector—would cover those organisations.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 4 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.