Clause 5

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 publish response

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

Photo of Nick Raynsford Nick Raynsford Labour, Greenwich and Woolwich

As we saw in Clause 4, committees may require a response, and clause 5 simply deals with the publication of that response. It provides that where an overview and scrutiny committee has published its report, it may also publish the designated authority or person’s response. It ensures that scrutiny can be open and transparent and that the public are properly informed about scrutiny reviews. It also provides further incentive for bodies to consider properly and fully the recommendations made to them. Members of the public will be able to see whether recommendations have been taken seriously and to better understand the reasons given.

Photo of Harry Cohen Harry Cohen Labour, Leyton and Wanstead

Under the clause, is it possible for the scrutiny committee report to be added to the council’s minutes, which are normally published, rather than published as a separate document?

Photo of Nick Raynsford Nick Raynsford Labour, Greenwich and Woolwich

The Bill leaves the overview and scrutiny committee a good measure of discretion to decide how it should act, and my hon. Friend’s suggestion of a power to append an item to another document is entirely sensible and reasonable. Ultimately, it is a matter for the local authorities to decide, and it is right that they should have discretion on this matter.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 5 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.