New Clause 4 - Access to local government meetings and documents

Local Audit and Accountability Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 21st November 2013.

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‘(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision for and in connection with allowing persons—

(a) to film, photograph or make sound recordings of proceedings at a meeting of a body to which this section applies, or of a committee or sub-committee of such a body;

(b) to use other means for enabling persons not present at such a meeting to see or hear proceedings at the meeting, as it takes place or later;

(c) to report or provide commentary on the proceedings at such a meeting, orally or in writing, so that the report or commentary is available, as the meeting takes place or later, to persons not present at the meeting.

(2) Regulations under subsection (1) may in particular make provision—

(a) for allowing persons to make available to the public or a section of the public using any medium (including the internet) things produced as a result of activities within that subsection;

(b) about the facilities to be made available by bodies to which the regulations apply to enable persons to carry on such activities;

(c) about the steps to be taken by persons before carrying on such activities;

(d) about the circumstances in which persons may not carry on such activities, including for enabling a person specified in the regulations to prevent them from doing so in the circumstances specified in the regulations.

(3) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision—

(a) for requiring written records to be kept of decisions that are of a kind specified in the regulations and are taken by an officer of a body to which this section applies,

(b) with respect to the information that is to be included in those written records (including information as to the reasons for any decision);

(c) for requiring any such written records, or any documents connected with the decisions to which they relate, to be supplied or made available to members of the body, to the public or to other persons;

(d) for the creation of offences in respect of any rights or requirements conferred or imposed by the regulations.

(4) The Secretary of State may by regulations provide that any of the following may or must be given or made available by electronic means—

(a) any notice which is required by the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960, Part 5A of the Local Government Act 1972 (access to meetings and documents of certain authorities etc) or regulations under this section to be given by a body to which this section applies;

(b) any document relating to such a body which is required by that Part or those regulations to be open to inspection.

(5) Regulations under this section may, in particular, amend or repeal any provision of—

(a) the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960,

(b) Part 5A or section 228 (inspection of documents) of the Local Government Act 1972, or

(c) section 58 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999 (application of Part 5A to the London Assembly).

(6) Subject to subsections (7) and (8), this section applies to—

(a) a district council,

(b) a county council in England,

(c) a London borough council,

(d) the London Assembly,

(e) the Common Council of the City of London in its capacity as a local authority or police authority,

(f) the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority,

(g) Transport for London,

(h) a joint authority established under Part 4 of the Local Government Act 1985,

(i) an economic prosperity board,

(j) a combined authority,

(k) a fire and rescue authority in England 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,

(l) a National Park Authority for a National Park in England,

(m) the Broads Authority,

(n) the Council of the Isles of Scilly,

(o) a parish council, and

(p) a parish meeting.

(7) In its application to subsection (1), subsection (6) is to be read as if it included a reference to an executive of an authority within paragraph (a), (b) or (c) of that subsection.

(8) In its application to subsection (3), subsection (6) is to be read as if the reference in paragraph (d) to the London Assembly were to the Greater London Authority.

(9) References in this section to a committee or sub-committee of a body include any committee or sub-committee of that body to which Part 5A of the Local Government Act 1972 applies or is treated as applying.

(10) References in this section to Part 5A of the Local Government Act 1972 include a reference to that Part as it applies to the London Assembly by virtue of section 58 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

(11) In paragraph 4(2) of Schedule 12 to the Local Government Act 1972 (notice of meeting of principal council), for “Three clear days” substitute “Five clear days”.’.—(Brandon Lewis.)

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.