Local Authorities: Policy

House of Lords written question – answered on 5th April 2011.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what powers they have to intercede with a local authority when they suspect that operational or policy decisions do not comply with the law.

Photo of Baroness Hanham Baroness Hanham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

It is for each local authority to satisfy itself as to the legality of its actions. An authority's auditor may take action where there are questions as to the lawfulness of a council's decisions or its items of account. Such action may include seeking a declaration from the court, the issue of an advisory notice, seeking a judicial review, or issuing a public interest report.

The Secretary of State's powers to intervene in a local authority are in Section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999, which provides for intervention where the Secretary of State is satisfied that an authority is failing to comply with its best-value duty.

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