Joint Committee on the Draft Local Government (Organisation and Standards) Bill Report


PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE RELATING TO THE REPORT

DIE MARTIS, 15°JUNII 1999

Present:

Lord Bassam of Brighton
Lord Bowness
Baroness Hamwee
Lord Marlesford
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Mr James Gray
Ms Margaret Moran
Mr Peter L Pike
Mr John Smith
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead
The Orders of Reference are read.

The declarations of relevant interest, exclusively of past and present memberships of local authorities and local authority organisations, are made.

It is moved that Lord Bowness do take the Chair.—(Mr Peter Pike.)

The same is agreed to.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

Ordered, That Strangers be admitted during the examination of witnesses unless otherwise ordered.

Ordered, That written evidence be deemed published on presentation to the Committee.

Ordered, That Mr Tony Travers, Director, Greater London Group, London School of Economics, be appointed as Specialist Adviser to assist the Committee.

Resolved, That the Committee do seek the opinion of the House of Lords Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee and of the National Assembly of Wales on the draft Bill.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Thursday 17th June at 3.30 p.m.




DIE JOVIS, 17° JUNII 1999

  Present:

Lord Bassam of Brighton
Baroness Hamwee
Lord Marlesford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Mr James Gray
Mr John Smith
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead

The Lord Bowness in the Chair          

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of Tuesday 15th June are read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

Ordered, That Ms Pamela Gordon, formerly Chief Executive of Sheffield City Council, be appointed as Specialist Adviser to assist the Committee.

The following witnesses are called in and examined:

Mr Andrew Whetnall, Mr Tony Redpath and Mr Simon Hewitt of the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions; and Mr Ian Thomas and Mr Gareth Thomas of the Welsh Office.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Tuesday 22nd June at 4.00 p.m.




DIE MARTIS 22°JUNII 1999

Present:
Lord Bassam of Brighton
Earl of Carnarvon
Baroness Hamwee
Lord Marlesford
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Mr James Gray
Ms Margaret Moran
Mr Graham Stringer

The Lord Bowness in the Chair

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of Thursday 17th June are read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

The following witnesses are called in and examined:

Sir Jeremy Beecham, Sir David Williams, the Lord Hanningfield, Mr Ron Gee and Mr Brian Briscoe of the Local Government Association; and Mr Harry Jones of the Welsh Local Government Association.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Thursday 24th June at 3.30 p.m.




DIE JOVIS, 24° JUNII 1999

Present:
Lord Bassam of Brighton
Earl of Carnarvon
Lord Marlesford
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Ms Margaret Moran
Mr Peter L Pike
Mr John Smith
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead

The Lord Bowness in the Chair

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of Tuesday 22nd June are read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

The following witnesses are called in and examined:

Professor Gerry Stoker, New Local Government Network; and Councillors Brendan Bird, Obarjimi Adefiranye, Tom Davidson, Aileen Hammond, and Gerry Harrison of the Labour Campaign for Open Local Government.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Tuesday 29th June at 4.00 p.m.




DIE MARTIS, 29° JUNII 1999

Present:
Lord Bassam of Brighton
Earl of Carnarvon
Baroness Hamwee
Lord Marlesford
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Mr Peter L Pike
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead

  The Lord Bowness in the Chair        

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of 24th June are read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

Ordered, That Professor Robin Hambleton be appointed as Specialist Adviser to assist the Committee by writing a paper on overseas experience of executive arrangements.

The following witnesses are called in and examined:

Mr Alan Taylor, President, SOLACE and Chief Executive and Town Clerk, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; Dr Clive Grace, Chief Executive, Torfaen County Borough Council; Mr Michael Greenwood, Chief Executive, Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council; Mr George Krawiec, Chief Executive, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council; and Mr Michael Pitt, Chief Executive, Kent County Council of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE); and Jean Geldart, Chair, Local Government Service Group; and Owen Davies, National Officer, Local Government Service Group, of Unison.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Thursday 1st July at 3.30 p.m.



DIE JOVIS, 1° JULII 1999

Present:

Lord Bassam of Brighton
Earl of Carnarvon
Lord Marlesford
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Mr James Gray
Mr Peter L Pike
Dr Alan Whitehead

The Lord Bowness in the Chair

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of Tuesday 29th June are read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

The following witnesses are called in and examined:

Ben Page, Director of the Local Government Research Unit, MORI; and Jo Ryan, Edith Megbele and Elaine Osbourne of Lewisham Citizens' Panel and Stella Clarke of Lewisham Borough Council.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Tuesday 6th July at 4.00 p.m.




DIE MARTIS, 6° JULII 1999

Present:
Lord Bassam of Brighton
Earl of Carnarvon
Lord Marlesford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Mr James Gray
Mr Peter L Pike
Mr John Smith
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead

The Lord Bowness in the Chair

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of Thursday1st July are read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

The following witnesses are called in and examined:

Mrs Patricia Thomas, Vice Chairman and Mr David Nice, Research and Publications Manager, of the Commission for Local Administration in England and Mr Elwyn Moseley, Commissioner for Local Administration in Wales; and Mr Richard Lester, LLB. Solicitor, County Secretary, Cornwall County Council, and Mr Michael Kendall, LLB. Solicitor, County Secretary, West Sussex County Council, of the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors (ACSeS).

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Thursday 8th July at 3.30 p.m.

DIE JOVIS, 8° JULII 1999

Present:

Earl of Carnarvon
Baroness Hamwee
Lord Marlesford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr James Gray
Ms Margaret Moran
Mr Peter L Pike
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead

The Lord Bowness in the Chair

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of Tuesday 6th July are read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

The following witnesses are called in and examined:

Councillor Andrew Slaughter, The Mayor, and Henry Peterson, Director of Policy and Administration of Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council; Jill Shortland, Council Leader, and Elaine Peters, Chief Executive of South Somerset District Council; David Smith, Town Clerk and Chief Executive of Epsom and Ewell District Council; and Councillors Merrick R Cockell and Nicholas Paget-Brown of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Tuesday 13th July at 4.00 p.m.




DIE MARTIS, 13° JULII 1999

Present:
Lord Bassam of Brighton
Earl of Carnarvon
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr James Gray
Ms Margaret Moran
Mr Peter L Pike
Mr John Smith
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of Thursday 8th July are read.

It is moved that Mr Peter Pike MP do take the Chair for this meeting.-(The Lord Bassam of Brighton).

The same is agreed to.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

The following witness is called in and examined:

Professor John Stewart.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Thursday 15th July at 9.45 a.m.

DIE JOVIS, 15° JULII 1999

Present:
Earl of Carnarvon
Baroness Hamwee
Lord Marlesford
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Mr James Gray
Ms Margaret Moran
Mr Peter L Pike
Mr John Smith
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead

The Lord Bowness in the Chair

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of Tuesday 13th July are read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

The following witnesses are called in and examined:

The Rt Hon Hilary Armstrong MP, Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Mr Paul Rowsell and Mr Tony Redpath, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

The Joint Committee adjourn during pleasure.

The Joint Committee resume.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Tuesday 20th July at 4.00 p.m.




DIE MARTIS, 20° JULII 1999

Present:

Lord Bassam of Brighton
Earl of Carnarvon
Baroness Hamwee
Lord Marlesford
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Mr James Gray
Mr Peter L Pike
Mr John Smith
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead

The Lord Bowness in the Chair

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of Thursday 15th July are read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Thursday 22nd July at 3.30 p.m.

DIE JOVIS, 22° JULII 1999

Present:
Lord Bassam of Brighton
Earl of Carnarvon
Baroness Hamwee
Lord Marlesford
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Mr James Gray
Ms Margaret Moran
Mr Peter L Pike
Mr John Smith
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead

The Lord Bowness in the Chair

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The proceedings of Tuesday 20th July are read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

Ordered, That the Joint Committee be adjourned to Tuesday 27th July at 2.00 p.m.




DIE MARTIS, 27° JULII 1999

Present:
Lord Bassam of Brighton
Earl of Carnarvon
Baroness Hamwee
Lord Marlesford
Lord Pilkington of Oxenford
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede
Baroness Thornton
Sir Paul Beresford
Mr Paul Burstow
Mr James Gray
Ms Margaret Moran
Mr Peter L Pike
Mr John Smith
Mr Graham Stringer
Dr Alan Whitehead

The Lord Bowness in the Chair

The Order of Adjournment is read.

The Joint Committee deliberate.

The Chairman lays a draft Report before the Joint Committee.

It is moved, That the draft Report laid before the Joint Committee be now considered.

The same is agreed to.

Paragraphs 1-7 are agreed to.

Paragraph 8 is amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 9-31 are agreed to.

Paragraph 32 is amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 33 is agreed to.

Paragraph 34 is amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 35-38 are agreed to.

Paragraph 39 is amended and agreed to.

A new paragraph is agreed to and inserted.

Paragraph 40 (now paragraph 41) is agreed to.

Paragraph 41 is left out.

Paragraph 42 is amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 43-46 are agreed to.

It is moved by Mr James Gray in paragraph 47 after "responsibilities" to insert "while the Committee expressed some concern that area committees may entail added bureaucracy and therefore cost for the council tax payer, we nonetheless do ......."

Objected to; on Question?

Contents

  Not Contents

Mr James Gray

Lord Bassam of Brighton

Earl of Carnarvon

Baroness Hamwee

Lord Marlesford

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede


Sir Paul Beresford

Mr Paul Burstow

Mr Peter L Pike

Mr John Smith

Mr Graham Stringer

Dr Alan Whitehead

The amendment is disagreed to accordingly.

Paragraph 47 is then amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 48 is agreed to.

Paragraphs 49-53 are amended and agreed to.

It is moved by Mr James Gray in paragraph 54, at end to insert "but on balance believe that a first past the post system is to be preferred."

Objected to; on Question ?

Contents

  Not Contents

Mr James Gray

Lord Bassam of Brighton

Lord Bowness

Earl of Carnarvon

Baroness Hamwee

Lord Marlesford

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede


Sir Paul Beresford

Mr Paul Burstow

Mr Peter L Pike

Mr John Smith

Mr Graham Stringer

Dr Alan Whitehead

The amendment is disagreed to accordingly.

Paragraph 54 is then amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 55 is agreed to.

Paragraphs 56 and 57 are amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 58-64 are agreed to.

A new paragraph is agreed to and inserted in place of paragraph 65.

It is moved by Mr Paul Burstow to insert the following new paragraph in place of paragraph 66:

"Moreover, the Committee considers that the choice of decision-making arrangements should be an open one that is fully argued and debated. There is in our view a good case for allowing the electorate to express a preference between elected mayors and alternative decision-making arrangements through a referendum procedure."

Objected to; on Question ?

Contents

  Not Contents

Baroness Hamwee

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford

Sir Paul Beresford

Mr Paul Burstow

Mr James Gray


Lord Bassam of Brighton

Lord Bowness

Earl of Carnarvon

Baroness Hamwee

Lord Marlesford

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

Baroness Thornton


Ms Margaret Moran

Mr Peter L Pike

Mr John Smith

Mr Graham Stringer

Dr Alan Whitehead

The amendment is disagreed to accordingly.

Paragraphs 66-80 are agreed to.

Paragraph 81 is amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 82-91 are agreed to.

Paragraph 92 is amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 93-107 are agreed to.

Paragraph 108 is amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 109-141 are agreed to.

Paragraphs 142-144 are amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 145-152 are agreed to.

Paragraph 153 is amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 154 is agreed to.

After paragraph 154 a new paragraph is agreed to and inserted.

Paragraphs 155 and 156 (now paragraphs 156 and 157) are agreed to.

In paragraph 157 (now paragraph 158) it is moved by Mr Paul Burstow after "Government" to insert the words "In their report they conclude that it would be open to councils themselves to adopt rules that where whipping is applied in council business it should be declared at the commencement of the relevant discussions and minuted for public information and record. Whilst we doubt that such a change in practice would significantly alter the use of whipping it would be an aid to transparency and accountability. We therefore recommend that authorities when drawing up their constitutions and reviewing their standing orders should consider incorporating such a rule change."

Objected to; on Question ?

  Contents

Not Contents

Lord Bassam of Brighton

Lord Bowness

Earl of Carnarvon

Baroness Hamwee

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

Baroness Thornton


Mr Paul Burstow

Ms Margaret Moran

Mr Peter L Pike

Mr Graham Stringer

Dr Alan Whitehead


Sir Paul Beresford

Mr James Gray

The amendment is agreed to.

Paragraph 157 (now paragraph 158) as amended is agreed to.

In paragraph 158 (now paragraph 159) it is moved by Mr Paul Burstow to leave out from "certainly" to "announced" and insert "We learned from Councillor Sir Jeremy Beecham (Q.127) and the Minister that the Labour Party is conducting a review of Party rules on the way that councillors conduct themselves in challenging decisions in the context of scrutiny committees. We consider that if any change is to be made to the whipping procedure it lies in the hands of the parties.

Objected to; on Question ?  

  Contents

Not Contents

Lord Bassam of Brighton

Lord Bowness

Earl of Carnarvon

Baroness Hamwee

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

Baroness Thornton


Mr Paul Burstow

Ms Margaret Moran

Mr Peter L Pike

Mr John Smith

Mr Graham Stringer

Dr Alan Whitehead


Sir Paul Beresford

Mr James Gray

The amendment is agreed to accordingly.

Paragraph 158 (now paragraph 159) is agreed to as amended.

Paragraphs 159 and 160 (now paragraphs 160 and 161) are agreed to.

Paragraphs 161-163 (now paragraphs 162-164) are amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 164-168 (now paragraphs 165-169) are agreed to.

Paragraph 169 (now paragraph 170) is amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 170 (now paragraph 171) is agreed to.

Paragraph 171 (now paragraph 172) is amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 172 and 173 (now paragraphs 173 and 174) are agreed to.

Paragraph 174 (now paragraph 175) is amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 175-180 (now paragraphs 176-181) are agreed to.

Paragraph 181 (now paragraph 182) is amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 182-186 (now paragraphs 183-187) are agreed to.

In paragraph 187 (now paragraph 188) it is moved by Mr James Gray to leave out from "we recommend" to "areas" and insert "the duty to promote the economic, social and environmental well-being of their areas may be appropriate in some places. However, where there is a two tier system for example it would plainly be wrong for both councils to be promoting these aims in the same place. We fear that this duty whilst sounding laudible enough may well lead to a proliferation of unproductive officers and regulations; may therefore add to the central costs which the council tax payer has to bear; and may not in reality serve the best interests of the electorate as a whole. We therefore advise against it becoming a stipulation of this or any other bill."

Objected to; on Question ?

Contents

  Not Contents

Sir Paul Beresford

Mr James Gray


Lord Bowness

Earl of Carnarvon

Baroness Hamwee

Lord Marlesford

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

Baroness Thornton


Mr Paul Burstow

Ms Margaret Moran

Mr Peter L Pike

Mr John Smith

Dr Alan Whitehead

The amendment is disagreed to accordingly.

In paragraph 187 (now paragraph 188) it is then moved by Mr Paul Burstow to leave out "are inclined to suggest" and insert "believes"; and to leave out "may wish to" and insert "should"; and to leave out "proposed" and insert "(without pre-empting debate by Parliament as to whether the provision should be in the form of a power or a duty or as to any necessary provision to avoid duplication of functions)."

Objected to; on Question ?

  Contents

Not Contents

Lord Bowness

Earl of Carnarvon

Baroness Hamwee

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

Baroness Thornton


Mr Paul Burstow

Ms Margaret Moran

Mr Peter L Pike

Mr John Smith

Dr Alan Whitehead


Lord Marlesford

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford

Sir Paul Beresford

Mr James Gray

The amendment is agreed to accordingly.

Paragraph 187 (now paragraph 188) is agreed to as amended.

Paragraphs 188-228 (now paragraphs 189-229) are agreed to.

Resolved, That the draft Report, as amended, be the Report of the Committee.

Ordered, That the following papers be annexed to the Report:

1  Memorandum by Professor Robin Hambleton on Overseas Experience with Political Management in Local Government.

2  Roles and Responsibilities of Non-Executive Members (by Professor Leach).

Ordered, That memoranda received by the Joint Committee and such of the memoranda made available to the Joint Committee by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions as are referred to in the Report be appended to the Minutes of Evidence.

Ordered, That the Chairman do make the Report to the House of Lords and Mr Peter Pike do make the Report to the House of Commons.






 
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