Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fifth Report


Memorandum by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


1. The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following points:

    (1)  "Explain the significance of the square brackets in regulation 1(1)."

2. The square brackets round the year "2000" have no significance and should have been omitted.

    (2)  "Is regulation 7(1) intended to apply only to meetings of a "decision making body" as defined in regulation 2? If so, why does it not say so?"

3. Regulation 7(1) is intended (as implied by the reference to "the decision making body concerned") to apply only to meetings of decision making bodies. The Department accepts that this intention should have been made clearer by the inclusion of a specific limitation to decision making bodies.

    (3)  "Explain the meaning and purpose of regulation 7(1)(c)(ii) and the words following it."

4. The Department accepts that the meaning of regulation 7(1)(c)(ii) and the words following it are unclear. Unfortunately, the indentation is incorrectly aligned, so that the words following (c)(ii) appear to apply to the whole of 7(1), whereas they should apply only to 7(1)(c)(i) and (ii). Also, the reference to a "decision is made" in (c)(ii) should have been to a "decision is to be made". The intention of 7(1)(c)(ii) is to require the meeting (or part of it) to be in public where the person who is to preside believes that at that meeting (or part) any decision will be made relating to a matter covered by the notice procedure in regulation 15.

    (4)  "As respects regulation 13, explain when an authority's first forward plan is required to be prepared and have effect, and what imposes that requirement."

5. Where the authority has adopted executive arrangements then key decisions must be included in the forward plan (regulations 13(2)) and 12(1)(c)). It is implicit therefore that the first forward plan must be prepared and published when the authority begins to adopt executive arrangements. It would however, make matters clearer if the regulation were to state expressly when the first forward plan is required.

    (5)  "Explain, in regulation 16, the phrase "has obtained agreement from....his agreement that"."

6. The words 'his agreement' are superfluous and should have been omitted.

    (6)  "In regulation 18(2), is sub-paragraph (ii) intended to be sub-paragraph (b)?"

7. Yes. The second limb of (a)(i) should have been (a)(ii) and (a)(ii) should have been (b).

    (7)  "Explain why regulation 22(4)(b) does not apply where a document is supplied to a newspaper pursuant to regulation 5(2)."

8. The Department accepts that it would be logical for regulation 22(4)(b) to apply to documents supplied to regulation 5(2).

    (8)  "Regulation 23(1)(b) makes it an offence for a person who has custody of a document, without reasonable excuse, to refuse to supply a copy of the whole or part of the document in accordance with regulation 22(2). Why does it not apply also to a refusal to supply a copy of a document to a newspaper in accordance with regulation 5(2) or 11(7)?"

9. The intention of regulation 23 is to mirror for executive arrangements the position provided for by section 100H(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (c.70), inserted by the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 (c.43). The Department accepts that to mirror the position provided for by section 100H(4) a reference to regulations 5(2) and 11(7) should have been included in regulation 23 and that an amendment is required.

10. It is regretted that this instrument was made containing the errors identified above. The Department intends to correct the errors by amending Regulations as soon as possible.

22 January 2001

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