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Lord Prys-Davies: I shall always be grateful to two Secretaries of State, one a Labour Secretary of State, my noble friend Lord Clinton-Davis, and the other a Conservative Secretary of State, the noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gwydir, who many years ago gave me the opportunity to serve the NHS in Wales for about half a dozen years. I have never lost interest in the NHS.

The statistics cited by my noble friend demonstrate that the assembly's responsibilities for the NHS in Wales will be most important. It may be that the amendment is imperfect. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Conwy, that perhaps there is need to reflect on the precise wording of the amendment. However, I believe that the principle of the amendment recognises the importance of the health service in Wales. I hope that the Committee and the Government will see merit in the assembly having a statutory advisory health council.

The case for the amendment has been made by my noble friend Lord Hunt and there is very little that I can add. However, I should like to emphasise two or three points. First, the advisory council would enable the assembly to draw on the advice of those involved in the NHS in Wales. That advice would be based on their knowledge and experience. If the Government were willing to consider the drafting of the amendment I would feel comfortable with the extension of the membership to those men and women who had an interest and expertise in the health service. I could mention some names to the Committee but I shall not embarrass them.

Secondly, my noble friend may say that it is open to the assembly to establish a sub-committee to advise it on the NHS in Wales, and that I accept. However, there is a distinction. A statutory advisory body would give statutory recognition to the contribution of the NHS staff who work extraordinarily hard on modest salaries. If it were statutory, it would enhance the status of the committee and the NHS in Wales.

The noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Conwy, drew attention to the provisions in the Bill for a local government partnership council and the scheme for the voluntary bodies in Wales. Those are fair points to

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make. But we can distinguish our case from that of the partnership council, local government and the voluntary scheme. The partnership council will be a partnership between two tiers of democratic government. We shall discuss the voluntary bodies in Wales later. However, in the legal sense a distinction can be drawn between the NHS and the voluntary bodies. The NHS will be an agent of the assembly. That leads to the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Roberts, but I believe that it could be resolved.

Finally, I believe that the NHS undoubtedly owes a part of its inspiration to the medical aid societies and the miners' hospital committees of the South Wales coalfields in the first half of this century. The best way in Wales this year to respect and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the NHS is by embodying a statutory health advisory body composed of representatives of NHS staff in the highest council of government in Wales in the new century.

I hope that the Government will give careful consideration to the amendment so ably moved by my noble friend Lord Hunt.

3.45 p.m.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I acknowledge at once that all three speeches in relation to the amendment were extremely informed and constructive. I recognise the reasoning underlying the proposal to have a health advisory council (Cyngor Iechyd Ymgynghorol Cymru). I readily pay tribute to all three noble Lords who spoke. The noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Conwy, is right. There have been extremely close, well developed arrangements in place for effective consultation between the Welsh Office and the National Health Service. I endorse the tributes he paid to the personnel involved over the many years, of which he knows much more than I.

It is right to say that the policies have been developed on the basis of close co-operative dialogue and jointly. We have the Health Policy Board chaired by the Secretary of State with members from the chairmen of health authorities in Wales. There is regular contact between Ministers, as again the noble Lord indicated, with the chairmen and chairwomen of the National Health Service organisations; and there are constant formal and informal contacts on a regular basis, not least through the Trust Executive Advisory Group.

There is no reason to suppose that those relations will not continue between the assembly and the NHS. There is nothing in the Bill to stop the assembly from either preserving inherited mechanisms or--if it wishes to as its own powers develop and experience demonstrates to it--arranging alternative processes for consultation with the NHS as well as the handling of subsequent business. It is entirely open to the assembly as the work beds down to establish a help advisory council for Wales, as now proposed by my noble friend Lord Hunt.

We think it better to leave it to the assembly to see how things will develop. It will inherit various statutory advisory committees covering the health professions, and it will have to have, as the noble Lord,

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Lord Roberts, again indicated, constant contact with NHS bodies and contractor professions. We are presently producing a corporate plan for the NHS in Wales. It is headed by a senior NHS officer. It is supported by a Welsh Office/National Health Service team. It will provide a clear strategic framework in the plan for supervision and direction of the long-term operation and development of the service in Wales.

We do not think, therefore, that specific provision on the face of the Bill is presently required. There would be some difficulties in areas such as subordinate legislation because one would have to convene the council to pass such measures as orders; and that would slow down matters in a way which would not be necessary. I very much respected the views put forward by my noble friend Lord Hunt during Second Reading. He said, and I agree with him, that there are risks sometimes in an over-prescriptive approach. We think that the best course is to allow the present arrangements to continue and for the assembly to judge on experience as matters eventually transpire. Local government is different because it is directly accountable via the ballot box.

I relate specifically to a few remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Roberts. I can assure the noble Lord that we are not seeking to constrain the assembly's freedom. Quite the opposite. We want the organic relationship between the assembly and the NHS in all its manifestations to develop on an incremental basis on the basis of experience. I stress this again. The noble Lord is right. The assembly will be able to modify and change what it inherits.

It seems to me that the four of us who addressed the Committee share the same purpose. We have equal regard to what the NHS has done and to the needs for improvement and change in the future. I come to the conclusion that we should not be over-prescriptive but should leave it to the assembly, since this is a devolution of powers, to see how it best wishes to maintain or alter arrangements in the future.

Lord Thomas of Gresford: I am sure that we are all grateful to the noble Lords, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, and Lord Prys-Davies, for bringing this important matter before the Committee. However, we believe that the functions of the assembly should not be fettered. As the noble Lord pointed out when introducing the matter, the National Health Service will be an important part of the work of the assembly consisting, as it does, of such an important percentage of the budget, and involving so many functions that the assembly will have to consider.

We are sure that the present arrangements are satisfactory for the moment. If the assembly finds them unsatisfactory, no doubt it will take the appropriate steps to ensure that the continuing good relationships between Government and the health service continue, and that there is proper communication between all parts of the National Health Service to ensure that the people of Wales are properly served.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: I am most grateful to noble Lords and my noble friends for their contribution to the debate. I have great confidence in the NHS in Wales, the people who work there, and the civil servants

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responsible for administering the NHS from the Welsh Office. I acknowledge the good relationships between the NHS and the Welsh Office. I accept that through the principle of devolution it is for the assembly to decide many of these matters. The legislation before us allows for a partnership council with local government, and for arrangements in respect of voluntary organisations and with business. A statutory advisory council would have been a strong visible sign to all in the NHS in Wales. It would have assured a proper relationship between the NHS and the assembly.

Nevertheless, I have listened with great care to what my noble friend has said. No doubt we may discuss this later on. At this stage, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendments Nos. 245 and 246:


Before Schedule 8, insert the following new schedule--

("SCHEDULE
Welsh Administration Ombudsman
Part I
The Ombudsman
Appointment

1.--(1) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall be appointed by Her Majesty.
(2) Subject to sub-paragraphs (3) and (4), the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall hold office until the end of the year of service in which he attains the age of 65.
(3) Her Majesty may relieve the Welsh Administration Ombudsman of office before the end of that year of service--
(a) at his request, or
(b) on Her Majesty being satisfied that he is incapable for medical reasons of performing the duties of his office and of requesting to be relieved of it.
(4) Her Majesty may remove the Welsh Administration Ombudsman from office before the end of the year of service in which he attains the age of 65 if, on the ground of misbehaviour, the Secretary of State recommends that Her Majesty should do so; but the Secretary of State shall not so recommend without consulting the Assembly.
Status

2.--(1) The person for the time being holding the office of Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall by the name of that office be a corporation sole.
(2) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall be regarded as holding office under Her Majesty and as exercising his functions on behalf of the Crown.
(3) Service as the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall not be service in Her Majesty's Home Civil Service but he shall be taken to be a Crown servant for the purposes of the Official Secrets Act 1989.
Acting Welsh Administration Ombudsman

3.--(1) Where the office of Welsh Administration Ombudsman becomes vacant, Her Majesty may, at any time during the period of twelve months beginning with the date on which the vacancy arose, appoint a person to act as the Welsh Administration Ombudsman.
(2) Subject to sub-paragraphs (3) to (5), an acting Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall hold office in accordance with the terms of his appointment.

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(3) An acting Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall not hold office after--
(a) the appointment of a new Welsh Administration Ombudsman, or
(b) the end of the period of twelve months beginning with the date on which the vacancy arose,
whichever occurs first.
(4) Her Majesty may at any time relieve an acting Welsh Administration Ombudsman of office--
(a) at his request, or
(b) on Her Majesty being satisfied that he is incapable for medical reasons of performing the duties of his office and of requesting to be relieved of it.
(5) Her Majesty may remove an acting Welsh Administration Ombudsman from office at any time if, on the ground of misbehaviour, the Secretary of State recommends that Her Majesty should do so; but the Secretary of State shall not so recommend without consulting the Assembly.
(6) A person appointed under this paragraph shall, while he holds office, be regarded for all purposes (except those of paragraph 1 and this paragraph) as the Welsh Administration Ombudsman.
Remuneration

4.--(1) The Assembly shall--
(a) pay the Welsh Administration Ombudsman such salary and any such allowances, and
(b) make any such payments towards the provision of superannuation benefits for or in respect of him,
as may be provided for by or under the terms of his appointment.
(2) But where a person is both Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Welsh Administration Ombudsman he shall not be entitled to any salary as Welsh Administration Ombudsman.
(3) The Assembly shall pay to or in respect of a person who has ceased to hold office as Welsh Administration Ombudsman such amounts (if any) by way of--
(a) pension or gratuities, or
(b) provision for those benefits,
as may have been provided for by or under the terms of his appointment.
(4) In Schedule 1 to the Superannuation Act 1972 (offices etc. to which section 1 of that Act applies), in the list of "Offices" insert--
"Welsh Administration Ombudsman."
(5) The Assembly shall pay to the Minister for the Civil Service, at such times as he may direct, such sums as he may determine in respect of any increase attributable to sub-paragraph (4) in the sums payable out of money provided by Parliament under the Superannuation Act 1972.
Staff and advisers

5.--(1) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman may appoint such staff as he considers necessary for assisting him in the exercise of his functions.
(2) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall include among his staff such persons having a command of the Welsh language as he considers are needed to enable him to investigate complaints in Welsh.
(3) Service as a member of the staff of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall be service in Her Majesty's Home Civil Service.
(4) The Assembly shall pay to the Minister for the Civil Service, at such times as he may direct, such sums as he may determine in respect of any increase attributable to sub-paragraph (3) in the sums payable out of money provided by Parliament under the Superannuation Act 1972.

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(5) Any function of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman may be exercised by--
(a) a member of his staff,
(b) a member of the staff of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, or
(c) an officer of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration or of either of the other Health Service Commissioners,
if authorised by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman for that purpose; and references in any enactment to a member of the staff of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman include any person exercising any function of his by virtue of paragraph (b) or (c).
(6) To assist him in the exercise of his functions the Welsh Administration Ombudsman may obtain advice from any person who, in his opinion, is qualified to give it.
(7) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman may pay to any person from whom he obtains advice under sub-paragraph (6) any such fees or allowances as he may determine.
(8) No arrangements shall be made--
(a) for any of the functions of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman or of the Assembly to be exercised by the other or by a member of the other's staff, or
(b) for the provision of any administrative, professional or technical services by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman or the Assembly for the other.
Reports

6.--(1) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman--
(a) shall annually prepare and lay before the Assembly a general report on the performance of his functions, and
(b) may from time to time prepare and lay before the Assembly such other reports with respect to his functions as he thinks fit.
(2) The Assembly shall, and the Welsh Administration Ombudsman may, publish reports laid before the Assembly under this paragraph.
Expenses

7.--(1) The expenses of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall, so far as they cannot be met out of income received by him, be met by the Assembly.
(2) Those expenses include any sums payable by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman in consequence of a breach, in the course of the performance of any of his functions, of any contractual or other duty (whether that breach occurs by reason of his act or omission or that of a member of his staff or any other person assisting him in the exercise of his functions).
Estimates

8.--(1) For each financial year of the Assembly after the first, the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall prepare, and submit to the executive committee, an estimate of the income and expenses of his office.
(2) Each such estimate shall be submitted to the executive committee at least five months before the beginning of the financial year to which it relates.
(3) The executive committee shall examine each such estimate submitted to it and, after having done so, shall lay the estimate before the Assembly with any such modifications as the committee thinks fit.
(4) Where the executive committee proposes to lay such an estimate before the Assembly with modifications, the committee shall first consult the Secretary of State and have regard to any advice which he may give.

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Accounts
9.--(1) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall keep proper accounting records.
(2) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall, for each financial year of the Assembly, prepare accounts in accordance with directions given to him by the Treasury.
(3) The directions which the Treasury may give under sub-paragraph (2) include, in particular, directions as to--
(a) the information to be contained in the accounts and the manner in which it is to be presented,
(b) the methods and principles in accordance with which the accounts are to be prepared, and
(c) the additional information (if any) that is to accompany the accounts.
Audit

10.--(1) The accounts prepared by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman for any financial year of the Assembly shall be submitted by him to the Auditor General for Wales no later than five months after the end of that financial year.
(2) The Auditor General for Wales shall--
(a) examine and certify any accounts submitted to him under this paragraph, and
(b) no later than four months after the accounts are submitted to him, lay before the Assembly a copy of them as certified by him together with his report on them.
(3) In examining any accounts submitted to him under this paragraph, the Auditor General for Wales shall, in particular, satisfy himself that the expenditure to which the accounts relate has been incurred lawfully and in accordance with the authority which governs it.
Accounting officer

11.--(1) The accounting officer for the Office of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall be the Welsh Administration Ombudsman.
(2) But where--
(a) the Welsh Administration Ombudsman is incapable of discharging his responsibilities as accounting officer, or
(b) the office of Welsh Administration Ombudsman is vacant (and there is no acting Welsh Administration Ombudsman),
the Treasury may designate a member of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman's staff to be the accounting officer for so long as paragraph (a) or (b) applies.
(3) The accounting officer for the Office of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall have, in relation to the accounts of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman and the finances of the Office of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, the responsibilities which are from time to time specified by the Treasury.
(4) In this paragraph references to responsibilities include in particular--
(a) responsibilities in relation to the signing of accounts,
(b) responsibilities for the propriety and regularity of the finances of the Office of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, and
(c) responsibilities for the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which the resources of the Office of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman are used.
(5) The responsibilities which may be specified under this paragraph include responsibilities owed to--
(a) the Assembly, the executive committee or the Audit Committee, or
(b) the House of Commons or its Committee of Public Accounts.
(6) If requested to do so by the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, the Audit Committee may--
(a) on behalf of the Committee of Public Accounts take evidence from the accounting officer for the Office of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, and
(b) report to the Committee of Public Accounts and transmit to that Committee any evidence so taken.

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(7) In this paragraph and paragraphs 12 and 13 "the Office of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman" means the Welsh Administration Ombudsman and the members of his staff.
Examinations into use of resources

12.--(1) The Auditor General for Wales may carry out examinations into the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which the Welsh Administration Ombudsman has used the resources of the Office of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman in discharging his functions.
(2) Sub-paragraph (1) shall not be construed as entitling the Auditor General for Wales to question the merits of the policy objectives of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman.
(3) In determining how to exercise his functions under this paragraph, the Auditor General for Wales shall take into account the views of the Audit Committee as to the examinations which he should carry out under this paragraph.
(4) The Auditor General for Wales may lay before the Assembly a report of the results of any examination carried out by him under this paragraph.
(5) The Auditor General for Wales and the Comptroller and Auditor General may co-operate with, and give assistance to, each other in connection with the carrying out of examinations in respect of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman under this paragraph or section 7 of the National Audit Act 1983 (economy etc. examinations).
Examinations by the Comptroller and Auditor General

13.--(1) For the purpose of enabling him to carry out examinations into, and report to Parliament on, the finances of the Office of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, the Comptroller and Auditor General--
(a) shall have a right of access at all reasonable times to all such documents in the custody or under the control of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, or of the Auditor General for Wales, as he may reasonably require for that purpose, and
(b) shall be entitled to require from any person holding or accountable for any of those documents any assistance, information or explanation which he reasonably thinks necessary for that purpose.
(2) The Comptroller and Auditor General shall--
(a) consult the Auditor General for Wales, and
(b) take into account any relevant work done or being done by the Auditor General for Wales,
before he acts in reliance on sub-paragraph (1) or carries out an examination in respect of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman under section 7 of the National Audit Act 1983 (economy etc. examinations).
Part II
Investigation of complaints
Bodies subject to investigation

14.--(1) The bodies subject to investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman are--
(a) the Assembly,
(b) the Arts Council of Wales,
(c) the Countryside Council for Wales,
(d) the Environment Agency,
(e) the Forestry Commission,
(f) the Office of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in Wales,
(g) the Sports Council for Wales,
(h) the Wales Tourist Board,
(i) the Welsh Development Agency, and
(j) the Welsh Language Board.

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(2) In the case of the Environment Agency an investigation may be conducted by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman only in respect of action in connection with any of its functions in relation to--
(a) Wales, or
(b) an area of the sea adjoining either the coast of Wales or an area of the sea forming part of Wales,
other than its flood defence functions (within the meaning of the Water Resources Act 1991).
(3) In the case of the Forestry Commission an investigation may be conducted by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman only in respect of action in connection with functions of the Forestry Commissioners in relation to Wales.
(4) Subject to paragraph 15, the Assembly may by order amend sub-paragraph (1) by--
(a) adding any body,
(b) omitting any body other than the Assembly, or
(c) altering the description of any body.
(5) For the purposes of this paragraph and paragraph 15 references to a body include a government department and an unincorporated body (as well as a body corporate); and references in this Schedule to a body subject to investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall be construed accordingly.
(6) References in the following provisions of this Schedule to action taken in the exercise of functions of a body subject to investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman include action taken in the exercise of any functions of--
(a) any of its members or (in the case of a government department) any of its Ministers, or
(b) any of its officers or members of its staff.
15.--(1) An order under sub-paragraph (4) of paragraph 14 may only add a body to sub-paragraph (1) of that paragraph if--
(a) the body has functions exercisable in relation to Wales or a part of Wales (whether or not they are also exercisable otherwise than in relation to Wales),
(b) some or all of those functions are in a field in which the Assembly has functions, and
(c) the body either exercises its functions on behalf of the Crown or falls within sub-paragraph (2) of this paragraph.
(2) A body falls within this sub-paragraph if--
(a) it is established under an enactment or by virtue of Her Majesty's prerogative or is established in any other way by a Minister of the Crown or government department or by the Assembly,
(b) at least half of its expenditure on the exercise of functions in relation to Wales (or, where its functions relate only to a part of Wales, in relation to the part of Wales to which they relate) is met directly from payments made by the Assembly, and
(c) it is wholly or partly constituted by appointment made by Her Majesty, a Minister of the Crown or government department or the Assembly.
(3) An order under sub-paragraph (4) of paragraph 14 adding a body to sub-paragraph (1) of that paragraph may provide that an investigation may be conducted by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman only in respect of action of a specified description taken by or on behalf of the body.
(4) If an order under sub-paragraph (4) of paragraph 14 adds to sub-paragraph (1) of that paragraph a body which exercises functions otherwise than in relation to Wales (as well as in relation to Wales or a part of Wales), the order shall provide that an investigation may be conducted by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman only in respect of action in connection with its functions in relation to Wales or a part of Wales.
(5) If an order under sub-paragraph (4) of paragraph 14 adds to sub-paragraph (1) of that paragraph a body which has functions in a field in which the Assembly does not have functions (as well as in a field in which it does), the order shall provide that an investigation

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may be conducted by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman only in respect of action in connection with its functions in a field in which the Assembly has functions.
(6) An order under sub-paragraph (4) of paragraph 14 shall not add a body to sub-paragraph (1) of that paragraph if the result of adding it would be that the Welsh Administration Ombudsman could investigate action which can be investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration under the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967.
(7) An order under sub-paragraph (4) of paragraph 14 shall not add to sub-paragraph (1) of that paragraph a body whose sole activity is, or whose main activities are, included among any one or more of the following--
(a) the provision of education,
(b) the development of curricula, the conduct of examinations or the validation of educational courses,
(c) the provision of training otherwise than under the Industrial Training Act 1982,
(d) the control of entry to any profession or the regulation of the conduct of members of any profession, and
(e) the investigation of complaints by members of the public regarding the actions of any person or body or the supervision or review of, or of steps taken following, such an investigation,
or a body operating in an exclusively or predominantly commercial manner or carrying on under national ownership an industry or undertaking or part of an industry or undertaking.
(8) If and to the extent that a function is exercisable in relation to--
(a) the Welsh language or any other aspect of Welsh culture, or
(b) an area of the sea adjoining either the coast of Wales or an area of the sea forming part of Wales,
it shall be regarded for the purposes of this paragraph as exercisable in relation to Wales.
Matters which may be investigated

16.--(1) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman may investigate any action taken by or on behalf of a body subject to investigation by him if--
(a) the action was taken in the exercise of administrative functions of that body, and
(b) a written complaint is duly made to him by a person who claims to have sustained injustice in consequence of maladministration in connection with the action ("the person aggrieved").
(2) For the purposes of this Schedule administrative functions exercisable by any person appointed as a member of the administrative staff of a relevant tribunal--
(a) by a body subject to investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, or
(b) with the consent (whether as to remuneration and other terms and conditions of service or otherwise) of such a body,
shall be taken to be administrative functions of the body.
(3) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall not conduct an investigation in respect of any action in respect of which the person aggrieved has or had--
(a) a right of appeal, reference or review to or before a tribunal constituted under any enactment or by virtue of Her Majesty's prerogative, or
(b) a remedy by way of proceedings in any court of law,
unless the Welsh Administration Ombudsman is satisfied that, in the particular circumstances, it is not reasonable to expect the person aggrieved to resort or have resorted to it.
(4) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall not conduct an investigation in respect of any action if the person aggrieved has or had the opportunity to make a complaint under a procedure operated

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by the body in the exercise of whose functions the action was taken unless he is satisfied--
(a) that the procedure has been invoked and exhausted, or
(b) that, in the particular circumstances, it is not reasonable to expect the procedure to be or have been invoked or exhausted.
(5) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall not conduct an investigation in respect of--
(a) action taken by or with the authority of a body for the purposes of investigating crime,
(b) the commencement or conduct of any civil or criminal proceedings before any court of law in the United Kingdom,
(c) action which could be investigated under the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993,
(d) action taken by any member of the administrative staff of a relevant tribunal so far as taken at the direction, or on the authority (whether express or implied), of any person acting in his capacity as a member of the tribunal,
(e) action taken in matters relating to contractual or other commercial transactions, other than compulsory land transactions, or
(f) action taken in respect of appointments or removals, pay, discipline, superannuation or other personnel matters in relation to relevant service.
(6) In sub-paragraph (5)--
"compulsory land transactions" means transactions for or relating to--
(a) the acquisition of land compulsorily or in circumstances in which it could be acquired compulsorily, or
(b) the disposal as surplus of land acquired compulsorily or in such circumstances, and
"relevant service" means service--
(a) in any office or employment under the Crown or under any body subject to investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, or
(b) in any office or employment, or under any contract for services, in respect of which power to take action, or to determine or approve the action to be taken, in personnel matters is vested in Her Majesty or any such body (or, in the case of a government department, any of its Ministers).
(7) The Assembly may by order amend sub-paragraph (5) or (6) so as to exclude any actions or matters from the provisions of sub-paragraph (5).
(8) In determining whether to initiate, continue or discontinue an investigation, the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall (subject to the preceding provisions of this paragraph) act in accordance with his own discretion; but the Welsh Administration Ombudsman may not question the merits of a decision taken without maladministration in the exercise of a discretion.
(9) In this paragraph "relevant tribunal" means a tribunal specified by order made by the Secretary of State; and references to a tribunal include the person constituting a tribunal consisting of one person.
(10) References in this Schedule to "action" include failure to act (and related expressions shall be construed accordingly).
Complaints

17.--(1) A complaint may be made to the Welsh Administration Ombudsman by any individual or body of persons (whether or not incorporated) except--
(a) the Assembly,
(b) a local authority or other authority or body constituted for purposes of the public service or of local government,
(c) a body constituted for the purposes of carrying on under national ownership an industry or undertaking or part of an industry or undertaking, and
(d) any other authority or body whose members are appointed by Her Majesty, any Minister of the Crown or government department or the Assembly or whose revenues consist

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wholly or mainly of money provided by Parliament or the Assembly.
(2) Subject to sub-paragraph (3), a complaint shall not be entertained by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman unless made by the person aggrieved himself.
(3) Where the person by whom a complaint might have been made to the Welsh Administration Ombudsman has died, or is for any reason unable to act for himself, the complaint may be made by--
(a) his personal representatives,
(b) a member of his family, or
(c) another individual, or any body, suitable to represent him.
(4) A complaint to the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall not be entertained unless it is made to him not later than twelve months after the day on which the person aggrieved first had notice of the matters alleged in the complaint; but the Welsh Administration Ombudsman may conduct an investigation pursuant to a complaint not made within that period if he considers that there are special circumstances which make it proper to do so.
(5) A body subject to investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman may itself refer to him a complaint made to the body about action taken by or on behalf of the body in the exercise of administrative functions of the body if the complaint was made--
(a) in writing,
(b) by a person who could have made a complaint to the Welsh Administration Ombudsman about the action, and
(c) not more than twelve months after the day on which the person aggrieved first had notice of the matters alleged in the complaint or such later day as the Welsh Administration Ombudsman considers appropriate in any particular case.
(6) But a body subject to investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman may not refer a complaint under sub-paragraph (5) more than twelve months after the day on which the body received the complaint.
(7) Any question whether a complaint is duly made or referred to the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall be determined by him; but a complaint duly referred to him shall be deemed to be duly made to him.
Investigation procedure

18.--(1) Where the Welsh Administration Ombudsman proposes to conduct an investigation pursuant to a complaint made to him, he shall afford to--
(a) the body concerned, and
(b) any person who is alleged in the complaint to have taken or authorised the action complained of,
an opportunity to comment on any allegations contained in the complaint.
(2) The investigation shall be conducted in private but in other respects the procedure for conducting the investigation shall be such as the Welsh Administration Ombudsman considers appropriate in the circumstances of the case; and, in particular, the Welsh Administration Ombudsman--
(a) may obtain information from such persons and in such manner, and make such inquiries, as he thinks fit, and
(b) may determine whether any person may be represented, by counsel or solicitor or otherwise, in the investigation.
(3) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman may, if he thinks fit, pay to the person by whom the complaint was made and to any other person who attends or supplies information for the purposes of an investigation--
(a) sums in respect of expenses properly incurred by them, and
(b) allowances by way of compensation for the loss of their time,
in accordance with such scales, and subject to such conditions, as may be determined by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1310

(4) The conduct of an investigation shall not affect--
(a) any action taken, or
(b) any power or duty to take further action with respect to any matters subject to the investigation.
Evidence

19.--(1) For the purposes of an investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman he may require--
(a) any member of, or any officer or member of the staff of, the body concerned, or
(b) any other person who in his opinion is able to supply information or produce documents relevant to the investigation,
to supply such information or produce such documents.
(2) For the purposes of any such investigation the Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall have the same powers as the High Court in respect of--
(a) the attendance and examination of witnesses (including the administration of oaths and affirmations and the examination of witnesses abroad), and
(b) the production of documents.
(3) No obligation to maintain secrecy or other restriction on the disclosure of information obtained by or supplied to persons in Her Majesty's service, whether imposed by any enactment or by any rule of law, shall apply to the disclosure of information for the purposes of an investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman.
(4) The Crown shall not be entitled in relation to any investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman to any such privilege in respect of the production of documents or the giving of evidence as is allowed by law in legal proceedings.
(5) Subject to sub-paragraph (4), no person shall be compelled for the purposes of an investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman to give any evidence or produce any document which he could not be compelled to give or produce in civil proceedings before the High Court.
Obstruction and contempt

20.--(1) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman may certify an offence to the High Court where--
(a) a person, without lawful excuse, obstructs him or any member of his staff in the performance of his functions, or
(b) a person is guilty of any act or omission in relation to an investigation which, if that investigation were proceedings in the High Court, would constitute contempt of court.
(2) Where an offence is so certified the High Court may inquire into the matter; and after hearing--
(a) any witnesses who may be produced against or on behalf of the person charged with the offence, and
(b) any statement that may be offered in defence,
the High Court may deal with the person charged with the offence in any manner in which it could deal with him if he had committed the same offence in relation to the High Court.
(3) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as applying to the taking of any such action as is mentioned in paragraph 18(4).
Reports

21.--(1) Where the Welsh Administration Ombudsman has conducted an investigation pursuant to a complaint made to him, he shall prepare a report of the results of the investigation and shall send copies of it to--
(a) the person who made the complaint,
(b) any Assembly member who, to the Welsh Administration Ombudsman's knowledge, assisted that person in making the complaint (or, if he is no longer an Assembly member, such Assembly member as the Welsh Administration Ombudsman thinks appropriate),
(c) the body concerned,
(d) any person who is alleged in the complaint to have taken or authorised the action complained of, and
(e) the Assembly First Secretary.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1311


(2) Where the Welsh Administration Ombudsman decides not to conduct an investigation pursuant to a complaint made to him, he shall prepare a statement of his reasons for not conducting an investigation and shall send copies of it to--
(a) the person who made the complaint, and
(b) any Assembly member who, to the Welsh Administration Ombudsman's knowledge, assisted that person in making the complaint (or, if he is no longer an Assembly member, such Assembly member as the Welsh Administration Ombudsman thinks appropriate).
Action in response to reports

22.--(1) Where the Assembly First Secretary receives a copy of a report under paragraph 21(1) of the results of an investigation of any action taken in the exercise of a function, he shall send a copy of it to any Assembly Secretary who is accountable to the Assembly (in accordance with section 57) for the exercise of the Assembly's functions in any fields in which the function falls.
(2) Where in a report under paragraph 21(1) the Welsh Administration Ombudsman states that injustice to the person aggrieved has been caused in consequence of maladministration, the body concerned shall consider the report and within--
(a) the period of three months beginning with the date on which the body received the report, or
(b) such longer period as the Welsh Administration Ombudsman may agree in writing,
shall notify the Welsh Administration Ombudsman of the action taken or proposed to be taken.
(3) The Welsh Administration Ombudsman shall prepare a further report if he--
(a) does not receive the notification required by sub-paragraph (2) within the period allowed by or under that sub-paragraph,
(b) is not satisfied with the action taken or proposed to be taken, or
(c) does not within the period of three months beginning with the end of the period allowed by or under sub-paragraph (2), or such longer period as the Welsh Administration Ombudsman may agree in writing, receive confirmation from the body that action has been taken, as proposed, to his satisfaction.
(4) The further report shall set out those facts and make such recommendations as the Welsh Administration Ombudsman thinks fit to make with respect to action which, in his opinion, should be taken--
(a) to remedy the injustice to the person aggrieved, and
(b) to prevent similar injustice being caused in the future;
and a copy of the further report shall be sent to each of the persons to whom a copy of the report under paragraph 21(1) was sent.
(5) Where the Assembly First Secretary receives a copy of a further report arising from an investigation of any action taken in the exercise of a function, he shall send a copy of it to any Assembly Secretary who is accountable to the Assembly (in accordance with section 57) for the exercise of the Assembly's functions in any fields in which the function falls.
(6) Where the Assembly First Secretary receives a copy of a further report arising from an investigation of any action taken in the exercise of functions of the Assembly, he shall also--
(a) lay a copy of it before the Assembly, and
(b) (unless action to the satisfaction of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman has been taken or proposed) give to the Assembly notice of his intention to move that the Assembly resolve to approve the recommendations specified in it.
(7) The standing orders must make provision for any motion of which notice has been given pursuant to sub-paragraph (6)(b) to be moved as soon as is reasonably practicable (unless action to the satisfaction of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman has been taken or proposed).

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1312

Reports: supplementary

23.--(1) Apart from identifying any body investigated, a report under paragraph 21(1), a further report under paragraph 22(3) or a report under paragraph 6 shall not--
(a) mention the name of any person, or
(b) include any particulars which, in the opinion of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, are likely to identify any person and can be omitted without impairing the effectiveness of the report or further report,
unless, after taking account of the public interest (as well as the interests of any person who made a complaint and other persons), the Welsh Administration Ombudsman considers it necessary for the report or further report to mention his name or include such particulars.
(2) For the purposes of the law of defamation, the following are absolutely privileged--
(a) the publication of any matter by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman in a report or statement under paragraph 21, a further report under paragraph 22(3) or a report under paragraph 6,
(b) the publication of any matter in communications between--
(i) an Assembly member or member of the Assembly's staff, a member of any other body subject to investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman (or, in the case of a government department, any of its Ministers) or an officer or member of the staff of any such body, and
(ii) the Welsh Administration Ombudsman or a member of his staff,
in connection with an investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman,
(c) the publication of any matter in communications between any person and an Assembly member in connection with a complaint by the person to the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, and
(d) the publication of any matter in communications between any person and the Welsh Administration Ombudsman or a member of his staff in connection with a complaint by the person to the Welsh Administration Ombudsman.
Confidentiality of information

24.--(1) Information obtained by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman or a member of his staff in the course of or for the purposes of an investigation shall not be disclosed except--
(a) for the purposes of the investigation and of any report of it,
(b) for the purposes of any proceedings for--
(i) an offence under the Official Secrets Acts 1911 to 1989 alleged to have been committed in respect of information obtained by him or a member of his staff, or
(ii) an offence of perjury alleged to have been committed in the course of an investigation by him,
(c) for the purposes of an inquiry with a view to the taking of proceedings within paragraph (b),
(d) for the purposes of any proceedings under paragraph 20, or
(e) in accordance with paragraph 25.
(2) Neither the Welsh Administration Ombudsman nor any members of his staff shall be called upon to give evidence in any proceedings (other than proceedings referred to in sub-paragraph (1)) of matters coming to his or their knowledge in the course of an investigation.
(3) A Minister of the Crown may give notice in writing to the Welsh Administration Ombudsman with respect to--
(a) any document or information specified in the notice, or
(b) any class of document or information so specified,
that in the opinion of the Minister the disclosure of that document or information, or of documents or information of that class, would be prejudicial to the safety of the State or otherwise contrary to the public interest.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1313


(4) Where such a notice is given neither the Welsh Administration Ombudsman nor any member of his staff shall be required or authorised to disclose to any person or for any purpose any document or information specified in the notice or any document or information of a class so specified.
25.--(1) Sub-paragraph (2) applies where--
(a) the Welsh Administration Ombudsman also holds office as the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration or a Health Service Commissioner ("a Commissioner"), and
(b) a person initiates a complaint to him in his capacity as a Commissioner which relates partly to a matter with respect to which that person has previously initiated, or subsequently initiates, a complaint to him as Welsh Administration Ombudsman.
(2) Information obtained by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman or a member of his staff in the course of or for the purposes of investigating the complaint made to him in his capacity as Welsh Administration Ombudsman may be disclosed for the purposes of his carrying out his functions in relation to the other complaint.
Consultation and co-operation with other Ombudsmen

26.--(1) Where the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, at any stage in the course of conducting an investigation, forms the opinion that the complaint relates partly to a matter which could be the subject of an investigation--
(a) by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration under the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967,
(b) by a Health Service Commissioner under the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993, or
(c) by a Local Commissioner under Part III of the Local Government Act 1974,
he shall consult about the complaint with the appropriate Commissioner and, if he considers it necessary, he shall inform the person who made the complaint of the steps necessary to make a complaint to that Commissioner.
(2) Where the Welsh Administration Ombudsman consults with a Commissioner in accordance with sub-paragraph (1), the consultations may extend to any matter relating to the complaint, including--
(a) the conduct of any investigation pursuant to the complaint, and
(b) the form, content and publication of any report of such an investigation.
(3) Where a body subject to investigation by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman is also--
(a) an authority to which the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1967 applies,
(b) a body subject to investigation by a Health Service Commissioner under the Health Service Commissioners Act 1993, or
(c) an authority to which Part III of the Local Government Act 1974 applies,
the Welsh Administration Ombudsman and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, the Health Service Commissioner concerned or the Local Commissioner concerned shall co-operate with each other to any such extent as appears appropriate when exercising any function in relation to the body.
(4) Nothing in paragraph 24(1) applies in relation to the disclosure of information in the course of consultations or other co-operation under this paragraph.").
Before Schedule 8, insert the following new schedule--
("SCHEDULE
Amendments of Health Service Commissioners Act 1993

1. The Health Service Commissioners Act 1993 has effect subject to the following amendments.
2. In section 1(3) (which introduces Schedule 1), for "the Commissioners and other administrative matters" substitute ", and other administrative matters relating to, the Health Service

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1314

Commissioner for England and the Health Service Commissioner for Scotland; and Schedule 1A has effect with respect to the appointment and remuneration of, and other administrative matters relating to, the Health Service Commissioner for Wales".
3.--(1) Section 2 (bodies subject to investigation by Health Service Commissioners) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (2) (bodies subject to investigation by Health Service Commissioner for Wales), after paragraph (c) insert "and
(ca) the National Assembly for Wales ("the Assembly")."
(3) In subsection (5)(b) (Special Health Authorities which are subject to investigation by Health Service Commissioner), omit "by Order in Council".
(4) For subsection (6) (procedure for Order in Council) substitute--
"(6) A designation for the purposes of subsection (5)(b) shall be made--
(a) in the case of a Special Health Authority exercising functions only or mainly in Wales, by order made by the Assembly by statutory instrument, and
(b) in any other case, by Order in Council;
and a statutory instrument containing an Order in Council made by virtue of paragraph (b) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament."
4. In section 2B (independent providers subject to investigation), after subsection (2) insert--
"(2A) Arrangements with the Assembly are not arrangements with a health service body for the purposes of this Act unless they are made in the exercise of a function of the Assembly relating to the National Health Service."
5. In section 3 (remit of Commissioners), after subsection (1) insert--
"(1YA) In the case of the Assembly the Health Service Commissioner for Wales may only conduct an investigation in respect of--
(a) a failure in a service provided by the Assembly in the exercise of a function of the Assembly relating to the National Health Service (an "Assembly health service function"),
(b) a failure of the Assembly to provide a service the provision of which is an Assembly health service function, or
(c) maladministration connected with any other action taken by or on behalf of the Assembly in the exercise of an Assembly health service function."
6. In section 7(1) (exception of action taken in respect of personnel matters), at the end insert "or service as a member of the staff of the Assembly."
7. In section 8(2) (authorities not entitled to make a complaint)--
(a) in paragraph (a), after "government" insert "(including the Assembly)", and
(b) in paragraph (c), after "department" insert "or by the Assembly" and after "Parliament" insert "or the Assembly".
8. In section 10 (referral of complaints by health service bodies), after subsection (2) insert--
"(2A) The Assembly may only refer a complaint under this section if it is in respect of a matter which the Health Service Commissioner for Wales can investigate by virtue of section 3(1YA)."

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1315


9. In section 11(4) (payment of expenses etc. by Commissioner)--
(a) after "Payments" insert "made by the Health Service Commissioner for England or the Health Service Commissioner for Scotland", and
(b) at the end insert "; and payments made by the Health Service Commissioner for Wales under this subsection shall be in accordance with such scales and subject to such conditions as may be determined by him."
10.--(1) Section 14 (reports by Commissioners) is amended as follows.
(2) For "a Commissioner" (in each place) substitute "the Health Service Commissioner for England or the Health Service Commissioner for Scotland".
(3) In subsection (4) (annual reports)--
(a) for "Each of the Commissioners" substitute "The Health Service Commissioner for England and the Health Service Commissioner for Scotland", and
(b) after "shall" and "may" insert "each".
(4) In the sidenote, after "by" insert "English and Scottish".
11. After that section insert--
"Reports by Welsh Commissioner.
14A.--(1) In any case where the Health Service Commissioner for Wales has conducted an investigation pursuant to a complaint under section 3(1), (1A) or (1C) he shall prepare a report of the results of the investigation and send copies of it--
(a) to the person who made the complaint,
(b) to any Assembly member who to the Commissioner's knowledge assisted in the making of the complaint (or, if he is no longer an Assembly member, to such Assembly member as the Commissioner thinks appropriate), and
(c) to the Assembly First Secretary.
(2) He shall also send a copy of the report--
(a) in the case of a complaint under section 3(1)--
(i) to the health service body who at the time of the report provides the service, or has the function, in relation to which the complaint was made, and
(ii) to any person who is alleged in the complaint to have taken or authorised the action complained of,
(b) in the case of a complaint under section 3(1A)--
(i) to any person by reference to whose action the complaint is made,
(ii) to the family health service provider (if he does not fall within sub-paragraph (i)), and
(iii) to any health service body with whom the family health service provider is subject to an undertaking to provide family health services, and
(c) in the case of a complaint under section 3(1C)--
(i) to any person who is alleged in the complaint to have taken or authorised the action complained of,
(ii) to the independent provider, and
(iii) to the health service body or family health service provider with whom the independent provider made the arrangement to provide the service concerned.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1316

(3) In any case where the Health Service Commissioner for Wales decides not to conduct an investigation pursuant to a complaint under section 3(1), (1A) or (1C) he shall prepare a statement of his reasons for not conducting an investigation and shall send copies of it--
(a) to the person who made the complaint, and
(b) to any Assembly member who to the Commissioner's knowledge assisted in the making of the complaint (or, if he is no longer an Assembly member, to such Assembly member as the Commissioner thinks appropriate).
Action in response to reports by Welsh Commissioner.
14B.--(1) Where the Assembly First Secretary receives a copy of a report under section 14A(1), he shall send a copy of it to any Assembly Secretary who is accountable to the Assembly (in accordance with section 57 of the Government of Wales Act 1998) for the exercise of any functions of the Assembly relating to the National Health Service.
(2) Where in a report under section 14A(1) the Health Service Commissioner for Wales states that the person aggrieved has sustained such injustice or hardship as is mentioned in section 3(1), (1A) or (1C), any body or provider subject to the investigation shall consider the report and within--
(a) the period of three months beginning with the date on which the body or provider received the report, or
(b) such longer period as the Commissioner may agree in writing,
shall notify the Commissioner of the action taken or proposed to be taken.
(3) The Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall prepare a further report if he--
(a) does not receive the notification required by subsection (2) within the period allowed by or under that subsection,
(b) is not satisfied with the action taken or proposed to be taken, or
(c) does not within the period of three months beginning with the end of the period allowed by or under subsection (2), or such longer period as the Commissioner may agree in writing, receive confirmation from the body or provider that action has been taken, as proposed, to his satisfaction.
(4) The further report shall set out those facts and make such recommendations as the Health Service Commissioner for Wales thinks fit to make with respect to action which, in his opinion, should be taken--
(a) to remedy the injustice or hardship to the person aggrieved, and
(b) to prevent similar injustice or hardship being caused in the future;
and a copy of the further report shall be sent to each of the persons to whom a copy of the report under section 14A(1) was sent.
(5) Where the Assembly First Secretary receives a copy of a further report, he shall send a copy of it to any Assembly Secretary who is accountable to the Assembly (in accordance with section 57 of the Government of Wales Act 1998) for the exercise of any functions of the Assembly relating to the National Health Service.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1317


(6) Where the Assembly First Secretary receives a copy of a further report arising from an investigation relating to the Assembly, he shall also--
(a) lay a copy of it before the Assembly, and
(b) (unless action to the satisfaction of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales has been taken or proposed) give to the Assembly notice of his intention to move that the Assembly resolve to approve the recommendations specified in it.
(7) The standing orders of the Assembly must make provision for any motion of which notice has been given pursuant to subsection (6)(b) to be moved as soon as is reasonably practicable (unless action to the satisfaction of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales has been taken or proposed).
Reports: supplementary.
14C.--(1) Apart from identifying any body or provider investigated, a report under section 14A(1), a further report under section 14B(3) or a report under paragraph 7 of Schedule 1A shall not--
(a) mention the name of any person, or
(b) include any particulars which, in the opinion of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, are likely to identify any person and can be omitted without impairing the effectiveness of the report or further report,
unless, after taking account of the public interest (as well as the interests of any person who made a complaint and other persons), the Commissioner considers it necessary for the report or further report to mention his name or include such particulars.
(2) For the purposes of the law of defamation, the following are absolutely privileged--
(a) the publication of any matter by the Health Service Commissioner for Wales in a report or statement under section 14A, a further report under section 14B(3) or a report under paragraph 7 of Schedule 1A,
(b) the publication of any matter in communications between--
(i) an Assembly member or a member of the Assembly's staff or a member or an officer or member of the staff of any other body or provider subject to investigation by the Commissioner, and
(ii) the Commissioner or a member of his staff,
in connection with an investigation by the Commissioner,
(c) the publication of any matter in communications between any person and an Assembly member in connection with a complaint by the person to the Commissioner, and
(d) the publication of any matter in communications between any person and the Commissioner or a member of his staff in connection with a complaint by the person to the Commissioner."
12. In section 15(3) (interpretation of reference to a Commissioner's advisers), insert at the end "or paragraph 6(6) of Schedule 1A".
13. In section 17(1) (use of information by Commissioner in other capacity), after "Health Service Commissioner" insert ", the office of Welsh Administration Ombudsman".

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1318


14.--(1) Section 18 (consultation with other Commissioners) is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1) (duty to consult), after paragraph (b) insert--
"(ba) by the Welsh Administration Ombudsman under the Government of Wales Act 1998,",.
and after "Commissioner", in both places where it appears in the words following paragraph (d), insert "or the Ombudsman".
(3) In subsection (2) (matters which may be covered by consultation), after "another Commissioner" insert "or the Welsh Administration Ombudsman".
(4) In subsection (3) (confidentiality), omit "by a Commissioner or his officers".
15.--(1) Section 19 (interpretation) is amended as follows.
(2) After the definition of "allotted sum" insert--
""the Assembly" means the National Assembly for Wales;".
(3) In the definition of "officer", insert at the end "and, in the case of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, any member of his staff;".
16.--(1) Schedule 1 (the Commissioners) is amended as follows.
(2) In the heading, before "COMMISSIONERS" insert "ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH".
(3) Before paragraph 1 insert--
"Introductory
A1. In this Schedule references to a Commissioner (or Health Service Commissioner) are to the Health Service Commissioner for England or the Health Service Commissioner for Scotland or to either of those Commissioners (as the context requires)."
(4) In paragraph 2(1) (acting Commissioners), for "Where any" substitute "Where either".
(5) In paragraphs 3(2)(a) and 3A(2)(a) (ineligibility of certain persons for appointment), omit "or for Wales".
(6) In paragraph 6 (salary of person holding more than one office)--
(a) in sub-paragraph (1)(b), for "one or more" substitute "either or both", and
(b) in sub-paragraph (2), for "two or more" substitute "both".
(7) Omit paragraph 11(2) (staff of Welsh Commissioner).
(8) In paragraph 12 (performance of functions of Commissioner by officers of another Commissioner), for "another Commissioner or the Parliamentary Commissioner" substitute "the other Commissioner, the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, the Parliamentary Commissioner or the Welsh Administration Ombudsman".
17. After that Schedule insert--
Section 1(3)

"SCHEDULE 1A
The Welsh Commissioner
Appointment
1.--(1) The Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall be appointed by Her Majesty.
(2) Subject to sub-paragraphs (3) and (4), the Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall hold office until the end of the year of service in which he attains the age of 65.
(3) Her Majesty may relieve the Health Service Commissioner for Wales of office before the end of that year of service--
(a) at his request, or
(b) on Her Majesty being satisfied that he is incapable for medical reasons of performing the duties of his office and of requesting to be relieved of it.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1319


(4) Her Majesty may remove the Health Service Commissioner for Wales from office before the end of the year of service in which he attains the age of 65 if, on the ground of misbehaviour, the Secretary of State recommends that Her Majesty should do so; but the Secretary of State shall not so recommend without consulting the Assembly.
Status
2.--(1) The Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall be regarded as holding office under Her Majesty and as exercising his functions on behalf of the Crown.
(2) Service as the Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall not be service in Her Majesty's Home Civil Service but he shall be taken to be a Crown servant for the purposes of the Official Secrets Act 1989.
Appointment of acting Commissioner
3.--(1) Where the office of Health Service Commissioner for Wales becomes vacant, Her Majesty may, at any time during the period of twelve months beginning with the date on which the vacancy arose, appoint a person to act as that Commissioner.
(2) Subject to sub-paragraphs (3) to (5), an acting Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall hold office in accordance with the terms of his appointment.
(3) An acting Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall not hold office after--
(a) the appointment of a new Health Service Commissioner for Wales, or
(b) the end of the period of twelve months beginning with the date on which the vacancy arose,
whichever occurs first.
(4) Her Majesty may at any time relieve an acting Health Service Commissioner for Wales of office--
(a) at his request, or
(b) on Her Majesty being satisfied that he is incapable for medical reasons of performing the duties of his office and of requesting to be relieved of it.
(5) Her Majesty may remove an acting Health Service Commissioner for Wales from office at any time if, on the ground of misbehaviour, the Secretary of State recommends that Her Majesty should do so; but the Secretary of State shall not so recommend without consulting the Assembly.
(6) A person appointed under this paragraph shall, while he holds office, be regarded for all purposes (except those of paragraph 1 and this paragraph) as the Health Service Commissioner for Wales.
Ineligibility of certain persons for appointment
4.--(1) A person who is a member of a body mentioned in section 2(1) or (2) shall not be appointed as Health Service Commissioner for Wales; and a person so appointed shall not, during his appointment, become a member of such a body.
(2) A person mentioned in section 2A(1) or (2) shall not be appointed as Health Service Commissioner for Wales; and a person so appointed shall not, during his appointment, become a person so mentioned.
Remuneration
5.--(1) The Assembly shall--
(a) pay the Health Service Commissioner for Wales such salary and any such allowances, and
(b) make any such payments towards the provision of superannuation benefits for or in respect of him,
as may be provided for by or under the terms of his appointment.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1320


(2) But where the Health Service Commissioner for Wales is also--
(a) Parliamentary Commissioner, or
(b) Welsh Administration Ombudsman,
he shall not be entitled to any salary as Health Service Commissioner for Wales.
(3) Where the Health Service Commissioner for Wales also holds either or both of the other offices of Health Service Commissioner, he shall be entitled only to the salary pertaining to such one of the offices of Health Service Commissioner as he selects.
(4) The Assembly shall pay to or in respect of a person who has ceased to hold office as Health Service Commissioner for Wales such amounts (if any) by way of--
(a) pension or gratuities, or
(b) provision for those benefits,
as may have been provided for by or under the terms of his appointment.
(5) In Schedule 1 to the Superannuation Act 1972 (offices etc. to which section 1 of that Act applies), in the list of "Offices" insert--
"Health Service Commissioner for Wales."
(6) The Assembly shall pay to the Minister for the Civil Service, at such times as he may direct, such sums as he may determine in respect of any increase attributable to sub-paragraph (5) in the sums payable out of money provided by Parliament under the Superannuation Act 1972.
Staff and advisers
6.--(1) The Health Service Commissioner for Wales may appoint such staff as he considers necessary for assisting him in the exercise of his functions.
(2) The Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall include among his staff such persons having a command of the Welsh language as he considers are needed to enable him to investigate complaints in Welsh.
(3) Service as a member of the staff of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall be service in Her Majesty's Home Civil Service.
(4) The Assembly shall pay to the Minister for the Civil Service, at such times as he may direct, such sums as he may determine in respect of any increase attributable to sub-paragraph (3) in the sums payable out of money provided by Parliament under the Superannuation Act 1972.
(5) Any function of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales may be exercised by--
(a) a member of his staff,
(b) a member of the staff of the Welsh Administration Ombudsman, or
(c) an officer of the Parliamentary Commissioner or of another Health Service Commissioner,
if authorised by the Health Service Commissioner for Wales for that purpose; and references in any enactment to a member of the staff of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales include any person exercising any function of his by virtue of paragraph (b) or (c).
(6) To assist him in the exercise of his functions the Health Service Commissioner for Wales may obtain advice from any person who, in his opinion, is qualified to give it.
(7) The Health Service Commissioner for Wales may pay to any person from whom he obtains advice under sub-paragraph (6) any such fees or allowances as he may determine.

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(8) No arrangements shall be made--
(a) for any of the functions of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales or of the Assembly to be exercised by the other or by a member of the other's staff, or
(b) for the provision of any administrative, professional or technical services by the Health Service Commissioner for Wales or the Assembly for the other.
Reports
7.--(1) The Health Service Commissioner for Wales--
(a) shall annually prepare and lay before the Assembly a general report on the performance of his functions, and
(b) may from time to time prepare and lay before the Assembly such other reports with respect to his functions as he thinks fit.
(2) The Assembly shall, and the Health Service Commissioner for Wales may, publish reports laid before the Assembly under this paragraph.
Expenses
8.--(1) The expenses of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall, so far as they cannot be met out of income received by him, be met by the Assembly.
(2) Those expenses include any sums payable by the Health Service Commissioner for Wales in consequence of a breach, in the course of the performance of any of his functions, of any contractual or other duty (whether that breach occurs by reason of his act or omission or that of a member of his staff or any other person assisting him in the exercise of his functions).
Estimates
9.--(1) For each financial year of the Assembly after the first, the Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall prepare, and submit to the executive committee, an estimate of the income and expenses of his office.
(2) Each such estimate shall be submitted to the executive committee at least five months before the beginning of the financial year to which it relates.
(3) The executive committee shall examine each such estimate submitted to it and, after having done so, shall lay the estimate before the Assembly with any such modifications as the committee thinks fit.
(4) Where the executive committee proposes to lay such an estimate before the Assembly with modifications, the committee shall first consult the Secretary of State and have regard to any advice which he may give.
(5) In this paragraph "the executive committee" means the committee of the Assembly referred to as the executive committee in the Government of Wales Act 1998.
Accounts
10.--(1) The Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall keep proper accounting records.
(2) The Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall, for each financial year of the Assembly, prepare accounts in accordance with directions given to him by the Treasury.
(3) The directions which the Treasury may give under sub-paragraph (2) include, in particular, directions as to--
(a) the information to be contained in the accounts and the manner in which it is to be presented,
(b) the methods and principles in accordance with which the accounts are to be prepared, and
(c) the additional information (if any) that is to accompany the accounts.

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Audit
11.--(1) The accounts prepared by the Health Service Commissioner for Wales for any financial year of the Assembly shall be submitted by him to the Auditor General for Wales no later than five months after the end of that financial year.
(2) The Auditor General for Wales shall--
(a) examine and certify any accounts submitted to him under this paragraph, and
(b) no later than four months after the accounts are submitted to him, lay before the Assembly a copy of them as certified by him together with his report on them.
(3) In examining any accounts submitted to him under this paragraph, the Auditor General for Wales shall, in particular, satisfy himself that the expenditure to which the accounts relate has been incurred lawfully and in accordance with the authority which governs it.
Accounting officer
12.--(1) The accounting officer for the Office of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall be the Health Service Commissioner for Wales.
(2) But where--
(a) the Health Service Commissioner for Wales is incapable of discharging his responsibilities as accounting officer, or
(b) the office of Health Service Commissioner for Wales is vacant (and there is no acting Health Service Commissioner for Wales),
the Treasury may designate a member of the staff of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales to be the accounting officer for so long as paragraph (a) or (b) applies.
(3) The accounting officer for the Office of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales shall have, in relation to the accounts of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales and the finances of the Office of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, the responsibilities which are from time to time specified by the Treasury.
(4) In this paragraph references to responsibilities include in particular--
(a) responsibilities in relation to the signing of accounts,
(b) responsibilities for the propriety and regularity of the finances of the Office of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, and
(c) responsibilities for the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which the resources of the Office of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales are used.
(5) The responsibilities which may be specified under this paragraph include responsibilities owed to--
(a) the Assembly, the executive committee or the Audit Committee of the Assembly, or
(b) the House of Commons or its Committee of Public Accounts.
(6) If requested to do so by the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts, the Audit Committee of the Assembly may--
(a) on behalf of the Committee of Public Accounts take evidence from the accounting officer for the Office of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, and
(b) report to the Committee of Public Accounts and transmit to that Committee any evidence so taken.

15 Jun 1998 : Column 1323


(7) In this paragraph and paragraphs 13 and 14 "the Office of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales" means the Health Service Commissioner for Wales and the members of his staff; and in this paragraph "the executive committee" has the same meaning as in paragraph 9.
Examinations into use of resources
13.--(1) The Auditor General for Wales may carry out examinations into the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which the Health Service Commissioner for Wales has used the resources of the Office of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales in discharging his functions.
(2) Sub-paragraph (1) shall not be construed as entitling the Auditor General for Wales to question the merits of the policy objectives of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales.
(3) In determining how to exercise his functions under this paragraph, the Auditor General for Wales shall take into account the views of the Audit Committee of the Assembly as to the examinations which he should carry out under this paragraph.
(4) The Auditor General for Wales may lay before the Assembly a report of the results of any examination carried out by him under this paragraph.
(5) The Auditor General for Wales and the Comptroller and Auditor General may co-operate with, and give assistance to, each other in connection with the carrying out of examinations in respect of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales under this paragraph or section 7 of the National Audit Act 1983 (economy etc. examinations).
Examinations by the Comptroller and Auditor General
14.--(1) For the purpose of enabling him to carry out examinations into, and report to Parliament on, the finances of the Office of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, the Comptroller and Auditor General--
(a) shall have a right of access at all reasonable times to all such documents in the custody or under the control of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales, or of the Auditor General for Wales, as he may reasonably require for that purpose, and
(b) shall be entitled to require from any person holding or accountable for any of those documents any assistance, information or explanation which he reasonably thinks necessary for that purpose.
(2) The Comptroller and Auditor General shall--
(a) consult the Auditor General for Wales, and
(b) take into account any relevant work done or being done by the Auditor General for Wales,
before he acts in reliance on sub-paragraph (1) or carries out an examination in respect of the Health Service Commissioner for Wales under section 7 of the National Audit Act 1983 (economy etc. examinations)."").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move.


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