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Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 277A:

Page 28, line 33, leave out ("independent").

The noble Lord said: There is a somewhat daunting list of amendments in this group: Amendments Nos. 277A, 277B, 278AA, 278AB, 278AC, 278C to 278J and 294ZZA. They are mainly technical. The substantive point about the amendments concerns cross-border public authorities which receive part of their income directly from the Scottish Consolidated Fund. In practice they are likely to be two bodies: the Forestry Commission and the proposed food standards agency. In these cases the current provisions in the Bill could very well mean dual accounting and dual auditing. Obviously, it would be sensible for such bodies to provide only one account with, if necessary, an apportionment to Scotland as well as the other parts of the United Kingdom and for that account to be audited only once; for example, by the Comptroller and Auditor-General. It could well be that such an arrangement would suit the needs of both this Parliament and the Scottish parliament.

The effects of Amendments Nos. 278C to 278F are to make it possible for such an arrangement to be made, probably under an order under Clause 84 of the Bill. The other amendments in the group clarify the provisions regarding the Auditor-General for Scotland and the competence of the Scottish parliament to provide for the accountability of persons receiving sums derived from the Scottish Consolidated Fund, even where those sums are used for functions in relation to reserved matters. I beg to move.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I am grateful to the noble Lord for his explanation of these clauses. I am brought to my feet more by a mention of the Food Standards Agency and the Forestry Commission. In some way I managed to omit an amendment to allow us to discuss the Forestry Commission and I shall not use the Minister's mention of it to introduce a debate on it. To some extent I failed to see the wood for the trees when tabling the amendments. However, I am interested in that subject and the Minister must be slightly surprised that there was not an amendment in relation to the Forestry Commission. That will be rectified on Report.

I rise to say to the Minister that this is quite a change and it is difficult to read one's way through it. Normally, if everything had gone to plan we would be having our last day today and over the Recess would be in possession of a reprint of the Bill for Report. For a number of reasons of which everybody is aware, we are not finishing today and will have a day in the overspill. Is it possible for the Minister to send me a letter containing the new clause as it will appear in the reprint which we would receive in October after the last day? I would find that handy in the Recess--not that I intend

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to work much in August, so the noble Lord need not hurry, but perhaps by September I may wish to turn my attention to the matter again.

Lord Sewel: The noble Lord, Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, is eminently reasonable in his request, as always, and we will endeavour to meet it.

Lord Hope of Craighead: As the Minister said, this is a formidable list of amendments. It is the two simplest which caught my eye--Amendments Nos. 277A and 277B. Perhaps he could give a word or two more in explanation.

Amendment No. 277A takes out the word "independent" from Clause 66(1)(c). The Auditor-General of course is an independent person. The clause gives him power to allow other persons to exercise the functions. I am not sure why the word "independent" is being taken out. Perhaps an explanation could be given.

The other point relates to Amendment No. 277B, which deletes from Clause 66(2)(d) the words,

    "or by the Scottish Ministers".

I can see that on one view those words are unnecessary because Clause 66 deals with movement of money in and out of the Consolidated Fund. I assume that if money is being given to other persons from the fund, one of the channels by which that will happen is through the hands of Scottish Ministers. It may be that that is the reason why these words are being deleted.

If that is being done, I am not sure why the wider phrase "their resources" is used in subsection (1)(c) where the function extends to looking at the use by Scottish Ministers and the Lord Advocate not simply of moneys obtained from the Consolidated Fund but also of resources.

It is late in the night to expect an answer to those questions. Perhaps the Minister will look a little more carefully at the relationship between subsection (2)(c) and (d). My essential point is that as I understood the clause as a whole it was concerned only with the consolidated fund. The use of the words "their resources" raises a slight concern that the functions of the auditor may extend more widely than the movement of monies in and out of the consolidated fund.

Lord Sewel: I can clarify at least part of the points raised by the noble and learned Lord. Amendments Nos. 277A and 277B are consequential to Amendments Nos. 278AC and 278AA respectively. I doubt that that adds any clarification whatever.

Amendment No. 277A ostensibly has the effect of no longer requiring that persons appointed by the Auditor-General for Scotland to undertake audits of value-for-money studies need be independent. That is not the case. The independence of such people is provided for in government Amendment No. 278AC. This amendment is consequential to it. I hope that deals with that.

Amendment No. 277B is consequential on government Amendment No. 278AA. Amendment No. 278AA makes it clear that the parliament can legislate to ensure that persons receiving money

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indirectly from the Scottish Consolidated Fund--for example, through a grant from the Scottish Ministers--are accountable to the parliament for the functions for which those sums are received. These functions could relate to reserved matters--for example, in the case of a Scottish public authority--with a mix of devolved and reserved functions such as the local authorities. The purpose of the amendment is to clarify that the parliament can legislate on the accounting and auditing arrangements when non-departmental, public or similar bodies undertake reserved functions using monies from the Scottish Consolidated Fund. I hope that goes at least part of the way.

Lord Hope of Craighead: I am most grateful for that explanation.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 277B:

Page 29, line 12, leave out ("or by the Scottish Ministers").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 278 and 278A not moved.]

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 278AA:

Page 29, line 16, at end insert--
("(3A) Scottish legislation may make further provision for the purpose of ensuring that persons who receive sums derived from the Fund are accountable including, in particular, provision for any person to whom subsection (1)(a) does not apply to be accountable for his expenditure and receipts in respect of functions for which he receives sums derived from the Fund.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 278AB:

Page 29, line 18, leave out ("independent person") and insert ("individual").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Sewel moved Amendment No. 278AC:

Page 29, line 25, leave out subsection (6) and insert--
("(5A) The Auditor General for Scotland shall not, in the exercise of any of his functions, be subject to the direction or control of any member of the Scottish Executive or of the Parliament.
(5B) Subsection (5A) does not apply in relation to any function conferred on him of preparing accounts.
(6) Persons (other than the Auditor General for Scotland) charged with the exercise of any function mentioned in subsection (2) or other like function conferred by Scottish legislation shall not, in the exercise of that or any ancillary function, be subject to the direction or control of any member of the Scottish Executive or of the Parliament.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 278B not moved.]

Lord Sewel moved Amendments Nos. 278C to 278H:

Page 29, line 28, leave out from beginning to ("requires") in line 29 and insert ("Scottish legislation may not require any cross-border public authority to prepare accounts if any other legislation").
Page 29, line 30, leave out from ("of") to second ("and") in line 31 and insert ("its expenditure and receipts").

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Page 29, line 33, at end insert (", the Comptroller and Auditor General or a person appointed by either of them;
and in this subsection "other legislation" means any enactment (including one made under this Act) other than Scottish legislation.").
Page 29, line 40, leave out ("the") and insert--
("(a) any").
Page 29, line 41, leave out ("the") and insert--
("(b) any").
Page 29, line 42, at end insert ("which are required to be examined, certified and reported on by the Auditor General for Scotland or any person appointed by him,").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

On Question, Whether Clause 66, as amended, shall be agreed to?

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