Local Government Bill - continued        House of Lords
PART I, BEST VALUE - continued
Best value inspections - continued

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Reports.     13. - (1) Where the Audit Commission has carried out an inspection of an authority under section 10 it shall issue a report.
 
      (2) A report-
 
 
    (a) shall mention any matter in respect of which the Commission believes as a result of the inspection that the authority is failing to comply with the requirements of this Part, and
 
    (b) may, if it mentions a matter under paragraph (a), recommend that the Secretary of State give a direction under section 14.
      (3) The Commission-
 
 
    (a) shall send a copy of a report to the authority concerned, and
 
    (b) may publish a report and any information in respect of a report.
      (4) If a report recommends that the Secretary of State give a direction under section 14, the Commission shall as soon as reasonably practicable-
 
 
    (a) arrange for the recommendation to be published, and
 
    (b) send a copy of the report to the Secretary of State.
      (5) If a report states that the Commission believes as a result of an inspection that an authority is failing to comply with the requirements of this Part, the next performance plan prepared by the authority under section 6 must record-
 
 
    (a) that fact, and
 
    (b) any action taken by the authority as a result of the report.
Secretary of State's powers.     14. - (1) This section applies in relation to a best value authority if the Secretary of State is satisfied that it is failing to comply with the requirements of this Part.
 
      (2) Where this section applies in relation to an authority the Secretary of State may direct it-
 
 
    (a) to prepare or amend a performance plan;
 
    (b) to follow specified procedures in relation to a performance plan;
 
    (c) to carry out a review of its exercise of specified functions;
 
    (d) to take such other action as in the Secretary of State's opinion is necessary or expedient to secure compliance by the authority with the requirements of this Part.
      (3) Where this section applies in relation to an authority the Secretary of State may direct a local inquiry to be held into the exercise by the authority of specified functions.
 
      (4) Subsections (2) to (5) of section 250 of the Local Government Act 1972 (inquiries) shall apply in relation to an inquiry which the Secretary of State directs to be held under this section as they apply in relation to an inquiry which a Minister causes to be held under that section.
 
      (5) Where this section applies in relation to an authority the Secretary of State may direct-
 
 
    (a) that a specified function of the authority shall be exercised by the Secretary of State or a person nominated by him for a period specified in the direction or for so long as the Secretary of State considers appropriate, and
 
    (b) that the authority shall comply with any instructions of the Secretary of State or his nominee in relation to the exercise of that function and shall provide such assistance as the Secretary of State or his nominee may require for the purpose of exercising the function.
      (6) Subject to subsection (8), before giving a direction under this section the Secretary of State shall give the authority concerned an opportunity to make representations about-
 
 
    (a) the report (if any) as a result of which the direction is proposed, and
 
    (b) the direction proposed.
      (7) Subject to subsection (8), before giving a direction under this section following a recommendation in a report under section 7(4)(f) the Secretary of State shall have regard to any statement under section 9(2) which the authority concerned sends to him before the expiry of the period of one month starting with the day on which the authority received the report.
 
      (8) The Secretary of State may give a direction without complying with subsection (6) or (7) if he considers the direction sufficiently urgent.
 
      (9) Where the Secretary of State gives a direction without complying with subsection (6) or (7) he shall inform-
 
 
    (a) the authority concerned, and
 
    (b) such persons appearing to him to represent best value authorities as he considers appropriate,
  of the direction and of the reason why it was given without complying with subsection (6) or (7).
 
      (10) A direction given under this section shall be enforceable by order of mandamus on the application of the Secretary of State.
 
 
Exercise of functions by best value authorities
Power to modify enactments and confer new powers.     15. - (1) If the Secretary of State thinks that an enactment prevents or obstructs compliance by best value authorities with the requirements of this Part he may by order make provision modifying or excluding the application of the enactment in relation to those authorities.
 
      (2) The Secretary of State may by order make provision conferring on best value authorities any power which he considers necessary or expedient to permit or facilitate compliance with the requirements of this Part.
 
      (3) An order under this section may-
 
 
    (a) impose conditions on the exercise of any power conferred by the order (including conditions about consultation or approval);
 
    (b) amend an enactment;
 
    (c) include consequential, incidental and transitional provision;
 
    (d) make different provision for different cases.
      (4) No order shall be made under this section unless a draft has been laid before, and approved by resolution of, each House of Parliament.
 
      (5) In exercising a power conferred under subsection (2) a best value authority shall have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.
 
Orders under section 15: procedure.     16. - (1) Before the Secretary of State makes an order under section 15 he shall consult such authorities or persons as appear to him to be representative of interests affected by his proposals.
 
      (2) If, following consultation under subsection (1), the Secretary of State proposes to make an order under section 15 he shall lay before each House of Parliament a document explaining his proposals and, in particular-
 
 
    (a) setting them out in the form of a draft order, and
 
    (b) giving details of consultation under subsection (1) above.
      (3) Where a document relating to proposals is laid before Parliament under subsection (2), no draft of an order under section 15 to give effect to the proposals (with or without modification) shall be laid before Parliament until after the expiry of the period of sixty days beginning with the day on which the document was laid.
 
      (4) In calculating the period mentioned in subsection (3) no account shall be taken of any time during which-
 
 
    (a) Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, or
 
    (b) either House is adjourned for more than four days.
      (5) In preparing a draft order under section 15 the Secretary of State shall consider any representations made during the period mentioned in subsection (3) above.
 
      (6) A draft order laid before Parliament in accordance with section 15(4) must be accompanied by a statement of the Secretary of State giving details of-
 
 
    (a) any representations considered in accordance with subsection (5) above, and
 
    (b) any changes made to the proposals contained in the document laid before Parliament under subsection (2) above.
Contracting out.     17. - (1) Section 70 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 (contracting out functions of local authorities) shall apply in relation to functions of any best value authority (other than excluded functions within the meaning of section 71) as it applies in relation to certain functions of local authorities.
 
      (2) An order under section 70 as applied by subsection (1) above may be made only-
 
 
    (a) by the Secretary of State, and
 
    (b) if he considers the order necessary or expedient for the purpose of permitting or facilitating compliance with the requirements of this Part.
 
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Prepared 13 May 1999