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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: As the noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, said, these amendments relate to the arrangements for the delegation of the mayor's functions. Amendment No. 100 would enable the mayor to delegate functions to the assembly. That would undermine the clear separation of powers we have proposed between the mayor--the executive arm of the authority--and the assembly, which will have a scrutiny and investigative role.

As the Bill makes clear, the assembly will question the mayor on the exercise of his or her functions, and will be able to summon people and papers to ensure that the authority's decision-taking procedures are open and accountable. But how would the assembly be able to scrutinise the exercise of the functions delegated to it by the mayor? It is unlikely that, on the one hand, the

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assembly could exercise certain executive functions and, on the other hand, hold itself to account for the exercise of those functions. The amendment would inevitably make the authority's decision-taking procedures less transparent and less accountable.

Furthermore, the delegation of functions from mayor to assembly would undermine the assembly's autonomy. It would become answerable to the mayor for the exercise of those delegated functions. That would not be healthy for an accountable administration--the scrutineer would in effect answer to the executive, blurring the clear delineation of responsibilities which we have set out in the Bill. For that reason, I ask the noble Baroness to withdraw Amendment No. 100.

Amendment No. 101 would specify that the mayor could only delegate functions to a local authority with its agreement. That is certainly our intention. We do not want the mayor to be able to force local authorities to take on GLA functions where they do not wish to do so. I would therefore be grateful if the noble Baroness could withdraw Amendment No. 101 on the understanding that I shall give further consideration to the wording of Clause 31(1)(e). I shall of course bring forward an amendment at a later stage if that is needed to give full effect to our intentions.

Baroness Hamwee: I am grateful for that response in connection with delegation to local authorities. I thought it unlikely that the Government proposed anything other than that which the noble Baroness described, but I am concerned to make sure that in a very detailed Bill, some important detail is not overlooked.

With regard to the possible confusion between delegation and scrutiny, sometimes those are within the same body. In Amendment No. 100, I was not proposing that every function could be delegated. It would be for the mayor to choose and, as I say, there may be some functions which could appropriately be handed over to be exercised. However, I note what the noble Baroness said and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 101 and 102 not moved.]

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 103:


Page 18, line 27, leave out from ("subsection") to end of line

The noble Lord said: This is a fairly small amendment which deals with Clause 31 yet again and, indeed, the power of the mayor to delegate the exercise of his functions. Subsection (4) states:


    "Each of the following bodies, namely--


    (a) Transport for London,


    (b) the London Development Agency,


    shall have power to exercise functions on behalf of the Authority in accordance with this section, whether or not they have the power to do so apart from this subsection and irrespective of the nature of the function".

This is a probing amendment to find out exactly what is meant or intended by that particular wording. It seems to me to be rather obscure because it seems to hold out the possibility that either Transport for London or the London Development Agency may have delegated to them by the mayor functions which are inappropriate

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and nothing to do with that which they are normally expected to do. It was in the hope of gaining some explanation of what those words mean that I tabled the amendment. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, for his explanation of the amendment. It may be helpful if I set out what we intend this provision to achieve.

Under Clause 31(4), Transport for London and the London Development Agency will be able to exercise functions on behalf of the authority, irrespective of the nature of the function. But they will only be able to exercise those functions which the mayor chooses to delegate to them and, of course, the mayor will be free to revoke any such delegation.

The purpose of this provision is to give the mayor some flexibility in running his administration; for example, the mayor might want the London Development Agency and Transport for London to work together on joint projects. A flexible power such as this is necessary to ensure that the mayor can deliver on his or her strategic priorities.

Of course, it is unlikely that the mayor would delegate functions to those bodies where there was no practical reason for doing so, or where they had little expertise about the function in question. If the mayor did make delegations which were questionable in some way, the assembly would hold the mayor to account and challenge the effectiveness of the arrangements that the mayor was seeking to put in place.

With that assurance as regards how the provision will work, I ask the noble Lord to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I am grateful for the explanation of what is intended. The noble Baroness has great faith in the ability of the assembly to find out all the funny little things which may go on under delegation arrangements and then to monitor them properly. I am infinitely sceptical. I shall study what she said and if we need to return to the subject, we shall undoubtedly do so. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Dixon-Smith moved Amendment No. 104:


Page 18, line 40, at end insert (", subject to any contractual notice required")

The noble Lord said: This amendment and Amendment No. 105 run together. Amendment No. 104 adds to Clause 31(7),


    "An authorisation under this section may be varied or revoked at any time by the Mayor", subject to any contractual obligation. Delegation is always difficult. One can envisage a situation in which the mayor may delegate something to a borough such as a maintenance problem. The borough would then make a contract with a contractor to fulfil the specific function. At that point the authorisation under this subsection may be revoked at any time by the mayor.

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    This amendment is simply to make explicit that if contractual obligations are involved they must be permitted to expire.

Amendment No. 105 states that subsection (8) should be excluded. There is a very good reason for that. The subsection states that,


    "any authorisation under this section shall continue in effect until the beginning of the next term of office of any person as Mayor". The mayor is the mayor until his successor is elected. When the successor takes over he is the mayor. At that point the new mayor automatically has all the powers of the mayor. He has the power to vary or revoke automatically any agreement made by his predecessor. In that case subsection (8) is unnecessary. Therefore, it would be preferable for it to be withdrawn. That is the reason for that amendment. I look forward with interest to the response of the Minister. I beg to move.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I am unable to give a positive response to Amendment No. 104, the purpose of which still seems unclear. It would require the mayor, in varying or revoking any delegation authorisation, to do so subject to any contractual notice required. Any contract entered into by the delegate of the mayor always remains the mayor's contract. Revoking a delegation will not affect the status of any contract already entered into.

The amendment is unnecessary. Clause 31 provides for delegation of the mayor's function subject to any conditions imposed that the mayor may decide. Any of the persons or bodies listed in Clause 31, including the deputy mayor, any member of the staff of the authority, Transport for London, the London Development Agency and any local authority will therefore be well aware of the terms on which the mayor had decided to delegate functions to them.

It would be odd to place additional constraints on the mayor. As regards arrangements for delegating his or her functions, it will be for the mayor to decide how best to organise the authority's decision-taking structures.

As regards Amendment No. 105 the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, will no doubt be pleased to hear that I agree that subsection (8) is unnecessary and could lead to practical problems if all delegations were automatically to cease on a new mayor taking office. I am therefore happy to accept his amendment. I ask the noble Lord to withdraw Amendment No. 104, but, as I have said, I am happy to accept Amendment No. 105.

10.30 p.m.

Lord Dixon-Smith: I feel a celebration is in order for Amendment 105. I am most grateful to the noble Baroness for her response on that amendment. It is quite something to "score one" so to speak.

On Amendment 104, I shall study what the noble Baroness has said. I entirely accept the right of the mayor to vary or revoke any of his delegation arrangements. However, I am concerned that, after he has made perfectly valid delegation arrangements, someone to whom a function is delegated may find that he enters into a commercial arrangement which involves

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periods of notice and such matters. In fact, if that were the case, it would be entirely appropriate that some period of notice should be placed in that particular secondary contract. I shall study what the noble Baroness has said. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


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