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Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I apologise to the noble Baroness for having missed this matter when it came before the House earlier. We need to be increasingly vigilant over these various proposals for change which can slip past less acute eyes--as mine clearly were.

I am perfectly happy that we should change from vellum to archive paper. That makes sense. I am not happy if there ceases to be deposited in the Public Record Office an authenticated copy of Acts of Parliament. The Public Record Office is a source of historical documents. It is a historical source. As a journalist I have frequently used it myself. Historians

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make use of it all the time. We expect to find the originals of documents in the Public Record Office. How much money will be saved by not depositing in the Public Record Office one copy of Acts of Parliament on the new archive paper? Acts of Parliament are of great importance. I am most unhappy at the idea that the Public Record Office should lose its completeness in this way.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord. I would not wish to comment on his vigilance, but I understand that the House of Lords Administration Sub-Committee first agreed to this discontinuance in 1985; so his eye may have been distracted for quite some time.

I am advised that the Public Record Office has agreed to the proposal. As regards the total costs, I understand that the financial savings to the House of Lords are about £30,000 a year, but that is for the total change. I shall of course write to the noble Lord on the specific changes he raises about the two copies.

Lord Peston: My Lords, I stand second to no one in my antipathy to change. But in this case, the whole thing seems a little silly. We have agreed to change to a different kind of paper, but for those of us who are interested in records, surely, the place for this information is on CD-ROM. It is much more easily searched and records in hard copy form are physically ridiculous. CD-ROM is the place where they should be kept permanently and efficiently.

As we are approaching the year 2000, is it not time for your Lordships' House to inch forward-- perhaps to move forward more than inches--and adopt a practice which corresponds to modern-day technology?

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, I hesitate to comment on my noble friend's perception of the historical changes which are made, but he raised the issue which I thought the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition would raise. We have had many exchanges using e-mail and so forth. I am advised that the probable life expectancy of the archival paper which is to replace the velum is about 500 years, but the life of a CD-ROM has yet to be tested in that context.

Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, I am a member of the Lord Chancellor's Committee for Public Records and I am unaware of the subject being raised at the previous two meetings which I have attended. However, I presume that all is not lost because anyone who wishes to look for records can find them here. Can the Minister confirm that?

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, yes, I can confirm that. The issue is the different nature of the records, not the records themselves.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, as one who uses the Public Record Office from time to time, I support the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, in his view that the originals of the Acts of Parliament should be deposited

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in the Public Record Office. It is of limited cost and provides good value for those who want to see the originals when in the future they go to them as historians.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, I hesitate to be discourteous to my noble friend, but that was one of the points discussed in the Offices Committee. The House then approved the report in June. As I said earlier in answer to the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, the Public Record Office has agreed to the change.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Greater London Authority Bill

3.42 p.m.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now further considered on Report.

Moved, That the Bill be further considered on Report.--(Lord Whitty.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Clause 33 [General duties of the Mayor in relation to his strategies]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 113:


Page 20, line 32, at end insert--
(“(8A) The Mayor shall from time to time set such targets with respect to the implementation of any strategy mentioned in subsection (1) above as he may consider appropriate, having regard to--
(a) any related targets or objectives set nationally; and
(b) any performance indicators set by the Secretary of State, whether nationally or locally, which affect the exercise of functions by authorities involved in the implementation of the strategy;
and in setting any such targets the Mayor shall seek to secure that they are not less demanding than any related targets or objectives which are set nationally.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Government Amendment No. 113 provides for the mayor to set such targets as he or she considers appropriate in relation to each strategy. Amendment No. 138, which is the other government amendment in the group, requires the mayor to set current targets and report on progress in achieving them in the GLA's annual report. Our intention that the mayor should set targets in relation to his or her strategy was set out in the original London White Paper. Perhaps noble Lords will recall that the Government undertook to give further consideration to Opposition amendments moved in Committee requiring strategies to contain targets or indicators. These matters were raised both in this House and in the other place.

We indicated that we intended to bring forward appropriate amendments at the Report stage. The targets for which the amendments provide will enable Londoners to see where the strategies are ultimately aiming; to see the long-term objectives; and to track progress being made in implementing each strategy.

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They will therefore be able to press the mayor, if necessary, to improve performance if they are not being met.

The framework will enable Londoners to track progress in implementing each of the mayoral strategies. I shall listen to what noble Lords say in relation to their amendments, but I hope that the overall amendment achieves what their amendments intend. I shall therefore be asking them to withdraw them. I beg to move.

3.45 p.m.

Baroness Hamwee moved, as an amendment to Amendment No. 113, Amendment No. 113A:


Line 2, after second (“time") insert (“after consulting the bodies and persons specified in section 34").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, we welcome the general thrust of these amendments. Any self-respecting public body will set targets and want to ensure that they are properly monitored. That is the thrust of my Amendment No. 113B. Not only will the targets be set but the achievement of them or otherwise will be kept under proper review.

I make the point not thinking that in the common sense world the mayor will fail to monitor the targets but because we encountered the issue when the GLC was abolished. It became clear that in some respects if was difficult to discover what was happening in London, in particular as regards planning. There were difficulties in setting up useful and workable systems for monitoring what was happening with planning applications and their implementation. That was in my mind in tabling that amendment. I hope that the Minister will either accept it or assure me that implicit in the wording of the Government's amendment is monitoring.

As regards Amendment No. 113A, I hope that the mayor, in setting targets, will have regard to targets set by other bodies concerned with what is happening in London. I include in particular the London boroughs. They, too, have targets and performance indicators. We, like all noble Lords, are concerned that there will not be a duplication of effort between the new authority and the London boroughs, but we appreciate that their areas of responsibility will cover the same subject matter, although one hopes not precisely the same ground. My amendments, including Amendment No. 114A, are designed to ensure that there is a coherent approach.

My Amendment No. 138A is tabled for clarification that the authority is the subject of Clause 38(1)(b) and to ensure that the “Authority" and the “authorities" are covered. I beg to move.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, my Amendment No. 114 is directed to a specific point. I heard what the Minister said in his opening remarks--that he hoped we would be satisfied and withdraw our amendments--but in the light of those remarks, I am not sure that that will apply. It will depend on what he says in reply. The government amendment properly

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requires the mayor to establish targets and so on and so forth,


    “as he may consider appropriate having regard to ... targets or objectives set nationally; and


    (b) any performance indicators set by the Secretary of State".

Of course, both of those factors are important, but I find it absolutely unbelievable that the mayor should be required to establish targets, objectives and indicators without some regard to the assembly, whose members are required to represent the views of the people of London and who might be expected to have a view on the matter.

My Amendment No. 114 is on the Marshalled List to ensure that in setting those targets the mayor has regard to the views of the assembly and therefore has regard to the views of the people of London. That is what the Bill is all about. Frankly, I do not believe that a throwaway line suggesting that it might be automatically withdrawn in introducing this group is a satisfactory way of treating the seriousness of the subject.


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