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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton moved Amendment No. 234:


Page 29, line 26, leave out (“Chief Administrative Officer of the Authority") and insert (“head of the Authority's paid service").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 234, I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 261 to 266 and 334.

This group of amendments looks complex but is not. Amendment No. 234 simply anticipates an amendment we are making to Clause 61. The other amendments seek to clarify the respective roles of the mayor and assembly in relation to the provision of resources for the head of paid service and the monitoring officer. These are dealt with respectively in Amendments Nos. 264 and 266. Both provide for the mayor to provide accommodation and other resources for the two officers and for the assembly to provide their staff.

Amendments Nos. 261 and 265 provide for the head of paid service and the monitoring officer to be appointed as members of staff under the provisions of Clause 56(2) of the Bill. That prevents either office

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being held by staff appointed by the mayor. The same is true in the case of the chief finance officer, which is why Amendment No. 334 also appears in this group.

The procedures for handling reports submitted to the authority by either the head of paid service or the monitoring officer are also provided for in these amendments.

The provision in the Bill which required that the head of paid service should be known as the chief administrative officer has been criticised as being too prescriptive. On reflection, we agree. That requirement is deleted by Amendment No. 263. I beg to move.

Lord Dixon-Smith: My Lords, perhaps I may raise a query as regards Amendment No. 265, which adds a massive chunk to Clause 62. The monitoring officer obviously has wide responsibilities across the area of the Greater London Authority. The amendment states that in this subsection “GLA body or person" means the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, the London Development Agency, the mayor of London, the London assembly, and so on.

I have clearly missed something because there is no mention of the Metropolitan Police or the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, which are existing bodies. Presumably they have their own existing monitoring arrangements. Provided I am given an assurance by the Minister that that is so and that such existing functions will continue in future, I shall be perfectly happy. If not, one needs to think about this.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Dixon-Smith, is right. They have their own monitoring officers.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 53 [Restriction of information]:

[Amendment No. 235 not moved.]

9.30 p.m.

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 236:


After Clause 54, insert the following new clause--

PROCEEDINGS UNDER SECTION 51(1): OPENNESS

(“ .--(1) In its application by virtue of section 48 above, Part VA of the Local Government Act 1972 (access to meetings and documents of certain authorities, committees and sub-committees), so far as relating to any proceedings under section 51(1) above (“the evidentiary proceedings"), shall have effect with the following additional modifications.
(2) In section 100B (access to agenda and connected reports) any reference to a report for a meeting includes a reference to any document (other than the agenda) supplied before, and for the purposes of, the evidentiary proceedings (a “relevant document").
(3) If a report or relevant document is supplied less than three clear days before the evidentiary proceedings, copies of the report or document shall be open to inspection by the public under subsection (1) of that section from the time such copies are available to Assembly members, notwithstanding anything in subsection (3) of section 100B.

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(4) In section 100C (inspection of minutes and other documents after meetings)--
(a) any reference to the minutes of a meeting shall be taken to include a reference to a transcript or other record of evidence given in the course of the evidentiary proceedings; and
(b) any reference to a report for the meeting includes a reference to a relevant document.
(5) In section 100D (inspection of background papers) any reference in subsections (1) to (4) to background papers for a report (or part of a report) shall be taken as a reference to any additional documents supplied by a witness.
(6) In this section, “additional documents supplied by a witness" means documents supplied, whether before, during or after the evidentiary proceedings,--
(a) by a person attending to give evidence at the proceedings, and
(b) for the use of Assembly members in connection with the proceedings,
but does not include any document which is a relevant document.
(7) In section 100F (additional rights of access for members) subsections (2) to (4) shall not have effect in relation to documents which contain material relating to any business to be transacted at the evidentiary proceedings.
(8) In section 100H (supplemental provisions and offences) in subsection (6), in the definition of “accessible documents"--
(a) the reference in paragraph (d) to a report for the meeting includes a reference to a relevant document; and
(b) the reference in paragraph (e) to background papers for a report for a meeting shall be taken as a reference to any additional documents supplied by a witness.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 55 [The Secretary of State's guidance on ethical standards]:

Lord Whitty moved Amendment No. 237:


Page 30, line 35, leave out from (“for") to end of line 36 and insert--
(“(a) the Mayor;
(b) the Assembly members;
(c) members of the Authority's staff; and
(d) persons not falling within paragraphs (a) to (c) above who are members of advisory committees or sub-committees of the Assembly.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Hamwee moved Amendment No. 238:


Page 30, line 38, at beginning insert (“disposal,").

The noble Baroness said: I beg to move Amendment No. 238. I shall speak also to Amendment No. 244. Both amendments deal with ethical standards.

An obvious but important point is that the mayor must observe the highest ethical standards and must be seen to do so. Therefore, we have tabled amendments that are similar to those that we tabled in Committee.

The amendments provide that the guidance to be issued by the Secretary of State shall deal not only with the disclosure of interests, but also with the disposal of interests--the disposal of assets. Amendment No. 244 provides that the code of conduct to be observed by the mayor shall be as close as possible to the code of conduct to be observed by Ministers of the Crown.

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The objections raised at the previous stage of the Bill to a code relating to the mayor being close to the ministerial code were as follows. First, there will be a new framework for the whole of local government, although the Government accepted that the mayor will be in a particular position in regard to his executive powers. We agree that that will be the case, so it is particularly important that the code of conduct should be observed.

The second objection was that the mayor cannot be regarded as exactly parallel with ministers, as they are part of a collective executive. The mayor is directly elected to take decisions. Again, we agree with that and that his election will be on the implicit basis that the mayor will act with complete propriety.

The final objection was that the ministerial code has no statutory force, but nor will guidance.

The objections to the reference to the disposal of assets--for instance, into a blind trust--were that that would pre-empt the guidance to be issued by the Secretary of State. At the time, I thought that that was not as full an answer as may be given. One could describe it as a little thin. In any event, I believe that the guidance should cover the point.

At the previous stage of the Bill, we were told that a draft of guidance would be available before the Report stage. Indeed, it is now available. It was waiting for me when I arrived home Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. I accept that it is a draft code for consultation. References to such issues are made in the code at paragraph 2.7:


    “The Mayor and Deputy Mayor may dispose of any relevant interests if they consider that this would be the best way of demonstrating that decisions were not affected by any personal interests".

Paragraph 2.8 says,


    “The Mayor and Deputy Mayor are free to place investments ... into a blind trust if they consider that this would be the best way of demonstrating that decisions were not affected by any personal interests".

The paragraph goes on to explain what a “blind trust" is.

Indeed, the mayor and deputy mayor are free to dispose of interests. They are free to put their assets into a blind trust. Neither of those is in any way mandatory, at any rate to the extent that a non-statutory code can be mandatory. I accept that to put the provisions in the Bill, since they would be in the context of guidance, would not make them mandatory, but it would indicate Parliament's view of the importance of the issues.

One of the questions for consultation asks about blind trusts and this is an opportunity for your Lordships to make the point that this is important and that the guidance should be stronger than as currently proposed. A reference in legislation to non-statutory matters is not inappropriate given that the provision, by its nature as set out in the Bill, is not statutory and that it is a provision that is capable of being varied.

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These are two important matters. I am able to make the point in an entirely non-personal way. This is no implication as to how any future mayor may conduct himself or herself and the points are easily made before we have a mayor. In other words, it is important to set out the most proper code of conduct before we embark on this important exercise of creating London's new government. I beg to move.


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