Local Government Bill [H.L.] - continued        House of Lords
PART II, ARRANGEMENTS WITH RESPECT TO EXECUTIVES - continued
Provisions with respect to executive arrangements - continued

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Access to information etc.     20. - (1) Meetings of a local authority executive, or a committee of such an executive, are to be open to the public or held in private.
 
      (2) Subject to regulations under subsection (9), it is for a local authority executive to decide which of its meetings, and which of the meetings of any committee of the executive, are to be open to the public and which of those meetings are to be held in private.
 
      (3) A written record must be kept of prescribed decisions made at meetings of local authorities executives, or committees of such executives, which are held in private.
 
      (4) A written record must be kept of prescribed decisions made by individual members of local authority executives.
 
      (5) Written records under subsection (3) or (4) must include reasons for the decisions to which they relate.
 
      (6) Written records under subsections (3) and (4), together with such reports, background papers or other documents as may be prescribed, must be made available to members of the public in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State.
 
      (7) Regulations under subsection (6) may make provision for or in connection with preventing the whole or part of any record or document containing prescribed information from being made available to members of the public.
 
      (8) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision-
 
 
    (a) with respect to the access of the public to meetings of joint committees, or sub-committees of such committees, at which decisions are made in connection with the discharge of functions which are the responsibility of executives (including provision enabling such meetings to be held in private),
 
    (b) for or in connection with requiring written records to be kept of decisions made at meetings which by virtue of paragraph (a) are held in private,
 
    (c) for or in connection with requiring written records falling within paragraph (b) to include reasons,
 
    (d) for or in connection with requiring any such written records to be made available to members of the public,
 
    (e) for or in connection with requiring documents connected with decisions to which any such written records relate to be made available to members of the public.
      (9) The Secretary of State may by regulations make provision-
 
 
    (a) as to the circumstances in which the whole or part of the proceedings at meetings mentioned in subsection (2) are to be held in private,
 
    (b) with respect to the information which is to be included in written records kept by virtue of this section,
 
    (c) with respect to the reasons which are to be included in any such written records,
 
    (d) with respect to the persons who are to produce, keep or make available any such written records,
 
    (e) for or in connection with requiring any such written records to be made available to members of local authorities or to overview and scrutiny committees or sub-committees,
 
    (f) for or in connection with requiring documents connected with decisions to which any such written records relate to be made available to members of local authorities or to overview and scrutiny committees or sub-committees,
 
    (g) for or in connection with requiring information to be made available by electronic means,
 
    (h) for or in connection with conferring rights on members of the public, members of local authorities or overview and scrutiny committees or sub-committees in relation to records or documents,
 
    (i) for or in connection with the creation of offences in respect of any rights or requirements conferred or imposed by virtue of this section.
      (10) In this section-
 
 
    "joint committee" means a joint committee falling within section 101(5)(a) of the Local Government Act 1972,
 
    "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations made by the Secretary of State.
Further provision.     21. Schedule 1 (which makes further provision in relation to executive arrangements) has effect.
 
Absence of requirement for political balance.     22. Neither-
 
 
    (a) a local authority executive, nor
 
    (b) a committee of a local authority executive,
  is to be regarded as a body to which section 15 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (duty to allocate seats to political groups) applies.
 
 
Procedure with respect to operation of executive arrangements
Proposals.     23. - (1) Every local authority must-
 
 
    (a) draw up proposals for the operation of executive arrangements, and
 
    (b) send a copy of the proposals to the Secretary of State.
      (2) In drawing up proposals under this section, a local authority must decide-
 
 
    (a) which form the executive is to take, and
 
    (b) which of the functions specified in regulations under section 11(2)(b) are to be the responsibility of the executive.
      (3) In drawing up proposals under this section, a local authority-
 
 
    (a) must take reasonable steps to consult local government electors, and other interested persons, in the authority's area, and
 
    (b) must comply with any directions given by the Secretary of State.
      (4) Proposals under this section must include-
 
 
    (a) such details of the executive arrangements as the Secretary of State may direct,
 
    (b) a timetable with respect to the implementation of the proposals, and
 
    (c) details of any transitional arrangements which are necessary for the implementation of the proposals.
      (5) A copy of proposals under this section which is sent to the Secretary of State must be accompanied by a statement which describes-
 
 
    (a) the steps which the authority took to consult local government electors, and other interested persons, in the authority's area, and
 
    (b) the outcome of that consultation and the extent to which that outcome is reflected in the proposals.
      (6) The Secretary of State may by order specify a date by which every local authority, or every local authority falling within any description of authority specified in the order, must comply with this section.
 
Proposals not requiring referendum.     24. - (1) Where a local authority's proposals under section 23 do not involve a form of executive for which a referendum is required, the authority must implement the proposals in accordance with the timetable included in the proposals.
 
      (2) Any reference in this Part to a form of executive for which a referendum is required is a reference to-
 
 
    (a) a mayor and cabinet executive,
 
    (b) a mayor and council manager executive, or
 
    (c) a form of executive prescribed in regulations under section 10(5) which is expressed in those regulations to be a form of executive for which a referendum is required.
Referendum in case of proposals involving elected mayor.     25. - (1) Where a local authority's proposals under section 23 involve a form of executive for which a referendum is required, the authority-
 
 
    (a) must hold a referendum on their proposals before taking any steps to implement them, and
 
    (b) must draw up and send to the Secretary of State an outline of the fall-back proposals (referred to in this section as outline fall-back proposals) that they intend to implement if the proposals under section 23 are rejected in a referendum.
      (2) Fall-back proposals are proposals-
 
 
    (a) for the operation of executive arrangements which do not involve a form of executive for which a referendum is required, or
 
    (b) for the operation of alternative arrangements (within the meaning of section 28).
      (3) In drawing up outline fall-back proposals, a local authority must take reasonable steps to consult local government electors, and other interested persons, in the authority's area.
 
      (4) Outline fall-back proposals must include a timetable with respect to the implementation of detailed fall-back proposals which are based on the outline fall-back proposals in the event that the proposals under section 23 are rejected in a referendum.
 
      (5) A local authority must send a copy of their outline fall-back proposals to the Secretary of State at the same time that a copy of the proposals under section 23 is sent to him.
 
      (6) A local authority may not hold a referendum under this section before the end of the period of two months beginning with the date on which a copy of the proposals under section 23 is sent to the Secretary of State.
 
      (7) If the result of a referendum under subsection (1) is to approve a local authority's proposals under section 23, the authority must implement the proposals in accordance with the timetable included in the proposals.
 
      (8) If the result of a referendum under subsection (1) is to reject a local authority's proposals under section 23, the authority-
 
 
    (a) may not implement those proposals,
 
    (b) must draw up detailed fall-back proposals which are based on the outline fall-back proposals, and
 
    (c) must send a copy of the detailed fall-back proposals to the Secretary of State.
      (9) In drawing up outline fall-back proposals or detailed fall-back proposals under this section, a local authority must comply with any directions given by the Secretary of State.
 
      (10) Outline fall-back proposals and detailed fall-back proposals must include such details of the executive arrangements or alternative arrangements to which they relate as the Secretary of State may direct.
 
      (11) Subsections (2)(b), (3)(a) and (4)(c) of section 23 are to apply to detailed fall-back proposals involving executive arrangements as they apply to proposals under that section.
 
      (12) Subsections (3)(a) and (4)(c) of that section are to apply to detailed fall-back proposals involving alternative arrangements as they apply to proposals under that section.
 
      (13) A local authority must implement detailed fall-back proposals in accordance with the timetable mentioned in subsection (4).
 
 
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