Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill - continued        House of Lords

back to previous text
 
  S C H E D U L E S
 
 

 
 
 
SCHEDULE 1
 
  THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION
 
Status of Commission and its property
     1. - (1) The Commission shall not be regarded-
 
 
    (a) as the servant or agent of the Crown, or
 
    (b) as enjoying any status, immunity or privilege of the Crown.
      (2) The property of the Commission shall not be regarded as property of, or property held on behalf of, the Crown.
 
 
Powers
     2. The Commission may do anything (except borrow money) which is calculated to facilitate, or is incidental or conducive to, the carrying out of any of their functions.
 
 
Term of office etc. of Electoral Commissioners
     3. - (1) Subject to the provisions of this paragraph, an Electoral Commissioner shall hold office as such Commissioner-
 
 
    (a) for the period for which he is appointed, and
 
    (b) otherwise in accordance with the terms of his appointment.
      (2) The period for which an Electoral Commissioner is appointed shall be the period specified in relation to him in the address pursuant to which he is appointed.
 
      (3) An Electoral Commissioner may be relieved of his office by Her Majesty at his own request.
 
      (4) An Electoral Commissioner may be removed from office by Her Majesty in pursuance of an Address from the House of Commons.
 
      (5) No motion shall be made for such an Address unless the Speaker's Committee has presented a report to the House of Commons stating that the Committee is satisfied that one or more of the following grounds is made out in the case of the Electoral Commissioner in question-
 
 
    (a) he has failed to discharge the functions of his office for a continuous period of at least 3 months;
 
    (b) he has failed to comply with the terms of his appointment;
 
    (c) he has been convicted of a criminal offence;
 
    (d) he is an undischarged bankrupt or his estate has been sequestrated in Scotland and he has not been discharged;
 
    (e) he has made an arrangement or composition contract with, or has granted a trust deed for, his creditors; and
 
    (f) he is otherwise unfit to hold his office or unable to carry out its functions.
      (6) A motion for such an Address shall not be made on the ground mentioned in sub-paragraph (5)(a) if more than 3 months have elapsed since the end of the period in question.
 
 
Term of office etc. of Commission chairman
     4. - (1) Subject to the provisions of this paragraph, the chairman of the Commission shall hold office as such chairman-
 
 
    (a) for the period for which he is appointed, and
 
    (b) otherwise in accordance with the terms of his appointment.
      (2) The period for which a person is appointed as chairman of the Commission shall be the period specified in relation to him in the address pursuant to which he is appointed.
 
      (3) The chairman of the Commission may be relieved of his office of chairman by Her Majesty at his own request.
 
      (4) If the chairman of the Commission ceases to be an Electoral Commissioner he also ceases to be chairman.
 
 
Electoral Commissioners: salary etc.
     5. - (1) There shall be paid-
 
 
    (a) to an Electoral Commissioner such salary and any such allowances,
 
    (b) towards the provision of superannuation benefits for or in respect of an Electoral Commissioner or former Electoral Commissioner such amounts, and
 
    (c) to or in respect of a person who has ceased to hold office as an Electoral Commissioner such pension,
  as may be specified by a resolution of the House of Commons.
 
      (2) A resolution for the purposes of this paragraph may-
 
 
    (a) specify the amounts to be paid;
 
    (b) provide that the amounts to be paid shall be the same as, or calculated on the same basis as, those payable to or in respect of a person employed in a specified office under, or in a specified capacity in the service of, the Crown;
 
    (c) specify the amounts to be paid and provide for them to be increased by reference to such variables as may be specified in the resolution;
 
    (d) have the effect of making different provision for different Electoral Commissioners or former Electoral Commissioners.
      (3) A resolution for the purposes of this paragraph may take effect from the date on which it is passed or from any earlier or later date specified in the resolution.
 
      (4) Any amount payable under this paragraph shall be charged on and issued out of the Consolidated Fund.
 
      (5) In this paragraph "pension" includes allowance and gratuity.
 
 
Deputy Electoral Commissioners: term of office etc.
     6. - (1) Subject to sub-paragraph (2), a Deputy Electoral Commissioner shall hold and vacate his office in accordance with the terms of his appointment.
 
      (2) The Commission may remove a Deputy Electoral Commissioner from his office before the end of the period for which he was appointed only if the Commission are satisfied that one or more of the following grounds is made out in his case-
 
 
    (a) he has failed to discharge the functions of his office for a continuous period of at least 3 months;
 
    (b) he has failed to comply with the terms of his appointment;
 
    (c) he has been convicted of a criminal offence;
 
    (d) he is an undischarged bankrupt or his estate has been sequestrated in Scotland and he has not been discharged;
 
    (e) he has made an arrangement or composition contract with, or has granted a trust deed for, his creditors; and
 
    (f) he is otherwise unfit to hold his office or unable to carry out its functions.
      (3) The Commission shall pay-
 
 
    (a) to a Deputy Electoral Commissioner such salary and any such allowances,
 
    (b) towards the provision of superannuation benefits for or in respect of a Deputy Electoral Commissioner or former Deputy Electoral Commissioner any such amounts, and
 
    (c) to or in respect of a former Deputy Electoral Commissioner any such pension,
  as may be provided for by or under the terms of his appointment.
 
      (4) In sub-paragraph (3) "pension" includes allowance and gratuity.
 
 
Assistant Electoral Commissioners
     7. - (1) The Commission may appoint one or more Assistant Electoral Commissioners to inquire into, and report to the Commission or a Boundary Committee on, such matters as the Commission or a Boundary Committee think fit.
 
      (2) An Assistant Electoral Commissioner shall-
 
 
    (a) be appointed either for a fixed term or for the purposes of a particular inquiry; and
 
    (b) hold and vacate office in accordance with the terms of his appointment.
      (3) The Commission shall pay an Assistant Electoral Commissioner such remuneration, and any such allowances, as may be provided for by or under the terms of his appointment.
 
 
Committees
     8. - (1) The Commission may establish (in addition to the Boundary Committees) any committees which the Commission consider appropriate.
 
      (2) Any committee of the Commission established under sub-paragraph (1) may establish one or more sub-committees.
 
      (3) A person shall not be a member of a committee or sub-committee established under this paragraph unless he is an Electoral Commissioner.
 
 
Delegation to committees
     9. - (1) The Commission may delegate functions of the Commission (to such extent as the Commission may determine) to any committee of the Commission established under paragraph 8(1).
 
      (2) Sub-paragraph (1) does not apply to any function transferred to the Commission in pursuance of any of sections 15, 17 and 18.
 
      (3) A committee of the Commission established under paragraph 8(1) may delegate functions of the committee (to such extent as the committee may determine) to any sub-committee of the committee.
 
 
Procedure and proceedings
     10. - (1) The Commission shall regulate their own procedure, and the procedure of their committees and sub-committees (whether established under paragraph 8 or section 13), including the quorum for meetings.
 
      (2) The validity of any proceedings of the Commission, or of any of their committees or sub-committees, shall not be affected by-
 
 
    (a) any vacancy among the members of the Commission, or of the committee or sub-committee, or
 
    (b) any defect in the appointments of any such member.
 
Staff
     11. - (1) The Commission-
 
 
    (a) shall appoint a chief executive, and
 
    (b) may appoint such other staff as the Commission consider necessary to assist them and their committees in the performance of their functions.
      (2) The staff of the Commission shall be appointed on such terms and conditions as the Commission may determine; and the Commission shall pay their staff such remuneration as may be provided for by or under their terms of appointment.
 
      (3) In determining the terms and conditions of staff under sub-paragraph (2) above, the Commission shall have regard to the desirability of keeping the remuneration and other terms and conditions of employment of its staff broadly in line with those applying to persons employed in the civil service of the State.
 
      (4) Service as an officer or employee of the Commission shall be included in the kinds of employment to which a scheme under section 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972 can apply; and, accordingly, in Schedule 1 to that Act (which lists the kinds of employment to which a scheme can apply), the following entry shall be inserted at the appropriate place in the list of "Other Bodies"-
 
 
    " Electoral Commission".
 
      (5) The Commission shall pay to the Minister for the Civil Service, at such times as he may direct, such sums as he may determine in respect of any increase attributable to sub-paragraph (4) in the sums payable out of money provided by Parliament under the Superannuation Act 1972.
 
      (6) No member of the staff of the Commission shall be regarded-
 
 
    (a) as the servant or agent of the Crown, or
 
    (b) as enjoying any status, immunity or privilege of the Crown.
      (7) The Secretary of State may appoint a person to be the Commission's chief executive until such time as the first person to be appointed by the Commission as their chief executive takes up office; and until such time as the Commission have appointed their own staff the Secretary of State may appoint persons to serve as members of the Commission's staff.
 
      (8) Until such time as the Commission may determine, the Commission's chief executive appointed under sub-paragraph (7) may incur expenditure and do other things in the name and on behalf of the Commission, whether or not the membership of the Commission has yet to be constituted in accordance with section 1.
 
      (9) The power conferred by sub-paragraph (8) shall be exercisable by that person subject to and in accordance with any directions given to him by the Secretary of State.
 
 
Delegation to staff
     12. Each of the following-
 
 
    (a) the Commission,
 
    (b) any committee of the Commission (whether established under paragraph 8 or section 13),
 
    (c) any sub-committee of such a committee, and
 
    (d) the Commission's chief executive,
  may delegate functions of theirs or his (to such extent as they or he may determine) to the Commission's staff (either generally or otherwise).
 
 
Delegation and contracting-out of superannuation functions
     13. - (1) Section 1(2) of the Superannuation Act 1972 (delegation of functions relating to civil service superannuation schemes by Minister for the Civil Service to another officer of the Crown etc.) shall have effect as if the reference to an officer of the Crown other than a Minister included the Commission's chief executive.
 
      (2) Any administration function conferred on the Commission's chief executive under section 1(2) of the Superannuation Act 1972 (as it has effect in accordance with sub-paragraph (1) above) may be exercised by (or by employees of) such person as may be authorised in that behalf by the Commission's chief executive.
 
      (3) For the purposes of this paragraph an "administration function" is a function of administering schemes-
 
 
    (a) made under section 1 of the Superannuation Act 1972, and
 
    (b) from time to time in force.
      (4) An authorisation given by virtue of sub-paragraph (2) may authorise the exercise of an administration function-
 
 
    (a) either wholly or to such extent as may be specified in the authorisation;
 
    (b) either generally or in such cases as may be so specified; and
 
    (c) either unconditionally or subject to the fulfilment of such conditions as may be so specified.
      (5) An authorisation given by virtue of sub-paragraph (2)-
 
 
    (a) shall be treated for all purposes as if it were given by virtue of an order under section 69 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 (contracting out of functions of Ministers and office-holders);
 
    (b) may be revoked at any time by the Commission (as well as by the chief executive).
 
Financing of Commission
     14. - (1) The expenditure of the Commission, so far as it cannot be met out of income received by the Commission, shall be met, in accordance with this paragraph, out of money provided by Parliament (except so far as it is met by the National Assembly for Wales in pursuance of section 4(3) or 18(8)).
 
      (2) For each financial year (other than the Commission's first financial year) the Commission shall prepare, and submit to the Speaker's Committee, an estimate of the Commission's income and expenditure.
 
      (3) The Speaker's Committee shall-
 
 
    (a) examine each such estimate submitted to them; and
 
    (b) decide whether they are satisfied that the estimated level of income and expenditure is consistent with the economical, efficient and effective discharge by the Commission of their functions; and
 
    (c) if they are not so satisfied, shall make such modifications to the estimate as they consider appropriate for the purpose of achieving such consistency.
      (4) Before deciding whether they are so satisfied or making any such modifications, the Speaker's Committee shall-
 
 
    (a) have regard to the most recent report made to them by the Comptroller and Auditor General under paragraph 16 and to any recommendations contained in that report; and
 
    (b) consult the Treasury and have regard to any advice which the Treasury may give.
      (5) The Speaker's Committee shall, after concluding their examination and making their modifications (if any) to the estimate, lay the estimate before the House of Commons.
 
      (6) If the Speaker's Committee, in the discharge of their functions under this paragraph-
 
 
    (a) do not follow any recommendation contained in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General,
 
    (b) do not follow any advice given to them by the Treasury, or
 
    (c) make any modification to the estimate,
  they shall include in the next report which they make to the House of Commons under paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 a statement of their reasons for so doing.
 
      (7) The Secretary of State may by order provide for the transfer to the Commission of such property, rights and liabilities-
 
 
    (a) to which he is entitled or subject, and
 
    (b) which are specified in the order,
  as he considers appropriate in connection with the establishment of the Commission.
 
      (8) Such an order may in particular provide for the order to have effect despite any provision (of whatever nature) which would prevent or restrict the transfer of any such property, rights or liabilities otherwise than by the order.
 
 
Five-year plan
     15. - (1) When the Commission submit to the Speaker's Committee such an estimate as is mentioned in paragraph 14 the Commission shall also submit to the Committee a plan prepared by the Commission setting out the Commission's-
 
 
    (a) aims and objectives for the period of five years beginning with the financial year to which the estimate relates, and
 
    (b) estimated requirements for resources during that five-year period.
      (2) The Speaker's Committee shall-
 
 
    (a) examine each plan submitted to them;
 
    (b) decide whether they are satisfied that the plan is consistent with the economical, efficient and effective discharge by the Commission of their functions; and
 
    (c) if they are not so satisfied, shall make such modifications to the plan as they consider appropriate for the purpose of achieving such consistency.
      (3) Before deciding whether they are so satisfied or making any such modifications, the Speaker's Committee shall-
 
 
    (a) have regard to the most recent report made to them by the Comptroller and Auditor General under paragraph 16 and to any recommendations contained in that report; and
 
    (b) consult the Treasury and have regard to any advice which the Treasury may give.
      (4) The Speaker's Committee shall, after concluding their examination and making their modifications (if any) to the plan, lay the plan before the House of Commons.
 
      (5) If the Speaker's Committee, in the discharge of their functions under this paragraph-
 
 
    (a) do not follow any recommendation contained in the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General;
 
    (b) do not follow any advice given to them by the Treasury; or
 
    (c) make any modification to the plan,
  they shall include in the next report which they make to the House of Commons under paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 a statement of their reasons for so doing.
 
 
Annual examination of Commission by Comptroller and Auditor General
     16. - (1) For the purpose of assisting the Speaker's Committee to discharge their functions under paragraphs 14 and 15 the Comptroller and Auditor General shall in each year-
 
 
    (a) carry out an examination into the economy, efficiency or effectiveness (or, if he so determines, any combination thereof) with which the Commission have used their resources in discharging their functions (or, if he so determines, any particular functions of theirs);
 
    (b) report to the Speaker's Committee the results of the examination; and
 
    (c) include in his report such recommendations as he considers appropriate in the light of the examination.
      (2) Section 8 of the National Audit Act 1983 (right to obtain documents and information) shall apply in relation to any examination under this paragraph as it applies in relation to an examination under section 6 of that Act.
 
 
Accounts
     17. - (1) The Commission shall keep proper accounting records.
 
      (2) The Commission shall, for each financial year, prepare accounts in accordance with directions given to the Commission by the Treasury.
 
      (3) The directions which the Treasury may give under sub-paragraph (2) include, in particular, directions as to-
 
 
    (a) the information to be contained in the accounts and the manner in which it is to be presented,
 
    (b) the methods and principles in accordance with which the accounts are to be prepared, and
 
    (c) the additional information (if any) that is to accompany the accounts.
 
Audit
     18. - (1) The accounts prepared by the Commission for any financial year shall be submitted by the Commission to-
 
 
    (a) the Comptroller and Auditor General, and
 
    (b) the Speaker's Committee,
  as soon after the end of the financial year as may be practicable.
 
      (2) The Comptroller and Auditor General shall-
 
 
    (a) examine and certify any accounts submitted to him under this paragraph, and
 
    (b) lay before each House of Parliament a copy of the accounts as certified by him together with his report on them.
 
Accounting officer
     19. - (1) The Speaker's Committee shall designate a member of the Commission's staff to be the Commission's accounting officer.
 
      (2) The Commission's accounting officer shall have, in relation to the Commission's accounts and finances, the responsibilities that are from time to time specified by the Speaker's Committee.
 
      (3) In this paragraph references to responsibilities include in particular-
 
 
    (a) responsibilities in relation to the signing of accounts;
 
    (b) responsibilities for the propriety and regularity of the Commission's finances; and
 
    (c) responsibilities for the economy, efficiency and effectiveness with which the Commission's resources are used.
      (4) The responsibilities which may be specified under this paragraph include responsibilities owed to the Commission, the Speaker's Committee or the House of Commons or its Committee of Public Accounts.
 
      (5) In this paragraph any reference to the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Commons shall, if-
 
 
    (a) the name of the Committee is changed, or
 
    (b) the functions of the Committee at the passing of this Act (or functions substantially corresponding thereto) become functions of a different committee of the House of Commons,
  be taken to be references to the Committee by its new name or (as the case may be) to the committee by whom the functions are for the time being exercisable.
 
      (6) The Secretary of State may designate any member of the Commission's staff or other person to be the Commission's accounting officer until such time as the first designation made under sub-paragraph (1) takes effect.
 
 
Reports
     20. - (1) The Commission shall, as soon after the end of each financial year as may be practicable, prepare and lay before each House of Parliament a report about the performance of the Commission's functions during that financial year.
 
      (2) The Commission shall, on so laying such a report, publish the report in such manner as they determine.
 
 
Notification of Commission regulations
     21. - (1) If the Commission make any regulations, they must give a copy to the Secretary of State without delay.
 
      (2) If the Commission alter or revoke any regulations, they must give notice to the Secretary of State without delay.
 
      (3) Notice of an alteration must include details of the alteration.
 
 
Regulation-making instruments
     22. - (1) Any power conferred on the Commission to make regulations is exercisable in writing.
 
      (2) An instrument by which regulations are made by the Commission ("a regulation-making instrument") must specify the provision under which the regulations are made.
 
      (3) To the extent to which a regulation-making instrument does not comply with sub-paragraph (2), it is void.
 
      (4) Immediately after a regulation-making instrument is made, it must be printed and made available to the public.
 
      (5) The Commission may charge a reasonable fee for providing a person with a copy of a regulation-making instrument.
 
      (6) A person is not to be taken to have contravened any regulation made by the Commission if he shows that at the time of the alleged contravention the regulation-making instrument concerned had not been made available in accordance with this paragraph.
 
      (7) Any power of the Commission to make regulations includes power to make different provision for different cases.
 
 
Verification of regulations
     23. - (1) The production of a printed copy of a regulation-making instrument purporting to be made by the Commission-
 
 
    (a) on which is endorsed a certificate signed by a member of the Commission's staff authorised by the Commission for that purpose, and
 
    (b) which contains the required statements,
  is evidence (or in Scotland sufficient evidence) of the facts stated in the certificate.
 
      (2) The required statements are-
 
 
    (a) that the instrument was made by the Commission;
 
    (b) that the copy is a true copy of the instrument; and
 
    (c) that on a specified date the instrument was made available to the public in accordance with paragraph 22(4).
      (3) A certificate purporting to be signed as mentioned in sub-paragraph (1) is to be taken to have been properly signed unless the contrary is shown.
 
      (4) A person who wishes in any legal proceedings to rely on a regulation-making instrument may require the Commission to endorse a copy of the instrument with a certificate of the kind mentioned in sub-paragraph (1).
 
 
Documentary evidence
     24. A document purporting to be-
 
 
    (a) duly executed under the seal of the Commission, or
 
    (b) signed on behalf of the Commission or a Boundary Committee,
  shall be received in evidence and shall, unless the contrary is proved, be taken to be so executed or signed.
 
 
Interpretation
     25. In this Schedule "delegate" includes further delegate.
 
 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Lords home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 17 March 2000