Postal Services Bill - continued        House of Lords
PART III, OTHER FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMISSION AND THE COUNCIL - continued
The Commission - continued

back to previous text
 
Information powers: enforcement.     48. - (1) A person commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse, he fails to do anything required of him by a notice under section 47.
 
      (2) A person commits an offence if he intentionally obstructs or delays any person in the exercise of his powers under section 47(3).
 
      (3) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) or (2) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.
 
      (4) A person commits an offence if he-
 
 
    (a) intentionally alters, suppresses or destroys any document which he has been required to produce by a notice under section 47, or
 
    (b) in supplying any information required of him by a notice under section 47, makes any statement which he knows to be false in a material particular or recklessly makes any statement which is false in a material particular.
      (5) A person who commits an offence under subsection (4) shall be liable-
 
 
    (a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum,
 
    (b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine.
      (6) If a person makes default in complying with a notice under section 47, the court may, on the application of the Commission, make such order as the court considers appropriate for requiring the default to be made good.
 
      (7) Any such order may, in particular, provide that all the costs or expenses of and incidental to the application shall be borne-
 
 
    (a) by the person in default, or
 
    (b) if officers of a company or other association are responsible for its default, by those officers.
      (8) The reference in this section to the production of a document includes a reference to the production of a legible and intelligible copy of information recorded otherwise than in legible form; and the reference to suppressing a document includes a reference to destroying the means of reproducing information recorded otherwise than in legible form.
 
      (9) In this section "the court"-
 
 
    (a) in relation to England and Wales or Northern Ireland, means the High Court, and
 
    (b) in relation to Scotland, means the Court of Session.
Powers of entry and seizure.     49. - (1) Subsection (2) applies where, on an application made by a constable or the Commission, a justice of the peace or, in Scotland, a sheriff is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for suspecting-
 
 
    (a) that a person has committed an offence under section 6 ("the suspect"), and
 
    (b) that articles or documents of a particular description which are required for the purposes of an investigation of the offence are on particular premises.
      (2) The justice or sheriff may issue a warrant authorising a person appointed by him ("the appointed person") to enter the premises concerned, search for the articles or documents and, subject to subsection (3), seize and remove any that he may find.
 
      (3) A warrant issued under subsection (2) shall not authorise the seizure and removal of any postal packet, mail-bag or document to which section 104(2) applies; but any such warrant may authorise the appointed person to take copies of the cover of any such packet, bag or document that he finds.
 
      (4) The appointed person, in the exercise of his powers under a warrant issued under this section, may if necessary use reasonable force.
 
      (5) The appointed person, in seeking to enter any premises in the exercise of his powers under the warrant, shall, if required by or on behalf of the owner or occupier or person in charge of the premises, produce evidence of his identity, and of the warrant, before entering.
 
      (6) Any articles or documents which have been seized and removed under a warrant issued under this section may be retained until the conclusion of proceedings against the suspect.
 
      (7) For the purposes of this section, proceedings in relation to a suspect are concluded if-
 
 
    (a) he is found guilty and sentenced or otherwise dealt with for the offence,
 
    (b) he is acquitted,
 
    (c) proceedings for the offence are discontinued, or
 
    (d) it is decided not to prosecute him.
      (8) In this section "premises" includes any vehicle, ship or aircraft.
 
Codes of practice.     50. - (1) The Commission shall prepare, and may revise, a code of practice governing the discharge by it of its functions.
 
      (2) The Commission shall, in exercising its functions, have regard to the provisions of the code.
 
      (3) In preparing or revising the code, the Commission shall consult-
 
 
    (a) the Secretary of State,
 
    (b) the Council,
 
    (c) any universal service provider,
 
    (d) any licence holder under Part II who is not a universal service provider, and
 
    (e) such other persons as the Commission considers appropriate.
      (4) The Commission shall publish in such manner as it considers appropriate the code as for the time being in force.
 
 
The Council
Relevant postal issues.     51. In this section and sections 52 to 57-
 
 
    "relevant postal issues" means the interests of users of relevant postal services in the United Kingdom and matters affecting those interests,
 
    "relevant postal services" means any postal services provided in connection with the provision of a universal postal service and any other postal services which are provided, or authorised or required to be provided, by a licence holder under Part II in accordance with a licence under that Part,
 
    and, for this purpose, services are provided in accordance with a licence if the licence authorises or requires them to be provided by the licence holder.
Provision of advice and information to public authorities and licence holders.     52. - (1) The Council shall-
 
 
    (a) provide advice and information,
 
    (b) represent the views of users of relevant postal services, and
 
    (c) make proposals,
 
    about relevant postal issues to any person mentioned in subsection (2).
      (2) Those persons are-
 
 
    (a) the Secretary of State, the Commission, the Competition Commission and any other public authority,
 
    (b) any universal service provider,
 
    (c) any licence holder under Part II who is not a universal service provider, and
 
    (d) any other person whose activities may affect the interests of users of relevant postal services.
      (3) So far as practicable the Council shall secure that no information relating to the affairs of a person is disclosed under this section to a person mentioned in subsection (2)(b) to (d) if the Council considers that its disclosure would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of the person to whom it relates.
 
      (4) Subsection (3) does not apply to any disclosure of information to which the person to whom the information relates consents.
 
Publication of information to users.     53. - (1) The Council shall make available to users of relevant postal services such information as it considers expedient to give to such users about-
 
 
    (a) relevant postal services,
 
    (b) relevant postal issues, and
 
    (c) itself and its functions.
      (2) The Council may perform its function under subsection (1) by-
 
 
    (a) publishing information in such form and manner as the Council considers appropriate, or
 
    (b) furnishing any such information to any user of relevant postal services (whether in response to a request or otherwise).
      (3) So far as practicable the Council shall secure that no information relating to the affairs of a person is disclosed under this section if the Council considers that its disclosure would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of the person to whom it relates.
 
      (4) Subsection (3) does not apply to any disclosure of information to which the person to whom the information relates consents.
 
Exercise of functions: general.     54. - (1) The Council shall, in exercising its functions in relation to relevant postal services, have regard to the interests of different users of relevant postal services (including, in particular, the interests of users in different areas).
 
      (2) The Council shall, in exercising its functions, have regard to the interests of-
 
 
    (a) individuals who are disabled or chronically sick,
 
    (b) individuals of pensionable age,
 
    (c) individuals with low incomes, and
 
    (d) individuals residing in rural areas,
 
    but that is not to be taken as implying that regard may not be had to the interests of other descriptions of persons.
      (3) So far as the Council considers it practicable to do so with a view to facilitating the exercise of its functions, it shall collect and keep under review information about-
 
 
    (a) the provision (in the United Kingdom and elsewhere) of postal services, and
 
    (b) the interests and views of users of postal services in the United Kingdom and matters affecting those interests and views.
      (4) As part of the arrangements it makes for exercising its functions, the Council-
 
 
    (a) shall establish-
 
      (i) a committee for Scotland,
 
      (ii) a committee for Wales, and
 
      (iii) a committee for Northern Ireland,
 
    (b) may establish other committees for any areas within Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, and
 
    (c) may establish one or more committees for, or for any areas within, England.
      (5) The purposes of a committee established under subsection (4) (in this Act referred to as a "regional committee") shall be-
 
 
    (a) the provision of advice and information to the Council about relevant postal issues affecting the area for which it is established, and
 
    (b) such other purposes as the Council may determine.
      (6) The Council shall maintain in each of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland at least one office at which users of relevant postal services may apply for information.
 
 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Lords home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2000
Prepared 16 June 2000