Postal Services Bill - continued        House of Lords

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  PART III
  OTHER FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMISSION AND THE COUNCIL
 
The Commission
Duties in relation to public post offices.     42. - (1) The Commission shall provide advice and information to the Secretary of State about-
 
 
    (a) the number and location of public post offices of such descriptions as the Secretary of State may specify, and
 
    (b) their accessibility to users of postal and other services.
      (2) The Commission shall consult the Council before providing any advice or information under this section.
 
      (3) In this Act "public post office" means any post office from which any postal services are provided directly to the public (whether or not together with other services).
 
Duties in relation to social and environmental matters.     43. - (1) The Commission shall, in exercising its functions, have regard to any guidance given by the Secretary of State under this section.
 
      (2) The Secretary of State shall from time to time give guidance about the making by the Commission of a contribution towards the attainment of any social or environmental policies set out or referred to in the guidance.
 
      (3) Before giving any such guidance, the Secretary of State shall consult-
 
 
    (a) the Commission,
 
    (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 Secretary of State considers appropriate.
      (4) A draft of any guidance proposed to be given under this section shall be laid before each House of Parliament.
 
      (5) Guidance shall not be given under this section until after the period of 40 days starting with-
 
 
    (a) the day on which the draft is laid before each House of Parliament, or
 
    (b) if the draft is laid before the House of Lords on one day and the House of Commons on another day, the later of those two days.
      (6) If, before the end of that period, either House resolves that the guidance should not be given, the Secretary of State shall not give it.
 
      (7) In reckoning any period of 40 days for the purposes of subsection (5) or (6), no account shall be taken of any time during which-
 
 
    (a) Parliament is dissolved or prorogued, or
 
    (b) both Houses are adjourned for more than four days.
      (8) The Secretary of State shall publish any guidance given by him under this section in such manner as he considers appropriate.
 
Review and information.     44. - (1) So far as the Commission considers it practicable to do so with a view to facilitating the exercise of its functions, it shall-
 
 
    (a) keep under review the provision (in the United Kingdom, other member States and elsewhere) of postal services,
 
    (b) collect information about the provision (in the United Kingdom, other member States and elsewhere) of those services.
      (2) The Secretary of State may give directions indicating considerations to which the Commission is to have particular regard in deciding the order of priority in which matters are to be reviewed in performing its duty under subsection (1)(a).
 
      (3) So far as the Commission considers it practicable to do so with a view to facilitating the exercise of its functions, it shall, in particular, collect information which enables comparisons to be made between the efficiency and economy of different postal operators (whether in the United Kingdom, other member States or elsewhere).
 
      (4) The Commission shall from time to time collect information in relation to the standards of performance achieved by-
 
 
    (a) any universal service provider in the provision of a universal postal service, and
 
    (b) so far as not falling within paragraph (a), licence holders under Part II in the provision of services authorised or required by their licences.
      (5) The Commission may collect such information as is necessary for it to comply with a notice of the Council under section 58(1).
 
      (6) If the Commission considers it expedient or is asked by the Secretary of State to do so, it shall provide information, advice and help to the Secretary of State regarding any matter in relation to which the Commission has a function.
 
Annual and other reports: the Commission.     45. - (1) The Commission shall, as soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, make a report to the Secretary of State on its activities during that year ("the annual report").
 
      (2) The annual report for each year shall, in particular, include-
 
 
    (a) a general survey of developments in relation to matters falling within the scope of the Commission's functions,
 
    (b) a report as to whether each licence holder under Part II has achieved any standards of performance specified for him in his licence, or determined for him by or under it, in relation to the provision of services authorised or required by his licence,
 
    (c) a summary of final and provisional orders made under Part II during that year, of provisional orders confirmed under that Part during that year, and penalties imposed under that Part during that year,
 
    (d) a report on the progress of the projects described in the forward work programme for that year (within the meaning of section 61),
 
    (e) a report on such other matters as the Secretary of State may from time to time require.
      (3) The Secretary of State shall consult the Commission before exercising his power under subsection (2)(e) in relation to any matter.
 
      (4) The Secretary of State shall-
 
 
    (a) lay a copy of each annual report before each House of Parliament, and
 
    (b) publish the report in such manner as he considers appropriate.
      (5) The Commission may prepare other reports in relation to any matter falling within the scope of its functions and may publish any such report in such manner as it considers appropriate.
 
      (6) The Commission shall send a copy of each annual or other report published under this section to the Council.
 
      (7) So far as practicable the Commission shall secure the exclusion from any report under this section of any matter relating to the affairs of a person if the Commission considers that its inclusion would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the person's interests.
 
      (8) Subsection (7) does not apply if-
 
 
    (a) the person concerned consents to inclusion of the matter in the report, or
 
    (b) the Commission considers that inclusion of the matter in the report would be in the public interest.
Publication of information and advice: the Commission.     46. - (1) The Commission may publish such information and advice as it considers expedient to give to-
 
 
    (a) a universal service provider,
 
    (b) any licence holder under Part II who is not a universal service provider, or
 
    (c) users of postal services.
      (2) Publication under this section shall be in such form and manner as the Commission considers appropriate.
 
      (3) So far as practicable the Commission shall secure the exclusion of any matter relating to the affairs of a person if the Commission considers that its publication would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the person's interests.
 
      (4) Subsection (3) does not apply if-
 
 
    (a) the person concerned consents to publication of the matter, or
 
    (b) the Commission considers that publication of the matter would be in the public interest.
Power of the Commission to require information.     47. - (1) The Commission may, for any relevant purpose, serve notice on any person requiring him-
 
 
    (a) to produce any documents which are specified or described in the notice and are in that person's custody or under his control, and
 
    (b) to produce them at a time and place so specified and to a person so specified.
      (2) The Commission may, for any relevant purpose, serve notice on any person who carries on any business requiring him-
 
 
    (a) to supply to the Commission such information as may be specified or described in the notice, and
 
    (b) to supply it at a time and place and in a form and manner so specified and to a person so specified.
      (3) The person to whom any document is produced in accordance with a notice under this section may, for any relevant purpose, copy the document so produced.
 
      (4) No person shall be required under this section-
 
 
    (a) to produce any documents which he could not be compelled to produce in civil proceedings before the court, or
 
    (b) to supply any information which he could not be compelled to supply in evidence in such proceedings.
      (5) Any 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.
 
      (6) 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,
 
    "relevant purpose" means any purpose connected with-
 
      (a) the investigation of an offence under section 6 or any proceedings for such an offence, or
 
      (b) the exercise of the Commission's functions under section 22, 23, 24, 30, 42 or 44(4) or (5).
 
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