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

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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.
 
Annual and other reports: the Council.     55. - (1) The Council 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 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.
      (3) The Council 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.
 
      (4) A report under this section shall contain such information as may be specified in any direction given to the Council by the Secretary of State.
 
      (5) So far as practicable the Council shall secure the exclusion from any report under this section of any matter relating to the affairs of a person if the Council considers that its inclusion would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the person's interests.
 
      (6) Subsection (5) does not apply if the person concerned consents to inclusion of the matter in the report.
 
Complaints referred to the Council.     56. - (1) Where a matter which relates to the provision of relevant postal services is referred to the Council by or on behalf of a user of such services and-
 
 
    (a) the matter has previously been the subject of a complaint to the person providing the service concerned,
 
    (b) the complaint has not been satisfactorily resolved, and
 
    (c) the matter does not appear to the Council to be of a frivolous or vexatious nature,
       the Council shall investigate the matter as it considers appropriate.
 
      (2) Where, as the result of any such investigation, the Council considers that-
 
 
    (a) a condition of a licence under Part II may have been contravened,
 
    (b) the matter referred, or any other matter, is a referable matter, or
 
    (c) it is appropriate to do so,
       it shall, as soon as practicable, refer the matter concerned to the Commission for its consideration.
 
      (3) The Council and the Commission shall from time to time agree the descriptions of matters which are to be referred to the Commission and, for the purposes of subsection (2)(b), a matter is a "referable matter" if it is of a description for the time being so agreed.
 
Power of the Council to investigate other matters.     57. - (1) The Council may investigate-
 
 
    (a) any matter (not being a matter which it is under a duty to investigate under section 56) which it considers to be a matter relating to the interests of users of relevant postal services, and
 
    (b) any matter relating to the number and location of public post offices.
      (2) The Council may send a report on any matter investigated under this section to-
 
 
    (a) the Commission,
 
    (b) the Secretary of State,
 
    (c) the Director General of Fair Trading, or
 
    (d) any other public authority whose functions appear to the Council to be exercisable in relation to that matter.
      (3) Subject to subsection (4), the Council may also-
 
 
    (a) send a report on any such matter to any person who appears to the Council to have an interest in the matter, and
 
    (b) publish any such report in such manner as the Council considers appropriate.
      (4) So far as practicable the Council shall secure the exclusion from any report under subsection (3) of any matter relating to the affairs of a person if the Council considers that its inclusion would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the person's interests.
 
      (5) Subsection (4) does not apply if the person concerned consents to inclusion of the matter in the report.
 
Power of the Council to require information.     58. - (1) The Council may serve notice on any person mentioned in subsection (2) requiring him-
 
 
    (a) to supply to the Council such information specified or described in the notice as the Council may reasonably require in the exercise of its functions, and
 
    (b) to supply it at a time and place and in a form and manner so specified and to a person so specified.
      (2) The persons on whom a notice under subsection (1) may be served are-
 
 
    (a) the Commission,
 
    (b) a universal service provider,
 
    (c) any licence holder under Part II who is not a universal service provider.
      (3) In deciding whether to serve a notice under this section and the contents of any such notice, the Council shall have regard to the desirability of minimising the costs of, and any other detriment to, the person on whom the notice may be, or is to be, served.
 
      (4) Subject to subsections (5) to (7), a person on whom a notice is served under this section shall comply with the notice.
 
      (5) The Commission may refuse to supply information required from it by a notice under this section if subsection (7) applies.
 
      (6) A person falling within subsection (2)(b) or (c) may refuse to supply information required from him by a notice under this section if the Commission determines that he need not comply with the notice; and the Commission may so determine if subsection (7) applies.
 
      (7) This subsection applies if the Commission considers that-
 
 
    (a) the information concerned is not reasonably required by the Council in the exercise of its functions,
 
    (b) the information concerned is of a description specified in an order made by the Secretary of State, or
 
    (c) any other circumstances so specified apply.
      (8) The Commission shall, if required by the Council to do so, give a statement to the Council of its reasons for-
 
 
    (a) a refusal to supply information under this section,
 
    (b) a determination under subsection (6),
       and the Council may publish that statement in such manner as it considers appropriate.
 
      (9) 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.
      (10) If a person makes default in complying with a notice under this section, the court may, on the application of the Council, make such order as the court considers appropriate for requiring the default to be made good.
 
      (11) 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.
      (12) 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.
 
The Commission and the Council
Provision of information by the Council to the Commission.     59. - (1) The Council shall, as soon as practicable after being required to do so by the Commission, provide to the Commission such information relating to the exercise of the Commission's functions as the Commission may require.
 
      (2) The Secretary of State may by order specify-
 
 
    (a) descriptions of information which the Council may refuse to provide under this section, and
 
    (b) circumstances in which the Council may refuse to provide information under this section.
      (3) Where the Council refuses to provide any information under this section, it shall give notice to the Commission of the reason for its refusal and the Commission may publish that notice in such manner as it considers appropriate.
 
Memorandum of understanding.     60. - (1) The Commission and the Council shall make arrangements with a view to securing-
 
 
    (a) co-operation and the exchange of information between them, and
 
    (b) consistent treatment of matters which affect both of them.
      (2) As soon as practicable after agreement is reached on those arrangements, the Commission and the Council shall prepare a memorandum setting them out and send a copy of it to the Secretary of State.
 
      (3) Arrangements under this section shall be kept under review by the Commission and the Council.
 
      (4) As soon as practicable after agreement is reached on any changes to those arrangements, the Commission and the Council shall revise their memorandum and send a copy of the revised memorandum to the Secretary of State.
 
      (5) The Secretary of State shall lay before each House of Parliament a copy of any document received by him under this section.
 
Forward work programmes.     61. - (1) The Commission and the Council shall, before each financial year, each publish a document ("the forward work programme") containing a general description of the projects, other than those comprising routine activities in the exercise of its functions, which it plans to undertake during the year.
 
      (2) That description shall, in particular, include-
 
 
    (a) the objectives of each project, and
 
    (b) an estimate of the overall expenditure which the Commission or the Council expects to incur during the year in undertaking the projects.
      (3) Before publishing the forward work programme for any year, the Commission or the Council shall-
 
 
    (a) give notice of the draft forward work programme, and
 
    (b) consider any representations made in accordance with the notice and not withdrawn.
      (4) The notice shall-
 
 
    (a) contain a draft of the forward work programme, and
 
    (b) specify the period within which representations may be made about the proposals contained in it.
      (5) A notice under this section shall be given by-
 
 
    (a) serving a copy of the notice on the Secretary of State, and the Council or (as the case may be) the Commission, and
 
    (b) publishing the notice in such manner as the Commission or (as the case may be) the Council considers appropriate for the purpose of bringing the matters to which the notice relates to the attention of persons likely to be affected by them.
 
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