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Session 2000-01
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Culture And Recreation Bill [H.L.]


 

These notes refer to the Culture and Recreation Bill [H.L.]
as introduced in the House of Lords on 14th December 2000 [HL Bill 7]

Culture And Recreation Bill [H.L.]


EXPLANATORY NOTES

INTRODUCTION

1. These explanatory notes relate to the Culture and Recreation Bill [H.L.], as introduced in the House of Lords on 14th December 2000. They have been prepared by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in order to assist the reader of the Bill and to help inform debate on it. They do not form part of the Bill and have not been endorsed by Parliament.

2. The notes need to be read in conjunction with the Bill. They are not, and are not meant to be, a comprehensive description of the Bill. So where a clause or part of a clause does not seem to require any explanation or comment, none is given.

BACKGROUND

3. The Government's Comprehensive Spending Review in 1998 concluded that benefits would be gained in terms of efficiency and effectiveness from a series of structural changes in the way the Government provides funding and support to culture, media and sport. The structural changes include:

  • the establishment of a single body, the Arts Council, to bring together support for arts and crafts (where previously a separate body, the Crafts Council, now a second tier body under the Arts Council, had co-existed);

  • the formal merger of the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England (commonly known as "English Heritage") and the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England ("RCHME") into a single national body for the built heritage;

  • the creation of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment to promote architecture on a wider basis than the Royal Fine Art Commission, which it replaces;

  • the establishment of the Film Council to prepare and implement a strategy to improve access to, and education about, the moving image, and for the development of a sustainable UK film industry;

  • the creation of Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries ("Resource") as a new national strategic body for museums, libraries and archives to replace the Museums and Galleries Commission and the Library and Information Commission;

  • the transformation of the English Tourist Board into a more strategic national body for tourism in England; and

  • the reconstitution of the Football Licensing Authority ("FLA") as the Sports Ground Safety Authority (the "Safety Authority").

4. Implementation of changes has already started and, with the exception of the Safety Authority, the new organisations have been established. Some of the changes cannot, however, be made without primary legislation and many of the bodies lack any statutory basis (other than the annual Appropriation Acts) for the provision of their funds. This Bill therefore:

  • provides a statutory basis for making grants to the Arts Council of England;

  • enables the merger of English Heritage and the RCHME to be completed formally, by providing English Heritage with powers to undertake functions relating to underwater archaeology formerly carried out by the RCHME (the Bill also expands the powers of English Heritage to carry out trading activities);

  • allows the conversion of the Film Council, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and Resource from private companies to statutory bodies and provides a statutory basis for making grants to them;

  • formally renames the English Tourist Board as the English Tourism Council; and

  • reconstitutes the FLA as the Safety Authority.

5. In addition, the Bill implements a range of other measures arising from the Comprehensive Spending Review which are designed to remove anomalies hampering the efficient and effective delivery of public services.

6. The Bill also establishes Culture Online whose purpose is to secure that materials and services relating to culture and the arts are made available in digital form on the Internet and through other forms of digital technology.

THE BILL

7. The Bill is in six Parts.

Part I: Safety at Sports Grounds

8. Safety at sports grounds is regulated by a number of different pieces of legislation and the Bill's provisions should be read in that wider context.

9. The Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 ("the 1975 Act") applies to all sports grounds with accommodation for spectators. Safety controls are imposed primarily through safety certificates issued by local authorities for sports grounds designated by the Secretary of State, currently:

  • those grounds occupied by FA Premier and Football League clubs with accommodation for over 5,000 spectators; and

  • those with accommodation for over 10,000 spectators where other sports are played (which in practice means rugby, cricket and other football matches including internationals).

10. Part III of The Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 ("the 1987 Act") provides safety certification by local authorities of stands able to accommodate, under cover, at least 500 spectators (so-called regulated stands) at sports grounds not designated under the 1975 Act.

11. Local authorities are advised to take into account the technical advice contained in the Government's Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Fourth Edition, Stationery Office, 1997, ISBN 0-11-300095-2) also known as the Green Guide.

12. With its history of safety disasters, football has been treated as a special case. The report The Hillsborough Stadium Disaster 15 April 1989: Enquiry by the Rt Hon Lord Justice Taylor, Final Report (Cm 962, HMSO, 1989, ISBN 0-10-109622-4) led to the Government requirement that all FA Premier and First Division football grounds be all-seater, and that a high standard of terracing be in place for grounds belonging to clubs in Divisions Two and Three of the Football League. These requirements were met by the clubs concerned, supervised by the FLA. The FLA was set up under the Football Spectators Act 1989 ("the 1989 Act") to administer a licensing system established by that Act in respect of stadia in England and Wales used for FA Premier, Football League and international matches. The FLA's licensing system is in addition to the general safety certification duties of local authorities under the 1975 Act.

13. The FLA also has a statutory duty to keep under review the discharge by local authorities of their duties so far as they relate to sports grounds in England and Wales at which FA Premier, Football League and international matches are played. The FLA is empowered to require local authorities to include conditions in the safety certificates which local authorities issue in relation to such sports grounds.

14. The Taylor Report and the FLA's licensing regime have led to major structural improvements at those grounds, a programme which has now been completed. Football stadia are much safer places for spectators than they were, with only one significant safety incident recorded since 1990.

15. With completion of the Taylor improvement programme in prospect, the Government reviewed the regulatory regime in 1998 as part of its wider Comprehensive Spending Review and consulted widely on the proposals which are set out in the Bill. The conclusions drawn from the Review in relation to sports ground safety are:

  • that there is no longer any need for the additional tier of sports ground licensing administered by the FLA;

  • that the FLA's duty to keep under review the discharge by local authorities of their safety certification duties over sports grounds in England and Wales at which FA Premier and Football League and international matches are played should be maintained; and

  • that the FLA's expertise in sports ground safety issues should be broadened to enable advice to be provided to Government and local authorities, and across all sports, not just football.

16. This Part therefore:

  • reconstitutes the FLA as the Sports Ground Safety Authority, provides for the appointment of board members by the Secretary of State, and deals with its constitution (including payment of board members and staff and accounting, auditing and reporting arrangements);

  • abolishes the FLA's current licensing regime under the 1989 Act for sports grounds at which "designated football matches" (FA Premier, Football League and international matches - see paragraph 30) are played and transitionally provides for licence conditions in force when these provisions of the Bill come into force to have effect as conditions of the safety certificate under the 1975 Act;

  • provides power for the Secretary of State to direct the Safety Authority to require certain conditions to be contained in local authority safety certificates issued in relation to sports grounds at which "designated football matches" are played;

  • carries forward from the 1989 Act the FLA's duty to review local authorities' discharge of their safety certification functions in respect of sports grounds at which "designated football matches" are played and gives the Secretary of State the power by order to extend that duty to review the discharge of local authority functions in relation to certain other sports grounds; and

  • confers new advisory functions on the Safety Authority.

Part II: Parks Regulation

17. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (as one of the successors of the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Works and Public Buildings) manages the Royal Parks and certain other open spaces under:

  • section 22 of the Crown Lands Act 1851;

  • the Parks Regulation Act 1872; and

  • the Parks Regulation (Amendment) Act 1926 ("the 1926 Act").

18. The Royal Parks and other open spaces in question are:

  • Abingdon Street Gardens;

  • Brompton Cemetery;

  • Bushey Park;

  • The Green Park;

  • Grosvenor Square Garden;

  • Hampton Court Gardens;

  • Hampton Court Green;

  • Hampton Court Park;

  • Hyde Park;

  • Kensington Gardens;

  • The Natural History Museum Gardens;

  • Primrose Hill;

  • The Regent's Park;

  • Richmond Park;

  • St James's Park;

  • Tower Gardens; and

  • Victoria Tower Gardens.

19. Section 2 of the 1926 Act provides that the Secretary of State may make regulations for securing the proper management of the parks and the preservation of order and the prevention of abuses there. The current regulations are the Royal Parks and other Open Spaces Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/1639).

20. Currently, under the 1926 Act, if a person contravenes or fails to comply with any regulation, he is guilty of an offence. The punishment on conviction is a penalty not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale (currently £200), unless the offence is one which has been designated as a "trading offence" under the Royal Parks (Trading) Act 2000, in which case it is punishable with a penalty not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (currently £1,000).

21. The purpose of clauses 15 to 17 is to allow the designation of regulations made under the 1926 Act as "fixed penalty regulations" and the establishment of a fixed penalty regime which will apply when an offence is committed in relation to a fixed penalty regulation. A constable will be able to offer a person who has just committed such an offence the opportunity to discharge any liability to conviction by payment of a fixed penalty. Payment of a fixed penalty will not be mandatory and the person may choose to proceed to court.

22. The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food manages the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and certain other open spaces, under the powers referred to at paragraph 17. As a result, the provisions contained in clauses 15 to 17 may be applied to Kew in the same way that they will be applied to the Royal Parks and other open spaces managed by the Secretary of State.

Part III: The Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England

23. The National Heritage Act 1983, which contains the legislation governing English Heritage, does not give English Heritage any powers to act below the mean low water mark. This means that English Heritage is unable to survey underwater sites or fund work on them, give advice relating to them, or assist the Secretary of State in the discharge of the functions conferred on him by the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. This Part therefore removes this anomaly, and gives English Heritage these powers in waters adjacent to England up to the 12 mile limit of UK territorial waters. This Part does not give English Heritage powers relating to underwater archaeology in UK territorial waters adjacent to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

24. The National Heritage Act 1983 restricts the activities of English Heritage almost exclusively to ancient monuments and historic buildings situated in England. There is a demand for English Heritage's expertise, goods and services outside the United Kingdom and the intention is, therefore, to give English Heritage the powers needed to meet this demand. As English Heritage will be able to charge for the expertise, goods and services it provides, the Bill will enable it to generate additional income. There is nothing in the Bill that will enable English Heritage to exercise its new functions in relation to monuments or historic buildings in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, as those countries have their own heritage bodies.

Part IV: Culture Online

25. The Government wishes to promote the provision of digitised material and interactive services related to the arts, culture, heritage and science, through the Internet and other forms of digital technology. At present, factors such as cost, geography and unfamiliarity with artistic, cultural and other institutions are considered barriers to access to the assets they hold. The Government's objective is to overcome any such barriers and to increase the educational benefits of those assets by providing supporting material which puts them into their cultural or historical context. A further objective is to provide a means of access to under-utilised assets such as the expertise of curators and the teaching of artists and directors. The intention is that these new materials and services will be made available, free of charge to users, through digital technology. Culture Online will aim its materials and services at English users but people throughout the world will have access to the material through the Internet.

26. There are arts and cultural websites producing materials of a high standard, but coverage is not comprehensive, there is no quality assurance and materials are not easy to find using conventional search engines. The intention is to produce a more coherent approach with central co-ordination. It is therefore proposed to set up a new statutory corporation, Culture Online, with public subsidy which will be free to enter into partnerships with the public and private sector, as it sees fit, for the production and delivery of materials and services. It will also be authorised to enter into agreements for future commercial exploitation of these materials.

Part V: Miscellaneous Provisions

27. This Part:

  • provides the Secretary of State with a statutory basis for making grants to the Arts Council of England (these have been made for many years using the Appropriation Acts, but the Bill provides a suitable vehicle for bringing matters in line with the 1932 Public Accounts Concordat, which states that "where it is desired that continuing functions should be exercised by a government department .. it is proper, subject to certain recognised exceptions, that the powers and duties to be exercised should be defined by specific statute");

  • allows the Film Council, the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment and Resource to become statutory bodies, whether by conversion of the existing private companies or by the creation of new public bodies;

  • provides the Secretary of State with a statutory basis for making grants to those bodies and to other bodies operating for similar purposes;

  • enables the Secretary of State to appoint a person to undertake, or to assist him with, the task of certifying a film as a British film for purposes relating to taxation;

  • abolishes the Library Advisory Council for England;

  • enables the Secretary of State to make an order, following consultation with the governing bodies concerned, to amend legislation in relation to appointments to the governing bodies of various national museums and galleries;

  • enables the British Library to establish subsidiary or trading companies;

  • ends the Secretary of State's obligation to use parts of Osborne House and grounds for the benefit of members of the armed forces and the civil service;

  • removes the requirement for the Secretary of State to give written consent for the erection of a public statue in a public place in Greater London;

  • changes the name of the English Tourist Board to the English Tourism Council (ETC) and varies, or gives power to vary, the membership of the ETC and other national tourist boards; and

  • enables the staff and former staff of various non-departmental public bodies to be transferred to the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme and provides for delegation and sub-delegation of the function of administering schemes, so far as relating to certain employees and office holders.

Part VI: Supplementary Provisions

28. This Part sets out the supplementary, commencement and extent provisions for the Bill.

COMMENTARY ON CLAUSES

Part I: Safety at Sports Grounds

The Sports Ground Safety Authority

Clause 1: Football Licensing Authority to become the safety authority

29. Clause 1 provides for the continuation of the FLA, created by the 1989 Act, but under the new name of the Sports Ground Safety Authority. Its board will continue to be appointed by the Secretary of State and will consist of a chairman and four to eight other members. Detailed provisions about the constitution of the Safety Authority are set out in Schedule 1. Two small consequential amendments to the 1989 Act are made by clause 2.

Spectators at designated football matches

Clause 3: Abolition of offence of admitting spectators to unlicensed premises

30. Following the 1998 Comprehensive Spending Review, which included a specific consultation exercise on this issue, the Government decided that the licensing regime established by the 1989 Act and operated by the FLA is no longer necessary. Clause 3 repeals section 9 of the 1989 Act (which makes it an offence to admit spectators into a ground at which a designated football match is being played without an FLA licence) and sections 10 to 12 of the 1989 Act (which set out the FLA licensing system). The Secretary of State has the power under section 1(2) of the 1989 Act to designate football matches to which the provisions of the Act refer. FLA licences currently cover grounds where FA Premier, Football League and international matches are played. Clause14 makes further provision in relation to designated football matches for the purposes of Part I of the Bill.

31. Subsections (3) and (4) transitionally provide for conditions in licences issued by the FLA and in force when subsection (1) comes into force to have effect as conditions of the appropriate local authority safety certificate issued under the 1975 Act.

32. Subsection (5) transitionally provides for any notification by the Secretary of State under section 10(12)(d) of the 1989 Act (that the FLA should have regard to any matter when taking a licensing decision) which is in force when subsection (1) comes into force to have effect from commencement as if it were an order under clause 5.

33. Subsection (6) transitionally provides that any order under section 11 of the 1989 Act (seating) in force when subsection (1) comes into force shall have effect from commencement as if it were an order under clause 5.

Clause 4: Terms and conditions instead to be included in safety certificates

34. Clause 4 amends the 1975 Act to widen the types of conditions which local authorities have power to include in safety certificates issued under section 1(3) of that Act. This will give them the necessary power to include conditions which the Safety Authority requires them to include as a result of a direction of the Secretary of State under clause 5.

35. Subsection (4) makes an amendment to the 1975 Act arising from the fact that section 16 of that Act provides that the Secretary of State (not local the authority) is the safety certification authority in relation to Crown premises.

Clause 5: Directions by Secretary of State: conditions as to seating or standing

36. Clause 5 introduces provisions similar to those contained in section 11 of the 1989 Act (repealed by clause 3). Section 11 of the 1989 Act provides a power for the Secretary of State to direct the FLA to include conditions in their licences in respect of the seating of spectators at designated football matches. Since the FLA licensing regime will no longer exist, clause 5 provides that the Secretary of State may by order direct the Safety Authority to require local authorities to include certain terms or conditions in the safety certificates which they issue under the 1975 Act. These relate to provision for both seating and standing spectators at designated football matches at the sports ground to which the local authority safety certificate relates.

37. Subsections (2) to (6) set out in more detail the types of terms and conditions which the Safety Authority may require a local authority to include in a safety certificate, following a direction of the Secretary of State under subsection (1). These must include the power for inspectors appointed by the Safety Authority to enter and inspect the sports ground. Under subsection (7) the Safety Authority has power to vary such terms and conditions.

Clause 6: Provisions supplementary to section 5

38. Clause 6 supplements clause 5 by requiring the Secretary of State to consult the Safety Authority before giving a direction under clause 5(1).

39. It provides that the Safety Authority may, if it thinks fit, make recommendations to the Secretary of State, but must consult the local authority first.

40. Subsections (4) to (6) provide that the Safety Authority shall not require a local authority to include any terms or conditions in a safety certificate (following a direction by the Secretary of State under clause 5(1)) without consulting the local authority, the police and the fire or building authority (as appropriate). The local authority is consequently relieved of its duty to consult these bodies about terms and conditions to be included in a safety certificate under section 3(3) or 4(8) of the 1975 Act.

41. Subsection (7) provides that the Safety Authority shall not vary the terms or conditions required to be included in a safety certificate as a result of a direction by the Secretary of State under clause 5 without first consulting the holder of the certificate.

42. Subsection (8) provides a power of entry and inspection for Safety Authority inspectors in relation to the exercise of their function of requiring local authorities to include terms and conditions in safety certificates as a result of a direction of the Secretary of State under clause 5.

Supervision of local authorities by the safety authority

Clause 7: Review of local authorities' discharge of functions

43. Clause 7 introduces a revised version of section 13 of the 1989 Act (repealed by Schedule 7 to the Bill) which presently confers on the FLA the function of keeping under review the discharge by local authorities in England and Wales of their functions under the 1975 Act in relation to sports grounds at which designated football matches are played.

44. Subsection (2) confers on the Secretary of State the power by order to confer on the Safety Authority the additional function of keeping under review the discharge by local authorities in England and Wales of their functions under the 1975 Act, or under Part III of the 1987 Act, in relation to sports grounds which are specified or described in the order and which are not sports grounds at which designated football matches are played. This might include, for example, extending the Safety Authority's duty of review to cover cricket or rugby grounds. The Government intends this to be a reserve power for use in the event of a major safety incident or series of incidents affecting safety at grounds other than those at which designated football matches are played. By virtue of clause 48(3), any order made in exercise of this power would have to be laid in draft before, and be approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament, so that there could be a full debate in both Houses.

Clause 8: The further powers conferred by section 7(3)

45. Clause 8 sets out in detail the Safety Authority's powers in relation to its function of keeping under review the discharge of local authority functions under the 1975 Act and Part III of the 1987 Act. This includes their functions in relation to conditions inserted in safety certificates as a result of clauses 5 and 6 of the Bill.

46. Subsections (2) and (8) set out the Safety Authority's power to require the local authority to include in, or delete from, safety certificates, specified terms and conditions.

47. Subsections (3) to (5) set out consultation requirements for the Safety Authority in relation to conditions which they consider should be included in safety certificates or other amendments they propose to make to existing conditions. Local authorities are consequently relieved of their duty under the 1975 or 1987 Act to carry out similar consultations.

48. Safety Authority inspectors are provided by subsection (6) with a power to enter and inspect sports grounds for the purpose of their clause 7 review functions, and the Safety Authority also has power under subsection (7) to require local authorities to furnish information to it about the discharge of their functions.

Appeals against terms or conditions

Clause 9: Prevention of suspension pending determination of appeal

49. Both the 1975 Act and the 1987 Act provide a right of appeal by interested parties, including the safety certificate holder, against the imposition of anything in (or the omission of anything from) a safety certificate. The appeal is brought against the local authority in the magistrates' court. Clause 9 provides that in the case of an appeal against the imposition of a condition in a safety certificate which the Safety Authority has stated is included by reason of an emergency, the condition is not to be suspended pending the outcome of the appeal.

Advisory functions of the safety authority

Clauses 10 to 12: Advisory functions of the safety authority

50. These clauses give the Safety Authority the power to provide advice about safety of sports grounds in general to those seeking it, including foreign governments and international bodies (clause 10), the Secretary of State (clause 11) and local authorities (clause 12). Currently the FLA has no power to do this. The Safety Authority may, with the consent of the Secretary of State, charge a fee in respect of advice provided under clause 10 or 12. This fee must not exceed the cost of providing the advice.

 
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