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Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill


Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill
Part 1 — Referendums

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 6     Further referendums

     (1)    Subsection (2) applies if—

           (a)           a referendum is held in a region in pursuance of an order under section

1, and

           (b)           a majority of the votes cast in the referendum is against there being an

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elected assembly for the region.

     (2)    No further order under section 1 may be made in relation to the region until

the end of the period of five years starting with the day on which the

referendum was held.

     (3)    Any question as to the number of votes cast in a referendum in favour of an

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answer to a question is determined by the certificate of the Chief Counting

Officer given under section 128 of the 2000 Act (functions of Chief Counting

Officer).

     (4)           Subsection (5) applies if in any proceedings any certificate given by a person

appointed for the purpose as to the number of votes cast in favour of any

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option in a referendum held in pursuance of an order under section 2(2) is

declared or held to be invalid.

     (5)           The Secretary of State may by order cause a further referendum to be held as

mentioned in that section and for that purpose the following provisions of

section 2 apply as they apply for the purpose of an order made under section

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2(2)—

           (a)           subsections (3) to (5);

           (b)           subsection (6)(a);

           (c)           subsections (9) and (10).

     (6)           If an order is made under subsection (5) any reference in this Act to a

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referendum held in pursuance of an order under section 2(2) or to the order

must be construed as a reference to a referendum held in pursuance of an order

under subsection (5) or to the order under that subsection (as the case may be).

     (7)           But subsection (6) applies to such a reference in section 3(6) and (7) only to the

extent that the wording of the text mentioned in section 3(6)(a) or the

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explanatory material differs from that considered by the Electoral Commission

for the purposes of the referendum held in pursuance of the order under

section 2(2).

     (8)    The Secretary of State may by order vary or revoke an order made under

subsection (5) if he thinks that it is not appropriate for the referendum to be

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held on the date specified in the order.

     (9)           Explanatory material must be construed in accordance with section 3.

Combination of polls

 7     Combination of polls

     (1)    A Minister of the Crown may by order make provision for the combination of

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polls at a referendum held in pursuance of an order under section 1 or 2(2) with

one another or with—

 

 

Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill
Part 1 — Referendums

    6

 

           (a)           polls at a referendum held under section 27 of the Local Government

Act 2000 (c. 22) or by virtue of regulations or an order under Part 2 of

that Act;

           (b)           polls at any election.

     (2)    The order may—

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           (a)           make provision in connection with the combination of polls;

           (b)           make provision for the creation of offences;

           (c)           apply or incorporate with or without modifications or exceptions any

provision of any enactment (whenever passed or made) relating to

elections or referendums.

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Electoral Commission

 8     Encouraging voting

The Electoral Commission may do anything they think necessary or expedient

for the purpose of encouraging voting at referendums to be held in pursuance

of an order under this Part.

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 9     Provision of information to voters

     (1)    Subsection (2) applies if—

           (a)           the Secretary of State makes an order under section 1 to cause a

referendum to be held in a region about the establishment of an elected

assembly for the region, and

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           (b)           before the appropriate day the Electoral Commission have not

designated (in relation to each possible outcome of the referendum) an

organisation under section 108 of the 2000 Act (organisations to whom

assistance is available under section 110 of that Act).

     (2)    The Electoral Commission may take such steps as they think appropriate to

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provide for persons entitled to vote in the referendum such information as the

Commission think is likely to promote awareness among those persons about

the arguments for and against each answer to the referendum question.

     (3)    The appropriate day is—

           (a)           the 43rd day of the referendum period if one or more applications

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under section 109 of the 2000 Act (applications for assistance under

section 110 of that Act) is made before the 29th day of the referendum

period in relation to each possible outcome of the referendum;

           (b)           the 29th day of the referendum period in any other case.

     (4)    But if a Minister of the Crown makes an order under section 109(6) of the 2000

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Act the appropriate day is the day specified in the order for the purposes of this

section.

     (5)           Subsection (6) applies if the Secretary of State makes an order under section

2(2) to cause a referendum to be held about the government’s proposals for the

structure of local government.

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     (6)    The Electoral Commission may take such steps as they think appropriate to

provide for persons entitled to vote in the referendum such information as the

Commission think is likely to promote awareness among those persons about

the arguments relating to the options in those proposals.

 

 

Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill
Part 1 — Referendums

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     (7)    Information provided in pursuance of this section must be provided by the

means the Commission think is most likely to secure (in the most cost effective

way) that the information comes to the notice of all persons entitled to vote in

the referendum.

 10    Expenditure

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     (1)    A Minister of the Crown (with the consent of the Treasury) may by order make

provision for the payment by the Electoral Commission of any of the

following—

           (a)           the charges in respect of services properly rendered or expenses

properly incurred by a counting officer in connection with a

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referendum held in pursuance of an order under this Part;

           (b)           the sum equal to any increase in the superannuation contributions

required to be paid by a local authority in respect of any person in

consequence of a fee paid as part of a counting officer’s charges under

paragraph (a).

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     (2)    The order may include provision as to—

           (a)           the services and expenses or descriptions of services and expenses in

respect of which payment may be made;

           (b)           the maximum amount to be paid or reimbursed in respect of such

services and expenses or descriptions of services and expenses;

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           (c)           payments in advance;

           (d)           accounts to be submitted.

Legal proceedings

 11    Exclusion of legal proceedings

No court shall entertain any proceedings for questioning—

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           (a)           the number of ballot papers or votes cast in a referendum held in

pursuance of an order under section 1 as certified by the Chief

Counting Officer for the referendum or by a counting officer;

           (b)           the number of ballot papers or votes cast in a referendum held in

pursuance of an order under subsection (2) of section 2 as certified by a

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person appointed for the purpose in pursuance of an order under

subsection (9) of that section.

Supplementary

 12    Supplementary

     (1)    This Part does not affect the power of a Minister of the Crown to make

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provision under section 129 of the 2000 Act (orders regulating the conduct of

referendums) for or in connection with a referendum held in pursuance of an

order under section 1 above.

     (2)    It is immaterial whether the power is exercised before or after the passing of

this Act.

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     (3)    Section 126 of the 2000 Act (identification of promoter and publisher of

referendum materials) does not apply to any material published for the

 

 

Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill
Part 2 — Local government reviews

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purposes of a referendum held in pursuance of an order under section 1 above

if the publication is required under or by virtue of an order under section 129(1)

of that Act or section 7 above.

     (4)    No order may be made under any of the following provisions unless the

person making the order first consults the Electoral Commission—

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           (a)           section 2(9);

           (b)           section 7(1);

           (c)           section 10(1).

     (5)    Expressions used in this Part and in Part 7 of the 2000 Act have the same

meaning in this Part as they do in that Part.

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     (6)    The 2000 Act is the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

(c. 41).

     (7)    Subsection (5)—

           (a)           does not apply to references to the Secretary of State;

           (b)           is subject to section 28 below.

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     (8)    This section applies for the purposes of this Part.

Part 2

Local government reviews

Reviews

 13    Local government review

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     (1)    If the Secretary of State is considering whether to cause a referendum to be held

in a region about the establishment of an elected assembly for the region, he

may direct the Boundary Committee for England—

           (a)           to carry out a local government review of the region;

           (b)           to make recommendations as to the matters considered by the review.

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     (2)    But the Secretary of State must not give a direction unless he has considered the

level of interest in the region in the holding of a referendum.

     (3)    If at any time the Secretary of State is considering whether to cause a

referendum to be held in two or more regions he may consider (for the purpose

of deciding in respect of which (if any) regions to give a direction) any

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differences in the levels of interest in the different regions in the holding of a

referendum.

     (4)    For the purposes of subsections (2) and (3) the Secretary of State must

consider—

           (a)           views expressed and information and evidence provided to him;

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           (b)           such published material as he thinks appropriate.

     (5)    For the purposes of deciding in respect of which (if any) regions to give a

direction the Secretary of State may also consider—

           (a)           the effects he thinks the carrying out of a local government review will

have on the relevant local authorities (taken as a whole) in the region;

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Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill
Part 2 — Local government reviews

    9

 

           (b)           differences in the effects he thinks the carrying out of local government

reviews will have on the relevant local authorities (taken as a whole) in

different regions;

           (c)           the implications for the Boundary Committee of the making of

directions in respect of two or more regions at the same time or in close

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proximity of time;

           (d)           the resources needed for the Boundary Committee to carry out local

government reviews;

           (e)           whether the Boundary Committee have made any recommendations in

respect of a region in pursuance of an earlier direction under this

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section.

     (6)    For the purposes of subsection (5)(a) and (b) the Secretary of State—

           (a)           must have regard (in particular) to the number of relevant local

authorities in a region and the number of people living in the areas of

those authorities;

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           (b)           must ignore any effect of the implementation of recommendations of

the Boundary Committee following a review.

     (7)    It is immaterial that anything done for the purposes of subsection (4) or (5) is

done before the passing of this Act.

     (8)    A direction may require the Boundary Committee—

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           (a)           to start the review not later than a specified date;

           (b)           to make their recommendations not later than a specified date.

     (9)    But the Secretary of State must not give a direction containing such

requirements unless he has consulted the Boundary Committee as to the dates

he proposes to specify.

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     (10)   A direction under this section may be varied or revoked by a subsequent

direction.

 14    Local government review: supplementary

     (1)    This section applies for the purposes of section 13.

     (2)    The number of people living in an area is taken to be the most recent estimate

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of that number published by the Office for National Statistics.

     (3)    A local government review is a review to consider—

           (a)           appropriate structural change for the region;

           (b)           whether any boundary changes should be made in the region in

connection with or to facilitate the carrying out of the structural change.

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     (4)    Relevant local authorities are the county council and district council for any

area in the region in relation to which both councils have functions.

     (5)    The Boundary Committee must not consider any boundary change in relation

to—

           (a)           any area in the region which is not the area of a relevant local authority

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unless it has the effect that any part of the area of a relevant local

authority becomes part of the area of a local authority which is not a

relevant local authority;

           (b)           any area outside the region.

 

 

Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill
Part 2 — Local government reviews

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     (6)    The Boundary Committee for England may require a public body to give the

Committee such information as they reasonably require in connection with

their functions under this Part.

     (7)    A public body must comply with a requirement under subsection (6).

     (8)    In carrying out their functions under this Part the Boundary Committee

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must—

           (a)           assume that there is an elected assembly for the region;

           (b)           recommend structural change for so much of the area of the region as

is comprised of the areas of all of the relevant local authorities in the

region;

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           (c)           have regard to the need to reflect the identities and interests of local

communities;

           (d)           have regard to the need to secure effective and convenient local

government;

           (e)           have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State.

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 15    Review procedure

The provisions of the 1992 Act specified in the left hand column of the Table

apply to a review carried out by the Boundary Committee for England in

pursuance of a direction under section 13 of this Act as they apply to a review

carried out by them under Part 2 of that Act subject to the modifications

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specified in the right hand column:

 

Section 14

     (a)    In subsection (1) for references to

 
  

the Electoral Commission

 
  

substitute references to the

 
  

Boundary Committee for

 

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England;

 
  

     (b)    In subsection (1)(b) for

 
  

“independently of any such

 
  

change” substitute “otherwise”;

 
  

     (c)    Subsection (1)(c) must be

 

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ignored;

 
  

     (d)    Subsection (3)(b) does not apply

 
  

to a parish;

 
  

     (e)    In subsection (3) paragraphs (d),

 
  

(e), (f) and (g) must be ignored;

 

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     (f)    Subsection (4) must be ignored;

 
  

     (g)    Subsection (5)(ba) must be

 
  

ignored;

 
  

     (h)    In subsection (6) omit “subject to

 
  

any necessary electoral changes”;

 

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     (i)    Subsection (8) must be ignored.

 
 

 

Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill
Part 2 — Local government reviews

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Section 15

     (a)    In subsection (1)(b) omit “under

 
  

this Part”;

 
  

     (b)    Subsections (2) and (6) to (8)

 
  

must be ignored;

 
  

     (c)    In subsection (3) omit “or (2)(c)”;

 

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     (d)    In subsection (4) for references to

 
  

the Electoral Commission

 
  

substitute references to the

 
  

Secretary of State.

 
 

Section 15A

     (a)    For “Where the Electoral

 

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Commission consider it

 
  

appropriate they may direct the

 
  

Boundary Committee for

 
  

England” substitute “If the

 
  

Boundary Committee for

 

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England think it appropriate

 
  

they may decide”;

 
  

     (b)    In paragraph (c) for “Electoral

 
  

Commission” substitute

 
  

“Secretary of State”.

 

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Section 16

References to the Electoral Commission

 
  

must be ignored.

 
 

 16    Boundary Committee recommendations

     (1)    This section applies in relation to recommendations made by the Boundary

Committee in pursuance of section 13(1)(b).

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     (2)    The recommendations must include at least two options for structural change

in relation to each county area in the region.

     (3)    At any time after he receives the recommendations the Secretary of State

may—

           (a)           direct the Boundary Committee to supply him with additional

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information or advice;

           (b)           reject one or more of the options.

     (4)    If the Secretary of State rejects one or more of the options he may direct the

Boundary Committee either—

           (a)           to make different recommendations, or

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           (b)           to carry out a further local government review of the region and to

make further recommendations.

     (5)    If the Secretary of State acts under subsection (4)(b), sections 13(8) to (10), 14(3)

to (8), 15 and this section apply for the purposes of the further review and

recommendations.

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     (6)    For the purposes of subsection (5) it is immaterial whether the Secretary of

State has considered any of the matters in section 13(5).

     (7)    County area must be construed in accordance with section 2(3).

 

 

 
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