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Water Bill [HL]


Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    48

 

     (6)    After subsection (3) there is added—

           “(4)              Where no such application as is mentioned in subsection (1) above has

been made, the Secretary of State may make regulations under section

95 above only if he considers—

                  (a)                 that the regulations will contribute towards the attainment of

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policies relating to public health or the environment; or

                  (b)                 (if he does not consider that they will so contribute) that there

are exceptional reasons why it is otherwise in the public interest

that the regulations should be made.

           (5)              Before making regulations under section 95 above by virtue of

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subsection (4) above, the Secretary of State shall—

                  (a)                 give notice of his proposals;

                  (b)                 consider the results of the research carried out in accordance

with subsection (7) below; and

                  (c)                 consider every representation or objection with respect to the

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proposals which has been duly made and not withdrawn.

           (6)              A notice under subsection (5)(a) above must—

                  (a)                 summarise the Secretary of State’s reasons for his proposals;

                  (b)                 specify the sewerage undertaker or undertakers in relation to

which it is proposed the regulations should apply; and

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                  (c)                 specify the period within which objections or representations

with respect to the proposals may be made.

           (7)              Before giving notice under subsection (5)(a) above the Secretary of State

shall arrange for such research as he considers appropriate with a view

to discovering the views of a representative sample of persons likely to

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be affected.

           (8)              A notice under subsection (5)(a) above shall be given by serving a copy

on—

                  (a)                 the Authority;

                  (b)                 the Council;

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                  (c)                 every sewerage undertaker to which the regulations will apply;

                  (d)                 persons or bodies appearing to the Secretary of State to be

representative of persons likely to be affected by the

regulations; and

                  (e)                 such other persons or bodies as the Secretary of State may

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consider appropriate.”

Functions of the Council

 42    General functions of the Council

     (1)    After section 27B of the WIA (which is inserted by section 34) there is

 

 

Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    49

 

inserted—

“General functions of the Council

       27C            The interests of consumers

In considering the interests of consumers, the Council shall have regard

to the interests of—

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                  (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

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interests of other descriptions of consumer.

       27D            Acquisition and review of information

The Council shall have the function of obtaining and keeping under

review—

                  (a)                 information about consumer matters (including matters

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affecting consumers in different areas); and

                  (b)                 information about the views of consumers on such matters

(including the views of consumers in different areas).

       27E            Provision of advice and information to public authorities

           (1)           The Council shall have the function of—

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                  (a)                 making proposals, or providing advice and information, about

consumer matters (including matters affecting consumers in

different areas); and

                  (b)                 representing the views of consumers on such matters (including

the views of consumers in different areas),

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                                       to public authorities, companies holding an appointment under

Chapter 1 of this Part, licensed water suppliers and other persons

whose activities may affect the interests of consumers.

           (2)           Subject to subsection (7) below, information which relates to the affairs

of any particular individual or body of persons (corporate or

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unincorporate) shall not be disclosed in the exercise of the Council’s

function under this section unless one or more of paragraphs (a) to (c)

of subsection (3) below applies to the information.

           (3)           Information relating to a particular individual or body may be

disclosed if—

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                  (a)                 the individual or body has consented to the disclosure;

                  (b)                 it is information that is available to the public from some other

source; or

                  (c)                 it is not information the disclosure of which would or might, in

the opinion of the Council, seriously and prejudicially affect the

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interests of the individual or body.

           (4)           Before deciding to disclose any information relating to a particular

individual or body in pursuance of subsection (3)(c) above, the Council

shall—

                  (a)                 consult that individual or body; and

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Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    50

 

                  (b)                 have regard to any opinion expressed by the Authority as to the

application of subsection (3)(c) above to the information or as to

the desirability or otherwise of its disclosure;

                                       and paragraph (b) applies whether the opinion is given in relation to

the information itself or to information of a description which applies

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to that information.

           (5)           Subject to subsection (7) below, the Council shall not in the exercise of

its function under this section disclose any information which it

considers relates to any matter which is, or is likely to be, the subject of

criminal proceedings.

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           (6)           In considering whether information relates to any matter as mentioned

in subsection (5) above, the Council shall have regard to any opinion

expressed (whether in relation to the information itself or to

information of a description which applies to that information) by the

Secretary of State, the Assembly or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

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           (7)           Subsections (2) to (5) above do not apply to a disclosure of information

which is made to the Authority, the Secretary of State, the Assembly,

the Competition Commission or any other public authority.

           (8)           The disclosure by the Council of information in the exercise of its

function under this section does not contravene section 206 below

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(restriction on disclosure of information).

       27F            Provision of information to consumers

           (1)           The Council has the function of providing information to consumers

about consumer matters in such form as appears to the Council to be

most useful to the recipients.

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           (2)           That function may be exercised by—

                  (a)                 publishing information in any manner the Council thinks

appropriate for the purpose of bringing it to the attention of

those likely to be interested; or

                  (b)                 furnishing information to any consumer (whether in response

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to a request or otherwise).

           (3)           Information may only be disclosed in the exercise of that function if it

is information that is available to members of the public from some

other source.

           (4)           The Council shall maintain at least one office in each of England and

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Wales at which consumers may apply for information.

       27G            Power to publish information and advice about consumer matters

           (1)           If it appears to the Council that the publication of any advice and

information about consumer matters (including information about the

views of consumers on such matters) would promote the interests of

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consumers, the Council may publish that advice or information in such

manner as it thinks fit.

           (2)           Information which relates to the affairs of any particular individual or

body of persons (corporate or unincorporate) shall not be published in

the exercise of the Council’s function under this section unless one or

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more of paragraphs (a) to (c) of subsection (3) below applies to the

information.

 

 

Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

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           (3)           Information relating to a particular individual or body may be

published if—

                  (a)                 the individual or body has consented to the publication;

                  (b)                 it is information that is available to the public from some other

source; or

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                  (c)                 it is not information the publication of which would or might,

in the opinion of the Council, seriously and prejudicially affect

the interests of the individual or body.

           (4)           Before deciding to publish any information relating to a particular

individual or body in pursuance of subsection (3)(c) above, the Council

10

shall—

                  (a)                 consult that individual or body; and

                  (b)                 have regard to any opinion expressed by the Authority as to the

application of subsection (3)(c) above to the information or as to

the desirability or otherwise of its publication,

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                                       and paragraph (b) applies whether the opinion is given in relation to

the information itself or to information of a description which applies

to that information.

           (5)           The Council shall not in the exercise of its function under this section

publish any information which it considers relates to any matter which

20

is, or is likely to be, the subject of criminal proceedings.

           (6)           In considering whether information relates to any matter as mentioned

in subsection (5) above, the Council shall have regard to any opinion

expressed (whether in relation to the information itself or to

information of a description which applies to that information) by the

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Secretary of State, the Assembly or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

           (7)           The publication of information under this section does not contravene

section 206 below (restriction on disclosure of information).”

     (2)    Before section 30A of the WIA there is inserted—

“Further functions of Authority

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       30ZA            Copies of notices

Where the Authority is required by any provision of this Act to publish

a notice or any other document, it shall send a copy of the document to

the Council.”

 43    Provision of information to the Council

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After section 27G of the WIA (which is inserted by section 42) there is

inserted—

       “27H            Provision of information to the Council

           (1)           The Council may direct—

                  (a)                 the Authority; or

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                  (b)                 a company holding an appointment under Chapter 1 of this

Part,

 

 

Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    52

 

                                       to supply to it, in such form as it may reasonably specify, such

information specified or described in the direction as it may require for

the purpose of exercising its functions.

           (2)           The Council may not direct the Authority to supply information

relating to any licensed water supplier or its customers.

5

           (3)           A body to whom a direction under this section is given shall, if the

information specified or described in the direction is in its possession,

comply with the direction as soon as reasonably practicable.

           (4)           Before giving a direction under this section and in specifying the form

in which any information is to be supplied, the Council shall have

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regard to the desirability of minimising the costs, or any other

detriment, to the body to whom the direction is given.

           (5)           If a body to whom a direction under this section is given fails to comply

with the direction it shall, if so required by the Council, give notice to

the Council of the reasons for its failure.

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       27I            Publication of notice of reasons

           (1)           Subject to the following provisions of this section, the Council may

publish a notice given to it under section 27H(5) above.

           (2)           Information which relates to the affairs of any particular individual or

body of persons (corporate or unincorporate) shall not be published

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under subsection (1) above unless one or more of paragraphs (a) to (c)

of subsection (3) below applies to the information.

           (3)           Information relating to a particular individual or body may be

published if—

                  (a)                 that individual or body has consented to the publication;

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                  (b)                 it is information that is available to the public from some other

source; or

                  (c)                 it is not information the publication of which would or might,

in the opinion of the Council, seriously and prejudicially affect

the interests of the individual or body.

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           (4)           Before deciding to publish any information relating to a particular

individual or body in pursuance of subsection (3)(c) above, the Council

shall—

                  (a)                 consult that individual or body; and

                  (b)                 have regard to any opinion expressed by the Authority as to the

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application of subsection (3)(c) above to the information or as to

the desirability or otherwise of its publication;

                                       and paragraph (b) applies whether the opinion is given in relation to

the information itself or to information of a description which applies

to that information.

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           (5)           The Council shall not in the exercise of its function under this section

publish any information which it considers relates to any matter which

is, or is likely to be, the subject of criminal proceedings.

           (6)           In considering whether information relates to any matter as mentioned

in subsection (5) above, the Council shall have regard to any opinion

45

expressed (whether in relation to the information itself or to

 

 

Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    53

 

information of a description which applies to that information) by the

Secretary of State, the Assembly or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

           (7)           The publication by the Council of information under this section does

not contravene section 206 below (restriction on disclosure of

information).

5

       27J            Provision of information by the Council

           (1)           Any of—

                  (a)                 the Authority;

                  (b)                 the Secretary of State; or

                  (c)                 the Assembly,

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                                       may direct the Council to supply to him or it, in such form as he or it

may reasonably specify, such information specified or described in the

direction as he or it may require for the purpose of exercising his or its

functions.

           (2)           The Council shall, if the information specified or described in the

15

direction is in its possession, comply with a direction under this section

as soon as reasonably practicable.

           (3)           Where the Council fails to comply with a direction given under

subsection (1) above it must give to the person who gave the direction

notice of its reason for the failure, and that person may publish that

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notice in such manner as he considers appropriate.

           (4)           A person publishing a notice under this section shall have regard to the

need for excluding, so far as that is practicable, any matter which relates

to the affairs of a particular individual or body of persons (corporate or

unincorporate), where he considers that publication of that matter

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would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that

individual or body.

       27K            Sections 27H to 27J: supplementary

           (1)           The Secretary of State may make regulations prescribing—

                  (a)                 descriptions of information which a person to whom a direction

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is given under section 27H or 27J above may refuse to supply; or

                  (b)                 circumstances in which such a person may refuse to comply

with a direction given under either of those sections.

           (2)           The Council may, if no person is prescribed for the purpose under

subsection (3) below, refer a failure by a company to comply with a

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direction under section 27H above to the Authority.

           (3)           The Secretary of State may make regulations for the purpose of

enabling a failure to comply with a direction under section 27H or 27J

above to be referred by the person who gave the direction to such

person (other than the Authority) as may be prescribed by the

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regulations.

           (4)           A person to whom such a failure is referred (whether under subsection

(2) above or regulations under subsection (3) above) shall—

                  (a)                 consider any representations made by either party;

 

 

Water Bill [HL]
Part 2 — New regulatory arrangements, etc

    54

 

                  (b)                 determine whether the person failing to comply with the

direction is entitled to refuse to do so, and, if not, order him to

comply with the direction; and

                  (c)                 give notice of his determination and any order under paragraph

(b), with reasons, to both parties.

5

           (5)           The duty of a company to comply with an order under this section shall

be enforceable by the Authority under section 18 above.

           (6)           A notice under subsection (4) above may be published by either party

to the reference.

           (7)           Subsections (2) to (7) of section 27I above apply to the publication of

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such a notice under this section as they apply to the publication of a

notice given to the Council under section 27H(5) above.”

 44    Provision of statistical information to consumers etc

     (1)    After section 38A of the WIA there is inserted—

       “38B            Publication of statistical information about standards of performance

15

           (1)           It shall be the duty of the Council to publish, in such form and manner

and with such frequency as it thinks appropriate, such statistical

information as it considers appropriate relating to—

                  (a)                 the levels of performance achieved by water undertakers in

respect of standards of performance prescribed in regulations

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under section 38(1)(b) or (2) above;

                  (b)                 complaints made by consumers about any matter relating to the

activities of water undertakers and the handling of such

complaints.

           (2)           In subsection (1)(b) above, “complaints” includes complaints made

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directly to water undertakers (or anyone carrying on activities on their

behalf) and complaints to the Authority, the Council, the Assembly or

the Secretary of State.”

     (2)    After section 95A of the WIA there is inserted—

       “95B            Publication of statistical information about standards of performance

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           (1)           It shall be the duty of the Council to publish, in such form and manner

and with such frequency as it thinks appropriate, such statistical

information as it considers appropriate relating to—

                  (a)                 the levels of performance achieved by sewerage undertakers in

respect of standards of performance prescribed in regulations

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under section 95(1)(b) or (2) above;

                  (b)                 complaints made by consumers about any matter relating to the

activities of sewerage undertakers and the handling of such

complaints.

           (2)           In subsection (1)(b) above, “complaints” includes complaints made

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directly to sewerage undertakers (or anyone carrying on activities on

their behalf) and complaints to the Authority, the Council, the

Assembly or the Secretary of State.”

     (3)    Sections 38A(4) and (5) and 95A(4) and (5) of the WIA (which are superseded

by provision made by this section) shall cease to have effect.

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