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Water Bill [HL]


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

    51

 

       27E            Provision of advice and information to public authorities

           (1)           The Council shall have the function of—

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

consumer matters (including matters affecting consumers in

different areas); and

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

the views of consumers in different areas),

                                       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.

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

of any particular individual or body of persons (corporate or

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.

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

disclosed if—

                  (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

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                  (c)                 it is not information the disclosure 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 disclose any information relating to a particular

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

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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 disclosure;

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

its function under this section disclose any information which it

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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

expressed (whether in relation to the information itself or to

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

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

           (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.

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

function under this section does not contravene section 206 below

(restriction on disclosure of information).

 

 

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

    52

 

       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.

           (2)           That function may be exercised by—

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                  (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

to a request or otherwise).

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           (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

Wales at which consumers may apply for information.

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       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

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

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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

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

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information.

           (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

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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.

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

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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

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

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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.

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

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publish any information which it considers relates to any matter which

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

 

 

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

    53

 

           (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)           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

       30ZA            Copies of notices

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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.”

 46    Provision of information to the Council

After section 27G of the WIA (which is inserted by section 45) there is

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inserted—

       “27H            Provision of information to the Council

           (1)           The Council may direct—

                  (a)                 the Authority;

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

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Part; or

                  (c)                 a licensed water supplier,

                                       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.

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

relating to any licensed water supplier or its customers.

           (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.

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           (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

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

35

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

the Council of the reasons for its failure.

       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.

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

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

 

 

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

    54

 

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.

10

           (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

15

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

25

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.

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

not contravene section 206 below (restriction on disclosure of

30

information).

       27J            Provision of information by the Council

           (1)           Any of—

                  (a)                 the Authority;

                  (b)                 the Secretary of State; or

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                  (c)                 the Assembly,

                                       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.

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

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

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

notice in such manner as he considers appropriate.

 

 

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

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           (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

would or might seriously and prejudicially affect the interests of that

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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

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

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                  (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 holding an

appointment or a licensed water supplier to comply with a direction

15

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;

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

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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)           The duty of a company holding an appointment and a licensed water

30

supplier 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.”

 47    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

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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 complaints made by

consumers about any matter relating to the activities of water

 

 

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

    56

 

undertakers or licensed water suppliers and the handling of such

complaints.

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

directly to water undertakers or licensed water suppliers (or anyone

carrying on activities on their behalf) and complaints to the Authority,

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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

           (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

10

information as it considers appropriate relating to complaints made by

consumers about any matter relating to the activities of sewerage

undertakers and the handling of such complaints.

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

directly to sewerage undertakers (or anyone carrying on activities on

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

Assembly or the Secretary of State.”

 48    Consumer complaints

     (1)    For section 29 of the WIA (duties of customer service committees) there is

substituted—

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       “29            Consumer complaints

           (1)           This section applies to a complaint which any person (“the

complainant”) has against a relevant undertaker or a licensed water

supplier in relation to any matter connected with the functions of that

undertaker or the services provided by that licensed water supplier.

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           (2)           Where a complaint to which this section applies (other than one

appearing to the Council to be frivolous or vexatious) is referred to the

Council by or on behalf of the complainant, the Council shall (subject to

subsections (3) and (8) below) investigate the complaint for the purpose

of determining whether it is appropriate to take any action under

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subsection (9) below.

           (3)           Where it appears to the Council that the complaint is one the Authority

would be required to investigate under section 181 below, the Council

shall, instead of investigating the matter to which it relates, refer the

complaint to the Authority.

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           (4)           Where it appears to the Council that the complaint relates to a matter in

respect of which a function under section 18 or 22A above is or may be

exercisable by any person, the Council shall (unless it considers that

that person already has notice of the matter) refer the matter to that

person.

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           (5)           Where it appears to the Council that the complaint relates to a matter

which constitutes or might constitute an offence, the Council shall refer

the matter—

                  (a)                 to the Assembly, if the matter relates to a relevant undertaker

whose area is wholly or mainly in Wales or to services provided

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

    57

 

by a licensed water supplier using the supply system of a water

undertaker whose area is wholly or mainly in Wales; or

                  (b)                 to the Secretary of State, in any other case.

           (6)           Where it appears to the Council that the complaint relates to a matter

which constitutes a dispute of a kind which can be referred to the

5

Authority for determination under any provision of this Act, the

Council shall, if the complainant consents, refer the matter to the

Authority.

           (7)           A referral under subsection (6) above shall have effect for the purposes

of section 30A below as if it were a referral by the complainant of a

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dispute for determination by the Authority.

           (8)           The Council is not required to investigate any matter if it appears to the

Council that—

                  (a)                 it is unlikely that the complaint could be resolved by action

taken by the relevant undertaker or the licensed water supplier;

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                  (b)                 the relevant undertaker or the licensed water supplier has not

been given a reasonable opportunity to deal with the complaint;

or

                  (c)                 in a case mentioned in subsection (4) or (5) above or (where the

complainant does not consent to the matter being referred to the

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Authority) subsection (6) above, it is inappropriate to do so.

           (9)           Where it appears to the Council to be appropriate to do so with a view

to assisting in reaching a satisfactory resolution of a complaint referred

to it under this section, the Council shall make representations on

behalf of the complainant to the relevant undertaker or the licensed

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water supplier about anything to which the complaint relates.

           (10)          After investigating a complaint the Council may make a report to the

Authority, the Secretary of State or the Assembly.

           (11)          A report under subsection (10) above may include information about—

                  (a)                 any representations made by the Council under subsection (9)

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above; and

                  (b)                 the response of the relevant undertaker or the licensed water

supplier to the complaint or any such representations.

           (12)          No report under subsection (10) above or information about a

complaint referred to the Council under this section, from which the

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complainant may be identified, shall be published or disclosed by the

Council, the Authority, the Secretary of State or the Assembly in the

exercise of any power under this Act without the consent of the

complainant.

           (13)          Where a representation made to the Authority, the Secretary of State or

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the Assembly about any matter (other than a representation appearing

to the person to whom it is made to be frivolous or vexatious) appears

to that person—

                  (a)                 to be about a matter which is or amounts to a complaint to

which this section applies (other than one which, in the case of

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the Authority, it is its duty to investigate under section 181

below); and

                  (b)                 to have been made by or on behalf of the complainant,

 

 

 
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