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Other Bills before Parliament

Public Bodies Bill [HL]


Public Bodies Bill [HL]

1

 

A

Bill

To

Confer powers on Ministers of the Crown in relation to certain public bodies

and offices; to confer powers on Welsh Ministers in relation to environmental

public bodies; to make provision in relation to forestry; to make provision

about amendment of Schedule 1 to the Superannuation Act 1972; and for

connected purposes.

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

General ministerial powers

1       

Power to abolish

(1)   

A Minister may by order abolish a body or office specified in Schedule 1.

(2)   

An order under subsection (1) may include provision transferring functions

from the body or office being abolished to an eligible person.

5

(3)   

In this Act, “eligible person” means—

(a)   

a Minister, the Scottish Ministers, a Northern Ireland department or the

Welsh Ministers,

(b)   

any other person exercising public functions,

(c)   

a company limited by guarantee,

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(d)   

a community interest company, or

(e)   

a body of trustees or other unincorporated body of persons.

2       

Power to merge

(1)   

A Minister may by order merge any group of bodies or offices specified in

Schedule 2.

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(2)   

In this section, to “merge” a group means—

 

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Public Bodies Bill [HL]

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(a)   

to abolish all the bodies or offices in the group, create a new body

corporate or office and transfer some or all of the functions of the

abolished bodies or offices to the new one, or

(b)   

to abolish all but one of the bodies or offices in the group and to transfer

some or all of the functions of the abolished bodies or offices to the

5

remaining one.

(3)   

An order under subsection (1) may include provision to transfer a function

from a body or office being abolished to an eligible person not included in the

group.

3       

Power to modify constitutional arrangements

10

(1)   

A Minister may by order modify the constitutional arrangements of a body or

office specified in Schedule 3.

(2)   

In this Act, references to the constitutional arrangements of a body include

matters relating to—

(a)   

the name of the body;

15

(b)   

the chair of the body (including qualifications and procedures for

appointment and functions);

(c)   

members of the body (including the number of members, qualifications

and procedures for appointment and functions);

(d)   

employees of the body exercising functions on its behalf (including

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qualifications and procedures for appointment and functions);

(e)   

the body’s powers to employ staff;

(f)   

governing procedures and arrangements (including the role and

membership of committees and sub-committees);

(g)   

reports and accounts;

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(h)   

the extent to which the body is accountable to Ministers;

(i)   

the extent to which the body exercises functions on behalf of the Crown.

(3)   

In this Act, references to the constitutional arrangements of an office include

matters relating to—

(a)   

the name of the office;

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(b)   

appointment of the office-holder (including qualifications and

procedures for appointment);

(c)   

the office-holder’s powers to employ staff;

(d)   

reports and accounts;

(e)   

the extent to which the office-holder is accountable to Ministers;

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(f)   

the extent to which the office-holder exercises functions on behalf of the

Crown.

4       

Power to modify funding arrangements

(1)   

A Minister may by order modify the funding arrangements of a body or office

specified in Schedule 4.

40

(2)   

In this Act, references to modifying the funding arrangements of a body or

office include—

(a)   

modifying the extent to which it is funded by a Minister;

(b)   

conferring power on the body, or the office-holder, to charge fees for

the exercise of a function (and to determine their amount).

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Public Bodies Bill [HL]

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5       

Power to modify or transfer functions

(1)   

A Minister may by order—

(a)   

modify the functions of a body, or the holder of an office, specified in

Schedule 5, or

(b)   

transfer a function of such a person to an eligible person.

5

(2)   

In this Act, references to modifying the functions of a person include—

(a)   

conferring a function on the person;

(b)   

abolishing a function of the person;

(c)   

changing the purpose or objective for which the person exercises a

function;

10

(d)   

changing the conditions under which the person exercises a function.

6       

Power to authorise delegation

(1)   

A Minister may by order authorise a body, or the holder of an office, specified

in Schedule 6 to enter into arrangements with an eligible person for a function

exercised by the body or office-holder to be exercised by the eligible person.

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(2)   

Arrangements made under an order under subsection (1) may, subject to the

provisions of the order, provide for the exercise of the function by the eligible

person—

(a)   

unconditionally or subject to such conditions as may be specified in the

order or the arrangements;

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(b)   

for such period, not exceeding ten years, as may be so specified.

(3)   

Arrangements made under an order under subsection (1)—

(a)   

may be revoked at any time by the body or office-holder authorised to

enter into them;

(b)   

do not prevent the body or office-holder from exercising the function to

25

which the arrangements relate;

(c)   

do not affect the responsibility of the body or office-holder in relation

to the function.

7       

Consequential provision etc

(1)   

An order under sections 1 to 6 may make consequential, supplementary,

30

incidental or transitional provision, or savings.

(2)   

Where an order under sections 1, 2 or 5(1)(b) transfers functions, the power in

subsection (1) includes power to make consequential or supplementary

provision—

(a)   

to modify functions of the transferor or transferee;

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(b)   

to modify the constitutional or funding arrangements of the transferor

or transferee.

(3)   

Where an order under section 5(1)(a) modifies functions of a body or office-

holder, the power in subsection (1) includes power to make consequential or

supplementary provision to modify the constitutional or funding

40

arrangements of the body or office.

(4)   

Where an order under section 6 authorises arrangements for the exercise of

functions by an eligible person who exercises public functions, the power in

 
 

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subsection (1) includes power to make consequential or supplementary

provision—

(a)   

to modify the eligible person’s public functions, or

(b)   

to modify the eligible person’s constitutional or funding arrangements.

General ministerial powers: supplementary

5

8       

Matters to be considered

(1)   

In considering whether to make an order under sections 1 to 6, the Minister

must have regard to the following objectives—

(a)   

achieving increased efficiency, effectiveness and economy in the

exercise of public functions;

10

(b)   

securing appropriate accountability to Ministers in the exercise of such

functions.

(2)   

A Minister may make an order under those sections only if the Minister

considers that—

(a)   

the order does not remove any necessary protection, and

15

(b)   

the order does not prevent any person from continuing to exercise any

right or freedom which that person might reasonably expect to

continue to exercise.

9       

Devolution

(1)   

An order under sections 1 to 6 requires the consent of the Scottish Ministers to

20

make provision which would be within the legislative competence of the

Scottish Parliament if it were contained in an Act of that Parliament.

(2)   

An order under sections 1 to 6 requires the consent of the appropriate Northern

Ireland department to make provision which would be within the legislative

competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly if it were contained in an Act of

25

the Assembly.

(3)   

Consent is not required under subsection (2) in relation to any provision if a Bill

for an Act of the Northern Ireland Assembly containing the provision would

require the consent of the Secretary of State under section 8 of the Northern

Ireland Act 1998.

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(4)   

An order under sections 1 to 6 requires the consent of the Welsh Ministers to

make the following—

(a)   

provision which would be within the legislative competence of the

National Assembly for Wales if it were contained in a Measure of the

Assembly (or, if the order is made after the Assembly Act provisions

35

come into force, an Act of the Assembly);

(b)   

provision not falling within paragraph (a) which—

(i)   

modifies a function of the Welsh Ministers, the First Minister for

Wales or the Counsel General to the Welsh Assembly

Government, or

40

(ii)   

could be made by any of those persons.

(5)   

In subsection (4)(a), “the Assembly Act provisions” has the meaning given by

section 103(8) of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

(6)   

In subsection (4)(b), references to a function do not include—

 
 

Public Bodies Bill [HL]

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(a)   

a function of giving consent to, or being consulted about, the exercise of

a function by a Minister, or

(b)   

a function relating to the constitutional arrangements of a body or

office.

10      

Procedure for orders

5

An order under sections 1 to 6 may not be made unless a draft of the instrument

containing the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of,

each House of Parliament.

Addition to bodies and offices subject to general ministerial powers

11      

Power to amend Schedules 1 to 6

10

(1)   

A Minister may by order amend any of the principal Schedules by adding a

body or office specified in Schedule 7.

(2)   

In this section, “the principal Schedules” are Schedules 1 to 6.

(3)   

In the case of Schedule 2, the power in subsection (1) may be exercised—

(a)   

by adding a body or office to an existing group in that Schedule, or

15

(b)   

by adding two or more bodies or offices as a new group.

(4)   

The power in subsection (1) may not result in a body or office being specified—

(a)   

in Schedule 1 and another of the principal Schedules, or

(b)   

in Schedule 2 and another of the principal Schedules.

(5)   

Where an order under sections 3 to 6 is made in relation to a body or office

20

specified in any of the principal Schedules, the order may remove the body or

office from that Schedule.

(6)   

An order under section 2 may add to Schedule 7

(a)   

a new body or office created under section 2(2)(a), or

(b)   

the remaining body or office referred to in section 2(2)(b).

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12      

Procedure for orders under section 11

(1)   

An order under section 11(1) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument

containing the order has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of,

each House of Parliament.

(2)   

An order under section 11(1) may not be included in the same instrument as

30

any other order under this Act.

Powers of Welsh Ministers

13      

Powers relating to environmental bodies

(1)   

The Welsh Ministers may by order modify—

(a)   

the functions of the Countryside Council for Wales (“the CCW”),

35

(b)   

the functions of the Environment Agency, so far as relating to Wales, or

(c)   

the functions of the Forestry Commissioners, so far as so relating.

 
 

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(2)   

The Welsh Ministers may by order transfer any function of the CCW to—

(a)   

a new body,

(b)   

the Welsh Ministers,

(c)   

the Environment Agency or the Forestry Commissioners, or

(d)   

any other person exercising public functions in relation to Wales.

5

(3)   

The Welsh Ministers may by order transfer any function of the Environment

Agency or the Forestry Commissioners, so far as relating to Wales, to—

(a)   

a new body,

(b)   

the Welsh Ministers,

(c)   

the CCW, or

10

(d)   

any other person exercising public functions in relation to Wales.

(4)   

The Welsh Ministers may by order transfer any function of theirs relating to the

environment to—

(a)   

a new body,

(b)   

the CCW, or

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(c)   

the Environment Agency or the Forestry Commissioners.

(5)   

The Welsh Ministers may by order transfer any Welsh devolved function

relating to the environment from the person whose function it is to—

(a)   

a new body,

(b)   

the CCW, or

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(c)   

the Environment Agency or the Forestry Commissioners.

(6)   

The Welsh Ministers may by order establish a body corporate for the purposes

of this section; and in this section references to a “new body” are to any body

so established.

(7)   

The Secretary of State’s consent is required for an order under this section

25

which—

(a)   

modifies the functions of the Environment Agency or Forestry

Commissioners, where the functions affected are not Welsh devolved

functions;

(b)   

transfers a function to the Environment Agency or the Forestry

30

Commissioners;

(c)   

transfers a function from the Environment Agency or the Forestry

Commissioners, where the function is not a Welsh devolved function;

(d)   

transfers a function to a person referred to in subsection (2)(d) or (3)(d),

where the functions exercised by the person before the making of the

35

order are not Welsh devolved functions.

(8)   

In this section, “Welsh devolved function” means—

(a)   

a function conferred under a Measure or Act of the National Assembly

for Wales,

(b)   

a function which is exercisable in or as regards Wales and relates to

40

matters within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for

Wales, or

(c)   

a function in relation to which—

(i)   

a function is exercisable by the Welsh Ministers, the First

Minister or the Counsel General to the Welsh Assembly

45

Government, and

 
 

Public Bodies Bill [HL]

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(ii)   

no function (other than a function of being consulted) is

exercisable by a Minister.

(9)   

In considering whether to make an order under this section, the Welsh

Ministers must have regard to the following objectives—

(a)   

achieving increased efficiency, effectiveness and economy in the

5

exercise of public functions;

(b)   

securing appropriate accountability to Welsh Ministers in the exercise

of such functions.

(10)   

The Welsh Ministers may make an order under this section only if they

consider that—

10

(a)   

the order does not remove any necessary protection, and

(b)   

the order does not prevent any person from continuing to exercise any

right or freedom which that person might reasonably expect to

continue to exercise.

(11)   

In this section, “Wales” has the same meaning as in the Government of Wales

15

Act 2006.

14      

Powers relating to environmental bodies: consequential provision etc

(1)   

An order under section 13 may contain consequential, supplementary,

incidental or transitional provision, or savings.

(2)   

Where an order under that section transfers functions, the power in subsection

20

(1) includes power to make consequential or supplementary provision—

(a)   

to modify the constitutional or funding arrangements of the transferor

or transferee (not including the Environment Agency or Forestry

Commissioners);

(b)   

to modify functions of the transferor or transferee;

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(c)   

to confer powers of direction on Welsh Ministers in relation to

functions transferred.

(3)   

The Secretary of State’s consent is required for an order under section 13

making provision by virtue of subsection (1) which does not relate exclusively

to Welsh devolved functions (within the meaning of that section).

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(4)   

Where an order under section 13

(a)   

modifies functions of the Environment Agency or Forestry

Commissioners, or

(b)   

transfers functions to or from the Environment Agency or Forestry

Commissioners,

35

(5)   

the Secretary of State may by order make consequential or supplementary

provision modifying its or their constitutional or funding arrangements.

15      

Delegation etc

(1)   

A body specified in subsection (2) may make arrangements with a body

specified in subsection (3) for—

40

(a)   

a function of one to be exercised by the other,

(b)   

the provision of administrative, profession or technical services by one

to the other, or

(c)   

co-operation in relation to the exercise of their respective functions.

 
 

 
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