Section 29: Amount of levies and consultation
61.Section 29 enables the Commission to determine the amount of the annual general levy and the complaints levy in respect of each financial year. The Commission is required to consult the professional organisations and their members in January each year on its proposed budget for the following financial year and to have regard to any views expressed in its consultation. The Commission must, no later than 31 March in each year, publish the responses it has received to its annual consultation exercise. However, the duty to publish will not apply where the consultee has expressly requested confidentiality. Its budget must include its estimated resource requirements for the following year and its proposals for the amount of the annual general levy and the complaints levy.
62.To enable the Commission to determine the amount of the annual general levy, the professional organisations are required to provide an estimate of the numbers of their members that they anticipate will be eligible to pay the annual general levy in the following financial year. The amount of the annual general levy is a flat rate except in circumstances where the Commission may waive a portion of the levy, for example where a practitioner starts or ceases to practise in the course of the financial year. The Commission has power to set different amounts for the complaints levy in different circumstances including an amount of nil.
63.The proposed budget must also be accompanied by information on the Commission’s projected work plan for the next financial year. The Commission is obliged to ensure that the levies are set at a level which will be reasonably sufficient to meet its expenditure, taking one financial year with another. The Commission must lay a copy of the final budget before the Scottish Parliament no later than 30 April in each year.