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Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997

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7 Role of Accounts Commission for Scotland.E+W+S

(1)Part VII (Finance) of the M1Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 is amended as follows.

(2)In section 97 (Accounts Commission for Scotland), after subsection (4D) insert—

(4E)The Secretary of State may supply to the Commission any information held by him which relates to housing benefit or council tax benefit and which appears to him to be relevant to the exercise of any of the functions of the Commission.

(3)After section 101 (right to inspect and object to accounts) insert—

101A Reference of social security matters to Secretary of State.

The Commission or an auditor may refer to the Secretary of State any matter arising from an audit or study under this Part of this Act if it appears that it may be relevant for the purposes of any of the functions of the Secretary of State relating to social security.

(4)After section 105 (regulations as to accounts) insert—

105A Studies of benefit administration at request of Secretary of State.

(1)The Secretary of State may request the Commission to conduct or assist the Secretary of State in conducting studies designed to improve economy, efficiency, effectiveness and quality of performance in the discharge by local authorities of functions relating to the administration of housing benefit and council tax benefit.

(2)In the following provisions of this section “study” means a study which the Commission are requested to conduct, or assist the Secretary of State in conducting, under subsection (1) above.

(3)If the Commission require—

(a)any local authority included in a study; or

(b)any officer or member of such an authority,

to supply the Commission or an authorised person with such information as is needed for the purposes of the study, the authority or officer or member shall supply the information.

(4)If the Commission require any local authority included in a study to make available for inspection by the Commission or an authorised person documents which relate to the authority and are needed for the purposes of the study, the authority shall make the documents available.

(5)Any information obtained under a requirement under subsection (3) or (4) above may be disclosed by the Commission to the Secretary of State for the purposes of any functions of his which are connected with housing benefit or council tax benefit.

(6)In subsections (3) and (4) above “authorised person” means a person authorised by the Commission for the purposes of this section.

(7)The Commission shall send to the Secretary of State a copy of any report of a study; and the Secretary of State or the Commission may send a copy of a report of a study to any local authority to which the study relates.

(8)Any report of a study may be published by the Secretary of State in conjunction with the Commission.

(9)The Commission shall not conduct, or assist the Secretary of State in conducting, a study unless, before they do so, the Secretary of State has made arrangements for the payment of such reasonable amount as may be agreed between him and the Commission in respect of the study.

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