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Local Government Act 1999

Sections 1 and 2: Best value authorities

14.Section 1 sets out those authorities which will be subject to the duty of best value (“best value authorities”). They include local and other authorities in England and Wales, as well as the soon-to-be-created Greater London Authority (subject to the passage of the Greater London Authority Bill which was introduced to Parliament in December 1998) and its main constituent elements. All of the authorities described in this section are within the scope of the local government finance system as billing, precepting or levying bodies.

15.Section 2 provides the Secretary of State with a power to extend the duty of best value to other named bodies within the local government finance system who are not included in section 1, and to modify the nature of the duty as it applies to them if it seems appropriate. It also provides the Secretary of State with a discretionary power to disapply, by order, best value duties in respect of specified functions of any best value authority or categories of authority where they would otherwise be subject to them. This power might, for instance, be used to exempt the smaller town and parish councils (community councils in Wales) from all best value duties where the costs of complying with those duties are considered to be excessive.

16.Section 2 makes further specific provisions in respect of the Greater London Authority (GLA), subject as above to the passage of the GLA Bill. Subsection 2(4) provides the Secretary of State with an order-making power which would allow him to extend the application of the duty of best value, as set out in section 1, in one of two ways, namely:

  • in relation to specified functions of the GLA which it carries out other than through the Mayor; and

  • in relation to functions which are not functions of the GLA but are functions of another best value authority.

17.The former power could be used, for example, to apply the duty of best value to functions which are exercised through the GLA’s Assembly, should the Secretary of State wish to do so. An example of the use of the latter power could be in respect of functions where the GLA, through the Mayor, carries out a strategic rôle in relation to an operational function of another body. This might, for instance, be the case where the Mayor undertakes a strategic rôle in respect of the transport function, where the operational rôle is carried out by Transport for London.

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Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.

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