Sections 396 to 399: Research and collection of information; information schemes; London Research Centre etc.
598.Section 396 provides that the GLA has power to carry out research and to collect information relating to the Greater London area or any part of it, and to make arrangements for making the research or information available to government departments, London Boroughs, other bodies and the public.
599.These powers are exercisable by the Mayor who must consult each London local authority at least once a year about their exercise.
600.The London Research Centre will be abolished, but the GLA will continue to have the power to provide information and data services to London borough councils using its powers under the Local Authorities (Goods and Services) Act 1970 (see section 388). The Secretary of State has the power to make regulations to make particular research and information collection exercises mandatory. The Secretary of State is also able to make regulations requiring that information arising from GLA research, or from research carried out by its predecessor bodies, is made available to government departments, other bodies or the public.
601.Section 397 provides that the Mayor may make schemes for the collection of information relating to any matters concerning Greater London or any part of it. Such schemes may require each London local authority (defined in subsection (10))to provide information in accordance with its terms. Schemes will be capable of covering, for example, all aspects of the activities that would normally be involved in a research proposal, and all areas on which the Mayor or London local authorities might wish to carry out research. The provisions that may be included within a scheme relate to, amongst other things, descriptions of the information required, the collection, format and ownership of the information, who will bear the costs of the scheme and access to the information collected.
602.The Mayor will be required to consult the boroughs on the content of any scheme. If at least two-thirds of London local authorities agree to a proposed scheme, it will be binding on all of them.
603.Section 398 provides that, if the agreement of at least two-thirds of London local authorities can not be obtained to a scheme, the Mayor may apply to the Secretary of State for a direction requiring them nevertheless to comply with the scheme. The Secretary of State may only make such a direction if satisfied that the Mayor’s proposed scheme is both necessary to enable the exercise of functions of the Authority and does not place an unreasonable financial burden on London local authorities. This section also provides that London local authorities shall have the power to collect any information they are required to provide under section 397.
604.Section 399 provides that information schemes may be revoked by the Mayor, or varied by agreement of at least two-thirds of London local authorities or under the terms of the scheme. Before deciding whether to revoke or vary a scheme the Mayor must consult each London local authority.