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Greater London Authority Act 1999

Sections 74 to 76: General local authority provisions

143.By virtue of  section 74 the GLA will be included in the list of bodies subject to scrutiny by the Commission for Local Administration (commonly known as the "local government ombudsman"). This list is set out in the Local Government Act 1974 (as amended). Section 394 provides for the functional bodies also to be subject to investigation by the local government ombudsman.

144.The ombudsman is responsible for investigating and reporting on complaints by members of the public about maladministration. The ombudsman investigates complaints and where appropriate suggests a course of action for authorities to take.

145.The Act gives the ombudsman powers to carry out investigations in areas where the GLA and its functional bodies are competent. Members of the public will be able to make complaints to the ombudsman about maladministration by the GLA and the functional bodies in the provision of services. Because the GLA will be a strategic authority, it will be responsible for the direct provision of services to the public in only a few areas. It is likely that these will mostly be related to TfL's responsibility for highways and transport planning. (Public complaints about the provision of passenger transport services by TfL will be dealt with by the London Transport Users Committee.) Decisions taken by the Fire and Police Authorities that may have a direct impact on members of the public could include planning.

146.Section 74 also contains provisions to amend the parts of the 1974 Local Government Act which set out how the ombudsman should inform local authorities of investigations he is undertaking into them, and how he should present the conclusions that he draws. These amendments will allow for the different structure of the GLA, and will ensure that the ombudsman takes account of the division of responsibilities between the Mayor and Assembly when he is preparing or submitting reports on complaints of maladministration against the GLA. For example, when the ombudsman submits a report to the GLA he will submit it to both the Mayor and the Assembly.

147.Subsection (5) of section 74 amends the 1974 Act to allow the ombudsman to identify individual members of the GLA in any report on the Authority that he might prepare. Presently, the ombudsman can only identify individual members of local authorities who have contravened the local government code of conduct.

148.Section 75 makes the GLA subject to standard local authority provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 covering documents, notices etc.

149.Section 76 of the Act provides that the GLA should follow the same procedure as local authorities (set out in section 236 of the Local Government Act 1972) when it makes byelaws.

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