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Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000

Section 18 : Transfer of functions of Local Government Commission for England

64.Subsection (1) empowers the Secretary of State (in this case the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions) to transfer the functions of the Local Government Commission for England to the Electoral Commission or to the Boundary Committee for England.

65.The Local Government Commission for England was established by section 12 of the Local Government Act 1992 to carry out the functions given to it by Part II of that Act. The principal functions of the Commission under the 1992 Act are to review local government areas in England and make recommendations to the Secretary of State on whether or not changes to local authority structure, boundaries and electoral arrangements would be desirable. The Commission also has functions in connection with the review of parishes under sections 13 and 19 of the Local Government and Rating Act 1997. Finally, the Commission has functions in relation to the electoral arrangements for the Greater London Authority under Schedule 1 to the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

66.Subsection (2) provides that a transfer of functions order may make provision for, amongst other things, transferring to the Commission any relevant functions of the Secretary of State, terminating or modifying any such functions, and preventing the Secretary of State from exercising any relevant function unless he has obtained the advice of the Electoral Commission. It is proposed to exercise the order-making power in such a way as to transfer to the Electoral Commission full responsibility for reviewing electoral arrangements (that is, in respect of wards and county divisions) and implementing any changes. In order that the Commission may implement changes to electoral boundaries it will be necessary to confer a power on the Commission to make statutory instruments (as provided for in subsection (4)). Responsibility for making changes to local authority administrative boundaries or to the structure of local government would continue to rest with the Secretary of State although any such changes could only be made with the advice of the Electoral Commission. The existing powers of the Secretary of State to direct the Local Government Commission for England to conduct a review of the structure and administrative boundaries of local authorities in a given area will be replaced by a power to request the Electoral Commission to undertake such a review. The cost of any structure or boundary review will be met by the Secretary of State (subsection (9)). Subsection (5) provides that in allocating transferred functions between the Electoral Commission and the Boundary Committee for England the provisions of an order made under subsection (1) must broadly correspond to the arrangements made for the allocation of functions between those bodies in respect of the review of parliamentary boundaries by the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 (as amended by Part I of Schedule 3).

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