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Local Government Act 2003

Section 115: Overview and scrutiny committees: voting rights of co-opted members

350.Section 115 and paragraph 80 of Schedule 7 modify the Local Government Act 2000 so as to provide local authorities in England with a power to grant voting rights to members of overview and scrutiny committees who are not members of the authority. The purpose of the change is to meet a commitment given in the Local Government White Paper of December 2001 (Strong Local Leadership – Quality Public Services).

351.Section 115 inserts three paragraphs (paragraphs 12, 13 and 14) into Schedule 1 to the Local Government Act 2000.

352.Paragraph 12 allows a local authority to permit co-opted members of an overview and scrutiny committee, being members of the committee who are not members of the authority, to vote at meetings of that committee. Such a permission may only be given in accordance with a scheme made by the local authority. Such a scheme may include provision for the maximum or minimum numbers of co-opted members with voting rights.

353.Paragraph 13 grants the Secretary of State power to make regulations in relation to the exercise by authorities of the power to grant voting rights to co-opted members. It gives the Secretary of State:-

  • the power to make regulations requiring authorities to include certain provisions within their schemes;

  • the power to make regulations requiring local authorities to notify the Secretary of State of the making, variation or revocation of schemes; and

  • the power to direct a local authority to vary its scheme.

354.Paragraph 14 requires an authority to make copies of its scheme available for inspection by members of the public at its principal office. An authority must also publish a notice recording the making or variation of the scheme, the details of the scheme, and details of how the scheme may be inspected by the public, in one or more local newspapers. If the scheme is revoked an authority must publish a notice indicating this.

355.Paragraph 80 of Schedule 7 amends section 21(10) of the Local Government Act 2000 so that the provision in that section that members of an overview and scrutiny committee who are not members of the local authority may not vote is subject to paragraphs 12 to 14 of Schedule 1 to the Act, which are inserted by section 115.

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