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Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007

Section 119: Reference of matter by councillor to overview and scrutiny committee

279.Several pieces of legislation introduced in this Act together provide for the process called a “Community Call for Action” in the Local Government White Paper. These are section 119, accompanied by sections 236 and 237. Section 119 inserts section 21A into the Local Government Act 2000. It requires each local authority operating executive arrangements to ensure its overview and scrutiny arrangements enable any member of the authority to refer a local government matter to the relevant overview and scrutiny committee. (Section 21 of the Local Government Act 2000 empowers overview and scrutiny committees to review or scrutinise decisions made, and to make reports and recommendations about matters whether or not they are the responsibility of the executive; and to make reports or recommendations on matters which affect the authority’s area.) Corresponding provision can be made for authorities operating alternative arrangements under secondary legislation made under section 32(3) of the 2000 Act as expanded and replaced by section 127(2).

280.Inserted section 21A(2) provides that such arrangements must enable a councillor to put a local government matter on the agenda, and to have it discussed at a meeting, of the relevant overview and scrutiny committee.

281.Subsections (5) to (8) of inserted section 21A apply to references by councillors who are not members of the committee. Section 21A(6) entitles a committee, when deciding how to proceed, to consider representations from the member who referred the matter, and to take into account the extent to which he has exercised the powers given to him under section 236 of the Act to resolve it. Section 21A(7) makes clear that, although it is open to a committee not to pursue a matter, it must let the member know the reason for the decision. Section 21A(8) requires the committee to copy its report or recommendations on the matter to the member who referred the matter. Section 21A(10) defines the matters which can be referred to overview and scrutiny committees in this way. Those matters are intended to be any matter that relates to the work of the local authority other than a local crime and disorder matter (such matters being dealt with by the Police and Justice Act 2006, which is amended by section 126 of this Act), or a matter in a category which the Secretary of State has excluded by order.

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