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Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007

Section 123: Joint overview and scrutiny committees: local improvement targets

311.Subsection (2) of section 123 allows the Secretary of State to make regulations enabling a county council in a two tier area to establish a joint overview and scrutiny committee with one or more district councils in its area.

312.By virtue of subsections (2)(b), (3) and (4), regulations under this section may confer on such joint overview and scrutiny committees the functions of making reports and recommendations to the county council or to the county council and one or more of the district councils which established that committee on matters (except excluded matters) relating to the attainment of a local improvement target in the relevant LAA (ie in the LAA of the county council in the group of authorities which established the joint committee). Subsection (4) sets out that crime and disorder matters, on which a crime and disorder committee may make reports and recommendations by virtue of section 19 of the Police and Justice Act 2006, are excluded. This is because under section 21 of the Police and Justice Act 2006 provision may be made in respect of the functions of a joint crime and disorder committee in relation to crime and disorder scrutiny functions.

313.Subsection (5) allows these regulations to make provision as to the relevant information which an “associated authority” must or must not disclose to a joint committee. Subsection (6) sets out that an associated authority means the county council which is the responsible local authority in relation to the district council and partner authorities to the responsible authority, other than a police authority or chief of police. Subsections (6) and (8) set out that relevant information means information which is relevant to a local improvement target in the relevant LAA which relates to the associated authority. However, subsection (7) makes clear that regulations may not make provision in relation to crime and disorder related information, as the joint overview and scrutiny committee may not report on crime and disorder matters.

314.Subsection (5) also provides that regulations may make provision generally as to the discharge of functions, appointment of sub-committees, and co-opting of persons who are not members of the authority by applying the provisions of, or making corresponding provision to, section 21(4) and (6) to (12) of the Local Government Act 2000. Regulations may also apply or make equivalent provision to new sections 21A to 21D of the Local Government Act 2000 as to the reference of matters to overview and scrutiny by councillors, the duty of an authority or executive to respond to an overview and scrutiny committee, the duties on associated authorities to have regard to reports and recommendations and as to confidential and exempt information in relation to the publication of reports. There is no power to apply subsections (13) to (15) of section 21 of the Local Government Act 2000, so joint overview and scrutiny committees will not have power to require members or officers of local authorities to appear and answer questions. Provision equivalent to or applying section 246 of, and Schedule 17 to, the National Health Service Act 2006 (exempt health related information) may also be made under this last head. Section 246 of, and Schedule 17 to, the National Health Service Act 2006 apply to an item of business of an overview and scrutiny committee considering matters relating to the health service in the authority’s area and provide that certain information will be exempt from disclosure in accordance with the provisions of section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 which means that the public may be excluded from the meeting during that item of business, if an appropriate resolution of the council is in place.

315.Subsection (9) requires joint overview and scrutiny committees to have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.

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