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Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009

Section 16 – Requirement to call officer to account

44.Section 16 provides that certain senior officers of a principal local authority can be called to account at a public meeting. It is up to principal authorities to determine which of their officers are liable to be called to give evidence at a public meeting of the authority’s overview and scrutiny committee, but their petition schemes must ensure that as a minimum the head of paid service, often known as the chief executive of the authority and the most senior officers responsible for the delivery of services can be required to attend such a meeting when requested to do so by a petition with a number of signatures above the threshold in the authority’s scheme. The reasons for the request must relate to the officer’s job functions.

45.Authorities operating executive arrangements are required by section 21 of the Local Government Act 2000 to have overview and scrutiny committees. The functions in this section are performed by the overview and scrutiny committee in the case of such authorities. Authorities which do not operate executive arrangements are currently required by regulations made under section 32 of the Local Government Act 2000 to have committees which carry out essentially the same functions as overview and scrutiny committees – and this section has the effect of conferring the public meeting function on such committees.

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