Section 124 - Proposal for multi-area agreement
279.This section provides that any group of two or more local authorities may approach the Secretary of State and request that the Secretary of State direct a multi-area agreement to be prepared for their area and submitted to the Secretary of State. It is the Secretary of State’s agreement to such a request (section 125) that is the trigger for duties being applied to local and partner authorities, as set out in section 126.
280.Subsections (2) and (3) stipulate that all local authorities covered by the area of the proposed multi-area agreement, other than district councils in a county council area, must be party to any request for the Secretary of State to make a direction, whilst also expressly allowing such district councils to be part of the request if they want to join it.
281.Subsections (4) and (5) specify that a request under this section must be made in writing and set out the information the request must include together with the requirement that it should be prepared having regard to any guidance that the Secretary of State has issued. The request must name a local authority that will be responsible for preparing and submitting the draft multi-area agreement (the “responsible authority”). The area covered by the multi-area agreement does not have to include the whole area of a local authority that is party to the agreement – it may include part of a local authority area.