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Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009

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Public interest reportsE+W

45Public interest reportsE+W

(1)A person appointed under this Chapter in relation to an entity must make a report about any relevant matter—

(a)which comes to their attention in discharging their functions arising under or pursuant to the preceding provisions of this Chapter, and

(b)which they consider that it would be in the public interest to bring to the attention of the entity, the local authority with which it is connected or the public.

(2)In subsection (1) “relevant matter” means—

(a)a matter relating to the financial affairs of the entity for the financial year, or

(b)a matter relating to the corporate governance of the entity.

(3)A report under this section must be sent to the entity before the end of the period of 14 days starting with the day on which the report is made.

(4)A copy of a report under this section must be sent before the end of that period to—

(a)the local authority with which the entity is connected, and

(b)the audit authority.

(5)The person appointed under this Chapter may—

(a)notify any person of the fact that the report has been made, and

(b)supply a copy of it or of any part of it to any person.

46Codes of practiceE+W

(1)A code of practice under section 4 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 (c. 18) must include provision prescribing the way in which persons appointed under this Chapter by the Audit Commission are to carry out their functions under section 45.

(2)A person so appointed must, in the exercise of their functions under section 45, comply with such provision of such a code as is for the time being in force.

(3)Where provision under subsection (1) is included in a code of practice under section 4 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 for the first time, the inclusion is to be regarded as an alteration for the purposes of subsection (5) of that section.

(4)A code of practice under section 16 of the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004 (c. 23) must include provision prescribing the way in which persons appointed under this Chapter by the Auditor General for Wales are to carry out their functions under section 45.

(5)A person so appointed must, in the exercise of their functions under section 45, comply with such provision of such a code as is for the time being in force.

47Access to informationE+W

(1)A person appointed under this Chapter in relation to an entity (in this section referred to as an “auditor”) has a right of access at all reasonable times to every document relating to the entity which appears to the auditor necessary for the purpose of the exercise of their functions under section 45.

(2)The right conferred by subsection (1) includes power to inspect, copy or take away the document.

(3)An auditor may—

(a)require a person holding or accountable for any document referred to in subsection (1) to give to the auditor such information or explanation as the auditor thinks necessary for the purpose of the exercise of the auditor's functions under section 45, and

(b)if the auditor thinks it necessary, require the person to attend before the auditor in person to give the information or explanation or to produce the document.

(4)Without prejudice to subsection (3), an auditor may—

(a)require any officer or member of the entity to give to the auditor such information or explanation as the auditor thinks necessary for the purpose of the exercise of the auditor's functions under section 45, and

(b)if the auditor thinks it necessary, require the officer or member to attend before the auditor in person to give the information or explanation.

(5)In relation to any document kept in electronic form, the power in subsection (3)(b) to require a person to produce a document includes power to require it to be produced in a form in which it is legible and can be taken away.

(6)In connection with inspecting such a document, an auditor—

(a)may obtain access to, and inspect and check the operation of, any computer and associated apparatus or material which the auditor considers is or has been used in connection with the document;

(b)may require a person within subsection (7) to afford the auditor such reasonable assistance as the auditor may require for that purpose.

(7)The following persons are within this subsection—

(a)a person by whom or on whose behalf the computer is or has been used;

(b)a person having charge of, or otherwise concerned with the operation of, the computer, apparatus or material.

(8)Without prejudice to subsections (1) to (7), the entity must provide the auditor with every facility and all information which the auditor may reasonably require for the purposes of the exercise of the auditor's functions under section 45.

(9)A person who without reasonable excuse obstructs the exercise of any power conferred by this section or fails to comply with any requirement of an auditor under this section is guilty of an offence.

(10)A person guilty of an offence under subsection (9) is liable on summary conviction—

(a)to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale, and

(b)to an additional fine not exceeding £20 for each day on which the offence continues after the person has been convicted of it.

(11)Any expenses incurred by an auditor in connection with proceedings for an offence under this section, so far as not recovered from any other source, are recoverable from the entity in relation to which the auditor is appointed.

(12)The powers under this section are in addition to any other powers which an auditor has in relation to the exercise of the auditor's functions under or pursuant to this Chapter.

48Consideration of report by entityE+W

(1)Where a report is made under section 45 in relation to an entity, the report must be considered—

(a)in the case of a company, at a general meeting of the company (to be called by the directors under section 302 of the Companies Act 2006 (c. 46));

(b)in the case of a limited liability partnership, at a meeting of the members of the partnership;

(c)in the case of an industrial and provident society, at a meeting of the society in accordance with the rules of the society.

(2)The meeting must be held before the end of the period of one month starting with the day on which the report is sent to it.

(3)The notice of the meeting must include a copy of the report.

(4)At the meeting the entity must decide—

(a)whether the report requires it to take any action, and

(b)if so, what.

(5)The entity must notify the local authority with which it is connected of—

(a)its decision under subsection (4)(a), and

(b)any decision under subsection (4)(b).

(6)If under subsection (4)(a) the entity decides that the report does not require it to take any action, the notification under subsection (5)(a) must give reasons for that decision.

(7)The person who made the report may extend the period of one month mentioned in subsection (2) if satisfied that it is reasonable to do so to allow the entity to comply with its duties under this section.

(8)A period may be extended under subsection (7) more than once.

(9)This section does not affect any duties (so far as they relate to the subject-matter of a report) imposed by or under any other enactment.

49Consideration of report by local authorityE+W

(1)Where a report is made under section 45 in relation to an entity, the local authority with which the entity is connected must—

(a)consider the report and the entity's decision or decisions under section 48(4) at a relevant meeting, and

(b)decide whether the report and the decision or decisions require the authority to take any action, and if so what.

(2)A local authority must discharge its duty under subsection (1) before the end of the period of one month starting with the day on which the entity notifies the local authority under section 48(5).

(3)The person who made the report may extend the period of one month mentioned in subsection (2) if satisfied that it is reasonable to do so to allow the local authority to comply with its duty under subsection (1).

(4)A period may be extended under subsection (3) more than once.

(5)In subsection (1)(a) “relevant meeting” means—

(a)in the case of a local authority not operating executive arrangements, a meeting of the authority or of a committee of the authority;

(b)in the case of a local authority operating executive arrangements—

(i)a meeting of the executive, or

(ii)if the function referred to in that subsection is a responsibility of the authority, a meeting of the authority or of a committee of the authority.

(6)The notice given of the meeting to members of the authority or of the executive or committee of the authority (as the case may be) must include—

(a)a copy of the report, and

(b)a copy of the notification given by the entity under section 48(5).

(7)Subsections (8) and (9) apply in relation to a meeting of a local authority or of a committee of a local authority under this section.

(8)The following powers do not include power to exclude the report—

(a)the power under section 1(4)(b) of the Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 (c. 67) to exclude items from the matter supplied under that section (supply of agenda etc to newspapers);

(b)the power under section 100B(2) of the Local Government Act 1972 (c. 70) to—

(i)exclude documents from the documents open to inspection under section 100B(1) of that Act, or

(ii)exclude items from the matter supplied under section 100B(7) of that Act (public access to agenda and reports before meetings and supply of agenda etc to newspapers).

(9)Part 5A of the (9)Local Government Act 1972 has effect in relation to the report as if section 100C(1)(d) of that Act (public access to copies of reports for six years after meeting) were not limited to so much of the report as relates to an item during which the meeting was open to the public.

(10)In this section—

(a)executive” and “executive arrangements” have the same meanings as in Part 2 of the Local Government Act 2000 (c. 22);

(b)references to a committee of a local authority include a sub-committee.

(11)This section does not affect any duties (so far as they relate to the subject-matter of a report under section 45) imposed by or under any other enactment.

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