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Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

Power to delegate functions
Section 167: Power to enter into agreements with eligible bodies

463.Section 167 gives an IFC authority the power, with the approval of the Secretary of State, to make an agreement with an “eligible body”, authorising the body to perform any of the IFC authority’s functions on its behalf. An agreement may cover either the whole of an IFC district or specified parts of it. The Secretary of State may approve an agreement unconditionally or subject to conditions specified in the approval.

464.The power could not be used to authorise an eligible body to perform functions which would be incompatible with the purposes for which the body was established, or functions relating to the accounts of an IFC authority. Any agreement made under this power would not prevent the IFC authority from performing a function to which the agreement relates. The maximum period for which an agreement could authorise an eligible body to perform a function would be 20 years.

Section 168: Eligible bodies

465.Section 168 provides for a list of those bodies with which an IFC authority may enter into an agreement for the delegation of functions of the authority. “Eligible bodies” are neighbouring IFC authorities and the Environment Agency. The section also provides an order-making power to enable the Secretary of State to add public bodies that have an inshore marine function to the list of eligible bodies, or to remove bodies from that list.

Section 169: Variation, review and cancellation of agreements under section 167

466.Section 169 provides for the review, variation and cancellation of agreements made between IFC authorities and eligible bodies. The Secretary of State will be required to review all agreements at least every five years, and may cancel agreements if appropriate in the light of such reviews. Agreements may only be varied with the consent of the IFC authority and the eligible body and with the approval of the Secretary of State. The original approval given by the Secretary of State to the agreement could disapply these provisions.

Section 170: Agreements under section 167: particular powers

467.Section 170 makes provision for cases where a body that is authorised to carry out a function under an agreement is already involved with the function in some way: for example, where the body is a consultee or is required to give its consent to the exercise of the function, or where the body may already exercise the function jointly with the IFC authority delegating the function. The section provides that an agreement could still be entered into with that body.

468.The section also provides that the lack of a specific power to carry out a function will not prevent a body performing the function if that body has been authorised to do so under an agreement. It also provides that the body may delegate performance to a committee, sub-committee, member, officer or employee (except if the agreement itself prohibits this). However, delegation of the performance of the function to any other body or person is not permitted. In addition, the section enables agreements to provide that the performance of a function is subject to the fulfilment of conditions, and for payments to be made in respect of the performance of the function.

Section 171: Supplementary provisions with respect to agreements under section 167

469.Section 171 requires agreements, and approvals for them, to be in writing and provides for agreements to be published in such a way as to bring them to the attention of persons likely to be affected. It also provides that no power of a Minister of the Crown (under the Act or any other legislation) to give directions to a statutory body may be used to require that body to enter into an agreement or to prohibit it from doing so.

470.In addition, this section provides that Schedule 15 to the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 (relating to the disclosure of information) applies where bodies are exercising functions by virtue of an agreement. This is to make clear to each contracting body how to handle confidential information and the situations where sharing of information between the contracting bodies is permitted.

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