COMMONS

Operation of Greater London Authority Act 2007 and London Assembly

20 December 2012

Greater London Authority Act 2007

The Committee invites written submissions on the operation of the Greater London Authority Act 2007 and the operation of the London Assembly. Following receipt of a memorandum (PDF 332 KB) from the Department for Communities and Local Government reviewing the Act, the Committee has decided to carry out post-legislative scrutiny of the legislation. The Committee wishes to focus on the effectiveness of the legislation, specifically, to examine whether the Act has met its policy objective and to examine the powers and operation of the London Assembly. The Committee invites written submissions from interested parties by 2pm on 7 February 2013.

At the time of its passage the Act was intended, it appears to the Committee, to strengthen the London Assembly and devolve more power from Central Government to London by:

  • providing the London Assembly with extra powers and an independent budget;
  • establishing the London Board within the Homes and Communities Agency (at that time the Housing Corporation);
  • establishing the London Skills and Employment Board;
  • allowing the Mayor a freer hand in making appointments to a number of functional bodies, including Transport for London;
  • requiring the creation of plans and strategies in a number of areas; and
  • allowing the Mayor a greater role in determining planning applications which he judged to have strategic importance.
  1. The Government’s memorandum indicates that most parts of the 2007 Act had little effect or are impossible to assess because further legislation has superseded the 2007 Act. The Committee would welcome comments on this assertion.
  2. In the Committee’s view there are matters on which the legislation can be examined and it seeks views.
  • What has been the effect of the increased planning powers conferred by the 2007 Act on the Mayor? For example, where the Mayor declares himself to be the planning authority, he negotiates and receives the payments from section 106 agreements. One issue raised before the legislation was enacted was whether this money would be spent on infrastructure projects of interest to the Mayor, not on projects important to the local authority.
  • What benefits have been achieved through the establishment of the London Waste and Recycling Board? For example, has it improved efficiency, recycling rates, joint working or instead created further layers of bureaucracy? What hard and fast evidence is there of tangible improvements which would not otherwise have occurred?
  • How has the duty on the Mayor to create strategies impacted when there are no powers specifically to implement them? Have the strategies influenced policies either of central government or of the boroughs?

3) The legislation raises a wider question about the London Assembly, and the Committee invites submissions on the powers and operation of the Assembly. To assist those making a submission the Committee has posed several questions which they may wish to consider, though they are not exhaustive.

  • Are the Assembly’s powers and method of operation effective?
  • Is the Assembly effective in holding the Mayor to account? If not, what is the remedy?
    More specifically
  • The Assembly has no power of call-in over mayoral decisions (unlike in local authorities where the mayoral model is used); can it sufficiently influence the Mayor’s day-to-day decision making?
  • The Localism Act 2011 introduced a power for the Assembly to reject Mayoral strategies on a two-thirds majority, but, we understand, that it has not been used; neither has the equivalent power over the budget introduced in the 1999 Act. Do these powers serve any purpose and could they ever be used?
  • Is there a conflict of interest because of the requirement to appoint Assembly members to the boards of Transport for London and the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority when part of the job of the Assembly is to hold these bodies to account?

Submissions should be no more than 3,000 words and should be labelled with the subject 'Review of GLA Act 2007', sent to [email protected], attached in Word format (with as little use of colour or logos as possible) and be accompanied by a covering email containing the name and contact details of the individual submitting evidence. A detailed guide for written submissions to Select Committees may be found on the parliamentary website at: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/witnessguide.pdf (PDF PDF 1.25 MB) It should be noted that written evidence is often published and made available in a report and on the internet.

It is helpful, for Data Protection purposes, for contact details not to be included in the text of submissions, but sent separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Image: iStockphoto

Share this page