Regulatory Reform Committee

Session 2003-04        27 April 2004

Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Local Commissioner for Wales) Order 2004

The Government laid this proposal for a regulatory reform order before Parliament on 18 March 2004 under the procedure laid down by the Regulatory Reform Act 2001. 

The purpose of the proposal is to remove the present restriction in legislation which prevents the Welsh Administration Ombudsman (WAO), although ex officio a member of the Commission for Local Administration in Wales (CLAW), from undertaking investigations as a Local Commissioner of the CLAW. The proposal, if enacted, would enable the same individual to hold three investigatory ombudsman posts in Wales, namely the posts of WAO, Health Service Commissioner for Wales (HSCW) and Local Commissioner of the CLAW. The Government indicates that this is an interim step towards the policy goal of establishing a unified Welsh Ombudsman's office, able to investigate complaints across the whole range of public services in Wales.

The Committee has considered this proposal in accordance with the criteria laid down in the Committee's Standing Order. On the evidence presently before it, the Committee recommends that the proposal should be amended to provide that the person undertaking investigations as the Local Commissioner of the CLAW should continue to be appointed following statutory consultation with local authorities in Wales. The Committee will make its formal recommendation to the House on the proposal later in the 60-day period for Parliamentary consideration.

The Committee's full report will be published as its Sixth Report of the current Session, at 2.00 pm on Tuesday 4 May. It will be available from all Stationery Office outlets (Ref HC 553).

The text of the report will also be available on the Committee's website from 3.30 pm on the day of publication. (