The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CitationSI 2012/2089

2012 No. 2089

Local Government, England

The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012

Made 10th August 2012

Laid before Parliament 15th August 2012

Coming into force 10th September 2012

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 9G, 9GA and 105 of the Local Government Act 20001, makes the following Regulations.

1 General

PART 1

General

S-1 Citation and commencement

Citation and commencement

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 and come into force on 10th September 2012.

S-2 Interpretation

Interpretation

2. In these Regulations—

the 1972 Act” means the Local Government Act 19722;

“the 2000 Act” means the Local Government Act 2000;

“background papers” in relation to a report or part of a report, means those documents other than published works, that—

(a) relate to the subject matter of the report or, as the case may be, the part of the report; and

(b) in the opinion of the proper officer—

(i) disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based; and

(ii) were relied on to a material extent in preparing the report;

“confidential information” means—

(a) information provided to the local authority by a government department on terms (however expressed) which forbid the disclosure of the information to the public; or

(b) information the disclosure of which to the public is prohibited by or under any enactment or by the order of a court,

and in either case, a reference to the obligation of confidence is to be construed accordingly;

“copy” in relation to any document includes a copy made from a copy;

“decision maker” means the decision-making body by which, or the individual by whom, an executive decision is made;

“the decision-making body” means—

(a) the executive of a local authority;

(b) a committee of a local authority executive;

(c) a joint committee, where all the members of the joint committee are members of a local authority executive, which is authorised to discharge the function to which the executive decision relates in accordance with the Local Authorities (Arrangements for the Discharge of Functions) (England) Regulations 20123;

(d) a sub-committee of a joint committee where all the members of the joint committee are members of a local authority executive, which is authorised to discharge the function to which the executive decision relates in accordance with the Local Authorities (Arrangements for the Discharge of Functions) (England) Regulations 2012; or

(e) an area committee of a local authority executive, within the meaning of section 9E of the 2000 Act;

“document” means any report or background papers, other than that only in a draft form, taken into consideration in relation to an executive decision;

“executive decision” means a decision made or to be made by a decision maker in connection with the discharge of a function which is the responsibility of the executive of a local authority;

“exempt information” has the meaning given by section 100I of the 1972 Act (exempt information and power to vary Schedule 12A);

“head of paid service” means a person designated as a head of paid service under section 4 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 (designation and reports of head of paid service)4;

“information” includes an expression of opinion, any recommendations and any decision made;

“joint committee” means a committee appointed under section 102(1) of the 1972 Act (appointment of committees) in accordance with regulations made under section 9EB of the 2000 Act (joint exercise of functions)5;

“key decision” has the meaning given in regulation 8;

“local authority” means a county council in England, a district council or a London borough council which is operating executive arrangements in accordance with Part 1A of the 2000 Act;

“newspaper” includes—

(a) a news agency which systematically carries on the business of selling and supplying reports or information to the newspapers; and

(b) any organisation which is systematically engaged in collecting news—

(i) for sound or television broadcasts;

(ii) for inclusion in programmes to be included in any programme service within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 19906other than a sound or television broadcasting service within the meaning of Part 3 or Part 1 of that Act respectively; or

(iii) for use in electronic or any other format to provide news to the public by means of the internet;

“political adviser or assistant” means a person appointed pursuant to section 9 of the Local Government and Housing Act 19897(assistants for political groups) or regulations made under paragraph 5 of Schedule A1 to the 2000 Act (regulations for mayor’s assistant);

“private meeting” means a meeting, or part of a meeting, of the decision-making body during which the public are excluded in accordance with regulation 4(2);

“proper officer” has the same meaning as in section 270(3) of the 1972 Act (general provisions as to interpretation);

“public meeting” means a meeting of the decision-making body which is open to the public in accordance with regulation 4(1);

“relevant local authority” means the local authority whose executive is responsible for the discharge of the function to which the executive decision relates;

“relevant overview and scrutiny committee” means an overview and scrutiny committee of the relevant local authority which has terms of reference including the power to review or scrutinise decisions made, or other actions taken, in connection with the discharge of the function to which the decision relates;

“report” in relation to an executive decision does not include a report in draft form.

2 Admission of public to meetings of local authority executives and their committees

PART 2

Admission of public to meetings of local authority executives and their committees

S-3 Meetings of local authority executives and their committees to be held in public

Meetings of local authority executives and their committees to be held in public

3. Subject to regulation 4, a meeting of a decision-making body must be held in public.

S-4 Admission of the public to meetings of local authority executives and their committees

Admission of the public to meetings of local authority executives and their committees

4.—(1) A meeting of a decision-making body must be open to the public except to the extent that the public are excluded under paragraph (2).

(2) The public must be excluded from a meeting during an item of business whenever—

(a)

(a) it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during that item, confidential information would be disclosed to them in breach of the obligation of confidence;

(b)

(b) the decision-making body concerned passes a resolution to exclude the public during that item where it is likely, in view of the nature of the item of business, that if members of the public were present during that item, exempt information would be disclosed to them; or

(c)

(c) a lawful power is used to exclude a member or members of the public in order to maintain orderly conduct or prevent misbehaviour at a meeting.

(3) A resolution under paragraph (2)(b) must–—

(a)

(a) identify the proceedings, or the part of the proceedings to which it applies, and

(b)

(b) state, by reference to the descriptions in Schedule 12A to the 1972 Act (access to information: exempt information), the description of exempt information giving rise to the exclusion of the public.

(4) The public may only be excluded under sub-paragraph (a) or (b) of paragraph (2) for the part or parts of the meeting during which it is likely that confidential information or exempt information would be disclosed.

(5) Without prejudice to any power of exclusion to suppress or prevent disorderly conduct or other misbehaviour at a meeting, the decision-making body is not to have the power to exclude members of the public from a meeting while it is open to the public.

(6) While the meeting is open to the public, any person attending the meeting for the purpose of reporting the proceedings is, so far as practicable, to be afforded reasonable facilities for taking their report.

S-5 Procedures prior to private meetings

Procedures prior to private meetings

5.—(1) A decision made by a decision-making body to hold a meeting in private is a prescribed decision for the purpose of section 9GA(5) of the 2000 Act (regulations requiring prescribed information about prescribed decisions).

(2) At least 28 clear days before a private meeting, the decision-making body must—

(a)

(a) make available at the offices of the relevant local authority a notice of its intention to hold the meeting in private; and

(b)

(b) publish that notice on the relevant local authority’s website, if it has one.

(3) A notice under paragraph (2) must include a statement of the reasons for the meeting to be held in private.

(4) At least five clear days before a private meeting, the decision-making body must—

(a)

(a) make available at the offices of the relevant local authority a further notice of its intention to hold the meeting in private; and

(b)

(b) publish that notice on the relevant local authority’s website, if it has one.

(5) A notice under paragraph (4) must include—

(a)

(a) a statement of the reasons for the meeting to be held in private;

(b)

(b) details of any representations received by the decision-making body about why the meeting should be open to the public; and

(c)

(c) a statement of its response to any such representations.

(6) Where the date by which a meeting must be held makes compliance with this regulation impracticable, the meeting may only be held in private where the decision-making body has obtained agreement...

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