• Research Briefing

    Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill [Bill 16 of 2009-10]

    The Bill is based on proposals in the 2009 Communities and Local Government Green Paper 'Strengthening Local Democracy'. The Bill strengthens local government overview and scrutiny committee powers in relation to partner organisations, so that they could potentially cover a greater range of external authorities. The activities which would be subject to such scrutiny are defined as matters of local concern in the area. The Bill provides for executive members to sit on committees involved in scrutiny of external bodies. It also makes provision for the resourcing of overview and scrutiny.

  • Research Briefing

    Donations to Members of Parliament

    From 1 July 2009 Members no longer have to report certain donations to both the Electoral Commission and Registrar of Members' Interests. The Note examines the history behind this dual requirement enacted in the Political Parties, Election and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA). Section 59 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 provided for dual registration to end, but implementation of this provision was delayed until July 2009. The Note also sets out the new limits on donations which have to be declared by Members, enacted in the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009.

  • Research Briefing

    Misconduct in public office

    This Note briefly sets out the history of the Common Law offence of 'misconduct in public office'. It looks at recent use of the offence in prosecutions and considers proposals to place the offence on a statutory footing.

  • Research Briefing

    Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill [HL]: Committee Stage Report

    This report covers the Committee Stage of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill (HL) 2008-09. The Bill implements a number of community empowerment measuresoutlined in the white paper - Communities in control: real people, real power (Cm 7427). It also implements changes in relation to regional and sub-regional economic development and planning. See also Research Papers 09/45 and 09/46.

  • Research Briefing

    MPs’ allowances and FoI requests

    This Standard Note sets out details of the major FoI requests made to the House of Commons since the introduction of the right to make individual requests in January 2005. It also describes the actions taken by the House of Commons in response to the requests and subsequent decisions by the Information Commissioner, the Information Tribunal and the High Court.

  • Research Briefing

    The Departmental Select Committee System

    On 25 June 1979 the House of Commons agreed to establish a new system of departmental select committees to scrutinise the expenditure, administration and policy of government departments. This paper briefly sets out the historical background to the departmental select committees system before charting their development over the last 30 years, considering evaluations made of the system and recent proposals for reform.

  • Research Briefing

    Local elections 2009

    This paper summarises the results of the local and mayoral elections held on 4 June 2009. Elections were held in all 27 shire counties in England (all seats) and seven English unitary authorities (Bedford, Bristol (one-third of seats), Central Bedfordshire, Cornwall, Isle of Wight, Shropshire and Wiltshire). The Conservatives made a net gain of seven councils and 244 seats. Labour made a net loss of four councils and 291 seats. The Liberal Democrats made a net loss of one council and two seats. The Greens gained eight seats in net terms while the UK Independence Party made a net gain of seven seats, and the British National Party made a net gain of three seats Estimates suggest that the Conservatives won 35% of the national equivalent share of the vote, Liberal Democrats 25% and Labour 22%. Turnout was estimated to be 35%. There were mayoral elections in three areas and UK-wide elections for the European Parliament on the same day

  • Research Briefing

    Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill [HL]: Economic, regional and construction aspects (Bill 93 of 2008-09).

    This paper covers parts 4 to 8 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill [HL]. The Bill implements a number of changes in relation to regional and sub-regional economic development and planning, including: an economic assessment duty for local authorities; a new regional strategy process for English regions outside London; new Local Authority Leaders’ Boards to agree the strategy with Regional Development Agencies; provisions for further sub-regional partnerships through Economic Prosperity Boards and Multi-Area Agreements. The Bill also amends the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 in relation to construction contracts with the aim of improving cashflow and the adjudication process in the industry. See also Library Research Paper 09/45, for coverage of parts 1 to 3 of the Bill which relate to community empowerment, housing and Boundary Commission issues.

  • Research Briefing

    Local Democracy, Economic Development & Construction Bill [HL]: Democracy and involvement aspects (Bill 93 of 2008-09).

    This paper covers parts 1 to 3 of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill [HL]. The Bill implements a number of community empowerment measures outlined in the white paper - Communities in Control: real people, real power (Cm 7427). Other provisions concern a) tenants' representation, b) audit of entities connected with local authorities, and c) replacement of the Boundary Committee for England with an independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England. See also Library Research Paper 09/46, for coverage of parts 4 to 8 of the Bill which relate to economic and regional matters and construction contracts.

  • Research Briefing

    Electoral performance of the British National Party in the UK

    This note provides data on the electoral performance of the UK's British National Party (BNP) in local and parliamentary elections. This note has been updated to include results from the local elections held in England on 1 May 2008. It also comments upon results from various elections up to 2006, as well as overall results from the 2007 and 2008 local elections.

  • Research Briefing

    Council Tax 2009/10

    This note contains key statistics on council tax levels in 2009/10 and a limited amount of analysis is provided. The main purpose of this note is to act as a reference document although more detailed analysis is available on request.