• Research Briefing

    Council Tax 2010/11

    This note contains key statistics on council tax levels in 2010/11 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Local Authorities (Overview and Scrutiny) Bill 2009-10: Committee Stage Report

    This is a report of the Committee Stage of the Bill. It complements Research Paper 10/09, which gives more detail on the provisions of the Bill. 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 Bill has Government support and was not amended in Committee.

  • Research Briefing

    Councillors and Council Control: 1979-2009

    The following note looks at the number of councillors by party in Great Britain since 1979. In 2009 there were around 4,700 fewer councillors in Great Britain than in 1979. This is as a result of numerous changes to the structure of local authorities, particularly the introduction of unitary authorities in Wales and Scotland in 1995, when the number of councillors fell by 1,605. In 2009 the Conservatives are 5,270 councillors better off compared to 1996 when they had 4,276 councillors. Labour has less than half the number of councillors compared to 1996 (11,000). The Conservatives have also seen a gradual increase in the number of councils it controlled in England since 1998 when they had 24 compared to 209 in 2009. Labour on the other hand had seen a steady decrease since 1998 when they controlled 140 councils to the current level of 37 councils in 2009.

  • Research Briefing

    Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill: Committee stage report

    There were some significant amendments during the Committee Stage of this Bill. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority was given control over setting Members' pay and pensions by amendments to the Parliamentary Standard Act 2009. There is to be a new Compliance Officer to investigate alleged misuse of Members' allowances; amendments would ensure that all MPs and peers would be liable to UK taxes; there would be a referendum on whether to adopt the Alternative Vote by 31 October 2011; and a new requirement on Returning Officers to begin election counts four hours after a general election poll closes.

  • Research Briefing

    Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill [Bill 21 of 2009-10]

    The Bill seeks to amend the 2007 Act by setting a deadline for the Secretary of State to initiate the next round of proposals for enhancing the sustainability of local communities from local authorities under the Act. It provides for regulations to be made specifying the rules for this process. These are also to cover parish council involvement and the role of local petitioning. There is also provision for greater flexibility in decision-making on proposals.

  • 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.