Schedule 2 - Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment

Part of Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:45 pm ar 27 Ionawr 2005.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Minister (Transport) 3:45, 27 Ionawr 2005

It gives rise to the question of why a Bill from a different Department is sponsoring this part of the Bill.

Tenure is limited to four years and committees may sit. In paragraph 5, the Bill says that

''The Commission may establish one or more committees.''

It is normal to set a specific maximum number of committees that can be set up. The Bill is silent on that.   Clearly, paragraph 6 will have cost implications from the point of view of remuneration. Will the Minister state that remuneration is on the same basis as if it were a straightforward transfer?

Paragraph 10, on the provision of an annual report, states that

''The Commission must send to the Secretary of State a report on the discharge of its functions during each financial year.''

The schedule is silent as to whether that report will be published and, therefore, debatable by Select Committees in either this House or the other place. We are informed by the House of Commons research paper on the Bill that the Bill will not place any duty on the commission to publish an annual report. In our view, that raises issues of accountability. The Minister will be mindful that severe reservations were raised about accountability that were not dissimilar to those raised by the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew). I would like to return to the point about English Heritage at the appropriate time, but given that the Select Committee was quite critical in that regard, is the Minister minded to publish the annual report and allow it to be debated? The records produced under paragraph 12 will presumably be accessible. How will members of the public or developers with an interest have access to those records?

On the transitional provisions, will the Minister satisfy my interest? I understand that the chairman of the commission had resigned, and I wonder whether there is a chairman and whether the transitional provisions will have implications in the future when a commission chairman resigns. Those are the main points that we would like to raise.