HC Deb 08 November 1999 vol 337 cc723-4

Lords amendment: No. 154, in page 62, line 37, at end insert— ("( ) No person may be the chief finance officer of two or more relevant authorities at the same time.")

Mr. Raynsford

I beg to move, That this House agrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 155 to 157.

Mr. Raynsford

Amendment No. 154 and the associated amendments clarify the arrangements for appointing chief finance officers for the GLA and functional bodies.

Amendment No. 154 provides that no individual can be simultaneously the chief finance officer of the GLA and a functional body, or of two or more functional bodies. That is necessary to make it absolutely certain that the GLA and the functional bodies do not share chief finance officers. A key principle of the GLA's finance system is that each body is responsible for managing its own affairs once the GLA's consolidated budget has been set. Allowing bodies to share chief finance officers would have undermined that principle and could have caused conflicts of interest.

Amendments Nos. 155 and 156 provide that the Assembly appoints the GLA's chief finance officer and that the officer is designated from staff appointed by the Assembly rather than from staff appointed by the mayor. Without the amendments, the function of making the appointment would, by default, have fallen to the mayor.

Amendment No. 157 prohibits the mayor from being designated the chief finance officer of Transport for London. The Bill allows it to appoint one of its members, rather than a member of staff, as chief finance officer. As the mayor has the power to decide to chair Transport for London, he or she could be appointed as the body's chief finance officer. That would cause an unacceptable conflict of interest given the mayor's policy responsibilities for transport and powers of direction over Transport for London, and the chief finance officer's duty to ensure proper financial administration.

These amendments tidy the provisions to appoint chief finance officers of the GLA and functional bodies to ensure that they give full effect to our intentions.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 155 to 158 agreed to.

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