HL Deb 07 November 1989 vol 512 cc621-3

85 Clause 33, page 46, line 24, leave out from first 'The' to 'a' in line 25 and insert 'Secretary of State shall make regulations requiring the keeping of.

86 Page 46, line 26, leave out 'under their rules'.

87 Page 46, leave out line 30 and insert 'The regulations shall provide that each person's entry in the register shall give —'.

88 Page 46, line 34, leave out from 'as' to end of line 35 and insert 'may be specified by the regulations'.

89 Page 46, line 36, leave out subsections (3) to (5) and insert— '(3) The regulations may impose such obligations as the Secretary of State thinks fit —

  1. (a) on recognised supervisory bodies,
  2. (b) on persons eligible for appointment as company auditor, and
  3. (c) on any person with whom arrangements are made by one or more recognised supervisory bodies with respect to the keeping of the register.
(4) The regulations may include provision —
  1. (a) requiring the register to be open to inspection at such times and places as may be specified in the regulations or determined in accordance with them,
  2. (b) enabling a person to require a certified copy of an entry in the register, and
  3. 622
  4. (c) authorising the charging of fees for inspection, or the provision of copies, of such reasonable amount as may be specified in the regulations or determined in accordance with them;
and may contain such other supplementary and incidental provisions as the Secretary of State thinks fit.
(5) Regulations under this section shall be made by statutory instrument which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament. (6) The obligations imposed by regulations under this section on such persons as are mentioned in subsection (3)(a) or (c) are enforceable on the application of the Secretary of State by injunction or, in Scotland, by an order under section 45 of the Court of Session Act 1988.'.

90 Clause 34, page 47, line 1, leave out from beginning to first 'the' in line 2 and insert 'The Secretary of State shall make regulations requiring recognised supervisory bodies to keep and make available to the public'.

91 Page 47, line 3, leave out 'its' and insert 'their'.

92 Page 47, line 7, at end, insert 'and such other information as may be specified in the regulations'.

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 85 to 92 en bloc. At the same time I should like to speak to Amendments Nos. 94, 104, 107 and 425. These amendments concern the information which recognised supervisory bodies are to be required to make available to the public. Noble Lords criticised the original approach in the Bill, which was that the bodies should be under a joint duty to maintain a register of company auditors. Some of the prospective recognised bodies felt that difficulties might arise if the bodies failed to agree. They suggested that each of the recognised supervisory bodies should be required to maintain a register.

The amendments replace the existing provisions in Clauses 33 and 34 with a power enabling the Secretary of State to make provision for the matters with which the clauses are concerned by regulations. In view of the professional bodies' responsibility for maintaining the register, we intend to make regulations along the lines that the Institutes of Chartered Accountants propose; that is to say, each recognised supervisory body will be required to maintain a register, required to co-operate in sharing the information in their possession, and required to make available the information described in Clause 34 in respect of those company auditors who are their members. We also intend that the regulations should require persons eligible for appointment as company auditor to use the title of registered auditor when signing company audit reports. This requirement would be enforced through the rules of a recognised supervisory body.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in the said amendments. —(Lord Trefgarne.)

Lord Williams of Elvel

My Lords, have the Government given up on the idea of a joint register? It is a matter that occupied our attention for some time when the Bill was before your Lordships' House. Have the institutes failed to find any formula? If not, how are the Government proposing to make regulations to achieve a joint register, which is obviously the right system to have?

We had discussions on the name, registered auditor, in Committee. Is this a requirement of the directive or have the Government in their regulatory mood decided to put it in the Bill?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, before making regulations we shall of course discuss the matter further with professional bodies to see whether a way acceptable to the professional bodies could be found whereby they could share the task of maintaining the register. However, for the present such agreement is not apparent and therefore we must make the provision for the individual registers as these clauses do.

On Question, Motion agreed to.