Thursday, July 13, 2006

GLA Powers Review

The Government has today announced a package of extra powers and responsibilities for the mayor and assembly. I have linked the GLA Press Release and the Department of Communities and Local Government document on the proposals. Below is a summary of the proposals, if passed they will have a major effect on London governance.

In summary, the Mayor’s new powers and roles are as follows:


Responsibilities of the London Housing Board will transfer to the Mayor.

The Mayor will prepare and publish a statutory London Housing Strategy and a strategic Housing Investment Plan, setting out the priorities to meet the housing needs of all Londoners.

The Mayor will decide the broad distribution of the affordable housing part of the Regional Housing Pot in line with the strategy. In short, the Mayor will decide in broad terms how public money for new affordable housing will be spent.

Learning and Skills

The Mayor will have a statutory duty to promote skills in London and will chair a new London Skills and Employment Board, drawn from business and other key sectors.

The Mayor will prepare a new statutory Skills Strategy for London setting priorities and budgets.


The Mayor will be able to direct changes to boroughs' programmes for the local development plans they produce.

The Mayor will have a stronger say on whether draft local development plans are in general conformity to his London Plan.

The Mayor will have the discretion to determine planning applications of strategic importance.


The Mayor will lead a London-wide waste and recycling forum, working in collaboration with the boroughs to improve performance in waste management and recycling. The forum will manage a new London waste and recycling fund.

London’s waste authorities will be required to be in general conformity with the Mayor's Municipal Waste Management Strategy, backed up by the Mayor’s power of direction.

The Mayor and Government will work together closely on the London component of the Waste Infrastructure programme.

Stronger powers for the Mayor to determine strategic waste planning applications.
A requirement for the boroughs to act in general conformity with the Mayor's Waste Strategy.


The Mayor should also appoint the Chairs and some board members of the Arts Council London, the London Regional Sports Board and Museums, Libraries and Archives London.

The Greater London Authority should consult arts, sport and other cultural delivery bodies in the future development of the Mayor's Cultural Strategy and national and regional strategic cultural bodies should consult the Greater London Authority on their strategies, where there is a London impact.


The Mayor will prepare a strategy to tackle London's health inequalities and promote the reduction of health inequalities in London.

The Regional Director for Public Health (RDPH) in London will act as Health Adviser to the Mayor and Greater London Authority Group.

Climate Change and Energy

The Mayor will prepare and publish a statutory Climate Change and Energy Strategy for London, stating how the capital should minimise emissions of carbon dioxide by the use of energy in London, help to eradicate fuel poverty; and harness economic opportunities for London from investment and innovation in energy technologies and energy efficiency.
He will also prepare and publish a statutory Climate Change Adaptation Strategy setting out how the capital should adapt to the effects of climate change.

The Greater London Authority will be subject to a specific duty to take action to mitigate the effects of climate change and help London adapt to its unavoidable impacts.


The Secretary of State will have regard to the Mayor's Water Action Framework when framing guidance to regulators in preparation for a review of water price limits.

The package of changes in respect to functional bodies , and additional powers for the Mayor in appointing to the bodies' boards, are intended to give the Mayor greater freedom of choice and more influence over delivery. The key changes are:

The Mayor will have the discretion to appoint political representatives to the TfL Board.

The Mayor will either appoint the Chair of the MPA or assume the role of Chair himself.

The Mayor will appoint two members of the LFEPA Board, and will be able to direct and issue guidance to the Authority.

The key changes in relation to the London Assembly are:
The Assembly will be able to set its own budget and will publish an annual report setting out its work and achievements over the previous twelve months.

The Assembly will be able to hold confirmation hearings for key appointments the Mayor proposes to make.

The Mayor will be required to have specific regard to the views of the Assembly and the functional bodies in preparing or revising his strategies. He will need to provide reasoned justifications where he is not acting on their advice.

The Mayor and Assembly will jointly appoint the Authority's statutory posts. Most other Greater London Authority staff will be appointed by the Head of Paid Service.


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