§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has any proposals for legislation in this Session in relation to the functions of the Commissioner for Local Administration in Scotland.
§ Mr. Rifkind
Yes. The Local Government Bill will include proposals to amend part II of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1975 so as to enable the commissioner to investigate complaints arising from the administrative actions of licensing boards, to provide him with wider discretion to accept and investigate complaints which are made "out of time", and to give him discretion to delegate to his staff the function of making reports. These changes, and others which have previously been798W made, will ensure that the powers and duties of the commissioner remain broadly in line with those of the local ombudsmen in England and Wales. Proposals for more fundamental changes in the commissioner's powers were included in the recent report of the Widdicombe committee. It would, however, be premature to consider legislation on any of those more radical proposals while the Widdicombe committee's recommendations are still the subject of consultation.