This is entry No.11, first published on 13 December, of a blog on Public Bodies Reform. Click here to view the whole blog.

At last, the long-awaited Localism Bill has been introduced today, Monday 13 December, and will commence its passage through Parliament in the House of Commons. With over 200 clauses, 24 Schedules and 400 + pages, it is truly a Christmas blockbuster.

Much if not all of its headline content has been trailed in advance through the Queen's Speech on 25 May and later ministerial announcements but the detail will take some pouring over. So far as the reform of public bodies is concerned, key points to note are:

  • abolition of the London Development Agency (see clause 162), Regional Development Agencies and Regional Spatial Strategies (see clause 89 in particular);
  • abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission: see clause 107;
  • aboliton of the Office for Tenants and Social Landlords and the transfer of its remaining functions to the Homes and Communities Agency: see clause 150 and Schedule 16;
  • abolition of the Standards Board for England and of the need for local statutory advisory standards committees: see clause 14 and Schedule 4;
  • directly elected mayors in 12 English cities (it is proposed that council leaders for Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Coventry, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Sheffield and Wakefield would become shadow mayors, and together with any other areas that call for a mayor, they are to hold mayoral referendums on local Election Day in May 2012 with those areas that vote in favour holding mayorial elections on the local election day in May 2013: see clause 10 and Schedule 2, Part 1;
  • mayorial development corporations for London: see clause 167;
  • new powers for local authorities, including a new power of general competence (see clause 1 in particular); and
  • a duty on local authorities and other designated bodies to cooperate on the planing of sustainale development: see clause 90;

To view the whole Bill and Explanatory Memorandum which, due to other business earlier today, were only introduced and published this evening long after the CLG announcements about them, see here.

It is also worth having a look in particular at CLG's 'Decentralisation and the Localism Bill: an essential guide' (see here) and its Media guide to the Bill (see here).

Second Reading of the Bill will not now take place until January 2011.