Local Government Act 1972 s.214 - parish council powers concerning churchyards.

The request was partially successful.

Christopher Whitmey

Dear Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government,

Q1. Has the MHCLG, or its predecessor, ever published any comment or review of parish council's powers under the Local Government Act 1972?
If 'Yes' please may I have a copy?

The National Association of Local Councils publication 'NALC Legal briefing financial assistance to the church 2018 - LO1-18' states:
"S.214(6) of the 1972 Act which permits a [parish] council as a burial authority to contribute to the expenses of anyone else providing a cemetery, appears to overlap with the specific provision in 5.8 of the 1894 Act which prevents a council from contributing to the affairs of the church and, in NALC’s view, the specific provision would prevail."

It also stated (emphasis *<...>* added):
"It would, of course, be possible for Parliament to clarify the point with a specific provision in new legislation [1972], however, *<the Government’s current view on the legal issues is that there is no need for any further legislation>* as they believe the 1894 Act restrictions do not override the provisions in later [1972] Acts of Parliament."

Q2. Has the MCHLG, or its predecessor, ever:
(a) corresponded with the NALC on the subject of the powers of parish councils under the 1972 Act? or
(b) expressed a written view on the legal issues involved?
If 'Yes' please may I have copies?

Yours faithfully,

Christopher Whitmey

MHCLG Correspondence, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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Despatch Box, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Dear Mr Whitmey
 
Thank you for your Information Request of 5 October 2020.
 
We will aim to send you a response by 2 November 2020.
 
If you have any questions, please ask by return email. Please leave the
subject line unchanged when replying, to make sure your email gets
straight to us.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 

Knowledge and Information Access

Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government

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Despatch Box, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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Dear Mr Whitmey,
 
Thank you for your request for information, we have attached our formal
response to this email.

Kind Regards,

MHCLG FOI Team

 
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Christopher Whitmey

Dear Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's handling of my FOI request 'Local Government Act 1972 s.214 - parish council powers concerning churchyards.'.
You answered:
Q1: Has the MHCLG, or its predecessor, ever published any comment or review of parish
council's powers under the Local Government Act 1972?
Answer: The Department, or its predecessors, has no record of publishing any comment or review of parish
council powers under the 1972 Local Government Act.
With respect this is wrong. See Hansard 23 July 2004 Volume 424 Column 749W https://bit.ly/LGA1972ParshCouncil_s215 records an authoritative list of the powers of Parish Councils as given by the then Minister for Local and Regional Government, the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford).
The list includes:
Clocks Power to provide public clocks Parish Councils Act 1957, s. 2
Closed churchyards Powers as to maintenance Local Government Act 1972, s. 215
Should not the list have included: Open churchyards Powers as to maintenance Local Government Act 1972, s.214?
If not, why not?
A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

Yours faithfully,

Christopher Whitmey

MHCLG Correspondence, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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Christopher Whitmey

Dear Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.
I am writing to ask why my request dated 02 November 2020 for an internal review of Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government's handling of my FOI request 'Local Government Act 1972 s.214 - parish council powers concerning churchyards.' has not had a response apart from an auto-acknowledgement?

It is now over 30 working days since my IR request.
The ICO website says:
"If you do have a complaints procedure, also known as an internal review, you should:
... and
ensure the review takes no longer than 20 working days in most cases, or 40 in exceptional circumstances.
...
Even if your internal review upholds your original decision (that, as at the date of the request, the information was exempt from disclosure) you may wish to release further information if circumstances have changed and your original concerns about disclosure no longer apply. You are not obliged to do this but it may resolve matters for the requester and reduce the likelihood of them making a complaint to the Information Commissioner if you do."

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/l...

Yours faithfully,
Christopher Whitmey

Despatch Box, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

1 Attachment

                            
Our reference: 9343263             
Information request

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
Dear Mr Whitmey
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on 2 November 2020. I am
sorry that you are dissatisfied with our attempts to handle your request
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 
 
I attach my full response.
 
If you are unhappy with the outcome of this internal review, you can ask
the independent Information Commissioner to investigate. The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at email address [1][email address] or
use their online form at [2]ico.org.uk/concerns or call them on 0303 123
1113.
 
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
MHCLG FOI Team
 
 
 
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Christopher Whitmey

Dear Mr Pearce,
Thank you very much for your detailed review and helpful explanations. Also for the link: particularly concerning BACAG.
This FOIA is now closed.
Yours sincerely,

Christopher Whitmey

MHCLG Correspondence, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

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