Local Authority Social Services Act 1970 – section 7(s7D)
Local authorities to exercise social services functions under guidance of of State
(1) Local authorities shall, in the exercise of their social services functions, including the exercise of any discretion conferred by any relevant enactment, act under the general guidance of the Secretary of State.
Section 7A Directions by the Secretary of State as to exercise of social services functions
(1) Without prejudice to section 7 of this Act, every local authority shall exercise their social services functions in accordance with such directions as may be given to them under this section by the Secretary of State.
(2) Directions under this section-
(a) shall be given in writing; and
(b) may be given to a particular authority, or to authorities of a particular class, or to authorities generally.
Section 7B Complaints procedure
(1) The Secretary of State may by order require local authorities to establish a procedure for considering any representations (including any complaints) which are made to them by a qualifying individual, or anyone acting on his behalf, in relation to the discharge of, or any failure to discharge, any of their social services functions in respect of that individual.
(2) In relation to a particular local authority, an individual is a qualifying individual for the purposes of subsection (1) above if-
(a) the authority have a power or a duty to provide, or to secure the provision of, a service for him; and
(b) his need or possible need for such a service has (by whatever means) come to the attention of the authority
if he is in receipt of direct payments within the meaning of section 57 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001.
(3) A local authority shall comply with any directions given by the Secretary of State as to the procedure to be adopted in considering representations made as mentioned in subsection (1) above as to the taking of such action as may be necessary in consequence of such representations.
(4) Local authorities shall give such publicity to any procedure established pursuant to this section as they consider appropriate.
Section 7C Inquiries
(1) The Secretary of State may cause an inquiry to be held in any case where, whether on representations made to him or otherwise, he considers it advisable to do so in connection with the exercise by any local authority of any of their social services functions (except in so far as those functions relate to persons under the age of eighteen).
(2) Subsections (2) to (5) of section 250 of the Local Government Act 1972 (powers in relation to local inquiries) shall apply in relation to an inquiry under this section as they apply in relation to an inquiry under that section.
Section 7D Default powers of Secretary of State as respects social services functions of local authorities
(1) If the Secretary of State is satisfied that any local authority have failed, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any of their duties which are social services functions (other than a duty imposed by or under the Children Act 1989), he may make an order declaring that authority to be in default with respect to the duty in question.
(2) An order under subsection (1) may contain such directions for the purpose of ensuring that the duty is complied with within such period as may be specified in the order as appear to the Secretary of State to be necessary.
(3) Any such direction shall, on the application of the Secretary of State, be enforceable by mandamus.
Section 7E Grants to local authorities in respect of social services for the mentally ill
The Secretary of State may, with the approval of the Treasury, make grants out of money provided by Parliament towards any expenses of local authorities incurred in connection with the exercise of their social services functions in relation to persons suffering from mental illness.