Mark and Ruth look at the growing fashion for re-writing Bills mid-air as they pass through Parliament, adding on all sorts of policy bells and whistles at the last minute.
The scope and design of the delegation of legislative powers in any Bill affects the long-term balance of power between Parliament and Government. The House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (DPRRC) scrutinises all such delegation. This report distils standards for the delegation of powers from 101 DPRRC reports from 2017 to 2021.
Researcher, Hansard Society
Researcher, Hansard Society
Dheemanth joined the Hansard Society in July 2021 as a Researcher to contribute to the Review of Delegated Legislation. His role also involves supporting the day-to-day delivery of the Society’s legislative monitoring service, the Statutory Instrument Tracker®.
Dheemanth has a diverse professional background that includes experience in both the legal and non-legal sectors. He completed his MBBS degree at the University of East Anglia. He has since attained a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) while working full-time as a junior doctor at an NHS hospital trust. He has previously conducted legal research with the hospital’s legal services department. As a research assistant, he has also contributed to a public international law project concerning citizenship and statelessness. Additionally, he has experience conducting scientific and laboratory-based research during his BMedSci degree in Molecular Therapeutics at Queen Mary University of London.
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We hope that, by drawing DPRRC standards across a range of issues together into a single document, this Compendium will prove a useful resource for all those involved in the production, scrutiny, interpretation and use of delegated powers and what they should – or should not – be used for. By distilling over a hundred DPRRC reports, the Compendium should convey a sense of the Committee’s thinking and concerns, and the wider landscape of debate and recommendations about delegation and scrutiny procedures across government. The standards presented in the Compendium have been derived from a comprehensive analysis of DPRRC reports over three parliamentary Sessions (2017-19, 2019 and 2019-21) – Sessions that have seen Bills introduced and delegated powers sought during exceptional and tumultuous social and political circumstances. The Compendium presents the list of legislative standards derived from DPRRC reports in four categories:
General principles underpinning the delegation of legislative powers: What may constitute inappropriate delegation of power, and are there certain principles that apply to assessing the scope of such delegation?
Parliamentary scrutiny of the use of delegated powers: What standards apply to prescribing parliamentary scrutiny procedures and requirements as to the nature of accompanying documents?
Types of provision: What standards apply to certain types of legislative provision?
Policy areas: What standards apply to delegated powers in certain policy areas?
Appendix I sets out in more detail the remit and practice of the DPRRC, utilising material from the Committee’s own reports. Appendix II comprises an extract from the DPRRC’s ‘Guidance for Departments’. Appendix III comprises a glossary of key terms.
Delegated legislation is the most common form of legislation in the United Kingdom. It is the legislation of everyday life, impacting millions of citizens daily. But the terminology and procedures that surround it are complex and often confusing. This explainer unpacks delegated legislation - the terminology and Parliament's role in scrutinising it - to reveal more about how delegated legislation really works.
What a week! Suella Braverman's sacking from Government was immediately eclipsed by the appointment of former Prime Minister David Cameron as the new Foreign Secretary. Mark and Ruth explore the many questions this raises, not least for scrutiny of foreign affairs by MPs.
The Prime Minister’s decision to cancel the next stage of HS2 has given rise to criticism that once again the Government has ridden roughshod over Parliament. Just over 1,300 hours of legislative time have been spent on four HS2-related Bills over nine Sessions in the last decade. Why has it taken so long and what now happens to that legislation?
When parliamentarians reassemble at Westminster on 7 November for the start of the new Session, all eyes will be on the legislative programme to be announced in the King’s Speech. Speculation about the likely date of the next general election is rife at Westminster, but until the date is settled there are a lot of parliamentary issues still to be tackled. We’ve picked out a few things to look out for on the political horizon.