Select Committee on Regulatory Reform Third Special Report

Summary of recommendations and conclusions

Presentations from Departmental officials

      (a)  We have indicated to the Government our desire to hear presentations from officials as a matter of routine at the Committee meeting immediately following the laying of a proposal before Parliament (paragraph 7).

      • Any Member of the House would be welcome, by prior arrangement with the Committee office, to attend any presentation on any regulatory reform order which the Government may bring forward (paragraph 8).
    1. Timetabling

          (c)  So long as there is a regular and even flow of proposals and draft orders coming before the Committee, we consider that we should have no difficulty in dealing with up to two items laid in any sitting week, provided that at least one of those is a draft order, at "second-stage" scrutiny. We also suggest that it may, alternatively, be possible for us to deal with the laying before Parliament of up to two of the less complex proposals at "first-stage" scrutiny (paragraph 12).

      Standing order procedures in the case of disagreement

          (d)  We are disappointed that our recommendation that the Government pledge to allow a free vote on any motion under Standing Order No. 18(2) was rejected. We continue to believe that a free vote would be appropriate in these circumstances. At the very least, the freedom of Committee members not to vote against their own recommendation should be preserved (paragraph 26).

      Scrutiny arrangements

          (e)  We believe that it is too early in the life of the new Act, and that too few proposals have been taken through the procedure, for it to be appropriate to begin to suggest how the procedure might be altered. We suggest that any significant change in the current scrutiny arrangements would be impractical, because of the practical problems inherent in having to decide case-by-case on the appropriate procedures to be followed in the case of any particular regulatory reform proposal. Nevertheless, if in due course the Government comes up with any practical suggestions, we would be pleased to consider them (paragraph 29).

      Regulatory reform and the National Assembly for Wales

          (f)  The current arrangements for requesting the Assembly's consent appear to us to be sensible (paragraph 31).

      Disapplication of section 1(4) of the Regulatory Reform Act

          (g)  We suggest that the Government might more appropriately consider incorporating more widespread use of the "superaffirmative" procedure into legislation, rather than bending the regulatory reform procedure to uses for which it was not originally intended (paragraph 35).

      • We do not believe, [however], that disapplication [where necessary amendments have to be made to Acts of Parliament which are intended to be the subject of future, more wide-ranging reform by means of a regulatory reform order] would necessarily offend against the spirit of the Regulatory Reform Act; it may in fact help ensure the speediest possible introduction of some useful reforms (paragraph 38).

Generating proposal for regulatory reform orders

      (i)  We would strongly encourage any of our colleagues who thinks that he or she has identified a reform which might be suitable for implementation by means of a regulatory reform order to act as the Government has suggested, in gathering the initial evidence and lobbying the responsible Minister for action (paragraph 41).


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