Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Ninth Report



  22.    While this is a large bill which contains controversial provisions, the delegated powers in it are no more numerous than might be expected. The department's excellent memorandum (printed in the Appendix to this report) explains the need for each power and sets out the Parliamentary control which will apply. In this report, therefore, the Committee has thought it necessary only to add a commentary on the Henry VIII powers (all of which are subject to affirmative procedure) and on those powers which are not subject to Parliamentary control.

Henry VIII powers

  23.    Clause 29(4) allows the Secretary of State to amend by order the definition in subsection (3) of "youth justice services". The case for the power is made in the memorandum. The power is very limited and is subject to affirmative procedure, which the Committee considers appropriate.

  24.    Clause 32(6) allows the Secretary of State to amend by order subsection (5) so as to alter the functions of the new Youth Justice Board. The memorandum explains the need for the power which is narrowly confined and subject to affirmative procedure.

  25.    Clause 46(7) allows the Secretary of State to change the maximum period during which a violent offender may be subject to licence after release from prison. The memorandum gives the background to this very limited power (the order cannot increase the maximum above 10 years). Again affirmative procedure is applied. Corresponding provision is made for Scotland in clause 70.

  26.    Clause 48(7) allows the Secretary of State to amend by order subsection (2) to substitute different minimum and maximum periods limiting drug treatment and testing orders. Corresponding provision is made for Scotland in clause 72. The provisions apply affirmative procedure and are explained in the memorandum.

  27.    Clause 82(5) allows the Secretary of State to amend by order the provisions of subsection (4) which determined when a prisoner becomes eligible for release on licence. This is a limited power subject to affirmative procedure the need for which is explained in the memorandum.

Powers not subject to Parliamentary control

  28.    Clause 60 creates a new custodial sentence for children and young persons which will apply where the offence was committed on or after the date appointed by the Secretary of State. The memorandum likens this power to the power to make a commencement order.

  29.    Clause 83 inserts a new section in the Criminal Justice Act 1991. Subsection (4) of that section provides that the person responsible for monitoring the curfew condition included in a licence under section 34A of that Act shall be of a description specified in an order made by the Secretary of State. The memorandum justifies the absence of Parliamentary control by citing the similar power in section 12 of the 1991 Act. While the precedent predates the establishment of this Committee, it would be strange to have different procedures in one Act for virtually identical powers and the discretion given to the Secretary of State to decide what employment fits a person to monitor a curfew condition is limited and similar to a power to make administrative arrangements which would not be subject to Parliamentary control.

  30.    Clause 91 allows the Secretary of State to make by order arrangements about the problems associated with the repeal by clause 60 of sections 1 and 4 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. The memorandum argues persuasively that Parliamentary control would not be appropriate for a purely transitory power like this.

  31.    Clause 96(2) is a common commencement power.


  32.    The Committee draws the attention of the House to the inclusion in the bill of the Henry VIII powers. There is nothing else in the bill to which the House's attention need be drawn.

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Prepared 19 December 1997