13 May 1998
By the Select Committee
appointed to report whether the provisions of any bill inappropriately
delegate legislative power, or whether they subject the exercise
of legislative power to an inappropriate degree of parliamentary
scrutiny; to report on documents laid before Parliament under
section 3(3) of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994
and on draft orders laid under section 1(4) of that Act; and to
perform, in respect of such documents and orders, the functions
performed in respect of other instruments by the Joint Committee
on Statutory Instruments.
PROPOSAL FOR THE DRAFT
DEREGULATION (EXCHANGEABLE DRIVING LICENCES)
1. At present
a person living in Great Britain who holds a driving licence issued
outside the European Economic Area
and needs to acquire a British licence has to take a driving test
unless his licence was issued by a country or territory listed
in an order made under the Road Traffic Act 1988.
That order has to apply to all classes of licence and if a country
is listed in it, any licence issued there can be "exchanged"
for a British licence. Because of this "all or nothing"
approach the list of exchange countries is relatively short. For
example, it does not include any country which issues a "full"
licence after a test limited to driving a car with automatic transmission.
The proposal, which
was laid before the House of Lords on 25 March, is to replace
this "listing" power with a more flexible one which
will enable the Secretary of State to list a country either for
all licences or only for licences of a specified description.
2. The proposed
measure would apply to England, Scotland and Wales. Separate legislation
applies in Northern Ireland, and the introduction of similar measures
in Northern Ireland is being considered.
3. In its consultation
document, the Government described the burden to be removed in
the following terms:
It is proposed to make
the present system more flexible by further amending the Road
Traffic Act 1988 to allow the designation of countries or territories
whose systems of driver licensing are only partly satisfactory
as well as those whose systems are wholly satisfactory, by making
it possible for the designation to be limited to certain classes
of vehicle or to licences granted in specified circumstances.
4. As the explanatory
memorandum to the proposal states, "the main benefit will
be to allow the grant of a full British licence, without the time
and expense involved in passing a driving test, to a number of
licence holders from other countries. For some this will have
wider benefits, for example, advancing their availability for
a wider range of employment."
5. The Committee
considers that the proposal lifts a burden from those who under
the existing law would have to take a test to continue driving
in Great Britain but under the proposal would be able to "exchange"
licences. The Committee is satisfied that the proposal would
remove a burden.
6. The memorandum
argues that there is no loss of necessary protection. There is
no reason to fear that drivers who do not qualify for an "exchange"
licence at present but would under the proposal are worse drivers
than those who qualify now.
7. In its response
to the consultation exercise, the Association of Chief Police
Officers supported the proposal provided the standard of driving
of those obtaining a British licence was equal to or better than
the standard of driving in this country. The Magistrates' Association
was concerned that necessary protection could be lost. On the
other hand, the British School of Motoring (BSM) believed that
the proposal would allow a more focused targeting of those tests
from other countries which were of a comparable standard to the
British test for certain categories standing alone, and pointed
out that targeting could increase road safety.
8. The Committee
attaches considerable importance to the BSM's expectation that
the proposal could result in greater targeting of tests, thereby
increasing road safety. On balance, the Committee considers that
necessary protection would be maintained under the proposal.
9. Those consulted
are listed in Annex B to the memorandum and appear to include
all those who ought to have been consulted. Two months were allowed
for responses, which is adequate. The 10 responses which were
received are summarised in Annex C of the explanatory memorandum.
Committee is satisfied that there was adequate consultation on
Committee is satisfied that the proposal for the Draft Deregulation
(Exchangeable Driving Licences) Order 1998 meets the requirements
of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 and is appropriate
to be made under it, without amendment.DRAFT DEREGULATION (DEDUCTION FROM PAY OF UNION SUBSCRIPTIONS) ORDER 1998
12. The Deregulation
and Contracting Out Act 1994 provides a two-stage process for
the parliamentary scrutiny of deregulation orders. A document
containing the proposal is laid under section 3(3) of the Act
in the form of a draft of the order, together with explanatory
material; and we and the Commons equivalent committee have 60
days in which to consider and report on it. The Government then
lay under section 1(4) of the Act a draft order, either in its
original form or amended to take account of the two committees'
views, for approval by resolution of each House. In the Lords
a motion to approve a draft order can only be moved after we have
made a second report on it.
13. The proposal
for the draft Deregulation (Deduction from Pay of Union Subscriptions)
Order was laid under section 3(3) of the 1994 Act on 18 December
1997. We reported on the proposal in our 13th report of this session,
dated 25th February 1998.
In that report, the Committee commented on the transitional arrangements
provided by the proposal, and supported concerns expressed by
the House of Commons Deregulation Committee that the prescribed
notice (contained in the schedule to the proposal) to be sent
to workers under the transitional arrangements was excessively
complicated. The Commons Committee sent a suggested simplified
draft of the notice to the Department for comments and the Department,
having made further amendments to the draft, agreed to amend the
prescribed notice. We concluded that the form of notice to be
given under Article 3(2) should be amended.
14. In response
to the concerns of the two Committees, the draft Order has been
amended to include a simplified text of the prescribed notice.
In addition, the prescribed notice has been shortened and simplified
further by removing the tear-off portion of the notice, in response
to other points made by the House of Commons Deregulation Committee.
Committee reports that the draft order is now in a form satisfactory
to be submitted to the House for affirmative resolution.
16. We are
required by our terms of reference to perform, in respect of documents
and orders laid under section 1(4) of the 1994 Act, the functions
performed in respect of other instruments by the Joint Committee
on Statutory Instruments. The Committee has concluded that
there is nothing in the draft order which the Joint Committee
would have needed to draw to the attention of each House.
1 The European Community States plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Back
2 1988 c. 52. Back
3 The proposal was laid before Parliament in the form of a draft of the Order and an explanatory memorandum from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Back
4 Explanatory memorandum, paragraph 3. Back
5 Consultation document, paragraph 14. Back
6 Explanatory memorandum, paragraph 14. Back
7 Explanatory memorandum, paragraphs 24, 27 and 29. Back
8 Standing Order 70(1)(b). Back
9 HL Paper 75. Back
10 This report is also published on the Internet at the House of Lords Select Committees Home Page (http://www.parliament.uk), where further information about the work of the Committee is also available. Back