Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Fifth Report


FIFTH REPORT


18 DECEMBER 2002

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 and draft orders laid before Parliament under the Regulatory Reform Act 2001; and to perform, in respect of such documents and orders and subordinate provisions orders laid under that Act, the functions performed in respect of other instruments by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments[1].

ORDERED TO REPORT

POLICE (NORTHERN IRELAND) BILL [HL]

INTRODUCTION

1.  This bill is concerned with further implementation of the Independent Commission for Policing in Northern Ireland's Report "A New Beginning: Policing in Northern Ireland" (also known as the Patten report), and with powers for police support staff.

THE DELEGATED POWERS

2.  There are four delegated powers in the bill, in clauses 18, 24 (two powers) and 25. The powers in clauses 18 and 25 are discussed in the memorandum on delegated powers from the Northern Ireland Office. The memorandum is printed at Annex 1 to this Report.

Fixed- term appointments

3.  Clause 18 inserts a new section 36A into the Police (Northern Ireland ) Act 2000 ("the 2000 Act"), enabling the Chief Constable to make fixed-term appointments of up to 3 years to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (subject to limitations). New section 36A(4) enables the Secretary of State to modify, by order subject to negative procedure (section 76(5) of the 2000 Act), any provision of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 or the 2000 Act in its application to the fixed-term appointees. In exercising this power, new section 36A(5) requires the Secretary of State to consult the Northern Ireland Policing Board and the Police Association. We consider that the delegation is appropriate and, given the requirement to consult, that the negative procedure provided is justified.

Taking intimate samples

4.  Clause 24 amends the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (an Order in Council subject to affirmative procedure and made under Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Act 1974) so as to widen the categories of persons who may take intimate samples. New Article 62(9A)(b) and the new definitions of "registered health care professional" and "health care profession" in Article 53 enable the Secretary of State, by order subject to negative procedure, to designate a profession. The effect of the designation is that registered members of that profession may take intimate samples, subject to certain safeguards set out in the 1989 Order. The professions concerned are limited to those mentioned in section 60(2) of the Health Act 1999. We consider that the delegation and level of scrutiny are appropriate.

5.  Clause 24(6) is a standard commencement order provision. Clause 24(7) enables the commencement order (which is subject to no Parliamentary procedure) to add on supplementary, incidental, saving or transitional provisions. This provision relates only to clause 24, and we consider this delegation to be appropriate.

Codes

6.  Clause 25 amends the 1989 Order to allow the Secretary of State to modify statutory codes about tape and video recording of interviews and powers of search, detention, seizure of property and related matters. The modification may be only for specified areas, periods, offences or offenders. The codes to be modified are prepared by the Secretary of State after consultation, laid before Parliament in draft and brought into force by order subject to negative resolution. The proposed provision reflects the position for England and Wales under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (as amended). We consider that the delegation and level of scrutiny are appropriate.

CONCLUSION

7.  There is nothing in the delegated powers in this bill to which the Committee wishes to draw the attention of the House as inappropriate.

PUBLIC SERVICES (DISRUPTION) BILL HL

INTRODUCTION

8.  This is a Private Member's bill introduced by Lord Campbell of Alloway. It makes provision to contain disruption of public services by collective industrial action. We reported on a similar bill during the last Parliamentary session.[2] The Committee were primarily concerned about the scope of the bill being entirely in the hands of the Secretary of State. This concern has been addressed in the present bill.

THE DELEGATED POWERS

9.  The bill contains a power to make a commencement order (which is subject to no Parliamentary procedure). It also contains power for the Secretary of State, by order subject to the affirmative procedure, to add to the categories of public service covered by the bill.

CONCLUSION

10.  There is nothing in the delegated powers in this bill to which the Committee wishes to draw the attention of the House as inappropriate.

GREATER LONDON AUTHORITY ACT 1999 ACT (REPEAL) BILL [HL]

INTRODUCTION

11.  This is a Private Member's bill introduced by Lord Ampthill to repeal the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

THE DELEGATED POWERS

12.  The bill confers power on the Secretary of State, by order subject to affirmative procedure, to make consequential provision in connection with the repeal.

CONCLUSION

13.  There is nothing in the delegated powers in this bill to which the Committee wishes to draw the attention of the House as inappropriate.

CRIME (INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION) BILL [HL]

14.  We reported on this bill in our 2nd Report of this session (HL Paper 20). The Government has now submitted a helpful response, which is printed at Annex 2 to this Report. We welcome the constructive approach taken by the Government, which has responded positively to the comments made by the Committee.


1   This report is also published on the Internet at the House of Lords Select Committee Home Page (http://www.parliament.uk), where further information about the work of the Committee is also available. Back

2   18th Report, Session 2001-02, HL Paper 109. Back


 
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