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Whether they will give effect to the recommendation made in the Report of the Hansard Society Commission on the Legislative Process that there should be a two-year legislative programme; and
Whether they will give effect to the recommendation made in the Report of the Hansard Society Commission on the Legislative Process that proper consultation should play a central part in the preparation of Bills and that all government departments should act accordingly; and
Whether they will give effect to the recommendation made in the Report of the Hansard Society Commission on the Legislative Process that early consultation on the policy content of secondary legislation should become a more regular practice, and draft rules and regulations should be circulated to all interested bodies (allowing adequate time for comment) in every case; and
Whether they will give effect to the recommendation made in the Report of the Hansard Society Commission on the Legislative Process that, for every Act of Parliament, Notes on Sections, explaining the purpose and intended effect of each Section (and Schedule) should be prepared by government departments (with the assistance of Parliamentary Counsel) by up-dating the Notes on Clauses (and Notes on Amendments) prepared for Ministers, and publishing the Notes on Sections at the same time as Acts; and
Whether they will give effect to the recommendation made in the Report of the Hansard Society Commission on the Legislative Process that
Whether they will give effect to the recommendation made in the Report of the Hansard Society Commission on the Legislative Process that, wherever possible, statutes' sections or subsections which have been heavily amended should be repealed and restated, thus reducing the need for a reference back to earlier provisions; and
Whether they will give effect to the recommendation made in the Report of the Hansard Society Commission on the Legislative Process to make Notes on Clauses in Government Bills regularly available from the sponsoring government department, the Stationery Office and Parliament, or alternatively, printed on the page facing the Clause; and
Whether they will give effect to the recommendation made in the Report of the Hansard Society Commission on the Legislative Process that Ministerial responsibility for the work of parliamentary counsel, and particularly for the oversight of drafting methods employed and the scrutiny of all government bills, should be assigned to the Attorney-General.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Legislation Committee of the Cabinet has the role of examining all draft Bills before they are introduced and satisfies itself that Bills conform with good legislative practice and with the Government's international obligations.
The Government recognise the advantages of repealing and re-enacting provisions that have been subject to heavy textual amendment and, where practicable, aim to bring forward amendments which have been framed in that way.
Although they recognise that it will not be practicable to do so in every case, the Government are committed to improving consultation on legislation and have already announced that seven substantial Bills, more than ever before in a single session, are to be drafted and consulted upon during the course of this session, for introduction in the second or a subsequent session. The Government intend to build on this approach in the future. Other methods of consulting on policy intended to lead to legislation are also used, separately or in parallel, such as the publication of Green and White Papers. The Government also favour consultation on delegated legislation, for the good reasons advanced by the Commission, although it may not be practicable in every case.
The purpose of Notes on Clauses is to provide information to Ministers about the content and drafting of individual clauses. As the Commission's report recognised, it has become common practice for them to be made available. This is usually achieved by giving copies to members of the Standing Committee and placing copies in the Vote Office and House Libraries. They are generally revised for use in the second House
The Hansard Committee's proposal for Notes on Sections is one example of how explanatory material on Acts of Parliament can be improved. The Government would like to achieve such an improvement, but before reaching a conclusion on how best to do so, they wish to take account of any views the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons may express on this issue.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Public appointments are governed by the overriding principle of selection based on merit and are the responsibility of individual Ministers and their departments. However, all departments encourage women to apply for appointments and are committed to fair selection procedures. The Public Appointments Unit in the Cabinet Office (OPS) co-ordinates programmes designed to promote equal opportunities in public appointments.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: It is now normal practice for paid appointments to executive NDPBs and NHS bodies to be publicly advertised. This is in line with the Commissioner for Public Appointments' Guidance on Appointments to Executive Non Departmental Public Bodies and NHS Bodies which became mandatory for Departments on 1 July 1996. Both single and generic advertisements (i.e. those inviting applicants for appointments on a number or all of a sponsor Department's public bodies) are being used.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Government Car and Despatch Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. Nick Matheson. The agency is therefore responding to the question.
I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question on the number of official cars and drivers provided for Ministers, the average daily mileage of such cars, and the total forecast cost of this provision in the current financial year. I am the Chief Executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) which is responsible for the Government Car Service (GCS).
The GCS provides 81 cars and drivers for 84 Government Ministers. The average daily mileage per car is 52.65 miles. I should point out that this average mileage also includes any non-ministerial use of cars. The forecast cost for providing the basic service to Ministers is £4,021,000. Each Minister's private office contracts with the GCS for the provision of a car and driver. The GCS charges the Minister's private office for the service on a basis that recovers all costs.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Rollright Stones are statutorily protected by virtue of their status as a scheduled ancient monument, which requires the owners to apply for scheduled monument consent from my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport before carrying out any works affecting it.
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