14 JUNE 2000
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.
ROYAL PARKS (TRADING) BILL
1. This Bill does not create a new delegated
legislative power but it affects an existing power to make regulations.
Clause 1(1) provides that regulations under section 2 of the Parks
Regulation (Amendment) Act 1926 may designate specified provisions
of the regulations as park trading regulations. The bill increases
the penalties for offences so designated and provides for the
seizure, retention and disposal of hot-dog stands and similar
equipment in the possession of the person suspected of committing
such an offence.
2. There is nothing in this Bill which the Committee
wishes to draw to the attention of the House.
TELEVISION LICENCES (DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION)
3. From 1 November any person aged over 75 will
be entitled to a free television licence. The bill is intended
to provide a way of checking that those who apply for a free licence
are entitled to one. The Department of Social Security has a range
of computerised records about individuals and can supply the BBC
(or its agents) with an electronic copy of a data base containing
the name, age, date of birth, address and NI number of persons
aged 74 or over and to update this by recording deaths. With this
information any application for a free licence can be checked.
This would relieve most applicants of the need to submit documentary
proof of age. However without the bill the information could not
be provided to the BBC.
4. Clause 1(3) and (4) leave the nature of the
information which may be disclosed to the BBC to be prescribed
5. Clause 2 limits the use to which the information
may be put to use "in connection with television licences
for which no fee is payable or reduced-fee licences". The
latter term is limited to licences for which a reduced fee is
payable and which fall within a category prescribed by order.
6. Clause 5 includes a definition of "prescribed"
so creating the order-making power which is made subject to negative
procedure by clause 6(2).
7. The Committee considers that no amendment
is necessary either to the delegated powers in the bill or to
the parliamentary control provided for these powers.
SEA FISHING GRANTS (CHARGES) BILL
WIRELESS TELEGRAPHY (TELEVISION LICENCE
FEES) BILL [HL]
HEALTH SERVICE COMMISSIONERS (AMENDMENT)
LICENSING (YOUNG PERSONS) BILL
8. None of these bills creates a new delegated
REGULATION OF INVESTIGATORY POWERS BILL
- GOVERNMENT RESPONSE
9. The Committee reported on the Regulation of
Investigatory Powers Bill in its 18th Report. The Government's
response to the Committee's recommendations is set out in the
Minister's letter printed in Annex 2 to this Report.
10. In its comments on the powers in clauses
21(2)(h), 27(3)(g) and (5)(3) the Committee invited the House
to consider whether those clauses should be amended to limit the
apparently wide powers to correspond with the use that Ministers
intended to make of them and added that, in any event, all the
powers should be subject to affirmative procedure. The Government
accept the latter recommendation but reject the first on the ground
that the Human Rights Act 1998 effectively limits the powers.
The Minister will be obliged to make a statement that an order
is, in his view, compliant with that Act. The Committee sees affirmative
procedure as giving appropriate Parliamentary control and does
not wish to continue to press for amendments to the clauses.
11. In its comments on the powers in clauses
24, 29 and 39 the Committee questioned the need for these powers
to add other public authorities to the lists in the bill of those
which may exercise particular investigatory powers and added that
negative procedure was not appropriate for any of the powers (clause
39 is already subject to affirmative procedure). The Government
accepts the case for affirmative procedure and proposes also to
add to the bill lists of all those authorities which the Government
intends at present to exercise the powers. However, the Government
continues to see a need to add new authorities and does not propose
to limit the amending powers to naming successor authorities when
listed authorities are abolished or lose functions. The Committee
sees this as an important issue and invites the House to press
for such a limitation. The Committee cannot see why it is not
possible to produce exhaustive lists now of existing authorities
which are to have these investigatory powers. The House may also
take the view that in deciding whether a particular investigatory
power is acceptable it is essential to know who will be able to
exercise it and an open-ended power to amend makes this impossible.
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