Digital Economy Bill (HL Bill 80)

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19AC Code of practice

(1) The Registrar General must issue a code of practice about the disclosure
of information under section 19AA.

(2) The code of practice must be consistent with the code of practice issued
5under section 52B (data-sharing code) of the Data Protection Act 1998
(as altered or replaced from time to time).

(3) A civil registration official must have regard to the code of practice in
disclosing information under section 19AA.

(4) The Registrar General may from time to time revise and re-issue the
10code of practice.

(5) Before issuing or revising the code of practice the Registrar General
must consult—

(a) the Minister,

(b) the Information Commissioner, and

(c) 15such other persons as the Registrar General thinks fit.

(6) As soon as reasonably practicable after issuing or reissuing the code of
practice the Registrar General must arrange for a copy of it to be laid
before Parliament.”

(3) In section 19B (fees in respect of provision of copies of records etc)—

(a) 20after subsection (1) insert—

(1A) The Minister may by regulations provide for fees to be payable
to a civil registration official in respect of the disclosure by the
official of information under section 19AA.”,

(b) in subsections (2) and (3), for “The regulations” substitute “Regulations
25under this section”, and

(c) in the heading, omit “in respect of provision of copies of records etc”.

(4) In section 21(1) (interpretation), after “respectively—” insert—

  • ““civil registration official” has the meaning given by section
    19AA;”.

40 30Consequential provision

(1) The Secretary of State may by regulations make the provision in subsection (2)
in consequence of any provision made by section 39.

(2) The provision mentioned in subsection (1) is provision amending, repealing or
revoking any provision of any enactment passed or made before or in the same
35Session as this Act.

(3) Regulations under this section must be made by statutory instrument.

(4) Regulations under this section may—

(a) make different provision for different purposes;

(b) contain transitional or transitory provision or savings.

(5) 40A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section which amend
or repeal an Act may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid
before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

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(6) A statutory instrument containing any other regulations under this section is
subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of
Parliament.

(7) In this section “enactment” includes an enactment contained in subordinate
5legislation within the meaning of the Interpretation Act 1978.

CHAPTER 3 Debt owed to the public sector

41 Disclosure of information to reduce debt owed to the public sector

(1) A specified person may disclose information held by the person in connection
10with any of the person’s functions to another specified person for the purposes
of the taking of action in connection with debt owed to a specified person or to
the Crown.

(2) For the purposes of this section debt is owed to a specified person or to the
Crown if—

(a) 15a person is required to pay a sum of money to a specified person or to
the Crown, and

(b) all or part of that sum remains unpaid after the date on which, or after
the end of the period within which, it is required to be paid.

(3) The reference in subsection (1) to taking action in connection with debt owed
20to a specified person or to the Crown includes—

(a) identifying debt of that kind;

(b) collecting debt of that kind;

(c) bringing civil proceedings as a result of debt of that kind;

(d) taking administrative action as a result of debt of that kind.

(4) 25In this Chapter “specified person” means a person specified, or of a description
specified, in regulations made by the appropriate national authority.

(5) A person specified in regulations under subsection (4) must be—

(a) a public authority, or

(b) a person providing services to a public authority.

(6) 30In the case of a person (“P”) who is a specified person merely because of
providing services to a public authority, the reference in subsection (1) to the
functions of a specified person is limited to the functions P exercises for that
purpose.

(7) In determining whether to make regulations under subsection (4) in relation to
35a person or description of person the appropriate national authority must have
regard, in particular, to—

(a) the systems and procedures for the secure handling of information by
that person or persons of that description, and

(b) in the case of regulations which amend or revoke previous regulations
40so that the person ceases to be a specified person, whether that person,
or any person providing services to that person, has had regard to the
code of practice under section 45 as required by that section.

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(8) Before making regulations under subsection (4) the appropriate national
authority must consult—

(a) the Information Commissioner,

(b) the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs,

(c) 5each other person who is the appropriate national authority in relation
to regulations under subsection (4),

(d) where the appropriate national authority is not the relevant Minister,
the Minister for the Cabinet Office, and

(e) such other persons as the appropriate national authority thinks
10appropriate.

(9) The fact that this section was not in force when consultation of the kind
mentioned in subsection (8) took place is to be disregarded in determining
whether there has been compliance with that subsection.

42 Further provisions about power in section 41

(1) 15Personal information disclosed under section 41 may only be used by the
person to whom it is disclosed for the purposes for which it was disclosed,
subject to subsection (2).

(2) Subsection (1) does not prevent the use of information by a person—

(a) if the information has already lawfully been made available to the
20public,

(b) if the person to whom the information relates consents to its use for
another purpose,

(c) for the prevention or detection of crime or the prevention of anti-social
behaviour,

(d) 25for the purposes of a criminal investigation,

(e) for the purposes of legal proceedings (whether civil or criminal),

(f) for the purposes of safeguarding vulnerable adults or children, or

(g) for the purposes of protecting national security.

(3) In subsection (2)(c) “anti-social behaviour” has the same meaning as in Part 1
30of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (see section 2 of that
Act).

(4) Subsection (2) does not apply to information disclosed to a person under
section 41 by the Revenue and Customs; but such information may be used by
that person for purposes other than those for which it was disclosed with the
35consent of the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (which
may be general or specific).

(5) For the purposes of this Chapter information is “personal information” if—

(a) it relates to and identifies a particular person (including a body
corporate), but

(b) 40it is not information about the internal administrative arrangements of
a specified person.

(6) For the purposes of subsection (5) information identifies a particular person if
the identity of that person—

(a) is specified in the information,

(b) 45can be deduced from the information, or

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(c) can be deduced from the information taken together with any other
information.

(7) A disclosure under section 41 does not breach—

(a) any obligation of confidence owed by the person making the
5disclosure, or

(b) any other restriction on the disclosure of information (however
imposed).

(8) But nothing in section 41 authorises the making of a disclosure which—

(a) contravenes the Data Protection Act 1998, or

(b) 10is prohibited by Part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
2000.

(9) Section 41 does not limit the circumstances in which information may be
disclosed apart from that section.

43 Confidentiality of personal information

(1) 15Personal information received by a person (“P”) under section 41 may not be
disclosed—

(a) by P, or

(b) by any other person who has received it directly or indirectly from P.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a disclosure—

(a) 20which is required or permitted by any enactment (including section 41),

(b) which is required by an EU obligation,

(c) which is made in pursuance of an order of the court,

(d) of information which has already lawfully been made available to the
public,

(e) 25which is made for the prevention or detection of crime or the
prevention of anti-social behaviour,

(f) which is made for the purposes of a criminal investigation,

(g) which is made for the purposes of legal proceedings (whether civil or
criminal),

(h) 30which is made with the consent of the person to whom it relates,

(i) which is made for the purposes of safeguarding vulnerable adults or
children, or

(j) which is made for the purposes of protecting national security.

(3) In subsection (2)(e) “anti-social behaviour” has the same meaning as in Part 1
35of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (see section 2 of that
Act).

(4) A person commits an offence if—

(a) the person discloses personal information in contravention of
subsection (1), and

(b) 40at the time that the person makes the disclosure, the person knows that
the disclosure contravenes that subsection or is reckless as to whether
the disclosure does so.

(5) A person who is guilty of an offence under subsection (4) is liable on conviction
on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, to a fine or
45to both.

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(6) A person who is guilty of an offence under subsection (4) is liable on summary
conviction—

(a) in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12
months, to a fine or to both;

(b) 5in Scotland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, to a
fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both;

(c) in Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6
months, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both.

(7) In the application of subsection (6)(a) to an offence committed before the
10coming into force of section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 the
reference to 12 months is to be read as a reference to 6 months.

(8) This section does not apply to personal information disclosed under section 41
by the Revenue and Customs.

44 Information disclosed by the Revenue and Customs

(1) 15Personal information disclosed by the Revenue and Customs under section 41
and received by a person (“P”) may not be disclosed—

(a) by P, or

(b) by any other person who has received it directly or indirectly from P.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a disclosure which is made with the consent
20of the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (which may be
general or specific).

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence.

(4) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (3) to
prove that the person reasonably believed—

(a) 25that the disclosure was lawful, or

(b) that the information had already and lawfully been made available to
the public.

(5) Subsections (4) to (7) of section 19 of the Commissioners for Revenue and
Customs Act 2005 apply to an offence under subsection (3) as they apply to an
30offence under that section.

45 Code of practice

(1) The relevant Minister must issue a code of practice about—

(a) the disclosure of information under section 41, and

(b) the use of information disclosed under that section.

(2) 35The code of practice must be consistent with the code of practice issued under
section 52B (data-sharing code) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (as altered or
replaced from time to time).

(3) A specified person must have regard to the code of practice in—

(a) disclosing information under section 41, and

(b) 40using information disclosed under that section.

(4) The relevant Minister may from time to time revise and re-issue the code of
practice.

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(5) Before issuing or reissuing the code of practice the relevant Minister must
consult—

(a) the Information Commissioner,

(b) the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs,

(c) 5the Scottish Ministers,

(d) the Welsh Ministers,

(e) the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland, and

(f) such other persons as the relevant Minister thinks appropriate.

(6) The fact that this section was not in force when consultation of the kind
10mentioned in subsection (5) took place is to be disregarded in determining
whether there has been compliance with that subsection.

(7) As soon as is reasonably practicable after issuing or reissuing the code of
practice the relevant Minister must lay, or arrange for the laying of, a copy of
it before—

(a) 15Parliament,

(b) the Scottish Parliament,

(c) the National Assembly for Wales, and

(d) the Northern Ireland Assembly.

46 Duty to review operation of Chapter

(1) 20As soon as is reasonably practicable after the end of three years beginning with
the day on which this Chapter comes into force, the relevant Minister must
review its operation for the purposes of deciding whether it should be
amended or repealed.

(2) Before carrying out the review the relevant Minister must publish the criteria
25by reference to which that determination will be made.

(3) In carrying out the review the relevant Minister must consult—

(a) the Information Commissioner,

(b) the Scottish Ministers,

(c) the Welsh Ministers,

(d) 30the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland, and

(e) such other persons as the relevant Minister thinks appropriate.

(4) Once the review is completed the relevant Minister must—

(a) publish a report on its outcome, and

(b) lay, or arrange for the laying of, a copy of the report before—

(i) 35Parliament,

(ii) the Scottish Parliament,

(iii) the National Assembly for Wales, and

(iv) the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(5) If as a result of the review the relevant Minister decides that this Chapter
40should be amended or repealed, the relevant Minister may by regulations
amend or repeal it (as the case may be).

(6) The relevant Minister may only make regulations under subsection (5) with the
consent of the Scottish Ministers if the regulations—

(a) repeal this Chapter,

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(b) amend or remove the power of the Scottish Ministers to make
regulations under section 41(4),

(c) affect the disclosure of information under section 41 by a Scottish body
to another such body,

(d) 5affect the use by a Scottish body of information disclosed under that
section by such a body, or

(e) affect the further disclosure to a Scottish body by such a body, or by a
member, officer or employee of such a body, of information disclosed
under this Chapter by a Scottish body.

(7) 10The relevant Minister may only make regulations under subsection (5) with the
consent of the Welsh Ministers if the regulations—

(a) repeal this Chapter,

(b) amend or remove the power of the Welsh Ministers to make
regulations under section 41(4),

(c) 15affect the disclosure of information under section 41 by a Welsh body
to another such body,

(d) affect the use by a Welsh body of information disclosed under that
section by such a body, or

(e) affect the further disclosure to a Welsh body by such a body, or by a
20member, officer or employee of such a body, of information disclosed
under this Chapter by a Welsh body.

(8) The relevant Minister may only make regulations under subsection (5) with the
consent of the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland if the regulations—

(a) repeal this Chapter,

(b) 25amend or remove the power of the Department to make regulations
under section 41(4),

(c) affect the disclosure of information under section 41 by a Northern
Ireland body to another such body,

(d) affect the use by a Northern Ireland body of information disclosed
30under that section by such a body, or

(e) affect the further disclosure to a Northern Ireland body by such a body,
or by a member, officer or employee of such a body, of information
disclosed under this Chapter by a Northern Ireland body.

(9) The relevant Minister may only make regulations under subsection (5) with the
35consent of the Treasury in a case where the regulations could affect the
disclosure of information by the Revenue and Customs.

(10) Anything required to be published by this section is to be published in such
manner as the relevant Minister thinks fit.

47 Regulations under this Chapter

(1) 40Any power to make regulations under this Chapter is exercisable—

(a) in the case of regulations made by the relevant Minister or the Welsh
Ministers, by statutory instrument, and

(b) in the case of regulations made by the Department of Finance in
Northern Ireland, by statutory rule for the purposes of the Statutory
45Rules (Northern Ireland) Order 1979 (SI 1979/1573 (NI 12)).

(2) Regulations under this Chapter—

(a) may make different provision for different purposes;

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(b) may contain consequential, supplementary, transitional or transitory
provision or savings.

(3) The provision that may be made by virtue of subsection (2)(b) includes—

(a) provision amending this Chapter or repealing or revoking any
5provision of this Chapter;

(b) provision amending, repealing or revoking an enactment passed or
made before or in the same session as this Act.

(4) In the case of regulations under section 41(4) which specify a person or
description of person, this includes provision amending this Chapter so as to
10make provision in relation to information disclosed by that person or a person
of that description which is similar to that made by section 44 in relation to
information disclosed by the Revenue and Customs.

(5) A statutory instrument containing regulations made under this Chapter by the
relevant Minister may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been
15laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(6) Regulations made under section 41(4) by the Scottish Ministers are subject to
the affirmative procedure.

(7) A statutory instrument containing regulations made under section 41(4) by the
Welsh Ministers may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid
20before, and approved by a resolution of, the National Assembly for Wales.

(8) Regulations under section 41(4) may not be made by the Department of
Finance in Northern Ireland unless a draft of the regulations has been laid
before, and approved by a resolution of, the Northern Ireland Assembly.

(9) If a draft of a statutory instrument containing regulations under section 41(4)
25would, apart from this subsection, be treated for the purposes of the standing
orders of either House of Parliament as a hybrid instrument, it is to proceed in
that House as if it were not such an instrument.

48 Interpretation of this Chapter

(1) In this Chapter—

  • 30“the appropriate national authority” means the relevant Minister, subject
    to subsections (2) to (4);

  • “enactment” includes—

    (a)

    an enactment contained in, or in an instrument made under, an
    Act of the Scottish Parliament;

    (b)

    35an enactment contained in, or in an instrument made under, a
    Measure or Act of the National Assembly for Wales;

    (c)

    an enactment contained in, or in an instrument made under,
    Northern Ireland legislation;

    (d)

    an enactment contained in subordinate legislation within the
    40meaning of the Interpretation Act 1978;

  • “functions” means functions of a public nature;

  • “Northern Ireland body” means—

    (a)

    a Minister within the meaning of the Northern Ireland Act 1998,

    (b)

    a Northern Ireland department,

    (c)

    45a Northern Ireland public authority within the meaning of the
    Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, or

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    (d)

    a person providing services to a person within paragraph (a),
    (b) or (c);

  • “personal information” has the meaning given by section 42(5);

  • “public authority” means—

    (a)

    5a person or body exercising functions of a public nature in the
    United Kingdom,

    (b)

    a person or body entirely or substantially funded from public
    money,

    (c)

    an office-holder appointed by a person or body falling within
    10paragraph (a), or

    (d)

    a body more than half of whose governing body or members are
    appointed by a person or body falling within paragraph (a);

  • “relevant Minister” means the Secretary of State or the Minister for the
    Cabinet Office;

  • 15“the Revenue and Customs” has the meaning given by section 17(3) of the
    Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005;

  • “Scottish body” means—

    (a)

    a person who is a part of the Scottish Administration,

    (b)

    a Scottish public authority with mixed functions or no reserved
    20functions (within the meaning of the Scotland Act 1998), or

    (c)

    a person providing services to a person within paragraph (a) or
    (b);

  • “specified person” has the meaning given by section 41(4);

  • “Welsh body” means—

    (a)

    25a person who wholly or mainly exercises functions which could
    be conferred on the person by provision which falls within the
    legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales, or

    (b)

    a person providing services to a person within paragraph (a).

(2) The Scottish Ministers are the appropriate national authority in relation to
30regulations under section 41(4) which specify a person who is, or a description
of persons each of whom is, a Scottish body.

(3) The Welsh Ministers are the appropriate national authority in relation to
regulations under section 41(4) which specify a person who is, or a description
of persons each of whom is, a Welsh body.

(4) 35The Department of Finance in Northern Ireland is the appropriate national
authority in relation to regulations under section 41(4) which specify a person
who is, or a description of persons each of whom is, a Northern Ireland body.

CHAPTER 4 Fraud against the public sector

49 40Disclosure of information to combat fraud against the public sector

(1) A specified person may disclose information held by the person in connection
with any of the person’s functions to another specified person for the purposes
of the taking of action in connection with fraud against a public authority.

(2) In this section “fraud against a public authority” means a fraud offence which
45involves—

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(a) loss to a public authority, or

(b) the exposure of a public authority to a risk of loss.

(3) In subsection (2)

(a) “fraud offence” means an offence under section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006
5or, in relation to Scotland, an offence of fraud, and

(b) “loss”, as it applies in relation to an offence under section 1 of the Fraud
Act 2006, has the meaning given by section 5 of that Act.

(4) The reference in subsection (1) to taking action in connection with fraud
against a public authority includes any of the following—

(a) 10preventing fraud of that kind;

(b) detecting fraud of that kind;

(c) investigating fraud of that kind;

(d) prosecuting fraud of that kind;

(e) bringing civil proceedings as a result of fraud of that kind;

(f) 15taking administrative action as a result of fraud of that kind.

(5) In this Chapter “specified person” means a person specified, or of a description
specified, in regulations made by the appropriate national authority.

(6) A person specified in regulations under subsection (5) must be—

(a) a public authority, or

(b) 20a person providing services to a public authority.

(7) In the case of a person (“P”) who is a specified person merely because of
providing services to a public authority, the reference in subsection (1) to the
functions of a specified person is limited to the functions P exercises for that
purpose.

(8) 25In determining whether to make regulations under subsection (5) in relation to
a person or description of person the appropriate national authority must have
regard, in particular, to—

(a) the systems and procedures for the secure handling of information by
that person or persons of that description, and

(b) 30in the case of regulations which amend or revoke previous regulations
so that the person ceases to be a specified person, whether that person,
or any person providing services to that person, has had regard to the
code of practice under section 53 as required by that section.

(9) Before making regulations under subsection (5) the appropriate national
35authority must consult—

(a) the Information Commissioner,

(b) the Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs,

(c) each other person who is the appropriate national authority in relation
to regulations under subsection (5),

(d) 40where the appropriate national authority is not the relevant Minister,
the Minister for the Cabinet Office, and

(e) such other persons as the appropriate national authority thinks
appropriate.

(10) The fact this section was not in force when consultation of the kind mentioned
45in subsection (9) took place is to be disregarded in determining whether there
has been compliance with that subsection.