House of Commons - Explanatory Note
Regulatory Reform Bill [Hl] - continued          House of Commons

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A number of potential reforms could be brought forward under the order-making power in the Regulatory Reform bill. The following proposals might be capable of delivery under the bill. Full details of the proposals have yet to be developed and the government cannot at this stage commit to delivering them by way of regulatory reform order.

1. Building Regulations (DETR)

2. Business tenancies (DETR)

3. Disposal of land at less than best price (DETR)

4. Grants and loans for the renewal of private sector housing (DETR)

5. Housing Transfers (DETR)

6. Landlord and Tenant Act s.57 (DETR)

7. Orders removing exemptions from caravan site licensing (DETR)

8. Tree Preservation Order System (DETR)

9. After-hours childcare at schools (DfEE)

10. Approving a LEA's curriculum complaints procedures (DfEE)

11. Voluntary aided schools capital funding arrangements (DfEE)

12. Annual Statements under Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (DoH)

13. Dental services - provision by corporate bodies (DoH)

14. Medicine Licences (DoH)

15. NHS Accounting for charitable funds (DoH)

16. Public Health Legislation - communicable disease (DoH)

17. Invalid Care Allowance (DSS)

18. Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme (DSS)

19. Abolition of 20 partner limit (DTI)

20. Reform of Unsolicited Goods and Service Act (DTI)

21. Repeal of Trading Stamps Act (DTI)

22. Unfair contract terms (DTI)

23. Weights & measures (DTI)

24. DVLA links with Benefit Agency (DVLA)

25. DVLA/Passport Agency Data Links (DVLA)

26. Vehicle Crime Reduction - Mandatory Mileage Recording (DVLA)

27. Vehicle Crime Reduction - Seriously Damaged Vehicle Information Hot Line (DVLA)

28. Fire safety (Home Office)

29. Gaming Machines (Home Office)

30. New Years Eve deregulation (Home Office)

31. Reform of Gambling - Bingo (Home Office)

32. Rehabilitation of offenders - cautions, reprimands and final warnings (Home Office)

33. Restaurant licensing hours (Home Office)

34. Sexual Offences and access to victim material (Home Office)

35. Street Trading (Home Office)

36. Reform of charity law (Home Office/Charity Commission)

37. Bootleggers - Disclosure of names (HM Customs and Excise)

38. National Insurance Contributions - Third party awards to employees (HM Inland Revenue)

39. Attachment of Earnings (LCD)

40. Legal Services Ombudsman - personal signature (LCD)

41. Solicitors Act 1974 (LCD)

42. Vexatious Litigants (LCD)

43. Disclosure of information by MAFF to HSE (MAFF)

44. Home Grown Cereals Authority: Approval by Ministers of pensions and gratuities and arrangements for maintaining pension schemes (MAFF)

45. Home Grown Cereals Authority: Approval by the Treasury of remuneration for advisory committee members (MAFF)

46. Home Grown Cereals Authority: Corn Returns (MAFF)

47. Meat and Livestock Commission - extension of powers (MAFF)

48. Births and Deaths- errors on certificates (ONS/HMT)

49. Births and Deaths - Wales (ONS)

50. Reform of Civil Registration Service (ONS)

51. Copyright and Patents (Patent Office)



The Principles of Good Enforcement: Policy and Procedures

This document sets out what business and others being regulated can expect from enforcement officers. It commits us to good enforcement policies and procedures. It may be supplemented by additional statements of enforcement policy.

The primary function of central and local government enforcement work is to protect the public, the environment and groups such as consumers and workers. At the same time, carrying out enforcement functions in an equitable, practical and consistent manner helps to promote a thriving national and local economy. We are committed to these aims and to maintaining a fair and safe trading environment.

The effectiveness of legislation in protecting consumers or sectors in society depends crucially on the compliance of those regulated. We recognise that most businesses want to comply with the law. We will, therefore, take care to help business and others meet their legal obligations without unnecessary expense, while taking firm action, including prosecution where appropriate, against those who flout the law or act irresponsibly. All citizens will reap the benefits of this policy through better information, choice, and safety.

We have therefore adopted the central and local government Concordat on Good Enforcement. Included in the term "enforcement" are advisory visits and assisting with compliance as well as licensing and formal enforcement action. By adopting the concordat we commit ourselves to the following policies and procedures, which contribute to best value, and will provide information to show that we are observing them.

Principles of Good Enforcement: Policy


In consultation with business and other relevant interested parties, including technical experts where appropriate, we will draw up clear standards setting out the level of service and performance the public and business people can expect to receive. We will publish these standards and our annual performance against them. The standards will be made available to businesses and others who are regulated.


We will provide information and advice in plain language on the rules that we apply and will disseminate this as widely as possible. We will be open about how we set about our work, including any charges that we set, consulting business, voluntary organisations, charities, consumers and workforce representatives. We will discuss general issues, specific compliance failures or problems with anyone experiencing difficulties.


We believe that prevention is better than cure and that our role therefore involves actively working with business, especially small and medium sized businesses, to advise on and assist with compliance. We will provide a courteous and efficient service and our staff will identify themselves by name. We will provide a contact point and telephone number for further dealings with us and we will encourage business to seek advice/information from us. Applications for approval of establishments, licenses, registrations, etc, will be dealt with efficiently and promptly. We will ensure that, wherever practicable, our enforcement services are effectively co-ordinated to minimise unnecessary overlaps and time delays.

Complaints about service

We will provide well publicised, effective and timely complaints procedures easily accessible to business, the public, employees and consumer groups. In cases where disputes cannot be resolved, any right of complaint or appeal will be explained, with details of the process and the likely time-scales involved.


We will minimise the costs of compliance for business by ensuring that any action we require is proportionate to the risks. As far as the law allows, we will take account of the circumstances of the case and the attitude of the operator when considering action.

We will take particular care to work with small businesses and voluntary and community organisations so that they can meet their legal obligations without unnecessary expense, where practicable.


We will carry out our duties in a fair, equitable and consistent manner. While inspectors are expected to exercise judgement in individual cases, we will have arrangements in place to promote consistency, including effective arrangements for liaison with other authorities and enforcement bodies through schemes such as those operated by the Local Authorities Co-Ordinating Body on Food and Trading Standards (LACOTS) and the Local Authority National Type Approval Confederation (LANTAC).

Principles of Good Enforcement: Procedures

Advice from an officer will be put clearly and simply and will be confirmed in writing, on request, explaining why any remedial work is necessary and over what time-scale, and making sure that legal requirements are clearly distinguished from best practice advice.

Before formal enforcement action is taken, officers will provide an opportunity to discuss the circumstances of the case and, if possible, resolve points of difference, unless immediate action is required (for example, in the interests of health and safety or environmental protection or to prevent evidence being destroyed).

Where immediate action is considered necessary, an explanation of why such action was required will be given at the time and confirmed in writing in most cases within 5 working days and, in all cases, within 10 working days.

Where there are rights of appeal against formal action, advice on the appeal mechanism will be clearly set out in writing at the time the action is taken (whenever possible this advice will be issued with the enforcement notice).

March 1998








1. These reform proposals in relation to [xxxx] will require changes to primary legislation in order to give effect to them. There are two options for the way forward:

  • firstly, the Government could introduce a Bill into Parliament, as Parliamentary time permits. On that basis, the Government would welcome comments on its proposals;

  • secondly, the Government could consult now, respecting the requirements of the Regulatory Reform Bill. The proposals in this Bill would build on and enlarge the powers in the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 to make Deregulation Orders, and would allow reform proposals such as these to be implemented by a Regulatory Reform Order, subject to preliminary consultation and an extended Parliamentary scrutiny of any subsequently proposed Order. Under the Bill, if preliminary consultation is undertaken before the Bill is passed that would otherwise satisfy the requirements of the Bill, it would be allowed to count as a consultation under the Bill as enacted. If appropriate, and provided that Parliament enacts the Bill substantially in the form in which it was laid before Parliament in Cm 4713, the Government might then bring forward a proposal for a Regulatory Reform Order. On that basis, the Government also invites comments on these reform proposals in relation to [xxx] as measures that might be carried forward by a Regulatory Reform Order under the Bill.

Regulatory Reform Proposals

2. Detailed information on the Regulatory Reform Bill can be found at

3. The starting point for regulatory reform proposals is thorough and effective consultation with interested parties. In undertaking this preliminary consultation, the Minister is expected to seek out actively the views of those concerned, including those who may be adversely affected, and then to demonstrate to the Scrutiny Committees that they have dealt with those concerns.

4. To that end, when the Minister lays proposals before Parliament under the Bill (this can only happen after the Bill receives Royal Assent), he or she must also lay a report setting out:

  • the burden imposed by the existing law;

  • whether any of those burdens are proposed to be removed or reduced;

  • how the proposals otherwise further the other objects of the Bill (re-enacting proportionate burdens, introducing new but proportionate burdens, removing inconsistencies and anomalies);

  • whether there is 'necessary protection' and how it is to be continued;

  • how any reasonable expectation of the exercise of rights or freedoms is affected (if at all) and how the exercise can be continued;

  • how new burdens (if any) are both proportionate and, taking the proposals as a whole, strike a fair balance between the public interest and the interests of the persons affected by the new burdens;

  • whether any parts of the proposed Order are being designated as 'subordinate provisions', allowing them to be changed by less elaborate Parliamentary procedures in the future;

  • what cost savings or increases are expected, and why;

  • what other benefits there will be from the proposals;

  • details of the consultation process;

  • any representations received as a result of that consultation; and

  • the changes made as a result.

5. Under the Bill, on the day the Minister lays the proposals and report, the period for Parliamentary consideration begins. It would last for 60 days, excluding Parliamentary recesses. If you wanted a copy of the proposals and the Minister's report, you would be able to get them either from the Government department concerned or by visiting the Cabinet Office's website at

Parliamentary Scrutiny

6. Both Houses of Parliament could be expected to make special arrangements to scrutinise regulatory reform proposals and orders. This is likely to involve the appointment of Select Committees in each House, on the lines of those scrutinising Deregulation Orders which would be superseded by Regulatory Reform Orders under the Bill.

7. Subject to the terms of any Standing Order under which they were appointed, any such Committee might well consider in each case whether proposals:

a) appeared to make an inappropriate use of delegated legislation;

b) removed or reduced a burden or the authorisation or requirement of a burden;

c) continued any necessary protection;

d) had been the subject of, and taken appropriate account of, adequate consultation;

e) imposed a charge on the public revenues or contained provisions requiring payments to be made to the Exchequer or any Government department or to any local or public authority in consideration of any licence or consent or of any services to be rendered, or prescribed the amount of any such charge or payment;

f) purported to have retrospective effect;

g) gave rise to doubts whether they were within the powers granted by the Bill;

h) required elucidation or appeared to be defectively drafted;

i) appeared to be incompatible with any obligation resulting from membership of the European Union.

This list reflects the existing terms of reference. It is likely that they would be expanded to cover:

  • whether any of the proposals could prevent any person from continuing to exercise any right or freedom which he might reasonably expect to continue to exercise and, if so, how he is to be enabled to continue to exercise that right or freedom;

  • whether the proposals would have the effect of creating a burden affecting any person in the carrying on of an activity and, if so, how the conditions on proportionality in section 1(1)(c) and 3(2) are satisfied in relation to the burdens being created;

  • whether any provisions of the proposed order are being designated as subordinate provisions for the purposes of section 4 and, if so, why they are being so designated.

Each Committee might take oral or written evidence to help it decide these matters.

8. It could then be expected to report:

  • whether the Minister should proceed to lay a draft order in the same terms as the proposal, or

  • whether amendment is necessary, or

  • whether the order-making power should not be used (for example, because of the significance or sensitivity of the proposal).

Copies of Committee Reports, as Parliamentary papers, could be obtained through HMSO. They would also be made available on the Parliament website at

9. Under the Bill, after the 60 days for Parliamentary consideration, the Minister would be able to lay a draft order before both Houses, this time for the approval of Parliament.

10. Subject to the terms of any Standing Order appointing it, a Committee might be expected to examine any draft order to see how far its views have been taken into account. It might then report, within 15 sitting days, whether the draft order should be approved or not, and it would then be for the relevant House itself to take its final decision.

11. Any final draft order would have to be approved by both Houses of Parliament before becoming law.

How To Make Your Views Known

12. Your first and main opportunity is to make your views known to the relevant department as part of the Government's consultation process, and you should send your views to the person named in the consultation document [in this case XXX]. If, when the Minister lays proposals before Parliament, you feel that your concerns have not been adequately reflected, you are welcome to put your views before any Committee appointed by either House.

13. In the first instance, this should be in writing. The Committees would normally decide on the basis of written submissions whether to take oral evidence.

14. Your submission should be as concise as possible, and should focus on one or more of the criteria listed in paragraph 7 above.

15. The Government will inform all those responding to this consultation exercise of the contact details of any Committees appointed to scrutinise Regulatory Reform Orders, before proceeding to lay any draft Order that may arise from this consultation, if it decides to seek to legislate by this route.


16. The Bill provides at clause 7 what should happen when someone responding to the consultation exercise on a proposed order requests that their response should not be disclosed.

17. Generally, representations can be made in confidence but the fact that someone has made representations will always be disclosed to Parliament. However the Minister should not disclose the content of that representation without the express consent of the respondent and, if the representation relates to a third party, their consent too. Alternatively, the Minister may disclose the content of the representation in such a way as to preserve the anonymity of the respondent and any third party involved. Where a respondent has given information about a third party which the Minister believes may be damaging to the interests of that third party, the Minister does not have to pass on such information to Parliament if he does not believe it is true or he is unable to obtain the consent of the third party to disclosure.

18. The Bill also allows the scrutiny Committees access on request to the representations as originally submitted, as a safeguard against improper influence being brought to bear on Ministers in their formulation of regulatory reform orders. The fact that responses may be released to the Committees in this way will be made clear in the consultation document accompanying any proposed order.

Regulatory Impact Unit



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Prepared: 6 March 2001