Pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft Non-Domestic Rating (Property in Common Occupation) Bill Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

Process of pre-legislative scrutiny

1.We are disappointed that the Department did not notify us of its intention to present the Bill when it did, or provide the promised consultation responses prior to that presentation. This cannot be consistent with civil service best practice in such circumstances. We made clear in both of our letters that the consultation responses would assist us in assessing the potential effects of the draft Bill. Thus, we are surprised that the Department appeared to have concluded that we had completed our engagement in the pre-legislative scrutiny process. We therefore consider it a discourtesy to the Committee that we were pre-empted in our pre-legislative scrutiny by the presentation of the Bill. (Paragraph 7)

2.We ask the Government to assess what lessons can be learned for future best practice related to the publication of draft Bills. Particular consideration should be given to processes prior to a subsequent Bill’s presentation to Parliament, in order to ensure that departments have appropriately completed any engagement on pre-legislative scrutiny with Parliamentary committees. The Cabinet Office should also take steps to ensure that all departments are fully aware of the processes related to pre-legislative scrutiny of draft Bills and their engagement responsibilities with Parliament and its committees, and that its guidance is clear in this regard. (Paragraph 8)

Outstanding issues

3.Following our correspondence with the Minister in which we clarified the policy goals, we are satisfied with the overall objectives of the Bill. (Paragraph 9)

4.We […] remain concerned that the Government has not taken sufficient steps to assess the potential financial effects on local authorities however large or small they may be. (Paragraph 14)

5.We therefore recommend that as early as possible during the progress of the Bill the Government should:

a) take steps to quantify by whatever means possible the potential effect on individual local authorities of the provisions in the Bill; and

b) explain in detail why it does not now plan to honour its Autumn Budget 2017 commitment to compensate local government fully for the loss of income resulting from the provisions. (Paragraph 16)

Published: 18 April 2018