3(3) OF THE
ACT 1994 AND
1(4) OF THAT
REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCIES BILL
1. This Bill divides England into nine regions
and provides for the establishment of a regional development agency
for each region. It is a necessary part of the scheme of the Bill
that some administrative powers of ministers should be delegated
to these agencies.
2. Clause 6 allows a minister to delegate
to the agencies any of his functions provided that they are appropriate
for the agency and do not consist of a power to make subordinate
legislation or to set fees or charges. There is no Parliamentary
control over the delegation of these administrative powers. Because
the powers are administrative it is for the House as a whole to
decide whether ministers should be able to delegate them; if so,
clearly they cannot be subject to further Parliamentary control.
The Bill appropriately sets out a framework within which the powers
delegated to agencies can be exercised, and for this purpose gives
powers to ministerssuch as those in clauses 6(1) "delegate",
7(2) "guidance and directions", clause 8 "directions",
clause 9(1) "determine".
3. The delegated legislative powers in the
Bill can be essentially described as properly supplementary to
the primary powers which it confers. Policy issues are left to
ministers to determine by administrative action. The Department's
memorandum provides an account of the powers and the Committee
found it necessary to comment on only a few of them in this report.
4. Clause 11(6)(b) allows the Secretary
of State to increase the borrowing limit of the new agencies.
Orders have to be approved in draft by the Commons. This is the
appropriate form of control.
5. Clause 19(1) allows the Secretary of
State to make orders transferring land from a local authority
or other public body to a new agency. Affirmative procedure is
applied by subsection (9).
6. Clause 25(1) allows the Secretary of
State to make by order alterations in the extent of the regions
in Schedule 1 (but not so as to alter the number of regions).
This is, in effect, a Henry VIII power but it is limited and is
subject to a consultation process which can (but need not) include
a public inquiry. Negative procedure is provided by subsection
(7). In the view of the Committee, the rest of the Bill is
meticulously drafted to provide for the use of the affirmative
procedure where this is appropriate. It is hard to see, given
the controversial nature of the subject matter of Clause 25(1),
why this power is not also made subject to the affirmative procedure.
7. There are Henry VIII powers in clauses
35(6) and 37(6). The memorandum does not explain why these powers
are needed but the process of transferring to the new agencies
the functions of the Development Commission and the Urban Regeneration
Agency could well require amendments to be made to legislation
affecting the Commission or Agency.
8. Schedule 6 contains long and complex
provisions supplementing those in the bill concerning the vesting
of land in new agencies. Paragraph 3 contains a regulation making
power (subject to negative procedure) concerned with the use of
consecrated land and burial grounds. Paragraph 12 allows a minister
to make an order extending or modifying the powers and duties
of a statutory undertaker in order to facilitate the transfer
of land provisions of the bill. Such an order is subject to special
parliamentary procedure (paragraph 13(2)), which the Committee
considers appropriate. The other powers in Schedule 6 to make
orders (eg paragraph 6(1)) are not powers of a legislative kind.
9. The Committee wishes to draw the attention
of the House to the case for increasing the parliamentary control
provided for the power in Clause 25(1) relating to changes to
the areas of the regions. There is nothing else in the Bill which
the Committee wishes to draw to the attention of the House.
POLICE NORTHERN IRELAND
10. This Bill will give effect in Northern
Ireland to certain proposals for police reform which were set
out in the Labour Party consultation paper "Policing in Northern
IrelandA Service for all People". The Bill also consolidates
Northern Ireland policing legislation and provides for a Police
Ombudsman to replace the Independent Commission for Police Complaints.
The Bill in effect replaces existing legislation about the constitution
and management of the police in Northern Ireland and makes significant
changes to the existing arrangements. There are a number of delegated
powers; as the explanatory memorandum makes clear, most of these
follow precedents in earlier legislation for Northern Ireland
or England and Wales and raise no new issues for the Committee
to draw to the attention of the House.
11. With the exception of the customary
commencement provision (clause 75), all powers are subject to
negative procedure (by virtue of clause 72). This is the procedure
which applies at present to those powers which the Bill replicates.
The Committee considers that this procedure provides an appropriate
degree of parliamentary control in each instance.
12. The Northern Ireland Office's memorandum
lists the powers, which appear in Clauses 4, 25, 26, 28, 33, 40,
64, 72, 75 and Schedule 1.
13. Clause 4 is a new regulation-making
power through which the Secretary of State may transfer Civil
Servants seconded to the Police Authority to the employ of the
Authority. By subsection (5) the Secretary of State is required
to consult the Police Authority, the Chief Constable and staff
representation before making any such regulation.
14. Clauses 25 and 26 allow the Secretary
of State to make regulations as to the government, administration
and conditions of service of members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary
(R.U.C.) and the R.U.C. reserve. There are similar powers in relation
to the police in England and Wales. There is a requirement to
consult before making regulations under either clause (see clauses
25(8) and 26(6)). Clause 28, which replicates section 28 of the
Police Act (Northern Ireland) 1970, provides for the Secretary
of State to make regulations to continue to maintain the R.U.C.
15. Clause 56(2) allows the Secretary of
State to apply with modifications any provision of the Police
and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 to investigations
by persons who are not police officers and who are conducting
an investigation on behalf of the Police Ombudsman for Northern
16. Clause 64 is a new provision which allows
the Secretary of State to make regulations as to the procedure
to be followed under Part VII of the Bill (police complaints and
disciplinary proceedings). There is a requirement to consult before
making regulations (subsection (4)).
17. The Committee sees no need to draw any
of these powers to the special attention of the House.
Henry VIII Power
18. Paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 1 is a new
power which allows the Secretary of State to amend paragraph 2(1)
to substitute different figures for the maximum and minimum number
of members of the Police Authority. While this is a Henry VIII
power it is very limited and the Committee considers that the
negative procedure provided for is appropriate.
19. We draw attention to one oddity in the
Bill. Clause 64(2) requires the Secretary of State to include
in the regulations a provision "that the Chief Constable
shall have power to delegate any functions conferred on him by
or by virtue of this Part". The Committee considers it unusual
to require the Secretary of State to do something that Parliament
could achieve directly by making the same words a substantive
part of the Bill. The House may want to consider whether the same
requirement should be written on the face of the Bill.
20. Having noted the Henry VIII power in
paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 1 there is nothing else in the Bill
which the Committee wishes to draw to the attention of the House.
BUILDING REGULATIONS (ENERGY
RATING INFORMATION) (AMENDMENT) BILL [HL]
SEXUAL ORIENTATION DISCRIMINATION
TAX CREDITS (INITIAL EXPENDITURE)
21. There are no delegated legislative powers
in these Bills.
1 This report is also published on the Internet at
the House of Lords Select Committees Home Page (http://www.parliament.uk),
where further information about the work of the Committee is also