Draft Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Automatic Enrolment) Regulations 2010 and three related instruments, etc - Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee Contents

Other Instruments of Interest



11.  Part 2 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 establishes a new regulatory regime for English providers of social housing but originally excluded local authority providers. The Order is being made so that local authorities will be regulated under the same regime and to the same standards as private registered providers from the start. This fulfils a number of commitments made to Parliament during the passage of the Housing and Regeneration Bill, specifically at Report stage of the House of Lords (HL Deb 9 July 2008, column 752), and Third Reading in the House of Lords (HL Deb 17 July 2008, column 1342). The policy will affect 180 of the 326 local authorities in England i.e. those who have retained housing stock either managed in-house or via another management body. The principle of having a single regulator for all social housing has received consistent and widespread support from both the housing sector and tenants. The Draft Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2010 makes a number of changes to the legislation necessary to bring the new system into effect.


12.  From November 2008 the original regulations introduced changes to the entitlement conditions for Income Support to require lone parents who are claiming benefit solely on the grounds of being a lone parent, and who are capable of work, to claim Jobseeker's Allowance when their youngest child is:

  • aged 12 years or over from 24 November 2008
  • aged 10 years or over from 26 October 2009; and
  • aged 7 years or over from 25 October 2010

13.  The Committee commented on the original regulations in its 30th Report of Session 2007-08 seeking clarification about the practicalities of how the system would operate and whether the proposed pace of implementation was feasible, particularly in how it relates to the roll-out of "wrap-around childcare". The current amending regulations clarify one of the practical issues by giving a lone parent with a child under 13 the right to restrict their availability for work to the child's normal school hours, even if there is no reasonable prospect of them obtaining employment within that restriction.


14.  Existing loss of benefit legislation enables benefit to be withdrawn or reduced for a period of 13 weeks where a person is convicted of benefit fraud twice and the second offence was committed within 5 years of the date of conviction for the first offence. This sanction only impacts on the small number of people who commit benefit fraud on more than one occasion and are convicted of the offence in court.

15.  These amending regulations support the new loss of benefit provision introduced by the Welfare Reform Act 2009 (amending the Social Security Fraud Act 2001). The new sanction will apply not only to cases which are prosecuted but also to those cases which result in an administrative penalty or a caution.[7] This means that from 1 April 2010, in all cases where there is sufficient evidence that benefit fraud has been committed, there would be:

  • recovery of the overpayment;
  • a fraud sanction (conviction, administrative penalty or caution);
  • a four week benefit penalty.

16.  DWP believe that this will act as a deterrent to the significant numbers of people who commit benefit fraud at least once; estimated at around 50,000 cases per year and will result in savings of £4-10m per year.


17.  The Animal Welfare Act 2006 ("the 2006 Act") introduced a statutory duty of care on all owners and keepers of animals to provide for the welfare needs of those animals. This Code of Practice is the result of a ministerial commitment given during the passage of the 2006 Act (see Appendix 3), and provides more detail on how owners and keepers can meet this duty of care in relation to primates in private ownership. Although the Explanatory Memorandum says (paragraph 8) that most of those who responded to the consultation supported the proposal to introduce the Code, most wanted to see the Code supported by some form of regulation (e.g. licensing or registration). The Government's view is that without firm evidence that there is a widespread welfare problem, such a step is not in keeping with their Better Regulation agenda. The House may wish to satisfy itself that there is benefit in such a Code of practice in these circumstances.


18.  This instrument implements an EU Directive on temporary agency work, the aim of which is to ensure the protection of temporary agency workers by applying the principle of equal treatment. The implementation will include a provision based on agreement between the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Trades Union Congress (TUC), that agency workers should receive equal treatment on basic working and employment conditions after 12 weeks in a given job. The Regulations will have a significant impact: the Explanatory Memorandum (EM) says that the agency sector includes about 5% of the UK workforce, supplied through about 16,000 agencies (paragraph 7.1), and estimates used by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills[8] suggest approximately 45% of agency workers will reach the qualifying period. The Regulations include provisions aimed at preventing misuse of the qualifying period by employers. The annual costs to businesses will be up to £1,516 million (see EM paragraph 10.1). The Regulations will not come into force until 1 October 2011 to provide all concerned with time to prepare for the change, and the application of the Directive, including the operation of the 12 week qualifying period, will be reviewed by December 2013. The Committee received a letter from the British Medical Association making a number of points about the Regulations (see Appendix 4).

Glasgow Commonwealth Games Act 2008 (Games Association Right) Order 2009 (SI 2009/1969): Follow-up information

19.  In our 26th Report of Session 2008-2009 we published correspondence on this Order which establishes "brand" protection for the Games. In an overview paragraph we commented that guidance should be published to make clear to small businesses what they could (and could not) do. The Order came into force on the 20 January 2010 and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (CGOC) has published interim guidance on their website.[9] The Scotland Office say this guidance is an interim measure until the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games brand launch on the 8 March 2010 when fuller guidance will be issued to replace this version.

7   Since 1999 DWP has offered cautions and administrative penalties for benefit fraud offences instead of prosecution for lower level offences. DWP's sanction policy is published at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/sanction-policy-v3-feb09.pdf


8   See page 13 of the Impact Assessment for detailed explanation of this estimate.  Back

9   http://www.glasgow2014.com/NR/rdonlyres/7F4C7114-6465-45E4-9CE4-F85BEDD5D47/0/AssociationRightsGuidanceFinal.pdf Back

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