Public Bodies Bill [HL] - Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee Contents


Letter to the Leader of the House of Lords, The Rt Hon. Lord Strathclyde, from the Chairman.

At its meeting this morning the Committee considered the Public Bodies Bill, which received its second reading yesterday.

The Committee's report on the Bill, to be published later this week, will set out the Committee's serious concerns about the very extensive delegated powers contained in the Bill as it was recently introduced in this House on 28 October.

The Committee notes however that the Government announced last night its intention significantly to amend the Bill. Lord Taylor of Holbeach made statements to the House yesterday concerning proposed amendments, including:

"devising a parliamentary procedure that will ensure proper public consultation and enhanced parliamentary scrutiny before any proposals to act under the legislation are approved"; and that

"We will also seek to amend the Bill to include safeguards to give independence to public bodies against unnecessary ministerial interference when performing technical functions, and when their activities require political impartiality and the need to act independently to establish facts. Finally, we will consider whether some of the bodies need to be removed entirely from Schedule 7". (col 184)

These possible changes, which could alter the balance of delegated powers in the Bill as a whole, appear to the Committee to be extremely important. When these proposals and amendments come forward, the Committee will wish to scrutinise them - insofar as they relate to delegated powers - extremely carefully.

In order to discharge this duty to the House (to which Lord Taylor referred in his concluding speech), the Committee expressed the hope that the amendments will be available in sufficient time before the start of the Committee stage (which has been scheduled to start on 23 November) for the Committee to examine and report on them.

The Committee has decided that a copy of this letter should be placed in the library and published in our Report on the Bill.

Baroness Thomas of Winchester


Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee

House of Lords

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