- Draft Health and Care Professions (Public Health Specialists); Draft Selective Licensing of Houses (Additional Conditions); Local Government (Transparency Requirements) (England); Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) - Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee Contents


Thirtieth Report


Instruments drawn to the Special Attention of the House

The Committee has considered the following instruments and has determined that the special attention of the House should be drawn to them on the grounds specified.

A.  Draft Health and Care Professions (Public Health Specialists and Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2015

Date laid: 4 March 2015

Parliamentary Procedure: affirmative

Summary: The Order introduces statutory regulation for public health specialists who are not regulated in that capacity by another statutory body, such as the General Medical Council or General Dental Council. Public health specialists manage health education programmes, promote healthy lifestyles, advise during outbreaks of infectious disease and may also be involved in the commissioning of clinical care services in their local area, including services for sexual health, and drug or alcohol misuse. Since 2003 there has been a voluntary registration scheme run by the UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) which, in a submission to the Committee, has raised a number of questions about the proposed system. The Department of Health argues that as these specialists are now drawn from a very wide range of disciplines, a statutory system is required. The House may wish to probe those aspects of the conversion which are not set out in the instrument but left for the regulator to address in the next 15 months.

The Committee is satisfied that the extended consultation period offered sufficient scope for interested parties to express their views but finds the summary provided in the Explanatory Memorandum to be defective and misleading in describing the support for the UKPHR continuing as regulator as "a significant minority".

This Order is drawn to the special attention of the House on the ground that it gives rise to issues of public policy likely to be of interest to the House.

1.  This Order has been laid by the Department of Health (DH) under provisions of the Health Act 1999. It is accompanied by an Explanatory Memorandum (EM) and an Impact Assessment.

2.  The Order introduces statutory regulation for public health specialists who are not regulated in that capacity by another statutory body, such as the General Medical Council (GMC) or General Dental Council (GDC). Public health specialists (amongst other things) manage health education programmes that promote healthy lifestyles, programmes to deal with drug and alcohol issues and plan for outbreaks of infectious disease. The Order also makes it an offence for a person to use the protected title "public health specialist" unless that person is registered with a statutory regulator.

BACKGROUND

3.  The EM states that public health was originally a medical specialty. In order to become a public health specialist, a doctor completed a five-year national training programme overseen by the GMC and the Faculty of Public Health. In 2000 the training programme was extended to professionals from backgrounds other than medicine with appropriate qualifications and experience. Public health specialist is now a multi-disciplinary domain: approximately 50% of specialists are from medical or dental backgrounds, the rest come from professional backgrounds including environmental health, nursing and microbiology.

4.  As well as advising on health measures that could significantly affect the health of the local population, Directors in Public Health in local authorities are also involved in the commissioning of clinical care services in their local area, and for individuals with certain medical conditions - including services for sexual health, and drug or alcohol misuse. The Department argues that about 75% of these professionals are not currently subject to statutory regulation (EM paragraph 7.2).

5.  The UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) was established in March 2003 as a voluntary registration system for public health specialists from backgrounds other than dentistry or medicine. In 2009 DH commissioned Dr Gabriel Scally to undertake a review of the regulation of non-medical public health specialists and his report made a number of recommendations.[1] In particular it proposed that Health and Care Professions Council should regulate public health specialists in addition to the other professions under its remit, and this decision was announced in January 2012. The UKPHR and its Chairman have written to the Committee raising certain issues which are dealt with below. The full correspondence is published on this Committee's website. The key points of their submissions and the DH response are set out below.

PROTECTED TITLE

6.  UKPHR queried why the proposed protected title "registered public health specialist" used in the consultation document was changed at a very late stage. DH replied that "following publication of the Government response, DH received representations from the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) who were concerned that solely protecting a title with the 'registered' prefix would open the door to the potential for evasion of regulation. It would be perfectly lawful for someone to call themselves a 'public health specialist' without registration with any of the statutory regulators and the HCPC would be unable to take any action. After careful consideration Ministers accepted this argument and made a policy decision to protect the title 'public health specialist'."

PUBLIC HEALTH SPECIALISTS WHO ARE NURSES AND PHARMACISTS

7.  Having considered the responses to its consultation the Department has decided to exempt some registered nurses and registered pharmacists from having to register with HCPC while allowing them to use the new protected title recognised by an annotation on the register. This is achieved in Schedule 1 Part 1 paragraph 2 which inserts a new paragraph 1C into the 2001 Order (see in particular sub-paragraphs (c), (d) and (e)).

8.  UKPHR however argues that there is a significant difference. The GMC's specialist register and the GDC's specialist list already exist as do the eligibility criteria for being on them. In the cases of the regulators of nurses and pharmacists the "annotation" referred to in the draft Order does not exist and nor are there recognised qualifications or competences attracting such annotation. The draft Order is silent on how these will be established.

9.  The Department responded that it will be for individual regulators to decide whether or not to annotate a registrant's entry in the register, based on whether it is satisfied that the standards and criteria for such annotation have been reached. If there is no annotation of the register by a regulator to denote that a registrant has public health speciality qualifications and competence, such registrants will not be able to use the protected title unless they register as a public health specialist with the HCPC.

10.  The Faculty of Public Health will remain the UK-wide standard setting body for the public health specialty and the GMC will retain the responsibility for approving the curriculum for the national public health specialty training programme.

WHAT TESTS WILL BE USED?

11.  The UKPHR raised a number of questions about what tests will be used to judge competence and career progression from practitioner to specialist. DH stated that this was set out in the consultation document: it will be for the HCPC as the new regulator to consult on these issues once the necessary legislation is in place and it has confirmed that there is sufficient time for them to do this before July 2016 when the system is due to come into effect.

CONSULTATION

12.  The EM, at paragraph 8.1, simply mentions that DH ran a consultation from 4 September to 14 November 2014. The UKPHR letter explains that an initial consultation for six weeks was later extended by a further four weeks and asked two additional questions. DH explained that:

    "as the policy decision had been first announced in January 2012, and repeated several times since then, the Department considered that a six week consultation was sufficient for stakeholders to consider the details of the draft Section 60 Order. However, shortly after the consultation document was published the Department received a letter before claim from lawyers acting on behalf of the UKPHR challenging the consultation on a number of grounds. These included the argument that the consultation document did not address the issue of 'who' should be the regulator and that six weeks was insufficient time for the UKPHR to prepare its response. To address these concerns the Department therefore decided to extend the consultation by four weeks and included questions addressing the 'who' issue.

    The Department received 168 responses to the consultation. Of these responses 46 were from organisations and 122 were from individuals. There was no clear consensus to the question about who should be the regulator. 44 respondents agreed with proposal to regulate through the HCPC, 15 of which were stakeholder organisations and 29 were individuals. 56 respondents proposed the UKPHR should be the regulator, of which 7 were stakeholder organisations and 49 were individuals. A further 28 respondents suggested an alternative regulator or did not have a clear preference, and the remaining 40 respondents did not answer this question."

13.  The Committee is satisfied that the extended consultation period offered sufficient scope for interested parties to express their views but finds the summary provided in paragraph 8.2 of the EM to be defective and misleading in describing the support for the UKPHR as regulator as "a significant minority".

B.  Draft Selective Licensing of Houses (Additional Conditions) (England) Order 2015

Date laid: 4 March 2015

Parliamentary Procedure: affirmative

Summary: This Order, laid by the Department for Communities and Local Government using powers in the Housing Act 2004, specifies that, for an area to be designated as subject to selective licensing, it must contain a high proportion of properties in the private rented sector, in relation to the total housing accommodation in that area, and that these properties must be occupied under assured tenancies or licences to occupy. Further, the Order requires that one or more of the four additional sets of conditions must be satisfied. These relate to: poor property conditions; current or recent experience of large amounts of inward migration; areas which have a high level of deprivation; or areas which have high levels of crime.

We are concerned that the Department has failed to provide sufficient information about the evidence justifying these policy proposals, and about the impact that, if agreed, they would have on those likely to be affected. Moreover, we are not persuaded of the case for the proposed use of powers in the 2004 Act in relation to concerns that are current in 2015, and we consider that the Order may be inappropriate in view of changed circumstances since the enactment of the parent Act.

We draw this instrument to the special attention of the House on the grounds that the explanatory material laid in support provides insufficient information to gain a clear understanding about the instrument's policy objective; and that the instrument may be inappropriate in view of changed circumstances since the enactment of the parent Act.

14.  The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has laid this Order with an Explanatory Memorandum (EM). DCLG explains that the Order specifies conditions; if a local authority considers that those conditions are satisfied in relation to an area, the authority is able to designate that area as subject to selective licensing. Such a designation would have the effect of requiring landlords of private rented sector properties in the designated area to obtain a licence for their property from the local housing authority.

CONDITIONS SPECIFIED IN ORDER

15.  The Order specifies that, for an area to be designated as subject to selective licensing, it must contain a high proportion of properties in the private rented sector, in relation to the total housing accommodation in that area, and that these properties must be occupied under assured tenancies or licences to occupy. Further, the Order requires that one or more of the four additional sets of conditions must be satisfied. These relate to: poor property conditions; current or recent experience of large amounts of inward migration; areas which have a high level of deprivation; or areas which have high levels of crime.

16.  DCLG says that the conditions specified in this Order are in addition to the two sets of general conditions under which an area can already be designated as subject to selective licensing, as contained in section 80 of the Housing Act 2004 ("the 2004 Act"). In explanation of the latter, DCLG says that, currently a designation may only be made if the area is either suffering from or likely to be an area of low housing demand or if the area is experiencing significant and persistent anti-social behaviour. Before making a designation the local housing authority must consult people likely to be affected by it, e.g. local landlords, tenants and owner occupiers. A designation can last for up to five years.

EVIDENCE

17.  We obtained further information from the Department, which we are publishing as Appendix 1. We asked what concrete evidence was available to DCLG to show that local authorities needed additional tools to deal with the specific problems mentioned in the EM. The Department has said that its "evidence is based on discussions we have had over a considerable period of time with local authorities, landlord organisations and others in the sector, e.g. housing charities. A clear and consistent message that we have received across the board is that the current criteria for selective licensing (low housing demand or anti-social behaviour) are not sufficient and do not enable local authorities to introduce licensing in areas where it is most needed and where they can target enforcement action." However, in response to a question about whether the Department was aware that any local authorities plan specific action to make use of the powers that would be given by the Order, DCLG has said "no".

CONSULTATION

18.  The Department has told us that it has not held a formal consultation in relation to its proposals, but that there has been extensive informal consultation. As stated in the EM, DCLG published a discussion paper "Review of Property Conditions in the Private Rented Sector" in February 2014, asking for responses by the end of March 2014. It received 299 substantive responses: more detail is given in the material in the Appendix. The draft Order was laid on 4 March: DCLG told us that it intended to publish a Government response to the discussion paper on 13 March. It is unfortunate that the Department did not publish the discussion paper response at the time that it laid the draft Order before Parliament: given that 11 months had elapsed since the deadline set for interested parties to respond to that paper, it should have been possible to publish the analysis in parallel with laying the Order.

IMPACT ASSESSMENT

19.  It is normal practice for an Impact Assessment (IA) to be laid before Parliament alongside a statutory instrument. We asked DCLG why it had not done so in this case. The Department has said that the IA was not laid before Parliament with the Order "because it was only recently decided to extend the criteria and it takes a certain amount of time to prepare an Assessment". DCLG has provided us with a copy of the Regulatory Triage Assessment in relation to the proposals in the Order. However, it is unsatisfactory that Parliament is being asked to consider the instrument before the Impact Assessment itself has been finalised and laid.

INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION

20.  We are concerned that the Department has failed to provide sufficient information about the evidence justifying these policy proposals, and about the impact that, if agreed, they would have on those likely to be affected. In our view, the explanatory material laid in support of the Order provides insufficient information to gain a clear understanding about the instrument's policy objective and intended implementation.

DEVELOPMENTS IN PRIVATE RENTED SECTOR SINCE HOUSING ACT 2004

21.  We note that, in the EM, DCLG says that, when licensing was introduced under the 2004 Act, the policy intention was that it should be targeted at specific and strictly defined parts of a local authority area with acute problems associated with low housing demand and anti-social behaviour, as it will often be the case that such problems do not span an entire local authority area. However, DCLG adds that the private rented sector has doubled in size over the past ten years and is now larger than the social rented sector; and that the demographic profile of renters is changing and the sector now houses a much wider cross-section of society than previously. It states that, while it wants to ensure that good landlords are not adversely affected by a blanket approach to licensing, it is also keen to ensure that local authorities have the right tools to help improve areas with relatively large numbers of privately rented properties, and which are characterised by poor property conditions, or which have current or recent experience of large amounts of inward migration, or which have a high level of deprivation, or high levels of crime. It therefore proposes to widen the criteria, as described above, to help to enable local authorities to target enforcement action in areas where it is most needed.

CHANGED CIRCUMSTANCES

22.  This explanation of developments since the 2004 Act was agreed highlights significant changes in the landscape of the private rented sector during the subsequent decade. The information provided by the Department has not persuaded us of the case for the proposed use of powers in the 2004 Act in relation to concerns that are current in 2015. We therefore consider that the Order may be inappropriate in view of changed circumstances since the enactment of the Housing Act 2004.

EXTERNAL SUBMISSION

23.  We received a submission on the Order from Mr Constantinos Regas, setting out a number of concerns about it. We obtained a response from the Department to those concerns. We are publishing Mr Regas' submission and the Department's response as Appendix 2.

C.  Local Government (Transparency Requirements) (England) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/480)

Date laid: 5 March 2015

Parliamentary Procedure: negative

Summary: These Regulations require local authorities in England to publish the information specified in the Local Government Transparency Code 2015 ("the Code"). The Government have decided that local housing authorities should be required to publish information about the value of their social housing assets, and the Code has therefore been revised to include a requirement to publish such information. We look to Government Departments to provide accurate and reliable information in support of the statutory instruments which they lay. We regret to say that we consider that the Department for Communities and Local Government has signally failed to do so in the Explanatory Memorandum to these Regulations, which purport to advance the Government's transparency agenda.

We draw these Regulations to the special attention of the House on the ground that the explanatory material laid in support provides insufficient information to gain a clear understanding about the instrument's policy objective and intended implementation.

24.  The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has laid these Regulations, with an Explanatory Memorandum (EM) and Impact Assessment, to require local authorities in England to publish the information specified in Part 2 of the Local Government Transparency Code 2015 ("the Code"). The Government have decided that local housing authorities should be required to publish information about the value of their social housing assets; the Code has therefore been revised to include a requirement to publish social housing assets values.

25.  In October 2014, DCLG laid the Local Government (Transparency Requirements) (England) Regulations 2014 ("the 2014 Regulations": SI 2014/2680), which required local authorities to publish the information specified in the 2014 Code. The 2014 Regulations are to be revoked by the latest instrument. We brought the 2014 Regulations to the special attention of the House in our 11th Report of the current Session, commenting that, in our view, neither the material which DCLG had laid in support of the Regulations nor the further information which it had provided presented hard evidence of direct economic benefit from the specific changes being made. We looked to Government to take a more rigorous approach to establishing an evidence base and to presenting the results to Parliament.

26.  In the EM to the latest Regulations, DCLG says that the 2014 Code made data on social housing exempt from publication. It adds that, in total, local authorities own land and assets worth about £220 billion, and the value of a local housing authority's social housing stock is a key component of the amount of housing debt the authority can hold. Housing debt is debt which is held by local housing authorities in connection with the exercise of their functions relating to houses and other property within their Housing Revenue Account. The Government consider that information on the value of authorities' social housing assets would be useful to local people.

27.  In the EM, DCLG says that it consulted on this measure between 11 July and 8 August 2014 (four weeks); and that there were 34 respondents, a majority of whom agreed with the Government's aim to increase the transparency of the value of the social housing stock held by local housing authorities. Some respondents queried the need for a separate mandatory requirement, given that local housing authorities are already required to publish some information about their housing assets under the Housing Revenue Account (Accounting Practices) Direction 2011 ("the 2011 Direction"); but the Department considered it preferable to require publication of this data as part of the Code to separate this information from accountancy practices and to ensure that it was seen as an element of the Government's transparency agenda. DCLG published a summary of consultation responses in November 2014.[2]

28.  We obtained further information from the Department, which we are publishing as Appendix 3. We were particularly concerned to gain a better and more accurate understanding of the consultation process than emerges from the EM.

29.  We asked DCLG whether it had considered mitigating action, in line with Cabinet Office consultation principles, given that the consultation ran for only four weeks and overlapped the traditional August holiday period (see Q2 in the Appendix). The Department has responded that it was considered that the period allowed provided sufficient time for interested parties (housing and other officers responsible for the Housing Revenue Accounts within local housing authorities) to provide a considered response. We would comment, however, that setting so short a period for consultation is in our eyes all the harder to justify since the Department then allowed itself over three months to publish a summary of consultation responses, and a further three months to lay these Regulations. DCLG has told us that, of the 34 responses received, only one, from Birmingham City Council, considered that the timing of the consultation was unfortunate. In our view, the Department should not assume that the silence of other respondents on this issue indicated assent to so short a consultation period: it might equally be attributable to an expectation on their part that offering criticism would be wasted effort.

30.  We raised with DCLG the statement in the consultation summary that 55% of respondents were of the view that the 2011 Direction already required them to publish their valuation of the social housing stock, and that they questioned the need and added value of introducing a new mandatory requirement through a transparency code (see Q3). We asked whether, in the light of this, it considered that the statement in the EM that "some respondents queried the need for a separate mandatory requirement" was an accurate account of consultation responses. DCLG has responded that "it would also be accurate to say that 38% did not give a yes/no response, 35% of respondents were specifically opposed and 26% were specifically in support of the proposal. On balance, we therefore feel it is fair and appropriate to say 'some views' in the explanatory memorandum." We disagree: it is clear that, in the account of consultation responses which it gave in the EM, DCLG chose not to quote actual percentages and that, if it had done so, it would have been clear that more respondents explicitly opposed the proposal than explicitly supported it.

31.  In relation to the start-date for publication of the new category of information, we queried with DCLG why it made no mention in the EM of the 42% of consultation respondents who wanted a date of 1 April 2016, rather than the proposed start date of 1 April 2015 - as was set out in the November 2014 consultation summary (see Q4). We have not received a direct answer to this question. DCLG has told us that "given the numbers, the Government considers that a first publication by 1 September is a balanced approach. We have therefore made this the first publication date for the new dataset, following commencement of the regulations on the 1 April." We see this as a further example of a selective approach to the presentation of material in an EM which fails to provide an accurate picture of consultation responses.

32.  In our work of scrutiny of secondary legislation on behalf of the House, we look to Government Departments to provide accurate and reliable information in support of the statutory instruments which they lay. We regret to say that we consider that the DCLG has signally failed to do so in the EM to these Regulations, which purport to advance the Government's transparency agenda.

D.  Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/561)

Date laid: 6 March 2015

Parliamentary Procedure: negative

Summary: These Regulations introduce a 10-minute grace period prior to the imposition of a Penalty Charge Notice for a parking contravention where the vehicle has been left in an on-street or off-street permitted parking place beyond the permitted parking period. In response to consultation, 52% of individuals supported the proposal, while 48% opposed it; 47% of organisations supported the proposal, while 53% opposed it. These numerical details are not included in the Explanatory Memorandum laid before Parliament, which says only that there was support for a limited grace period.

We draw this instrument to the special attention of the House on the ground that the explanatory material laid in support provides insufficient information to gain a clear understanding about the instrument's policy objective and intended implementation.

33.  The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has laid these Regulations with an Explanatory Memorandum (EM). In amending an earlier instrument,[3] the Regulations introduce a 10-minute grace period prior to the imposition of a Penalty Charge Notice for a parking contravention where the vehicle has been left in an on-street or off-street permitted parking place beyond the permitted parking period.

34.  In the EM, DCLG says that the intention is to introduce a 10-minute grace period for paid-for and free on-street and off-street permitted parking; and that this has arisen from the Government's concern that some local authorities appear not to be using their powers to meet the best interests of road users, communities and businesses.

35.  DCLG states that these concerns were expressed in evidence to a Transport Select Committee in October 2013 during its inquiry into local authority parking enforcement.[4] We note that the relevant recommendation in that Committee's report was that "statutory guidance should stipulate that local authorities implement a grace period of 5 minutes after the expiry of paid for time on all paid parking places" (paragraph 11 of conclusions). This is not made clear in the EM.

36.  The Department says in the EM that, following the Transport Select Committee's recommendations, there was a 10-week consultation between 6 December 2013 and 14 February 2014, on a number of options for tackling "overzealous" parking enforcement; and that there was support for a limited grace period at the end of on-street and off-street paid-for parking and free parking periods. However, the majority of individuals (55%) and organisations (75%) disagreed with the proposal to extend grace periods to other areas such as yellow lines and loading bays, given concern that this could lead to confusion and encourage more anti-social and potentially dangerous parking.

37.  The Government published a summary of consultation responses in June 2014.[5] A total of 836 responses were received: 481 from individuals, and 324 from organisations (21 did not say). The summary gives numerical details of responses on grace periods for paid-for parking, which are not included in the EM. Responses were evenly split: 52% of individuals were in support, while 48% opposed it; 47% of organisations supported the proposal, while 53% opposed it.

38.  It seems that the Government's views on "over-zealous" parking enforcement have less resonance with the wider public than may have been expected. We hope that the lack of detailed information in the EM on levels of support for the proposal being implemented is not attributable to an attempt to present the outcome of consultation in an unjustifiably favourable light.

Instruments of Interest

Authority to Carry Scheme (Civil Penalties) Regulations 2015
Aviation Security Act 1982 (Civil Penalties) Regulations 2015
Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (Authority to Carry Scheme) Regulations 2015
Passenger, Crew and Service Information (Civil Penalties) Regulations 2015

39.  The first Authority to Carry Scheme, which this Scheme replaces, was introduced in July 2012. It required a carrier who has been issued with a written requirement to provide advance passenger information to the UK Border Force to seek authority to carry to the UK all persons within the scope of the Scheme. A penalty not exceeding £10,000 was imposed for failure to do so. The Authority to Carry Scheme 2015, made under section 22 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 ("the Act"), covers a broader range of individuals. In particular, the new Scheme will capture outbound travel and those passengers with a right of abode in the UK who are subject to a Temporary Exclusion Order under Part 1 of the Act. The Authority to Carry Scheme (Civil Penalties) Regulations 2015, made under section 24(7) of the Act, raise the penalty to a sum not exceeding £50,000 where a carrier to whom the Scheme applies breaches (i) a requirement to seek authority to carry a person, (ii) a requirement to provide specified information by a specified time, (iii) a requirement to provide information in a specified manner and form, (iv) a requirement to be able to receive communications in a specified manner and form, or (v) a requirement not to carry a person when authority to carry has been refused. Guidance is to be provided to carriers on the implementation of the scheme.

Retention of Communications Data (Code of Practice) Order 2015
Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data: Code of Practice) Order 2015

40.  On 8 April 2014 the European Court of Justice declared the Data Retention Directive (2006/24/EC) invalid. In response, in July 2014, the Government brought forward the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) to maintain its existing powers. This was rapidly followed by Data Retention Regulations 2014 (made as SI 2014/2042), to provide further detail on the retention of such data.[6] The Regulations added a requirement for a code of practice on data retention to the existing requirement for a code on acquisition, both of which set out how the legislation is to be implemented in practice. The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 amended DRIPA to allow some additional types of data - namely those which identify the IP address which belongs to the sender or recipient of a communication - to be retained.

41.  These two instruments bring the two codes into force. The new retention code covers the issue, review, variation and revocation of data retention notices; the communication service providers' ability to recover their costs; data security; oversight by the Information Commissioner; and safeguards on the disclosure and use of retained data by communication service providers. It also outlines the scope and definitions of relevant communications data, including data that may be retained following provisions in the Counter-terrorism and Security Act. The main revisions to the acquisition code concern the provision of additional safeguards. Further changes include reflecting the additional requirements on local authorities to request communications data through a magistrate and the National Anti-Fraud Network; new record keeping requirements for public authorities; and aligning the code with best practice regarding providing communications data to the emergency services following an emergency call.

Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (Risk of Being Drawn into Terrorism) (Amendment and Guidance) Regulations 2015

42.  Section 26(1) of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 ("the Act") imposes a duty on "specified authorities", when exercising their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism. The specified authorities in England and Wales are listed in Schedule 6 to the Act. These Regulations amend the Act so that the equivalent Scottish bodies are also made subject to this duty. In addition Scottish local authorities are made subject to the duty placed by the Act on local authorities to ensure panels are in place to provide support to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism.

43.  The Regulations also bring into effect two sets of "Prevent" guidance, one for Scotland and one for England and Wales, which explain what the specified authorities must do in order to comply with the duties in sections 26(1) and 29(2). The guidance also incorporates specific sectoral guidance for Local Authorities, Schools, Further and Higher Education establishments, the health sector prisons and probation and the Police. Although the consultation was for six weeks over Christmas there were over 1700 responses,[7] many of them questioned the meanings of the terms "British values" and "extremism", whilst others focused on the impact of the Prevent duty on freedom of speech. A number of responses also focused on practical matters of implementation, risk assessment, resources, training and roles.

Independent Police Complaints Commission (Complaints and Misconduct) (Contractors) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/431)

44.  These Regulations make provision to extend the oversight of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) to contractors working for a local policing body (for example a police and crime commissioner) or a chief officer of police to provide services. Policing functions, including the detention or escort of persons in custody, operating emergency call centres, providing front counter services and providing business support services such as finance and procurement or human resources, may be provided by contractors. The extension of oversight mitigates the risk to the credibility of the complaints system as it removes the risk of the IPCC not being able, for example, to investigate a complaint made against a contractor carrying out a function where it could do so if the same function were being exercised by a police officer.

Employment and Support Allowance (Repeat Assessments and Pending Appeal Awards) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/437)

45.  When claimants for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) are found fit for work their entitlement to benefit ends. Under current legislation they are able to make a repeat claim to ESA after six months, even where their health condition has not changed. This instrument removes the six month rule and provides that claimants previously found fit for work who make a repeat claim for ESA will not be entitled to benefit at the assessment rate pending determination of the claim unless they can demonstrate that there has been a significant deterioration in their health condition or a new health condition has developed. The instrument also provides that, if the claimant appeals, ESA payments will not be made to claimants previously found fit for work, who are also found to be fit for work on their repeat claim.

46.  The Department for Work and Pensions did not conduct a formal consultation exercise but the Social Security Advisory Committee (a statutory consultee) did so. Their report, which contains 18 recommendations, was laid alongside the Regulations and raised particular concerns over those with mental health issues and fluctuating conditions.[8] In consequence, the Government have decided to exclude from these Regulations those claimants whose claim ended because they failed to return the ESA50 form or failed to attend a Work Capability Assessment. The Department is also introducing an evidence-gathering letter to be sent to repeat claimants asking for more detail on how their health condition affects them differently from when they were last assessed.

Insolvency (Amendment) Rules 2015 (SI 2015/443)

47.  The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has laid these Rules with an Explanatory Memorandum (EM) and Impact Assessment. The Rules serve two purposes. They enable the High Court to transfer winding-up cases to the County Court at Central London. BIS says that this follows a request to allow such transfers, since the Central London County Court has extra resource and the ability to deal with winding-up cases. The Rules also introduce a new requirement for an insolvency practitioner (IP) acting as the appointed office-holder in certain insolvency procedures to provide an estimate of the fees to creditors for approval, and to provide them with information regarding expenses they anticipate they will incur. BIS says that this will give creditors a better and earlier idea of the cost of dealing with an insolvency and allow them to exercise greater influence over the IP's remuneration. BIS Ministers made a Written Statement about this instrument on 3 March 2015,[9] stating that these steps should provide creditors with greater confidence in the insolvency regime through increased transparency and accountability.

Children's Homes (England) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/541)

48.  The Department for Education (DfE) has laid these Regulations with an Explanatory Memorandum (EM) and Impact Assessment. The instrument introduces a new regulatory framework for children's homes: DfE says that it will no longer focus on minimum standards and detailed processes, but on aspirational quality standards ("the Quality Standards") which are underpinned by requirements that homes must achieve to meet each Quality Standard. The aim is to drive up the quality of care in children's homes, ensuring that professionals working with the children in their care tailor support to their individual needs, and that the care provided is centred on achieving high expectations and positive outcomes for each child.

49.  DfE says that the Regulations are part of a broader programme of reform for children's homes which has been introduced by the Government since 2012. Regulatory change was introduced in 2014 to strengthen children's safeguarding.[10] However, the Department states that, if improvements in outcomes for all children were to be secured, it was essential to introduce a fundamentally different regulatory regime which would encourage homes to have high aspirations for their children and to deliver high quality care; and that this is the purpose of the new Regulations. DfE carried consultation over eight weeks from September to November 2014. It says that, overall, both providers and local authorities welcomed the improved focus on children, the move away from minimum standards and the coherence offered by the new regulatory framework. It gives a more detailed account of views expressed in section 8 of the EM; a full analysis of consultation responses was published on 5 March 2015.[11]

Instruments not drawn to the special attention of the House

The Committee has considered the instruments set out below and has determined that the special attention of the House need not be drawn to them.

Draft instruments subject to affirmative approval

    Authority to Carry Scheme (Civil Penalties) Regulations 2015

    Aviation Security Act 1982 (Civil Penalties) Regulations 2015

    Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (Authority to Carry Scheme) Regulations 2015

    Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (Risk of Being Drawn into Terrorism) (Amendment and Guidance) Regulations 2015

    Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015

    Passenger, Crew and Service Information (Civil Penalties) Regulations 2015

    Retention of Communications Data (Code of Practice) Order 2015

    Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Acquisition and Disclosure of Communications Data: Code of Practice) Order 2015

Instruments subject to annulment

    SI 2015/118  Occupational Pension Schemes (Power to Amend Schemes to Reflect Abolition of Contracting-out) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/255  Animal Feed (Composition, Marketing and Use) (England) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/363  Health and Safety and Nuclear (Fees) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/377  Infrastructure Act 2015 (Strategic Highways Companies) (Consequential, Transitional and Savings Provisions) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/378  Delegation of Functions (Strategic Highways Companies) (England) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/384  Street Works (Qualifications of Supervisors and Operatives) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/389  Social Security (Members of the Reserve Forces) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/392  Motorways Traffic (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/393  Rail Vehicle Accessibility (Non-Interoperable Rail System) (London Underground Northern Line 95TS Vehicles) Exemption Order 2015

    SI 2015/400  Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (Fees) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/402  Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts by Children in Front Seats) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/403  Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/405  M275 and M27 Motorway (Speed Limit and Bus Lane) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/408  M1 Motorway (Junctions 39 to 42) (Variable Speed Limits) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/410  Merchant Shipping (Boatmasters' Qualifications, Crew and Hours of Work) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/412  Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/413  Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) (Amendment) Order 2015

    SI 2015/414  Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees (Amendment) Order 2015

    SI 2015/415  National Health Service Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups (Responsibilities and Standing Rules) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/416  National Health Service (Primary Dental Services and General Ophthalmic Services) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/417  National Health Service (Charges, Payments and Remission of Charges) (Uprating, Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/419  Clinical Thermometers (EEC Requirements) (Revocation) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/421  Magistrates' Courts (Injunctions: Gang-related Violence) Rules 2015

    SI 2015/422  Payment Services (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/423  Magistrates' Courts (Injunctions: Anti-Social Behaviour) Rules 2015

    SI 2015/424  Non-Domestic Rating (Alteration of Lists and Appeals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/426  Control of Waste (Dealing with Seized Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/427  Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rating (Demand Notices) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/428  Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 (Commencement (No. 8) and Consequential Provisions) Order 2015

    SI 2015/430  Ship Recycling Facilities Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/431  Independent Police Complaints Commission (Complaints and Misconduct) (Contractors) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/435  Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Authority (Combination Scheme) Order 2015

    SI 2015/437  Employment and Support Allowance (Repeat Assessments and Pending Appeal Awards) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/441  Salmon and Migratory Trout (Prohibition of Fishing and Landing) (England) Order 2015

    SI 2015/442  Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (Planning Functions) Order 2015

    SI 2015/443  Insolvency (Amendment) Rules 2015

    SI 2015/444  Food (Scotland) Act 2015 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2015

    SI 2015/445  Police Pensions Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/446  Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/447  Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Exemption) (Amendment) Order 2015

    SI 2015/453  Police (Promotion) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/454  Animal Feed (Hygiene, Sampling etc. and Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/455  Police (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/458  Merchant Shipping (Light Dues) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/460  Reserve Forces (Call-out and Recall) (Financial Assistance) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/461  Special Constables (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/462  Infrastructure Planning (Interested Parties and Miscellaneous Prescribed Provisions) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/465  Firefighters' Pension Scheme (Amendment) (Governance) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/466  Armed Forces Pension Scheme and Early Departure Payments Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/469  Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/473  Defence Support Group Trading Fund (Revocation) Order 2015

    SI 2015/474  Pedal Cycles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/477  Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/478  Social Security (Miscellaneous Amendments No. 2) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/479  Financial Assistance for Environmental Purposes (England and Wales) Order 2015

    SI 2015/486  Deposit Guarantee Scheme Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/487  Payment to Treasury of Penalties (Enforcement Costs of the Payment Systems Regulator) Order 2015

    SI 2015/488  Banking Act 2009 (Inter-Bank Payment Systems) (Disclosure and Publication of Specified Information) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/489  Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Pensions Guidance Exclusions) Order 2015

    SI 2015/492  Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 (Transitional and Savings Provisions) Order 2015

    SI 2015/495  Care Planning and Fostering (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/497  Armed Forces (Enhanced Learning Credit Scheme and Further and Higher Education Commitment Scheme) (Amendment) Order 2015

    SI 2015/499  Social Security (Overpayments and Recovery) Amendment Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/521  Social Security Contributions (Amendments in Consequence of Part 4 of the Finance Act 2014) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/522  Childcare Payments Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/523  Coast Protection (Variation of Excluded Waters) (England) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/524  Surface Waters and Water Resources (Miscellaneous Revocations) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/527  Young Carers (Needs Assessments) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/531  National Insurance Contributions (Application of Part 7 of the Finance Act 2004) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/537  Childcare Payments Act 2014 (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/541  Children's Homes (England) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/543  Social Security (Contributions) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/545  Guardian's Allowance Up-rating Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/550  Hydrocarbon Oil and Biofuels (Road Fuel in Defined Areas) (Reliefs) (Amendment) Regulations 2015

    SI 2015/555  Personal Injuries (Civilians) Scheme (Amendment) Order 2015


1   Review of the Regulation of Public Health Professionals (Nov 2010). Back

2   See: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/transparency-in-social-housing-assets-value Back

3   Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/3483). Back

4   7th Report, Session 2013-14, HC 118. Back

5   See: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/322495/response-parking-consultation.pdf Back

6   See our 7th Report, Session 2014-15, HL Paper 35. Back

7   A summary of responses is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/prevent-duty. Back

8   https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/409456/esa-repeat-assessment-regs-ssac-report-web.pdf Back

9   HLWS302. Back

10   Under the Children's Homes and Looked After Children (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/3239). We drew the 2013 Regulations to the special attention of the House in our 27th Report, Session 2013-14, HL Paper 117. Back

11   See: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/409406/Quality_standards_consultation_response_050215.pdf Back


 
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