40.According to the Department for Education (DfE), the main purpose of these draft Regulations is to make legislative amendments that are needed following the commencement of provisions in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (“the 2017 Act”). DfE explains that, amongst other changes, the 2017 Act replaced the system of higher education (HE) grant funding as administered by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) with a system overseen by a new sector regulator, the Office for Students (OfS). Under this new system, which will become fully operational on 1 August 2019, the OfS will administer grant funding, register HE providers, oversee access to HE and impose and enforce registration conditions. This instrument proposes consequential amendments which are needed as result of these regulatory changes, such as replacing references to HEFCE with references to the OfS. In addition, the draft Regulations propose to bring the OfS formally into scope as a listed regulator subject to the Regulators’ Code. They also seek to amend the list of exempt charities under the Charities Act 2011 to permit only those HE providers that are registered with, and regulated by, the OfS to continue to be exempt, and to allow new registered HE providers to become exempt and be regulated by the OfS rather than the Charity Commission in relation to charities law obligations, if they choose to apply for this status. According to DfE, the aim is to support effective and proportionate regulation by allowing charities to make a single set of returns to the OfS, rather than to both the OfS and the Charity Commission. While the territorial extent and application of the instrument is the UK, the Department told us that the provisions in relation to education that are amended by the instrument do not apply or extend to Scotland or Northern Ireland. It would have been helpful for the Department to be clearer about this in the Explanatory Memorandum.
41.The Committee received a submission from defenddigitalme, an advocate group for children’s privacy in data and digital rights, which raised concerns about the way the draft Regulations would enable the OfS to share pupil and student data with third parties. In its response, DfE explained that the instrument does not propose new data sharing powers but seeks to substitute the bodies involved in the sharing of existing datasets without extending the scope of those datasets, and that these amendments are necessary following the changes made to the sector by the 2017 Act. The data sharing arrangements allowing the OfS to share data with third parties were originally introduced by the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (Cooperation and Information Sharing) Regulations 2018, which the House debated and approved in July 2018. We are publishing the submission from defenddigitalme and the Department’s response on our website.
42.These Regulations, laid by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), bring forward some of the proposed measures set out in the Government’s consultation ‘Planning Reform: supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes’. These measures include: allowing for the erection of taller upstands for off-street electric vehicle charging points; amending the existing right additionally to allow the change of use from takeaways to residential use; allowing the change of use from retail, takeaways, betting offices, payday loan shops, and launderettes to office use; amending the existing right additionally to allow the temporary change of use to specified community uses: exhibition hall, public library, museum, clinic or health centre, or art gallery (other than for sale or hire), and to extend the period of temporary use from two years to three; and, removing the existing permitted development right which allows the installation, alteration or replacement of a public call box by, or on behalf of, an electronic communications code operator (subject to certain conditions).
43.In addition, the existing law, which grants permitted development for larger extensions to be completed by 30 May 2019, is being amended to remove the date by which a larger extension must be completed, thereby making the right permanent.
44.The Regulations make some further minor amendments, such as making clear that dwelling-houses, developed as a change of use from agricultural buildings to residential use, may not be bigger than 465 square metres, amending references to the National Planning Policy Framework and making clear that where there is a temporary use of a building as a state-funded school, the building retains its original use or use class.
28 HL Deb, 24 July 2018, .
29 SLSC Publications page: [accessed 22 May 2019].
30 Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government , Planning reform: supporting the high street and increasing the delivery of new homes (May 2019): [accessed 22 May 2019].