26.These Regulations are the third time HM Treasury (HMT) has made changes to existing financial services legislation, and the Committee hopes that HM Treasury has not under-estimated the challenge which is posed to financial services firms in taking on board so many amendments to the core legislation for the sector. In the first instrument, the Financial Services (Miscellaneous) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, the Committee drew attention to the number and significance of the Acts and instruments being amended. The “No. 2” instrument addressed errors and omissions in earlier EU exit legislation. However, HMT has now laid this instrument as the “No. 3” Regulations, and states in the accompanying Explanatory Memorandum that it “addresses deficiencies in UK domestic law and retained EU law arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU … [and] makes amendments to a number of financial services EU exit statutory instruments, correcting minor errors identified in legislation after it was laid before Parliament, and updating certain references to account for the Article 50 process extension.” However, the range and magnitude of the changes are significant: the Regulations make changes to 15 items of legislation and include a sub-delegation of powers to UK regulators and extend a ministerial power of direction. The Committee reiterates its concern about the scale of the challenge facing financial services firms in adjusting to these changes.
27.This instrument proposes changes to earlier Northern Ireland EU exit-related statutory instruments and one piece of Northern Ireland primary legislation on waste management. According to Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the amendments are needed to correct deficiencies arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and to ensure that the objectives relating to the principles of self-sufficiency and proximity in national waste management plans, which emanate from Article 16 of the EU’s Waste Framework Directive continue to apply and are fully operable at UK level after exit. The instrument also seeks to ensure that there is a consistent approach to this policy area in UK domestic legislation after exit. One of the proposed amendments would remove from Northern Ireland legislation references to so-called Best Available Techniques (BAT) in relation to the treatment of waste. BAT are currently set out in EU legislation and specify the best available techniques for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment. DAERA told the Committee that the UK has committed to maintaining environmental standards and to ensuring that current BAT requirements will continue to apply in UK law after EU exit. This instrument proposes to remove generic references to BAT in relation to the Waste Framework Directive as, without this change, Northern Ireland/the UK may commit to complying with any changes to BAT at EU level after exit. DAERA says that such ongoing commitment to EU processes would be inappropriate and that the UK will establish its own process for developing BAT requirements after exit. The Committee has received a submission from Green Alliance raising concerns about this proposal. We are publishing the submission and DAERA’s response on our website.
28.In her third report on the Shipman Inquiry, Dame Janet Smith identified how Harold Shipman had been able to exploit weaknesses in the death certification system. The Government introduced reforms to death certification and coroner investigations through the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”) which were substantially implemented in July 2013. The 2009 Act also included provisions to introduce a medical examiner to review death certificates to ensure that GPs were reporting correctly. Pilots of the medical examiner scrutiny system have identified some inconsistencies and uncertainty about when it is appropriate to report a death to the coroner as suspicious: these Regulations therefore make it clearer by including a list of the circumstances in which notification is required.
29.In the Explanatory Memorandum, the Ministry of Justice explains the Government’s intention to begin implementing a non-statutory medical examiner system from April 2019. This will be undertaken by the Department for Health and Social Care which is currently aiming for the statutory system as provided for in the 2009 Act to be implemented in April 2021, subject to amendments to primary legislation and the introduction of secondary legislation. We note that it has already been 10 years since Parliament agreed to the original provisions for medical examiners and are concerned that their implementation has been so slow.
30.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) yesterday withdrew its draft affirmative regulations on the Managed Migration of Universal Credit claimants, on which policy this Committee has commented in some detail in the past. The withdrawal is, in part, in response to a High Court judgement which found unlawful the differential treatment of Severe Disability Premium claimants, depending on when they claimed Universal Credit. While acknowledging the need for DWP to respond to the court’s decision quickly, we are concerned that these replacement Regulations are subject to the negative procedure only, rather than the affirmative procedure which would have automatically required a debate. This has been achieved by removing one provision, which clarified appeal rights, from the previous version which clarified appeal rights: this appears to us to be a tactical ploy by the Department. Although the replacement Regulations are still restricted to a 10,000-claimant pilot phase, a number of concerns about the proposed mechanism have been raised. We are therefore both surprised and disappointed that, having allowed the version laid on 14 January 2019 to remain undebated for six months, the negative procedure is being used to bring these changes into immediate effect on the cusp of the parliamentary recess; this means the Regulations will have been in operation for nearly six weeks before Parliament has any opportunity to scrutinise them .
31.These are our preliminary views, and we will give our considered response in September.
14 (Sub-Committee A), Session 2017-19 (HL Paper 302).
15 The principles of self-sufficiency and proximity require EU Member States to establish, in co-operation with other Member States, an integrated and adequate network of waste disposal facilities and to dispose of waste as close to the source as possible.
16 Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee publications page: .
17 The Shipman Inquiry, Death Certification and the Investigation of Deaths by Coroners (14 July 2003): [accessed 19 July 2019].
18 of Sub-Committee B (HL Paper 244), of Sub-Committee B (HL Paper 273); both Session 2017-19.
19 High Court, R (TP AR & SXC) v SSWP & Anor, (3 March 2019).