Twenty Eighth Report Contents

Current level of corrections in statutory instruments

1.The Committee has noticed a recent increase in the number of correcting instruments, with several Coronavirus instruments having to be revoked or amended immediately after laying due to errors. In this week’s list, among other corrections, SI 2020/1028 was made on the same day to correct an omission in SI 2020/1026.1 But it is not only in pandemic legislation that there are errors: SI 2020/9902 on today’s list amends SI 2020/693, but in doing so also revokes a previous attempt (SI 2020/783). Section 3 of the Explanatory Memorandum to SI 2020/990 explains that other correcting instruments were also needed. Due to the need to deal with the error swiftly, all of these instruments came into effect the day after laying thereby cutting across normal parliamentary scrutiny procedures.

2.During the session so far 8.5% of Statutory Instruments have been corrected or replaced. This is well above the 5% benchmark that we regard as acceptable. The error rate for July–September was 12.5%. We understand that Departments are under immense pressure to produce legislation quickly at present, but having to replace or revise an instrument only adds to the workload. In particular, this is likely to add to the confusion of users trying to follow and comply with the rapidly changing coronavirus regime. We therefore remind all Departments to check all instruments thoroughly before laying them before Parliament.

1 See also SI 2020/1012, which immediately corrected SI 2020/1010 last week “due to a system error”; SI 2020/890, revoked and replaced SI 2020/881, and SI 2020/856, which revoked and replaced SI 2020/710 both due to incomplete scripts being made law.

2 Pension Protection Fund (Moratorium and Arrangements and Reconstructions for Companies in Financial Difficulty) (Amendment and Revocation) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/990).

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