Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee
Democracy Denied? The urgent need to rebalance power between Parliament and the Executive

12th Report of Session 2021-22 - published 24 November 2021 - HL Paper 106



Chapter 1: An urgent need for change


Purpose of the report

Collaboration with the SLSC


Explanation of terms

Structure of the report

Chapter 2: Reasons for and against delegated legislation

What is delegated legislation?

Henry VIII powers

Skeleton legislation

Affirmative and negative procedure – draft and made

Enhanced scrutiny procedures

Why delegated legislation is necessary

Why delegated legislation is contentious

Parliamentary oversight of delegated legislation – its limitations

Delegated legislation cannot be amended

“All or nothing”

Regret motions


Chapter 3: “Considerable disquiet” – the problem of wide and ill-defined delegated powers


The New Despotism

Background to the establishment of the DPRRC

Strathclyde Review

These “exceptional times”


Chapter 4: Familiar and emerging grounds for continued “considerable disquiet”


Familiar concerns

Skeleton legislation

Henry VIII powers

Disturbing new trends

Disguised law


Other disguised legislative instruments

Legislative sub-delegation of power

Made affirmatives


Chapter 5: Ways to re-set the balance of power

Asserting the fundamental principles of parliamentary democracy

Box 1: Statement of principles of parliamentary democracy

What departments can do

Relationship between policy development and bill drafting

Pre-legislative scrutiny

What the DPRRC can do

Impact of the Committee

Pre-emptive impact

How often are the Committee’s recommendations accepted?

Committee guidance to departments

Commenting on the quality of delegated powers memoranda

Timing of Committee reports

Government responses to DPRRC reports

Calling in ministers and “scrutiny reserve”

End of session reports

Chapter 6: Culture change within departments — changing the guidance

Committee’s revised guidance to departments

Box 2: Guidance to departments

PART 1: Principles

Statement of principles of parliamentary democracy

Additional principles

PART 2: content of the delegated powers memorandum

Skeleton legislation declaration

Powers to be covered by a memorandum

Content of the explanatory paragraphs

Changes to the Cabinet Office Guide to Making Legislation

Box 3: Summary of recommended revisions of the Guide to Making Legislation

Summary of conclusions and recommendations

Appendix 1: List of Members (and length of parliamentary experience) and Members’ interests

Appendix 2: Glossary of key parliamentary terms

Appendix 3: List of bills with inappropriate delegations cited in this report

Appendix 4: Part 3 of the guidance to departments

Q in footnotes refers to a question in oral evidence.

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