In the period under review [the first 12 months of session 2019–21 up to 18 December 2020], we considered 901 statutory instruments and 33 other instruments. This is above the average for each of the calendar years 2016 to 2019, but below the level reached in the period of most intensive Brexit preparation. The details of the instruments laid, the Departments which laid them, and the Committee’s observations on general trends are set out in the section on Committee Activity of this report (paragraphs 33–43).
In addition, in this report, we draw attention to a number of factors which we consider to be of significance both as to what has happened in the period under review but, no less importantly, as to their potential impact on the future effectiveness of parliamentary scrutiny. These are:
Given the uncertainty about the length of session 2019–21, we published an Interim Report about our activity during the first 12 months of the session (up to 18 December 2020) (We called this period “Year 1”).
During recent times, departments have had to meet the twin challenge of producing large numbers of EU Exit and pandemic-related instruments to very tight timetables and under difficult working conditions. In this report, and the reports we have published throughout the session, we have made a number of criticisms–some of them points of detail but others matters of principle that go to the very heart of the relationship between Parliament and the executive and the rule of law. That said, we wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work and the achievements of the many civil servants who have had to respond to the exceptional demands of the current period.