I am writing to you regarding the second vaccination as a condition of deployment regulations that have been laid before Parliament earlier today.
Owing to the need to have the regulations come into force as soon as possible, we have not been able to provide Parliament with an Impact Assessment to accompany these regulations. Instead, an Impact Statement has been laid and published on GOV.UK. We will submit the Impact Assessment to the Regulatory Policy Committee and will present this to Parliament as soon as we can.
I fully understand that this is neither normal nor best practice and regret that this is the approach my department has had to take for this SI. However, it is overwhelmingly important that these regulations progress as quickly as possible so that they can maximise protection for our valuable frontline health and wider social care workforce and the most vulnerable in society for which they care. We also want to give certainty as early as possible to workers and health and care providers in these sectors.
I strongly appreciate your committee’s efforts to scrutinise legislation and ensure Parliament is as informed as possible when considering legislation of this significance.
Therefore, in the absence of an Impact Assessment and in order to assist your Committee’s scrutiny of these regulations, we would be pleased to attend a ministerial evidence session on the regulations to answer any questions on the policy and approach you might have.
9 November 2021
Thank you for your letter of 9 November about the Health and ·Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 and for your offer, in the absence of an Impact Assessment (IA), to attend an oral evidence session before the Committee to explain the Regulations further.
Whilst we appreciate your considerate offer - not least because we have no doubt that the demands on your time must be extraordinarily high in current circumstances - we have decided not to take it up on this occasion.
Our reasons are twofold. First, an IA, which would contain amongst other things a description of the range of policy options considered, should have been integral to the policy development process. Its absence therefore marks a fundamental flaw in the development of the policy underpinning these Regulations. Second, we hold it as a point of principle that, contrary to what has happened in respect of these Regulations, clear and comprehensive explanatory material should be provided at the same time as an instrument is laid so that it is available to all interested parties, both inside and outside of Parliament. Neither of these deficiencies is remedied simply by further explanation to the Committee at this late stage.
We shall be reporting on these Regulations shortly. We will draw to the attention of the House any concerns we may have so that they can be answered in debate.
22 November 2021