1.Our 21st Report of this session drew the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No 2) Regulations 2021 to the special attention of the House. These Regulations will require all those working for the NHS (including volunteers) who have direct, face to face contact with a service user to be fully vaccinated and, in our Report, we were critical of the lack of supporting material, especially about the potential effects of the policy.
2.The motion to approve the Regulations is being debated on Tuesday, 14 December. To assist members participating in the debate, we are publishing a list of additional information which has been made available in the last few days. There is over 100 pages of new material to assess immediately before the debate. We reiterate our view that effective parliamentary scrutiny is not possible unless all supporting material is published when the instrument is laid.
3.The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has now provided an Impact Assessment. It does provide supporting evidence for some assertions previously made but has been “Red Rated” by the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC). The summary of the RPC’s findings says:
“The Impact Assessment (IA) on these proposals has been rated NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE (red) on both the assessment of the equivalent net direct costs to business (EANDCB) and the small and micro-business assessment (Samba). Our opinion is based on a comparison with the levels of evidence provided in other IAs that we considered fit for purpose. The opinion also finds that the IA’s cost-benefit analysis, wider impacts and monitoring and evaluation plan were weak, but the discussion of rationale and options was satisfactory.”
4.DHSC has since published a response to two of the RPC’s comments: the concerns about unsupported assumptions and the need for further consideration of impacts to small businesses.
5.On 10 December DHSC also published a revised Explanatory Memorandum that updates some of the statistics, and responds to our 21st Report, although it does not necessarily resolve the issues we raised:
1 Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, (Session 2021–22 HL Paper 109).
2 Department of Health and Social Care, Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No. 2) Regulations 2021—Impact Assessment (12 November 2021): [accessed 13 December 2021].
3 Regulatory Powers Committee, COVID-19 Vaccination as a Condition of Deployment: RPC Opinion (8 December 2021: [accessed 13 December 2021].
4 Department of Health and Social Care, ‘Impact assessment—DHSC further analysis and information’: [accessed 13 December 2021].
5 Department of Health and Social Care, Draft Explanatory Memorandum to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No. 2) Regulations 2021: [accessed 13 December 2021].
6 Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment)(Coronavirus) Regulations 2021, see Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, (Session 2021–22, HL Paper 50).
7 NHS, ‘Vaccination as a condition of deployment (VCOD) for healthcare workers: Phase 1—Planning and preparation’: [accessed 13 December 2021].