The Public Bodies Act 2011 gives Ministers the power to draft an Order to abolish, merge or modify the constitutional or funding arrangements of the public bodies listed in Schedules 1 to 5 of the Act. The Act also sets out tests that must be satisfied, for example, whether the change improves economy and accountability.
The majority have now been considered but in the sidebar to the left are links to any Public Bodies Orders currently before the Committee and to those which have already been considered and reported on.
The Scrutiny process
From the day on which the draft Order is laid, the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee has 30-days to consider the draft. The Order must be accompanied by an Explanatory Document that explains how the responsible Department believes the tests set out in the Act are satisfied.
The Committee may decide to clear the Order - in which case after the 40th day it can be debated, like an ordinary affirmative instrument.
If the Committee wishes to seek further information or has concerns, it can decide whether the enhanced affirmative procedure (introduced by the Act) should apply. The enhanced procedure increases the scrutiny period by a further 30-days (making 60 days in total), and allows the Committee to make recommendations to the Minister who must then have regard to them. After the 60th day the Order can be debated or the Minister may chose to amend the draft.
There is more detail about the scrutiny process in the Committee's 50th Report of session 2010-12 . In addition the Committee has issued an annual report each year on the progress of the list of Orders set out in the Act: see the sidebar on the right.
If you have concerns or opinions on a Public Bodies Order or any other aspect of the Committee's work please contact us on telephone 020-7219 8821 or email [email protected].