The Public Bodies Act 2011 gives Ministers the power to draft an Order to abolish, merge or modify the constitutional or funding arrangements of those public bodies listed in Schedules 1 to 5 of the Act. The Act also sets out tests that must be satisfied and the option for an enhanced scrutiny procedure for the Orders.
The House of Lords has agreed that the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee will scrutinise and report on draft Public Bodies Orders laid before the House.
On the sidebar to the left are links to those Public Bodies Orders currently before the Committee and those which have 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, including looking at whether the Order meets the statutory tests in the Act and in particular, whether the Order serves the purpose of improving the exercise of public functions. 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.
The Committee's 50th Report of session 2010-12 explained how they intended to approach the scrutiny process and their 19th Report of session 2012-13 reflected on their experience in the first year of considering these Orders. The Government's response to our comments is published in our 31st Report of session 2012-13.
If you have a query about the Committee or its work, including concerns or opinions on a Public Bodies Order or any new item of secondary legislation, please contact the Clerk of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, Legislation Office, House of Lords, London SW1A 0PW; telephone 020-7219 8821; fax 020-7219 2571; email email@example.com.