Lords Committee to consider possible decline in quality of Government's explanatory memoranda

01 May 2014


The House of Lords Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (DPRRC) has today published a call for evidence to launch a new, tightly-focused inquiry into the quality of the delegated powers memoranda provided by the Government to explain the delegation of powers in Bills before Parliament.

Delegations in primary legislation give Ministers the power to make law through secondary legislation (often know as statutory instruments). Often the powers are very significant and sometimes they include the power to amend primary legislation (Acts of Parliament). It is important therefore that they are appropriate and that they are subject to an appropriate degree of Parliamentary scrutiny. The purpose of a delegated powers memorandum is for the Government to provide a clear and accurate explanation of, and justification for, the delegations contained in a Bill. In recent months the DPRRC has expressed concerns about the quality of the memoranda, citing, by way of example, those prepared for the Transparency of Lobbying etc. Bill and the Immigration Bill.

The Committee are asking for written evidence from any parties with an interest in this issue. Evidence should be submitted by Wednesday 4 June 2014.  Areas the Committee will consider include: 

  • Has there been a change in the volume or character of delegated powers included in Bills in recent years?
  • What is the value of delegated powers memoranda to Parliament?
  • How can the quality of delegated powers memoranda be defined and measured?
  • Does the quality of memoranda differ between departments?
  • Does the DPRRC give government department’s appropriate guidance on the content of delegated powers memoranda? Could this guidance be improved?

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