Press Notice: Post-implementation reviews

Immediate Release Thursday 12 November
House of Lords Media Notice


The House of Lords Merits Committee publishes its report today into how the Government evaluates whether its Statutory Instruments (SIs) are working.

In its report " What happened next?", the Committee found that most Departments are not evaluating how their regulations have performed. Without some sort of review the Government will not know whether its legislation is working or not. The Government is also missing valuable opportunities to improve the formulation and delivery of its policies due to an insufficient understanding of how earlier legislation worked in practice.

The Committee found that 46% of the regulations in a sample from 2005 had not been subject to any form of follow-up evaluation at all and only 29% to full post-implementation review.

In its report the Merits Committee stresses the urgent need for the Government to take a more active role in supervising the Impact Assessment and Post-Implementation Review systems to ensure the necessary information is available and the reviews are done.

Commenting on the report, Lord Filkin, Chairman of the Merits Committee, said:

"Our inquiry confirms that far too few new SIs are based on an analysis of how the original legislation is working. Without a robust system for reviewing legislation policy makers will not learn what works best to deliver their policy objectives. It is clear that to achieve real improvements to the outcomes of new regulations, a real process of Post-Implementation Review must be kick-started by central Government."

Notes to Editors

  1. The report What happened next? is available from The Stationery Office, House of Lords Merits Committee, 30th Report of 2008/09, HL Paper 180.
  2. The report will be available online shortly after publication at:
  3. The Committee selected a small number of SIs as case studies for their inquiry and asked the Department responsible for each regulation how they reviewed the implementation of the policy, in addition to appealing for evidence from people and organisations that had been directly affected by the SIs. Further to this the Committee commissioned the National Audit Office to conduct a statistical survey of a sample of SIs from 2005 to see how many had actually been reviewed. 233 were included in the sample.
  4. It is accepted best practice that legislation should be reviewed to see how it is working in practice, generally about 3 years after it has come into effect.

For copies of the report please contact Laura Llewelyn, Press and Publicity Officer, House of Lords, on 020 7219 8716.

Laura Llewelyn
Press & Publicity Officer
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
020 7219 8716