Press Notice: Post-implementation reviews €“ more titles added

House of Lords Select Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments

House of Lords Press Release
Thursday 27 July 2009
Contact: Laura Llewelyn - 020 7219 6640

What happened next? Inquiry into post-implementation reviews - more titles added

On 24 June the House of Lords Merits Committee announced that it was conducting a study to assess the degree to which Government departments check whether legislation is actually working as anticipated. The Committee wants to find out if departments review the assumptions in their Explanatory Memoranda and Impact Assessments to provide better information for the development of future legislation.

Form of the inquiry

The inquiry has two main strands:

  • The National Audit Office is conducting a statistical survey of a significant number of Statutory Instruments from 2005 to see how many have been reviewed.

  • We have also selected a small number of regulations for more in-depth review, seeking feedback from both the Department and those affected by the regulations. The initial list was published in our call for evidence and our Press Notice of 24 June. We now add further examples as a result of our initial survey findings.

Second list of items for in-depth review:

  • Work at Height Regulations (SI 2005/735) from HSE: set specific safety requirements for those working at height. Have there been fewer accidents?

  • Social Security (Habitual Residence) Amendment Regulations 2003 (SI 2004/1232) from DWP amended the income-related benefit regulations so that no person should qualify unless they have a right to reside in the United Kingdom. They also extended an exception to the habitual residence test to include workers from countries acceding to the European Union from 1st May 2004. The changes were brought in very late - did they work as intended?

  • Education Student Loans (Repayment) (Amendment) Regulations SI 2005/2690 from DCSF: altered the student loan regulations to allow a student without a P45 to inform a new employer if deductions need to be made. Did many volunteer this information?

  • Railways (Penalty Fares)(Amendment) Regulations SI 2005/1095 from DfT: raised the penalty fare for not buying a ticket before you travel from £10 to £20. How effective was this deterrent?

  • Private Security Industry Act 2001 (Designated Activities )(Revocation) Order 2005 SI 2005/361 from the Home Office: to regulate wheel clamping firms. There were administrative difficulties getting the licensing set up, is it working efficiently now?

Feedback from implementation - what we want to know

The Committee would welcome comment on how you have been affected by any of the SIs in the list set out above. It would be helpful if you could address the following questions from your experience of the legislation:

a) was the legislation easy to understand and apply to your situation?

b) did it cost you more or less to implement than the Department suggested?

c) did the legislation achieve its stated objective?

d) were there any unintended consequences, or problems with the way the legislation worked?

e) now you have experience of the legislation can you suggest ways in which it could be simplified or made to operate more cost-effectively?

f) are you aware of any arrangements that would enable you to give feedback on your practical experience of the legislation to the Department that issued it?

The Committee would also be interested in any broader comments on this review.

  • Can you offer any other examples of Statutory Instruments that demonstrate good or bad practice in post-legislative review? Or that we might consider adding to our list for in-depth consideration?

How to send in your views

Full details of where to send a contribution and in what form are set out in the Call for Evidence. This has been sent directly to a wide range of bodies that might be interested, but please forward it if you can think of someone who might wish to contribute.

The deadline for submitting written evidence is Friday 11 September 2009 but we would be grateful to receive suggestions for other instruments to consider, as soon as possible.

Notes for Editors

1. Please note that we will be using the criteria for post-implementation review set out in the Better Regulation Executive's Impact Assessment Toolkit:

"A Post implementation review establishes whether implemented regulations are having the intended effect and whether they are implementing policy objectives efficiently. It is not intended to review the effects of the policy itself or to determine whether the intended policy is still desirable."

2. The House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee (the Merits Committee) was established in 2003 and began work in April 2004. Its task is to examine each statutory instrument presented to the House and to draw attention to any which deal with matters of significant public policy interest or show defects in certain areas. The Committee's Reports are intended to inform the scrutiny process of the House of Lords, without seeking to determine what view the House will finally take of individual instruments.

Further information about the Committee is at:

3. The current members of the Merits Committee are:

Lord Filkin (Chairman)
Baroness Butler-Sloss
Lord Crisp
Baroness Deech
Viscount Eccles
Lord Hart of Chilton
Lord James of Blackheath
Lord Lucas
Baroness Maddock
Lord Rosser
Baroness Thomas of Winchester

4. Inquiries should be addressed to:

The Clerk
Select Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments
House of Lords
London SW1A 0PW
Telephone: 020-7219 8821
Facsimile: 020-7219 2571

Press Officer: Laura Llewelyn - Tel: 020 7219 6640