Call for written evidence: Professional Qualifications Bill
23 December 2021
Do you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Professional Qualifications Bill [HL] 2021-22, which is currently passing through Parliament?
If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.
The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration.
The Public Bill Committee will scrutinise the Bill line by line. The first sitting of the Public Bill Committee is expected to be on Tuesday 18 January and the Committee is scheduled to report by Thursday 20 January. However, please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Thursday 20 January. You are strongly advised to submit your written evidence as soon as possible.
Aims of the Bill
The Bill would set out a new system for how professional qualifications gained abroad are recognised in the UK. It would also seek to allow regulators in the UK and overseas to mutually recognise qualifications where they cannot do that now.
In the UK, more than 160 professions are regulated by law. UK regulators of professions such as nursing, architecture, or veterinary, have established certain processes to recognise credentials gained overseas.
These rules help determine whether qualifications acquired abroad include an adequate level of skill and training for the professionals to practice in the UK, and sometimes whether they can use a professional title. The UK’s current system to recognise professional qualifications comes from EU law.
A new system
The Government intends to create a new system which would mean that regardless of where the qualifications have been gained, they have to meet the same requirements to be recognised in the UK. The current system inherently treats qualifications gained in the EU and EEA countries, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein differently.
The Bill would create powers to allow regulators of professions in the UK to enter into ‘regulator recognition agreements’ with their international counterparts. The Government states this will “strengthen the UK’s ability to negotiate and deliver ambitious [trade] deals”, where they relate to professional qualifications, and help UK professionals enter new markets abroad.
The regulation of some professions, including teaching, is devolved. The Bill provides for the cooperation of regulators across the four nations of the UK by creating a new system for information sharing. It also establishes an Assistance Centre for individuals who seek to practice in the UK or abroad.
Finally, the Bill amends the Architects Act 1997, creating a new recognition system for architects.
Follow the progress of the Professional Qualifications Bill [HL] 2021-22
The Professional Qualifications Bill [HL] 2021-22 was introduced in the House of Lords on 12 May 2021. It passed Lords third reading on 17 November and was introduced in the Commons the following day. Second reading took place on Wednesday 15 December 2021.
- Bills before Parliament: Professional Qualifications Bill [HL]
- Read Explanatory Notes: Professional Qualifications Bill [HL]
- House of Commons Library Briefing Paper
There will be no oral evidence sessions.
Guidance on submitting written evidence
Deadline for written evidence submissions
The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration and possibly reflect it in an amendment. The order in which amendments are taken in Committee will be available in due course under Selection of Amendments on the Bill documents pages. Once the Committee has dealt with an amendment it will not revisit it.
The first sitting of the Public Bill Committee is expected to be on Tuesday 18 January and the Committee is scheduled to report by Thursday 20 January. However, please note that when the Committee concludes its consideration of the Bill it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can conclude earlier than the expected deadline of 5.00pm on Thursday 20 January. You are strongly advised to submit your written evidence as soon as possible.
What should written evidence cover?
Your submission should address matters contained within the Bill and concentrate on issues where you have a special interest or expertise, and factual information of which you would like the Committee to be aware.
Your submission could most usefully:
- suggest amendments to the Bill, with supporting explanation; and
- (when amendments are published) support or oppose amendments tabled to the Bill by Members of Parliament, with supporting explanation
It is helpful if the submission includes a brief introduction about you or your organisation. The submission should not have been previously published or circulated elsewhere.
If you have any concerns about your submission, please contact the Scrutiny Unit (details below).
How should written evidence be submitted?
Your submission should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that submissions sent to the Government department in charge of the Bill will not be treated as evidence to the Public Bill Committee.
Submissions should be in the form of a Word document. A summary should be provided. Paragraphs should be numbered, but there should be no page numbering. Essential statistics or further details can be added as annexes, which should also be numbered.
As a guideline, submissions should not exceed 3,000 words.
Please include in the covering email the name, address, telephone number and email address of the person responsible for the submission. The submission should be dated.
What will happen to my evidence?
The written evidence will be circulated to all Committee Members to inform their consideration of the Bill.
Most submissions will also be published on the internet as soon as possible after the Committee has started sitting.
Those making a submission to a Committee inquiry should note the following:
- Committees publish most of the written evidence they receive on the internet (where it will be accessible to search engines).
- If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so and explain your reasons for not wishing its disclosure. The Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the committee to discuss this. The Scrutiny Unit (details below) will be able to provide you with contact details for the clerk.
- A Committee is not obliged to accept your submission as evidence, nor to publish any or all of the submission even if it has been accepted as evidence. This may occur where a submission is very long or contains material to which it is inappropriate to give parliamentary privilege (see Guide for Witnesses for further information on parliamentary privilege).
- Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a submission, in which case it should be clearly referenced, preferably with a hyperlink.
- You should be careful not to comment on matters currently before a court of law, or matters in respect of which court proceedings are imminent. If you anticipate such issues arising, you should discuss with the Clerk of the Committee how this might affect your submission.
- Once submitted, no public use should be made of any submission prepared specifically for the Committee unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. If you are given permission by the Committee to publish your evidence separately, you should be aware that you will be legally responsible for its content.
- Evidence which is accepted by the Committee may be published online at any stage; when it is so published it becomes subject to parliamentary copyright and is protected by parliamentary privilege.
- Once you have received acknowledgement that the evidence has been published you may publicise or publish your evidence yourself. In doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee, and you should be aware that your publication or re-publication of your evidence may not be protected by parliamentary privilege.
- Public Bill Committees do not investigate individual cases of complaint or allegations of maladministration.
- The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing.
- The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act.
- If you have any queries or concerns about the collection and use of this information please advise the committee team providing your full contact details.
- For more information please see House of Commons Data Protection Information