38th Report, 2014 (Session 4): Annual Report 2013-14

SP Paper 543 (Web Only)

DPLR/S4/14/R38

38th Report, 2014 (Session 4)

Annual Report 2013-14

Remit and membership

Remit:

1. The remit of the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee is to consider and report on—
(a) any—
(i) subordinate legislation laid before the Parliament or requiring the consent of the Parliament under section 9 of the Public Bodies Act 2011;
(ii) [deleted]
(iii) pension or grants motion as described in Rule 8.11A.1; and, in particular, to determine whether the attention of the Parliament should be drawn to any of the matters mentioned in Rule 10.3.1;
(b) proposed powers to make subordinate legislation in particular Bills or other proposed legislation;
(c) general questions relating to powers to make subordinate legislation;
(d) whether any proposed delegated powers in particular Bills or other legislation should be expressed as a power to make subordinate legislation;
(e) any failure to lay an instrument in accordance with section 28(2), 30(2) or 31 of the 2010 Act; and
(f) proposed changes to the procedure to which subordinate legislation laid before the Parliament is subject.
(g) any Scottish Law Commission Bill as defined in Rule 9.17A.1; and
(h) any draft proposal for a Scottish Law Commission Bill as defined in that Rule.

Membership:

Christian Allard (from 16 May 2013 until 7 November 2013)
Richard Baker (from 3 September 2013)
Nigel Don (Convener)
Jim Eadie (until 16 May 2013)
Mike MacKenzie
Hanzala Malik (until 3 September 2013)
Margaret McCulloch (from 3 September 2013)
Stuart McMillan (from 7 November 2013) (Deputy Convener)
John Pentland (until 3 September 2013)
John Scott
Stewart Stevenson (Deputy Convener until 12 November 2013)

Committee Clerking Team:

Clerk to the Committee
Euan Donald

Assistant Clerk
Elizabeth White

Support Manager
Daren Pratt

Annual Report 2013-14

The Committee reports to the Parliament as follows—

Introduction

1. The Committee, formerly known as the Subordinate Legislation Committee, changed its name to the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee with effect from 5 June 2013 to reflect the fact that during the parliamentary year its remit was changed by agreement of Parliament to provide for the scrutiny of certain Scottish Law Commission (SLC) Bills.

2. This Report covers the work of the Committee during the parliamentary year from 11 May 2013 to 10 May 2014. The Committee has scrutinised a number of Bills and Scottish statutory instruments this year, reporting to subject committees and the Parliament on issues such as the scope of delegated powers and whether delegated powers are within vires, as well as on detailed drafting issues.

Bills

3. In addition to SLC Bills, the Committee considers delegated powers provisions in Scottish Government, Members’, Committee and Private Bills. Over the reporting period, the Committee has considered and reported on the following seventeen bills at Stage 1:

Scottish Independence Referendum Bill;
Landfill Tax (Scotland) Bill;
Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Bill;
Tribunals (Scotland) Bill;
Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill;
Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill;
Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill;
Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill;
Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill;
Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill;
Defective and Dangerous Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill;
Budget (Scotland) (No.3) Bill;
Housing (Scotland) Bill;
Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill;
Revenue Scotland and Tax Powers Bill;
Courts Reform (Scotland) Bill;
Historic Environment Scotland Bill.

4. The Committee also considered and reported on the following twelve bills as amended at Stage 2:

Post-16 Education (Scotland) Bill;
Land and Buildings Transaction Tax (Scotland) Bill;
Scottish Independence Referendum Bill;
Victims and Witnesses (Scotland) Bill;
Landfill Tax (Scotland) Bill;
Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Bill;
Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill;
Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill;
Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Bill;
Tribunals (Scotland) Bill;
Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill;
Procurement Reform (Scotland) Bill.

5. With the exception of the Defective and Dangerous Buildings (Recovery of Expenses) (Scotland) Bill and the Disabled Persons’ Parking Badges (Scotland) Bill, all of the bills were Scottish Government bills and, as with previous years, the recommendations of the Committee on bills have led to a number of changes by the Scottish Government to relevant provisions. Through its scrutiny process, the Committee also aims to ensure that the correct balance between primary and secondary legislation is maintained.

6. The Committee has also considered four Legislative Consent Memorandums (LCMs). These are Westminster Bills which seek to change the law or alter Scottish Ministers’ or the Scottish Parliament’s powers in relation to devolved matters. The four LCMs considered by the Committee were on:

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill (UK Parliament legislation);
Water Bill (UK Parliament legislation);
Deep Sea Mining Bill (UK Parliament legislation);
High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill (UK Parliament legislation).

7. The Committee also gave consideration to one Public Body Consent Memorandum (PBCM). These relate to draft orders made under sections 1 to 5 of the Public Bodies Act 2011 which would fall within the Scottish Parliament’s legislative competence. The PBCM considered by the Committee was on:

Public Bodies (Abolition of the National Consumer Council and Transfer of the Office of Fair Trading’s Functions in relation to Estate Agents etc.) Order 2014 [draft].

Subordinate Legislation

8. The Committee has continued to work to tight timescales in its consideration of subordinate legislation, producing 70 reports over the reporting year. During the parliamentary year, the Committee published 33 statutory instrument reports, reporting on 259 Scottish statutory instruments in total.

9. Of the instruments considered, 38 were subject to affirmative procedure, 166 to negative procedure, and 50 were not subject to any Parliamentary procedure.

10. In addition to the instruments outlined above, the Committee also considered three super-affirmative instruments, one draft document subject to approval and one draft document subject to rule 10.5 of Standing Orders.

11. The Committee published three quarterly reports which recorded the Committee’s scrutiny of instruments during the first three quarters of this parliamentary year.

Equalities

12. The Committee considers equalities issues which can arise under the European Convention on Human Rights and under Community law. It is part of the Committee’s remit to draw the attention of lead committees and the Parliament to any instrument, or Bill, that, in its opinion, fails to comply with any such requirement.

13. Unlike in previous years, the Committee had no cause to report any instrument on the grounds of an unusual or unexpected use of a power which raises equalities issues - or for a failure to use gender neutral language.

14. In its scrutiny of delegated powers within the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill however, the Committee reported on issues such as the conversion of civil partnerships and gender recognition certificates which prompted the Scottish Government to commit to further consultation with stakeholders.

Meetings

15. The Committee met 34 times during the parliamentary year. Of these meetings, none were entirely in private and 25 included items in private.

16. The main reason for taking business in private was to consider draft reports.

17. At its penultimate meeting of the parliamentary year, the Committee took evidence from the Minister for Parliamentary Business on a range of issues including the Committee’s analysis of instruments that had been laid during the previous year.

18. All the Committee’s meetings have been held in Edinburgh.


Any links to external websites in this report were working correctly at the time of publication. However, the Scottish Parliament cannot accept responsibility for content on external websites.

Produced and published in Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP by APS Group Scotland, 21 Tennant Street, Edinburgh EH6 5NA

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