Observations on a statutory instrument committee


I just completed my first act of scrutiny of legislation in committee for The Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses (Amendment) Regulations 2010, which was drafted under the last government. It was an unedifying experience.

Having obtained and read the instrument beforehand, I considered that:

  • The Instrument was well-intentioned and thorough, or at least extensive, but imperfect.
  • A page of simple law might have been more effective.
  • Scrutinising ten pages of amendments to legislation is difficult to do without the context of the amended legislation (let’s call this “the Lisbon trick”).
  • There wasn’t time to thoroughly deconstruct the regulation beforehand.

So, about 20 MPs turned up, listened to two speeches and a response then nodded the SI through. Hardly inspiring for the man in the public gallery who has spent 13 years of his life campaigning to stop the exploitation of eager models through up-front fees, something the SI probably won’t stop, thanks to a loophole.  I suppose we will see.

It was all very “Yes, Minister”. Change required…

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