Publication of Draft Legislation (UK0059)
Action Plan Cycle: 2013
Lead Institution: Cabinet Office, Office of the Parliamentary Counsel
Support Institution(s): CSOs: Compact Voice, Involve, The Democratic Society
Policy AreasOpen Parliaments, Participation in Lawmaking, Public Participation, Regulatory Governance
The UK government has a good track record of publishing legislation in draft and consulting on it before it is introduced. Experience to date suggests that the process of consultation, and of formal pre-legislative scrutiny by parliamentary committees, has potential to improve the quality of legislation by engaging stakeholders and the wider public at an early stage, giving an opportunity for legislation to reflect the input of those potentially affected by it. Making this practice the norm will, given the experience to date, help further the transparency of law and the policy development process, and improve understanding and engagement with legislation. Government is committed to following Principle 2.4 of the Compact which states, “Give early notice of forthcoming consultations, where possible, allowing enough time for civil society organisations to involve their service users, beneficiaries, members, volunteers and trustees in preparing responses. Where it is appropriate, and enables meaningful engagement, conduct 12-week formal written consultations, with clear explanations and a rationale for shorter timeframes or a more informal approach.”
Timescales: The procedure and timescales for publishing bills in draft is set by the Cabinet Office’s Parliamentary Business and Legislation Secretariat and Parliament. At an early stage in the process of approving work on new legislation, the government will set out its commitment to publish a bill in draft on GOV.UK (or the reasons why publication is not appropriate in a particular case). The effect of publication will be evaluated on a case by case basis. This will take into account levels of stakeholder engagement in policy development.