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Localism Orders

25 February 2020

The Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (DPRRC) scrutinises Orders laid under the Localism Act 2011 - Localism Orders. The first Localism Order was laid only in March 2014 (the Draft Harrogate Stray Act 1985 (Amendment) Order 2014), but, since the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006 (“the 2006 Act”) came into force, the DPRRC has examined a number Legislative Reform Orders (LROs) under that Act. Procedures for Orders under the 2006 Act and the 2011 Act share a number of features.

The Lords Companion to Standing Orders sets out how LROs are scrutinised by Parliament.  Also relevant are the Localism Act 2011, in which sections 5, 6 and 7 deal with Localism Orders, and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006, to which reference is made to the Localism Act 2011.

The DPRRC has a period of 30 days during which to carry out its scrutiny. In relation to LROs, if the Minister recommends that the LRO should be subject to the negative resolution procedure, that applies unless, within 30 days from the date when the LRO was laid, either House of Parliament requires the affirmative or super-affirmative resolution procedure, in which case that applies.  If the Minister recommends the affirmative resolution procedure, that applies unless, within 30 days, either House requires the super-affirmative resolution procedure, in which case that applies.  If the Minister recommends super-affirmative resolution procedure, that applies.

In the case of a Localism Order, the Committee is able to recommend that any Order proposed for the negative resolution procedure should be upgraded to the affirmative (or super-affirmative) procedure. If neither the Lords nor the Commons Committees recommends an upgrade, the negative procedure will apply.

There is a procedure in the Lords (not in the Commons) called the hybrid instruments procedure which applies to any affirmative instrument which “is such that, apart from the provisions of the Act authorising it to be made, it would require to be enacted by a private or hybrid bill”.  So any negative Localism Order which is upgraded to affirmative and which is considered (in the Lords) to be hybrid will be subject to the hybrid instruments procedure.  This allows an opportunity to those whose private interests are affected by the Order to petition against it.  If there are no petitions, the procedure ends.  If there are petitions, they are referred to a Hybrid Instruments Committee. If that Committee decides that that the matters complained of should be considered by a Select Committee, such a committee considers the evidence and reports whether or not the Order should be allowed to proceed.  The House then considers a motion to approve the instrument.

In the Commons, the Regulatory Reform Committee is responsible for scrutiny of Localism Orders.

A fuller note about parliamentary scrutiny of Localism Orders can be seen here.