Law Society of Scotland: Abolition of Public Bodies must Undergo Proper Parliamentary Scrutiny

The Law Society of Scotland has highlighted that proposed powers to modify or abolish public bodies should undergo the same level of parliamentary scrutiny as was required to set up each of the organisations.

Michael Clancy, Director of Law Reform at the Society said: “We emphasised to MPs the need for proper scrutiny by the UK Parliament, on proposals to abolish a number of public bodies, ahead of the second reading of the Public Bodies Bill in the House of Commons last night.”

The Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council, The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission and Consumer Focus are among those bodies which could be abolished.

Mr Clancy added: “Each of these organisations was created by an Act of Parliament and many were designed to monitor the actions of government or hold ministers to account. Parliament needs to ensure it is satisfied that the proposed method of making such substantial changes is appropriate.”

The Public Bodies Bill, currently before the UK Parliament, brings forward the recommendations in the UK Government’s review of public bodies, published in October last year.

If passed, the bill would empower government ministers to abolish, merge or transfer functions of public body by way of statutory instruments, without the requirement for separate primary legislation.

The bill passed its second reading last night and will now progress to committee stage. A Public Bill Committee will scrutinise the bill further, after the parliamentary recess in September.

Ends                                                             13 July 2011

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