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Government Bills: Public Participation

Volume 473: debated on Monday 17 March 2008

To ask the Leader of the House which Government Bills introduced to the House in Session 2007-08 have undergone pre-legislative scrutiny in which the public was able to participate electronically. (193693)

Four Bills introduced so far in the current session were previously published in draft for pre-legislative scrutiny: the Climate Change Bill, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, the Local Transport Bill and the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill.

Parliamentary pre-legislative scrutiny was carried out by select committees in respect of three draft bills. The Climate Change Bill and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (then called the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill) were both considered by Joint Committees of both Houses, while the Local Transport Bill was considered by the Transport Select Committee. The Climate Change Bill was also examined by the Efra and Environmental Audit select committees. All these committees provided facilities for outside bodies and individuals to submit evidence electronically. In addition, on-line forums on aspects of the proposed Bills were conducted by the Joint Committees on the Climate Change Bill and the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill. It is the responsibility of individual committees as to how they involve and take evidence from the public.

In all cases the public consultation by departments on the draft bills included opportunity for the public and interested bodies to submit views electronically. In respect of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill, an online discussion space was also provided on the Cabinet Office website.