HSE: The Health and Safety Executive has opened a consultation (closes on 28 October 2012) on proposals to simplify & clarify the reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences. The changes proposed to Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995 will remove the duty to report in cases where the information is of little use or better collected through other means, while still ensuring that sufficient, quality data is available.
The proposals include self-employed people no longer having to report injuries or illness to themselves, and the removal of both the duty on employers to report dangerous occurrences outside of high-risk sectors/activities and requirements to report most occupational diseases.
WAG: Environment Minister, John Griffiths, has launched a consultation (closes on 23 October 2012) for simplifying & revising Building Regulation standards for new & existing domestic and non domestic buildings. This follows the Programme for Government commitment to develop changes to Building Regulations for new dwellings, working towards a 55% improvement in energy efficiency performance by 2013.
NHS Confed: Monitor's NHS provider licence consultation (closes on 23 October 2012), shows the regulator has listened to the health service and taken on board a number of issues raised by members about initial proposals, said the NHS Confederation's Jo Webber.
Commenting on the proposal, NHS Confederation deputy director of policy, Jo Webber, said: "It is encouraging to see that Monitor has really listened to the health service and taken on board a number of the issues we raised on behalf of our members about its initial proposals. As a result it has made some really significant amendments”.
ScotGov: A consultation has been launched (closes on 26 October 2012) on the Scottish Government’s Better Regulation Bill, which aims to reduce burdens on business & deliver changes to existing regulations; the flow of new regulation; and the culture.
DH: Proposals for the duties of health & wellbeing boards have been published by the Department of Health. H&WB boards will be made up of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), local authorities, patient representatives, public health, and children’s & adult social care leaders in each local authority area to shape local health & care services, decide how they will be commissioned and support joined-up working across health and care services.
The consultation is also an opportunity to find out views on what further help H&WB boards would find useful in undertaking their duties. The final guidance will be available later in 2012.
Ofwat: Ofwat has opened a consultation (NB: closes this week on 5 September 2012) on proposals to accept binding commitments from Severn Trent plc. Severn Trent plc has offered to divest Severn Trent Laboratories in response to a complaint to Ofwat that Severn Trent Laboratories Limited had engaged in anti-competitive pricing practices contrary to the Chapter II Prohibition (Abuse of a dominant position) of the Competition Act 1998.
WAG: Transport Minister, Carl Sargeant, has launched a consultation on plans for extending Blue Badge eligibility in order to make sure that eligible badge holders continue to receive a badge following planned changes to the UK welfare system from April 2013.
The consultation (closes on 30 October 2012) is in direct response to proposed changes in the UK welfare benefits system that will see Personal Independence Payments (PIP) replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people aged 16 to 64. Consultation proposals include linking automatic eligibility for a blue badge to PIP.
CLG: Expert brokers will spearhead a fresh drive to get stalled housing deals up & running and builders back on moth-balled sites, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced recently. Mr Pickles is concerned that too much development is being stalled because of economically unrealistic agreements negotiated between councils and developers at the height of the housing boom. This results in no development, no regeneration and no community benefits at all when agreements are no longer economically viable.
The Government's Housing Strategy Laying the Foundations: A Housing Strategy for England published on 21 November 2011 set out a proposal to allow reconsideration of planning obligations agreed in more buoyant market conditions. The aim of this consultation (closes on 8 October 2012) is to set out the details of how the proposal will work and to seek views.
EA: The Environment Agency has begun a public consultation (closes on 9 November 2012) on its draft decisions for 3 environmental permits for the proposed Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station. EDF Energy’s and Centrica’s joint venture company, NNB Generation Company Limited, applied for the permits in July last year. Each permit is a key regulatory permission that is required to operate the power station.
WAG: Environment Minister, John Griffiths is keen to hear views on how the new body that will manage Wales’ natural resources should operate and exactly what powers & duties it should have. He has launched a consultation (closes on 5 October 2012) which invites further views on specific aspects of the powers & functions of the new body that is due to become fully operational on 1 April 2013.
The new body will replace the Environment Agency Wales, The Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission for Wales. Its aim is to ensure the most sustainable and effective management of Wales’ natural resources, to deliver a more streamlined way of working and to cut unnecessary duplication to a minimum. It is estimated that over ten years the body will deliver up to £158 million in benefits before costs, freeing up resources for front line delivery.
LC: The Law Commission is seeking views in a consultation (closes on 30 November 2012) on how wildlife law should be modernised & simplified. The current law regulating wildlife is spread over a collection of Acts dating back to 1831. The original purpose of much of the law was to govern activities such as hunting & fishing, including poaching. Over the years it has expanded to conserve certain species, ensure the welfare of wildlife and protect local biodiversity from invasive species.
The result is a legal landscape that is out of date, confused & often contradictory. The proposals aim to simplify the existing complex framework, placing wildlife law into a single statute. The new regime would reduce the current dependency on criminal law, by allowing an appropriate mix of regulatory measures such as guidance, advice and a varied & flexible system of civil sanctions – such as fines & bans.
LC: The Law Commission is asking in a consultation (closes on 5 October 2012) whether the offence of scandalising the court is still necessary or should be consigned to history. Scandalising the court, also known as scandalising judges or scandalising the judiciary, is a form of contempt of court.
You might commit the offence if you do or publish anything that ridicules the judiciary to such an extent that it is likely to bring the administration of justice into disrepute. This might include, for example, being extremely offensive towards a member of the judiciary or suggesting that they are corrupt. The offence is not concerned with conduct which risks prejudicing particular proceedings, but only with conduct that is likely to affect the administration of justice generally.
ScotGov: The Scottish Government has launched a consultation (closes on 2 November 2012) on new laws designed to improve the way the public sector buys goods, works and services. The Scottish public sector spends over £9bn every year and, in 2011, over 45% of this spending was with SMEs. And of the contracts awarded through Public Contracts Scotland, Scotland’s national contract advertising portal, around 75% went to businesses registered from a Scottish address.
The Procurement Reform Bill will seek to ensure that all public bodies adopt transparent, streamlined & standardised procurement processes that are friendly to Scottish businesses. The consultation on the Bill will also explore substantially expanding the use of community-benefit clauses in higher value contracts, helping to promote training, apprenticeships and opportunities for the disabled and long-term unemployed.
Monitor: Monitor has launched the draft Commissioner Requested Services and Protected Services Guidance for consultation (closes on 8 November 2012). The guidance sets out a process for commissioners to follow to ensure that key NHS services remain available for patients if a provider gets into serious financial difficulty.
BIS: The Government has highlighted its proposals for the midata programme, as part of its ongoing consultation & progress review which sets out measures to provide it with a legal framework. The consultation (closes on 10 September 2012) proposes introducing a power that, when exercised, would give new rights to consumers to access their personal transaction data in an electronic, portable and machine-readable format.
midata was launched in April 2011 as part of Government’s consumer empowerment strategy, Better Choices: Better Deals. The programme is a partnership between the UK Government, consumer groups and major businesses aimed at giving consumers access to the data created through their household utility use, banking, internet transactions and high street loyalty cards.
WAG: The consultation deadline on the Welsh Government’s draft organ donation legislation is fast approaching. The Welsh Government is asking members of the public & health professionals alike to make their views known on the proposed soft opt-out legislation before the closing date of Monday September 10 2012.
BIS: New measures to deliver greater clarity & transparency on consumer rights, that will help boost the confidence of both consumers and businesses, have been published in a consultation (closes on 1 November 2012) on the Consumer Rights Directive.
The Consumer Rights Directive, agreed by the European Commission in 2011, focuses on simplifying & harmonising rules in a few key areas of consumer rights, including ensuring that consumers have the information and time they need to make good decisions, are fully aware of all the costs they are committing to and the implications of any contract. It also helps make sure that those traders who treat consumers fairly are not disadvantaged by those who use less transparent practices to lure consumers to less competitive offers.
NE: Proposals for an improved coastal access route between Ramsgate & Folkestone have been published by Natural England for consultation (closes on 9 November 2012) marking the first stages of the England Coast Path in the south east of England, set in motion by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.
The proposed route will run close to some of Kent’s most populated areas, including the towns of Sandwich, Deal & Dover and passes through a variety of coastal habitats & cliff scenery. Coastal Access legislation will enable the footpath to automatically move inland or ‘roll back’, if the route is lost to erosion for example, which means that the new route would be secure into the future.
ScotGov: A consultation (closes on 26 October 2012) on new EU rules to protect the welfare of animals at slaughter and killing has been launched by the Scottish Government. Domestic legislation will be introduced in Scotland to enforce & implement the new EU Regulation. As well as introducing new technical rules, the EU Regulation also offers opportunities to maintain existing national rules or introduce stricter national rules in specific areas.
The new legislation will affect a range of businesses, including poultry & livestock farmers, knackermen and equipment manufacturers as well as abattoirs. The consultation outlines key directly applicable measures that will come into effect on the 1 January 2013 and makes proposals for national rules.
EU News: The EU's Justice Commissioner has welcomed an announcement by Spain that it intends to improve legal certainty for property owners along the Spanish coast which have been affected by the Coastal Law. The Coastal Law (Ley de Costas) aims to protect local habitats by designating an area along the entire coastline as a public domain. An English summary of the new draft law is available to view and citizens can comment on the draft by email – See ‘EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc’ section for more information.
EU News: So far, over 5,500 EU-citizens have participated in one of the broadest web based consultations (closes on 9 September 2012) in the EU's history on citizens' rights and the future of Europe – the latest Commission figures released recently show – See ‘EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc’ section for more information.
EU News: The European Commission is proposing to create a digital seabed map of European waters by 2020 by collecting all existing data into one coherent database accessible to everyone. In a Green Paper on ‘Marine Knowledge’ adopted last week the Commission launched a consultation as to how this could be achieved – See ‘EU Legislation, Initiatives, etc’ section for more information.
MoJ: A consultation (closes on 3 October 2012) which looks at strengthening the rules on Claims Management Companies (CMCs) is currently open and the MoJ invite anyone with an interest to have their say - See ‘Legislation / Legal’ section for more information.