Article published on the scrutiny of legislation

Evidence-informed or Value-based? Exploring the Scrutiny of Legislation in the UK Parliament’, in the Journal of Legislative Studies, by Phil Begley, Catherine Bochel, Hugh Bochel, Andrew Defty, Jan Gordon, Kaisa Hinkkainen, Ben Kisby, Steve McKay and Gerry Strange, was published in March 2019.

The article draws upon case studies of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, the Academies Act 2010 and the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, utilising interviews with those involved and information from Hansard. It identifies three types of factor – process, subject and political circumstance – that are likely to affect the extent to which claims of evidence are made during legislative scrutiny. The article concludes that these cases highlight that while there might be potential benefits from a yet more robust legislative scrutiny process, including greater use of pre-legislative scrutiny and the ability of public bill committees to take evidence from a wider range of witnesses and on all bills, the importance of subject and political factors are likely to mean that the use of claims of evidence would continue to vary widely.