Non-Disclosure Agreements

Part of High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill – in the House of Commons at 7:30 pm on 15th July 2019.

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‘(1) The nominated undertaker, or any subcontractors thereof, must not enter into any non-disclosure agreement with any party in connection with the scheduled works unless the assessor of non-disclosure agreements related to the scheduled works (“the assessor”) has certified that it is in the public interest.

(2) The Comptroller and Auditor General must appoint a person to be the assessor.

(3) The assessor must be—

(a) independent, and

(b) a current or former high court judge, higher judge or Queen’s Counsel.

(4) In this section, “independent” means independent of—

(a) Government,

(b) HS2 Ltd, and

(c) persons contracted or subcontracted to carry out the scheduled works.

(5) The assessor must undertake his or her work with a presumption in favour of transparency and public accountability in matters connected to the scheduled works.

(6) The assessor must review any non-disclosure agreement between the nominated undertaker, or any subcontractors thereof, and any party in connection with the scheduled works and in place before this section comes into force to certify whether it is—

(a) in the public interest, or

(b) not in the public interest.

(7) The assessor may not determine that a non-disclosure agreement is in the public interest for the purposes of subsection (1) or (6) except for the reason that it is justified because of exceptional commercial confidentiality.

(8) If the assessor certifies under subsection (6) that a non-disclosure agreement is not in the public interest that non-disclosure agreement immediately ceases to have effect.

(9) In this section, a “non-disclosure agreement” means any duty of confidentiality or other restriction on disclosure (however imposed).”—(Antoinette Sandbach.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time:—