Clause 12

Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 17 June 2008.

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Relationship with other regulators

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Mark Prisk Mark Prisk Shadow Minister (Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)

I want to pursue the relationship between the LBRO and other regulators. The clause does not deal with local authorities, but other regulators such as the Environment Agency, the Food Standards Agency, the Gambling Commission, the Health and Safety Executive and the Office of Fair Trading. We all know that those bodies all have other duties beyond the specific regulatory matters dealt with under the Bill. To put it briefly, what happens when the LBRO’s priority or guidance is perceived by those regulators as being contrary to their work or in danger of being in conflict with other duties? A classic example could be the Environment Agency, which clearly has other duties under law beyond the immediate regulatory issues that are before us.

Photo of Pat McFadden Pat McFadden Minister of State (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) (Employment Relations and Postal Affairs), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

There are two main points to make about the clause. Subsection (1) states:

LBRO and a regulator to which this section applies must enter into a memorandum of understanding with each other as to how they will work together”.

The clause then lists the regulators under subsection (2). Organisations such as the Environment Agency and the  Food Standards Agency are major national regulators. They were keen to establish that, when LBRO was set up, there was an understanding of how they should work together. It is envisaged that the documents will set out the ground rules for mutual consultation and so on.

My second point is that the clause is permissive in the sense that other MOUs could be conducted with other organisations. The hon. Gentleman also asked what would happen if a conflict arose, the bone of his question. I stress that the organisations listed would retain their statutory independence. They will have to discuss matters maturely. I do not want the hon. Gentleman to feel that there will be some kind of takeover of these organisations by the LBRO. We are talking about memorandums of understanding, and the organisations concerned will retain their statutory independence under the clause.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 12 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 13 and 14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.