Approval of the Framework

Data Protection Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 22nd March 2018.

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

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Digital Economy)

I am grateful to the Minister for taking those points on board. I suppose it begs the question of when she thinks we might see this framework. The process set out in the clause is a wise and practical course of action. We all have constituency experience that could have a bearing on how this piece of guidance is drafted and presented. We have the luxury of serving our constituents week in, week out. That is not a privilege that the civil servants who are asked to draft these frameworks enjoy.

It is important that the Minister goes through a good process, which allows her not to present the House with a fait accompli or something for an up and down motion. That will not be in any of our interests. My concern is how we practically operationalise this in a way that allows us continually to strengthen and improve the service that we provide to our constituents. It is very hard for us to do that if we have a data management regime operationalised by Her Majesty’s Government that gets in the way.

When does the Minister expect to issue this framework? How will she ensure that there is a period of soft consultation with, perhaps, the Speaker’s Committee here in the House so that we are not presented with a final draft of a document that we have 40 days to consider, moan about and make representations about, all of which will then basically be ignored because the approval process requires an up-down vote at the end.

Photo of Margot James Margot James The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport

I cannot be precise as to when, but it will be a priority to issue the framework for all the reasons that the right hon. Gentleman set out. We intend to engage fully with officials across Government, in particular the Departments that he has mentioned, and will consult other areas of expertise and the Information Commissioner herself. Indeed, clause 185(5) sets a requirement for consultation. Most importantly, the framework will then come to Parliament for proper scrutiny. At that point the right hon. Gentleman will have every chance to contribute further to the practicality of establishing this framework as speedily as possible.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 186 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 187