Response to the government’s new approach to consultation

A warning of the implications of reducing the amount of time provided to respond to government consultations.

Roger Jeary responds to the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee on behalf of the Institute of Employment Rights about the government’s new guidelines for public consultation, which includes cutting some calls for evidence and invitations to comment down to just two weeks.

Under the new guidelines, Ministers are allowed to give anywhere between two and 12 weeks – rather than than the 12-week default that was previously in place – for interested parties to respond to their proposals. Furthermore, they may decide that some plans do not go to public consultation at all, including when they make changes they consider to be ‘technical amendments’. Another part of the guidance states that digital technology should become the default method of gathering responses.

The IER has been leading an email campaign against these proposals and it is not too late to show your support.

Please click here for a full report on the issue and instructions on how you can help.

Jeary notes that:

  • Organisations will not have enough time to provide a clear and considered response to proposals when given as little as a fortnight to gather evidence and write their report
  • As no previous consultations have been unnecessary, there is no reason to mark some proposals out as not needing consultation
  • Even so-called ‘technical amendments’ can have wide-ranging effects that impact on people’s real-life experience of employment law
  • Making digital responses the default option could alienate a proportion of society that would normally respond via other means