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A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less?Evaluating Three Decades of Reform and Change in UK Central Government$

Christopher Hood and Ruth Dixon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687022.001.0001

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(p.209) Appendix 4 Analysis of Legislative Amendments: Methodology for Chapter 8

(p.209) Appendix 4 Analysis of Legislative Amendments: Methodology for Chapter 8

Source:
A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less?
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

A4.1 Legislation: Selection Criteria

Legislation.gov.uk was searched using appropriate keywords for Criminal Justice and Health Service Acts. Acts were selected with regard to the relevance of the topic of the legislation and the requirement to sample each decade from the 1970s to the 2010s for both families of legislation. Consolidation and amendment acts were excluded, as was legislation that was wholly concerned with the devolved administrations. Acts whose parliamentary process was cut short by a general election were also excluded. The Acts analysed are shown in the table below.

Some definitions: Legislation is referred to as a bill as it proceeds through parliament and an Act of Parliament when it receives Royal Assent. The numbered sections of an Act are known as clauses in a bill, while schedules are so-called both in Acts and in bills.

A4.2 Sources

Commons committee stage: Minutes of Proceedings of Standing Committees (until the 2005–06 parliamentary session) and Public Bill Committees (from the 2006–07 session) showed the fate of each amendment, and in whose name it was tabled. Amendments tabled without names were assumed to be government amendments, confirmed for a sample of cases by reference to the detailed transcript of the committee debates.

Commons Report stage: Hansard reports of the Commons debates were analysed to determine the fate of each amendment listed in the Marshalled List of amendments for that date.

Lords stages (Committee, Report, and Third Reading): Marshalled Lists of Amendments, hand annotated with the fate of each amendment by the clerks in the House of Lords. These lists were found in the Bill Files in the Parliamentary Archives in the Palace of Westminster. (Bill Files not yet released under the thirty-year rule were reviewed and released under Freedom of Information at our request.)

(p.210) A4.3 Amendment Analysis

  1. 1. Amendments were categorized as ‘government’ (proposed by a government minister from the sponsoring department, with or without other proposers), or ‘non-government’ (proposed by an opposition member or a backbencher from the governing party).

  2. 2. The fate of each amendment was recorded as agreed (with or without a division [i.e. a vote]), withdrawn, not moved, not called, or negatived with or without a division.

This analysis showed that:

  1. 1. Virtually all government amendments were agreed.

  2. 2. Backbench or opposition amendments were rarely agreed. Overall, 0.5 per cent of agreed Commons amendments and 8.7 per cent of agreed Lords amendments were ‘non-government’. The Lords amendments showed considerable variation, however; in three bills ‘non-government’ amendments accounted for over a third of all agreed amendments. In the Commons, no bill had more than 3 per cent agreed ‘non-government’ amendments.

  3. 3. Large numbers of amendments were proposed by the opposition and some by backbenchers from the governing party, but the vast majority of those amendments were withdrawn, not moved, not called, or negatived with or without a division.

  4. 4. In the House of Commons, the Committee Stage and the Report Stage each accounted for about half of the government amendments agreed by that House (with a wide range, from 8 to 90 per cent). In the House of Lords, the average proportions were Committee: 36 per cent; Report: 45 per cent; and Third Reading: 19 per cent, with a similarly large range.

  5. 5. The numbers of government amendments agreed at each stage in the first or the second house (and the sum in each house), whether as absolute numbers or relative to the length of the final legislation, showed no systematic changes over time.

  6. 6. No differences in any of these metrics were found between Health and Criminal Justice bills, or between bills first introduced in the Commons or in the Lords.

(p.211) (p.212)

Table A4.1. Results of Amendment Analysis

Legislation Analysed

Originating house

Length of Final Legislation

Agreed Government Amendments

Pages

Sections

Schedules

First house

Second house

Criminal Justice (thirteen bills)

Criminal Justice Act 1972

Commons

62

66

6

76

65

Criminal Law Act 1977

Lords

128

65

14

198

200

Criminal Justice Act 1982

Commons

168

81

17

168

347

Criminal Justice Act 1988

Lords

160

165

15

233

502

Criminal Justice Act 1991

Commons

126

102

13

98

182

Criminal Justice Act 1993

Lords

102

79

6

14

214

Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

Commons

214

172

11

355

311

Crime and Disorder Act 1998

Lords

177

121

10

318

245

Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000

Commons

113

82

8

137

398

Criminal Justice Act 2003

Commons

453

339

38

632

529

Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

Commons

326

154

28

428

350

Policing and Crime Act 2009

Commons

202

117

8

316

103

Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011

Commons

246

158

17

102

168

Health Service (sixteen bills)

National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973

Lords

102

58

5

85

248

Health Services Act 1976

Commons

37

24

5

69

5

Health Services Act 1980

Commons

63

26

7

52

0

Health and Social Security Act 1984

Commons

63

29

8

132

11

Health and Medicines Act 1988

Commons

32

28

3

36

49

National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990

Commons

130

67

10

292

186

Health Authorities Act 1995

Commons

53

10

3

3

6

National Health Service (Primary Care) Act 1997

Lords

66

41

3

99

115

Health Act 1999

Lords

112

69

5

179

156

Health and Social Care Act 2001

Commons

91

70

6

236

82

National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002

Commons

101

42

9

118

17

Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003

Commons

185

203

14

338

277

Health Act 2006

Commons

91

84

9

54

58

Health and Social Care Act 2008

Commons

208

173

15

113

90

Health Act 2009

Lords

71

41

6

38

26

Health and Social Care Act 2012

Commons

457

309

23

1722

367