We Asked, You Said, We Did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We Asked

We sought views on the draft Co-ordination of Regulatory Enforcement Regulations 2017 which include measures to ensure that Primary Authority can operate from 1 October 2017 when the scheme is extended and simplified by provisions in the Enterprise Act 2016.  We also asked for views on replacing the ‘categories’ system for defining the scope of partnerships.

You Said

We received 64 formal responses and also obtained feedback from around 240 stakeholders who attended engagement events held during the consultation period.  

Stakeholders were broadly supportive of the measures in the draft regulations. There was a wider range of views on the proposed new approach for determining the scope of partnerships.

We Did

As a result of the consultation responses and wider stakeholder feedback we have amended the draft regulations. 

We have also produced draft revised Primary Authority Statutory Guidance. This reflects and clarifies the changes to Primary Authority introduced by the Enterprise Act 2016 and the new secondary legislation. It also describes how the new approach to defining partnerships will work in practice. 

The full Government response is published at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/unlocking-the-potential-of-primary-authority

We Asked

We asked for views on proposals to simplify the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations. We also asked whether we should ban employment agencies and businesses from recruiting solely from other European Economic Area (EEA) countries without advertising in Great Britain.

You Said

We received 30 responses to the consultation. Respondents were in favour with the majority of proposals but felt that our proposal to remove regulation 27 (which determines the circumstances in which an employment agency can advertise a position) would have a negative impact on vulnerable people looking for work.

We Did

We intend to simplify the regulation for businesses while retaining protections for work-seekers. We will:

  • remove regulations 9, 11 and 17 and schedule 6, and amend regulation 23 and schedules 4 and 5 which cover business to business activity
  • amend regulation 27A to ban employment agencies and businesses from recruiting solely from other European Economic Area (EEA) countries without advertising in Great Britain


Due to concerns raised during the consultation we have decided to keep regulation 27.

We Asked

We asked for your views on whether the government should devolve Sunday trading rules to local areas, such as cities run by elected mayors and/or local authorities.

You Said

We received over 7,000 responses to our consultation. The majority of respondents to the consultation from local authorities, business representative organisations and large and medium business respondents were in favour of our proposal to devolve the power to make decisions on extending Sunday trading hours to a local level. However, Trade Unions, religious bodies and a number of small businesses and individuals who responded were against the proposals.

We Did

We propose to devolve the power to extend Sunday trading hours:

  • in England to all unitary and shire district councils
  • in Wales to all county and county borough councils
  • to the mayors of London and Greater Manchester
  • to the mayors established through any future devolution deals, once elected

We will also strengthen the rights of shop workers to ’opt-out‘ of working Sundays, if they choose. These rights will apply in England, Wales and Scotland, whereas the Sunday trading rules apply in England and Wales only.

We will bring forward these measures through amendments to the Enterprise Bill.

We Asked

We invited views on proposed changes to Employment Tribunal postponements rules, to help reduce delays and costs in the process.

You Said

We received 33 responses to the consultation. You felt that repeated and late postponements could be financially and emotionally costly, but that on occasions a postponement was unavoidable or made sense.

We Did

We are changing tribunal postponement rules to:

  • limit the number of postponements that can be granted other than in exceptional circumstances
  • introduce a deadline after which applications for the postponement of a hearing would only be allowed in exceptional circumstances
  • place an obligation on tribunals to consider granting costs orders where late notice postponements are granted

We Asked

How can Public Data Group data be made more accessible and useful? We sought information on who was using PDG data and how and asked questions on awareness, acessibility and developer licences.

You Said

We recieved 143 responses from a wide range of organisations with a wide range of views. The full results of the survey can be seen here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/414811/bis-15-247-public-data-group-open-data-statement-2015.pdf

We Did

(Summary) PDG members have agreed to: *Explore steps they could take to make information more easily discoverable via general internet searches and easier to understand. *Look for opportunities to provide case studies of how others are using data and signposting to other relevant data sets and alongside data portals and new rata releases. *Develop and improve FAQs to address common questions. *Work with The National Archives and others to develop a simple toolkit for developer licenses.

We Asked

For your views on our proposals: to expand the Advanced Learning Loans system to include 19-23 year olds and those studying at level 2; to simplify the current system; to follow the approach in Higher Education consultation last year to introduce a Sharia compliant mechanism; and to transfer Higher National qualifications to within scope of Advanced Learning Loans.

You Said

There was no clear concensus on the expansion of Advanced Learning Loans, particularly given the uncertainties around the future funding of the Further Education sector and the overall impact this has. There was support for the removal of the concurrent and repeat study rules; and for a Sharia compliant product in Further Education if one is introduced in Higher Education. Two thirds of respondents saw negative consequences of bringing Higher Nationals into Advanced Learning Loans.

We Did

Proposals to expand Advanced Learning Loans will be taken forward in the next Spending Review informed by comments from respondents. We will simplify the current system by removing the repeat and concurrent study rules in 2016/17. Primary legislation is needed to introduce an alternative finance product; we will contine to develop this with experts in Islamic finance. We will give further thought to the issues raised about the transfer of Higher Nationals, but will not go ahead at this time.

We Asked

What are the priorities for long-term science and research capital investment?

You Said

You supported investment at individual research project and institution level to support our world-class labs. The majority of you favoured maintaining or increasing capital funding for world-class labs at 2015-16 levels. There was particular support for projects relating to Big Data and for those which addressed the Grand Science challenges. You also wanted continued participation in international projects, including the European Space Agency and the XFEL laser facility in Germany. There was

We Did

We used this information to develop the government’s plan for a world-class science and research infrastructure, which we set out in the capital roadmap and the science and innovation strategy.

We Asked

What should working days during shared parental leave be called?

You Said

14% of you liked the name 'Back at Work days ('BAW' days)', 16% of you preferred 'Days at work ('DAW' days)' and 41% of you thought the days should be called 'Shared Parental Leave In Touch Days ('SPLIT' Days)'.

We Did

Jo Swinson, the Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs, who is on maternity leave and Jenny Willott who is covering her position both agreed that the days will be called 'Shared Parental Leave In Touch Days ('SPLIT' Days)'.

We Asked

As part of a Coalition commitment to review the balance of competences between the UK and the EU we asked for your views on the balance of competence in the area of energy.

You Said

We received over 450 pages of evidence from 80 respondents and over 90 stakeholders attended thirteen workshops. This included representation across a wide range of sectors including energy companies, energy intensive users, NGOs, the devolved administrations, trade associations, unions, professional and academic

We Did

We have written report which examines this balance of competence. The report sets out the current position agreed with the Coalition Government for handling this policy area in the EU. It does not predetermine or prejudice proposals that either Coalition party may make in the future for changes to the EU or about the appropriate balance of competence. The report along with the submissions of evidence we received is available at: https://www.gov.uk/review-of-the-balance-of-competences

We Asked

Following the outcome of the fast-track review on FITs, which was published on 9 June 2011, we have become increasingly aware some large-scale PV developers are intending to exploit a technical loophole in the FITs legislation on extensions to benefit from pre-fast track tariffs post 1 August 2011. This consultation sought views on the proposed treatment for extensions to ensure the fast-track review is implemented as intended.

You Said

We received 63 responses to the consultation, one of which was a joint submission from 16 different organisations, so a total of 78 different organisations or individuals responded. A summary of the points made as part of the consultation is available in the Government response document available on the DECC website platform. http://www.decc.gov.uk/media/viewfile.ashx?filetype=4&filepath=11/consultation/change-rules-fits-inst/2845-govt-response-cons-treatment-ext.pdf&minwidth=true

We Did

Having carefully considered the responses received, the Goverment has decided to amend the rules on extensions. The detail of our response is available in this document http://www.decc.gov.uk/media/viewfile.ashx?filetype=4&filepath=11/consultation/change-rules-fits-inst/2845-govt-response-cons-treatment-ext.pdf&minwidth=true

We Asked

The Microgeneration Strategy consultation document looks forward to 2020 and covers England only. It sought views on four key areas that can help decarbonise the way we heat our homes and businesses, reducing the UK’s CO2 emissions and contributing to our target of sourcing 20% of all EU energy from renewables by 2020.

You Said

Overall comments from stakeholders was that they welcome the publication of the Microgeneration Strategy. We received around 140 responses to the Microgeneration public consultation. Responses to the consultation were received from a wide variety of primarily organizations and a few individuals.

We Did

Our response and next steps are available in the Reponse document http://www.decc.gov.uk/Media/viewfile.ashx?FilePath=Consultations/microgen-strategy/1695-summary-responses-cons-microgen-strategy.pdf&filetype=4&minwidth=true

We Asked

In July 2010 the Department of Energy and Climate Change and other Government departments published the 2050 Pathways Analysis, Calculator and Web tool as a Call for Evidence, with an invitation to submit comments on specific questions.

You Said

116 stakeholder responses were received from both individuals and organisations, and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond on the analysis, the data, and the pathways.

We Did

We have made changes to the Calculator in response to stakeholder evidence and your responses, as well as presenting a new range of illustrative pathways to 2050.