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Pre-legislative scrutiny


lostexpectation

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Pre-legislative scrutiny of bills was one of the key poltical reforms of this government announced 12th September 2013 Government publishes Programme of Dáil Reform - MerrionStreet

Government oracle Stephen Collins says it been under appreciated Inside Politics: Kenny promises half his next Cabinet will be women and hard working FG and LP TDS in committees get not credit for their work in committees while the opposition play act in the Dail chamber.

He pointed out that 30 bills had gone through the process, and just after xmas Michael Martin asked each department how many bills had gone through the procedure and how many bills had each department initiated, they all answer the questions in slightly different ways, but this is what I counted.

Departmentpre-leg bills
Social Protection1
Finance3
Public Expenditure & Reform4
Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation2
Agriculture, Food & Marine1
Defence0
Justice & Equality11
Children and Youth Affairs1
Health2
Foreign Affairs and Trade0
Education & Skills2
Environment, Community and Local Government1
Communications, Energy and Natural Resources0
Transport, Tourism and Sport6
Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht2

Total 36

collated list of actually bills here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1UJjjvd-o_BmT2BsTDA4bXIx6oeMXf4yq96woxrg__kg/edit#gid=227753541

theres also post-legislative scrutiny the Standing orders changes are here https://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2013-10-17a.402&s=pre-legislative+consideration#g507

so as we're told that following legislation is very easy I presume everyone has followed all these bills in detail.
 
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GDPR

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I did a thread recently on one, that didn't elicit much comment on here re pre-legislative scrutiny between a committee and members of the relevant department. Simple reason, it was really only of interest to the anoraks who work in or have an interest in the area, like me. I suspect that it is the same for the vast majority of bills and proves the point the most political work is boring (as it probably should be) and generates little public interest. There will be the occasional exception. But it is welcome, this reform, and provides additional chance for comments and scrutiny, i.e. improve chances of getting legislation right.
 

lostexpectation

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I did a thread recently on one, that didn't elicit much comment on here re pre-legislative scrutiny between a committee and members of the relevant department. Simple reason, it was really only of interest to the anoraks who work in or have an interest in the area, like me. I suspect that it is the same for the vast majority of bills and proves the point the most political work is boring (as it probably should be) and generates little public interest. There will be the occasional exception. But it is welcome, this reform, and provides additional chance for comments and scrutiny, i.e. improve chances of getting legislation right.
where http://www.politics.ie/search.php?searchid=6434352 this http://www.politics.ie/forum/environment/233560-proposed-amendments-planning-laws.html
 

GDPR

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Yes that one. Reforming or improving legislation, and in that instance, planning law, is of general interest. The actual details, not so much and I think this really applies across the board.
 

ibis

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Unfortunately, and despite the internet, things aren't really "happening" unless the media picks them up and tells people they're happening.
 

Q-Tours

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Unfortunately, and despite the internet, things aren't really "happening" unless the media picks them up and tells people they're happening.
Absolutely. I have a professional interest in looking out for public consultations by [some] Oireachtas committees, but if you didn't know where to look, you'd be hard pushed to find out about them.
 

lostexpectation

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Unfortunately, and despite the internet, things aren't really "happening" unless the media picks them up and tells people they're happening.
Government publishes Programme of Dáil Reform - MerrionStreet

The Tánaiste said:
“This Government came to office with a commitment to fix our broken politics. These Dáil reforms are one part of a wider agenda to make our parliament more effective and more efficient, to open up the legislative process to more scrutiny and more voices, and to shine a light on Government.”
Government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe said:
“These reforms open up the lawmaking process to the public in a way that has never been done before. It will also see the Government engaging more with the Oireachtas through an annual statement of priorities to the Dáil and Oireachtas committees having more influence over the Budget process.”
The Coalition has been criticised for breaking its reform promises, but it has implemented reforms.
More than 30 pieces of legislation have passed through this new process, which has increased public and political oversight in the framing of legislation. Seven committees have engaged in nearly 60 individual hearings involving over 360 organisations or representatives appearing before them.
https://www.kildarestreet.com/debates/?id=2014-12-18a.414&s="Pre-Legislative+Scrutiny"#g456

would the there not be lots of people involved in these organisations that would maybe follow their own topic of interest

but despite them saying Our parliamentary process is open and accessible it isn't, its not easy to follow legislation, maybe it shouldn't be but it still should be easier, trying to follow amendments to laws is very difficult, trying to keep track of issues as they happen and then they go into the black box of the department review and you loose track of them till suddenly they are announced, and sure whats the point of following them through committees when it so rare that any opposition amendments are taken.
 
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lostexpectation

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ibis

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I alternate between feeling that the government has failed to implement reforms, and feeling that they have done so but failed to get the credit for them.

I think my overall feeling would be that they have failed to put in place reforms that would help us to avoid another crash of the kind we've just experienced, and that that failure rather overshadows the technical improvements they're making to the legislative process. Our issues were not primarily legislative.

It's also true that the Seanad in theory exists to provide similar scrutiny, and the attempt to abolish it outright rather than reforming it suggests, perhaps in the light of this reform, an increased centralisation of legislature in the well-controlled Dail mirroring the centralisation of powers in the executive.
 

lostexpectation

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I alternate between feeling that the government has failed to implement reforms, and feeling that they have done so but failed to get the credit for them.

I think my overall feeling would be that they have failed to put in place reforms that would help us to avoid another crash of the kind we've just experienced, and that that failure rather overshadows the technical improvements they're making to the legislative process. Our issues were not primarily legislative.

It's also true that the Seanad in theory exists to provide similar scrutiny, and the attempt to abolish it outright rather than reforming it suggests, perhaps in the light of this reform, an increased centralisation of legislature in the well-controlled Dail mirroring the centralisation of powers in the executive.
is pre-legislative scrutiny really spreading power away from government? this is the problem

look how Stephen Collins to quote him again points to 2 government TDs getting no credit for the work the do in committee and compares it to opposition shouting in the Dail, no mention of the opposition's work in committees, because the opposition aren't allowed to have a big impact?

The problem for TDs, though, is that the process generates no publicity. Serious, hardworking deputies like Stanton and Labour’s Michael Conaghan get no credit for their input while colleagues who engage in political play-acting on the floor of the Dáil get loads of airtime and acres of print coverage.
Inside Politics: Kenny promises half his next Cabinet will be women

Thomas Byrne
I have been critical of the pre-legislative discussion by committees, describing it as a waste of time on occasion
https://www.kildarestreet.com/sendebates/?id=2014-11-20a.78&s=pre-legislative+scrutiny#g193

and

Katherine Zappone
I note that the committee's report, not unlike other reports coming from the committee on pre-legislative scrutiny, identifies issues that could be addressed in the drafting of legislation. That is different from making recommendations in regard to aspects of the legislation. I sometimes wonder whether it would be better for us to have the opportunity within committee work to make recommendations as distinct from merely noting issues that need to be addressed. This would encourage a more robust analysis and a need to come to a better consensus on certain issues.
Senator Katherine Zappone

whats the point of consultation if its ignored.
 
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lostexpectation

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David Stanton is Chairman of the
Working Group of Committee Chairmen (WGCC)

“Prior to this, bills were published and it was a fait accompli,” the Fine Gael man tells eolas. Committees now have an opportunity “to get the legislation very right before it’s published”.
Stanton to attention « eolas Magazine 2012

While the new approach to legislative scrutiny is welcome, Stanton believes that a more “radical” reform is necessary. He proposes that the Oireachtas should consider adjourning the Dáil and Seanad in the early afternoon to allow committees to work exclusively. With only four committee rooms, the Dáil and Seanad chambers could also be used, hence “you could have six committees working in the afternoon.” In three hours, “you’d get a lot of work done uninterrupted”. Interruptions are regular due to votes, leading to loss of time and momentum, he believes.​
Major Reforms Planned for Seanad 2014


The Seanad Order of Business is to be re-scheduled to avoid clashes with Oireachtas Committee sittings. This will allow both the Seanad and the Committees to do their work more efficiently and uninterrupted by one another;
 
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lostexpectation

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the oireachtas research library have put together a briefing on this which has more details http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/housesoftheoireachtas/libraryresearch/spotlights/Final_Spotlight_PLS_17Dec2014_172050.pdf


Does PLS blur parliament’s responsibility to hold Government to account?
The Westminster model of government places great significance on separating the role of government and the parliamentary opposition. Government makes and implements policy through legislation and other means; the parliamentary opposition scrutinises the government and holds it to account.
Political scientist, David Arter suggests that pre-legislative scrutiny could blur these lines of accountability, co-opting parliament in the policy-making process and thereby undermining its duty to hold government to account. 20 21
Advocates of PLS22 argue to the contrary that Government, by virtue of its majority status, still sets the legislative agenda and ultimately takes the decisions about the final draft of a bill. Pre-legislative scrutiny simply brings parliament into the scrutiny process at an earlier stage.
Parliamentary committees might best approach PLS cognisant of the risk highlighted above – that of a potential ‘blurring’ of the roles of parliament and government.
and full list so far at bottom
 
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Odyessus

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I alternate between feeling that the government has failed to implement reforms, and feeling that they have done so but failed to get the credit for them.

I think my overall feeling would be that they have failed to put in place reforms that would help us to avoid another crash of the kind we've just experienced, and that that failure rather overshadows the technical improvements they're making to the legislative process. Our issues were not primarily legislative.

It's also true that the Seanad in theory exists to provide similar scrutiny, and the attempt to abolish it outright rather than reforming it suggests, perhaps in the light of this reform, an increased centralisation of legislature in the well-controlled Dail mirroring the centralisation of powers in the executive.

"..they have failed to put in place reforms that would help us to avoid another crash of the kind we've just experienced.."

The problem is, no one knows just what these reforms would consist of. It is still not clear exactly what caused the world financial crash in the first place. If it was, all we would need to do is institute regulations that would outlaw the practices that caused the crash, and confidently get back to normal banking and financial transactions .

Since we don't know exactly what caused the problem, all we can do is tinker around with the system, never being sure if the regulations proposed will not do more harm than good.
 

ibis

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"..they have failed to put in place reforms that would help us to avoid another crash of the kind we've just experienced.."

The problem is, no one knows just what these reforms would consist of. It is still not clear exactly what caused the world financial crash in the first place. If it was, all we would need to do is institute regulations that would outlaw the practices that caused the crash, and confidently get back to normal banking and financial transactions .

Since we don't know exactly what caused the problem, all we can do is tinker around with the system, never being sure if the regulations proposed will not do more harm than good.
This is not really true. I would suggest re-reading the Honohan and Regling reports, as well as stuff by Whelan, Kinsella, etc.

I'm not looking for the Irish government to put in place regulations that would prevent another worldwide financial crisis, obviously, but even there the issues are pretty clearly identified. Neither at the global nor the national level is it a case of shrugging and saying "gosh it's all a great big mystery".
 

Odyessus

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This is not really true. I would suggest re-reading the Honohan and Regling reports, as well as stuff by Whelan, Kinsella, etc.

I'm not looking for the Irish government to put in place regulations that would prevent another worldwide financial crisis, obviously, but even there the issues are pretty clearly identified. Neither at the global nor the national level is it a case of shrugging and saying "gosh it's all a great big mystery".
If it is no great big mystery, there should be no trouble in putting in place the appropriate regulations that would prevent a repeat of the crash. Why then has the government not done so?
 

ibis

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If it is no great big mystery, there should be no trouble in putting in place the appropriate regulations that would prevent a repeat of the crash. Why then has the government not done so?
Hmm. Let's have a look at a piece of regulation that is designed to prevent a repeat of Ireland's disastrous property bubble - the 20% deposit rule recently drawn up by the CBI. And let's look at the government's reaction to it...which was to oppose it.

Could the government have a vested interest in a property bubble? Why, yes, of course they could - oh, sure, they won't call it a bubble, won't even think its a bubble, it's sound fundamentals raising property prices to the benefit of mainstream property-owning voters. That's exactly what happened last time, of course, but this time it's different. Which, admittedly, is what they said last time too.
 

Odyessus

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Hmm. Let's have a look at a piece of regulation that is designed to prevent a repeat of Ireland's disastrous property bubble - the 20% deposit rule recently drawn up by the CBI. And let's look at the government's reaction to it...which was to oppose it.

Could the government have a vested interest in a property bubble? Why, yes, of course they could - oh, sure, they won't call it a bubble, won't even think its a bubble, it's sound fundamentals raising property prices to the benefit of mainstream property-owning voters. That's exactly what happened last time, of course, but this time it's different. Which, admittedly, is what they said last time too.
As I've said before, there is no general consensus that 20% deposits, or any other measures, will not do more harm than good. Besides, even if there were such a consensus, it would not guarantee it was the right thing to do, as we have already seen. Only time will tell.
 

ibis

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As I've said before, there is no general consensus that 20% deposits, or any other measures, will not do more harm than good. Besides, even if there were such a consensus, it would not guarantee it was the right thing to do, as we have already seen. Only time will tell.
The opposition to it is fundamentally predicated on the fact that people think it will do what it says on the tin.
 
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