The Government’s response to the Public Administration Select Committee report ‘Smaller Government: Shrinking the Quango state’ sets out the plans for reforming public bodies. It includes new Triennial Review requirements for Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPB).
Triennial Reviews are expected to take between 3 – 6 months and are carried out by the Sponsor Department of the respective bodies. The Ministry of Justice is the sponsor Department for the Law Commission.
Functions of the Law Commission
The Law Commission was established by the Law Commissions Act 1965, with a mandate to keep the law under review and make recommendations for reform as necessary. Its remit covers England and Wales; Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate, but similar, Commissions.
Read more about the functions of the Law Commission and its statutory framework.
Purpose of the Review
As custodians of the public purse, whether paid by the professions or directly from public funds, it is important that we deliver an efficient and effective service to the public.
The periodic review of our NDPBs is one of the ways that the Government intends to ensure that we maintain a lean, but effective public sector.
A Triennial Review is a Cabinet Office mandated process for reviewing the functions of Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs), the appropriateness of the body’s delivery mechanism and its governance arrangements.
The Cabinet Office has identified two principal aims for Triennial Reviews:
To provide a robust challenge of the continuing need for individual NDPBs – both their functions and their form; and
Where it is agreed that a particular body should remain as an NDPB, to review the control and governance arrangements in place to ensure that the public body is complying with recognised principles of good corporate governance.
Where the functions should continue and the NDPB should remain, and in light of the review findings, the Government will assess whether appropriate control and governance arrangements are in place to ensure that the body is operating in line with Government policy including good corporate governance, openness, transparency and accountability. However, Triennial Reviews do not consider issues of organisational performance or effectiveness.
Call for evidence
In order to review the continuing need for the functions and the form of the Law Commission, and its statutory powers to perform these functions, the review team is seeking evidence from a wide range of bodies in response to the two principle aims stated by Cabinet Office (as detailed above).
The review would particularly welcome hearing from users of the Law Commission.
While the review is primarily aimed at those with some knowledge or experience of the work of the Commission, anyone may choose to use it as the basis for submitting their evidence.
We would invite representative bodies to share the survey more widely with their members.