December 3, 2012

Hmm.  As I said last week, I replied to the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee’s Call for Evidence on the Government’s new approach to consultations and received an acknowledgement this morning.

At the bottom of the call for evidence, it says

Submissions become the property of the Committee which will decide whether to accept them as evidence. Evidence may be published by the Committee at any stage. It will normally appear on the Committee’s website and will be deposited in the Parliamentary Archives. Once you have received acknowledgement that your submission has been accepted as evidence, you may publicise or publish it yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. If you publish your evidence separately, you should be aware that you will be legally responsible for its content.

Well I’m all about consultations being open and I was expecting to reproduce here what I had sent to the Committee, so I thought I’d better check.

I emailed back and said

Thank you for the acknowledgement, but is this a different category from being “accepted as evidence” please?  I’d like to publish it on my tax blog but the instructions on your website suggests to me there might be two categories into which a submission fits, “received” and “accepted as evidence”?  Or am I being over-sensitive?

Apparently not.

notification of receipt does not constitute acceptance as evidence, as that is the exclusive decision of the Committee


If your submission is accepted as evidence it will be listed as such in our eventual Report.

OK… I can see why they don’t simply bundle up everything they are sent and publish it regardless (if only because the temptation for someone to stage an “email fillibuster” by sending them 42 copies of, say, the complete works of Dickens) but, nevertheless, I think they’re using the word “evidence” to mean some category that I haven’t quite got my head around yet.

Anyone know anything more sensible about what they mean and why?  Otherwise, let’s compose ourselves in patience and… watch this space.

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