New Year, same problem

January 7, 2014

“But look, you found the notice didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

As you will know by now, I can bore for England on the subject of tax consultations and, in particular, on the interesting way that they’re brought to our attention on the Gov.uk site.

Let’s have a first look of the new year at what tax consultations are out there, I thought.  So I went to gov.uk and hit the link that says “get involved”, which helpfully takes you straight to the consultations page.  Today, it proudly informs us that there are 93 open consultations and 578 closed ones.  So I clicked on “open consultations”… which was a link to the page with the filter options, but which told me it had 148 open consultations from which to choose.  Hmmm…  So filtering by open consultations in the “tax and revenue” subject area?  Brings up 6 consultations – all closed!  Open consultations in any subject from HMRC?  Four – all closed.  From HMT?  Another four (not the same ones), also all closed.

In other words…

Well, frankly, I don’t know.  At this point in the policy cycle I’d imagine there won’t be much around on which the government is asking our opinions.  Although strictly speaking I’d have thought the legislation for the 2014 Finance Bill ought to be out for consultation – not on the policy itself, but on whether the wording works.  Or have I missed that?  I don’t know.

I don’t know, and at this point, using the publicly available resources the government have put into the citizen’s hands, I can’t seem to find out.  Which is a bit poor, actually.  I may write to the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee again, as they seem to be the only people interested in the mechanism of legislation.  But then, they reported in November that the government “are prioritising administrative convenience over effective consultation“.  And if they can’t get anyone to listen to them, well, what hope do the rest of us have?


  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/finance-bill-2014#consultation-on-draft-legislation

    Here are some current consultations to keep you going

  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/finance-bill-2014#consultation-on-draft-legislation

    Here are some live consultations to keep you going. Sorry if you get this more than once. I am struggling with the log in process.

  3. I don’t currently see any technical problems with the GOV.UK consultations listing and it appears accurate. We have not logged any reported problems with this. If there is a bug or a problem please let us know and we can fix it asap.

    Separately, it isn’t for me to comment on whether Government should be running more consultations but we are certainly seeing evidence that making the publishing system for GOV.UK easier to use than previous systems has removed one element of resistance to Government running consultations. Hopefully this will mean you will see more consultations.

    Stephen Edwards
    Product Manager – HMRC transition
    Government Digital Service

  4. […] open consultations.  I’m not sure I believe them after the shenanigans I reported on in my 7th January post (customer service tip: if someone tells you a site isn’t working, the least helpful response […]

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