• Research Briefing

    Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill: HL Bill 99 of 2022–23

    Before an employer can make an employee on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave redundant, redundancy protection regulations require an employer to give that employee first refusal on a suitable alternative vacancy where one exists. The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill would give the secretary of state powers to introduce regulations that would enable redundancy protections to apply from the point an employee told their employer that they were pregnant, and six months after returning from maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.

  • Research Briefing

    Online Safety Bill: HL Bill 87 of 2022–23

    The Online Safety Bill is a government bill that would establish a regulatory framework for certain online service providers. It would also create several new offences relating to online harms including offences of false communications, threatening communications, sending or showing flashing images electronically (‘epilepsy trolling’) and sending photographs or films of genitals (‘cyberflashing’). The government has said it will bring forward several amendments to the bill in the House of Lords including new offences relating to intimate images and promoting self-harm, criminal sanctions for senior managers of non-compliant providers, and promotion of small boat crossings.

  • In Focus

    Commission on Young Lives: National plan for vulnerable young people

    The Commission on Young Lives was an independent group formed to design a new national system to prevent crisis in vulnerable young people and to boost their life chances and educational prospects. The commission published a report in November 2022 which made recommendations to government, local authorities, police and others to tackle the “deep-rooted” problems facing vulnerable youths. The commission’s “centrepiece recommendation” was for a “sure start plus for teenagers” network of intervention and support.

  • In Focus

    Independent review of children’s social care

    In its 2019 manifesto the Conservative Party committed to undertaking an independent review of children’s social care. The review published its final report in May 2022. The report argued that a “radical reset” in children’s social care was needed and made recommendations on how to achieve this.

  • Research Briefing

    Health and Social Care Levy (Repeal) Bill

    The Health and Social Care Levy (Repeal) Bill would repeal the Health and Social Care Levy Act 2021 while maintaining a legislative basis for keeping tax receipts collected under provisions in that act until early November 2022. The House of Commons considered the bill at second reading and all remaining stages on 11 October 2022. The House of Lords is scheduled to similarly consider the bill on 17 October 2022.

  • Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Social Policy (July 2022)

    Why are childcare costs in the UK so high? This article looks at some of the reasons for the increase in UK childcare costs since 2010, which are among the highest in the OECD. The government has recently announced a consultation on loosening staff to child ratios for childcare providers. However, there has been criticism of the proposals from some parts of the childcare sector.

  • In Focus

    Public Services Committee report: Role of public services in supporting vulnerable children

    In November 2021, the House of Lords Public Services Committee published a report entitled ‘Children in crisis: the role of public services in overcoming child vulnerability’. The report made several recommendations, including that the government ringfence the funding available for early intervention services provided by local authorities. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate this report on 11 July 2022.

  • Research Briefing

    Universal Credit (Removal of Two Child Limit) Bill [HL]: HL Bill 7 of 2022-23

    On 8 July 2022, the second reading of the Universal Credit (Removal of Two Child Limit) Bill [HL] is scheduled to take place in the House of Lords. The bill is a private member’s bill introduced by the Bishop of Durham. The bill would disapply provisions of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, as amended by the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, which implemented the two-child limit to universal credit.

  • Research Briefing

    Front-loaded Child Benefit Bill [HL]: HL Bill 6 of 2022–23

    The Front-loaded Child Benefit Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Farmer (Conservative). It aims to allow recipients of child benefit to receive, if they wish, a higher rate of child benefit when a child is younger in exchange for a lower rate when the child is older. This would be an alternative to the current system whereby a flat rate is paid throughout childhood. Two thinktanks put forward similar proposals prior to 2010. The bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 8 July 2022.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Education

    Education measures in the 2022 Queen’s Speech are likely to be dominated by provisions outlined in the schools white paper, published in March 2022. In addition, proposals for new national standards on provision for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and legislation on school funding and the lifelong loan entitlement (LLE) are expected. A carry-over motion, agreed in April 2022, will also see the continuation of the passage of the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill.

  • In Focus

    Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill

    On 1 April 2022, the House of Lords is due to debate the second reading of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill. The private member’s bill would raise the minimum age of marriage and civil partnership in England and Wales to 18. It would also expand the scope of legislation dealing with forced marriage to include any conduct to facilitate the marriage of someone under the age of 18.

  • In Focus

    Mandatory vaccines for health and care workers: latest regulations

    The draft Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 would place a requirement on health and social care workers who have face-to-face contact with service users, including volunteers, to provide evidence that they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. They would need to do so in order to be deployed, though there would be exemptions for certain staff. The policy has been met with criticism by several medical bodies.

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