Super-affirmative resolution procedure
This is a procedure for a Parliament to agree to a Statutory Instrument. The procedure to be used for any given SI will be defined in the Act that gives rise to it.
The procedure is set out in Section 18 of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006. It allows for some amendments to be made by the government, before it is passed into law. It is not in common use. The assumption behind the use of this procedure is that there may be some controversy or need for Parliamentary input.
However, Parliamentary input is in practice limited and of course constrained by the Act giving rise to the SI.
Government explanatory notes
The explanatory notes for the bill set out how procedure works, set out in what is now Section 18:
63. This clause sets out the procedure which will apply where an order is to be made under the super-affirmative procedure.
64. The procedure is that there is a 60-day period following the laying of the order by the Minister, during which the relevant Parliamentary committees may report on a draft order, or either House may make a resolution with regard to the draft order. The Minister must have regard to any such reports and resolutions, as well as to any other representations made about the draft order. Once the 60-day period has expired, if the Minister wishes to make the order with no changes, he must lay a statement in accordance with subsection (3), and may then make an order in the terms of the draft if it is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament (in the same way as for the affirmative resolution procedure).
65. Alternatively, if the Minister wishes to make an order which is a revised version of the draft order he has laid, he must lay before Parliament a revised draft of the order and a statement in accordance with subsection (5)(b) and specifically setting out the revisions he proposes. Having done this, he may then make the order in the terms of the revised draft if it is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
Digital Economy Act
The Super Affirmative Resolution Procedure was to be used for several of the powers in the Digital Economy Act 2010.
The bill debates and public discussions appeared to show that many details and problems could make the contents of the SIs controversial, so Parliament was given the opportunity to input into the SIs using this procedure.
John Grogan explained during a debate on the bill:
I want to say a few words about the concept of the super-affirmative resolution procedure, which I had never heard of before last week when I was having my photograph taken with six members of the Mongolian Revolutionary People's party—a sister party of the Labour party—and Lord Mandelson. That is not an event that happens every day, but it did happen last week. Lord Mandelson whispered "super-affirmative resolution" in my ear. I was not quite sure what he was referring to, but I realised I would have to explain it to my Mongolian friends later, so I looked it up. It certainly is not the answer to the democratic deficit in this Bill, which will give Ministers of whichever party forms the Government after the election extensive powers to lay orders that will basically translate the principles of the Bill, which are very bad principles for much of it, into legislation.
- See Section 18, Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006