Communication (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004

FOI request reference: F0063353
Publication date: October 2020

Request
I see on the legislation.gov.uk website that you have copies of The Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 and the regulations which amend it, from The Communications (Television Licensing) (Amendment) Regulations 2005 to The Communications (Television Licensing) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020, however you do not seem to provide a ‘revised’ or ‘as amended’ version of the 2004 Regulations.

Could I request a ‘revised’ version of those Regulations? If at all possible could you provide those in a digital format (i.e. pdf/html/through the legislation.gov.uk website).

If these are available elsewhere, please point me to where they can be found.

Outcome
No information held.

Response
We do not currently hold the revised version of The Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004, however the revised versions are intended for future publication and are therefore exempt from disclosure at this time under section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For more information on the application of the section 22 exemption please see the explanatory annex at the end of this response.

It may be helpful if we describe The National Archives’ current policy for prioritising the revision of legislation on legislation.gov.uk. Ultimately, it would be ideal for The National Archives to be in the position where every piece of legislation on the service was fully up to date, and we have been working on this task for many years. However, it does involve hundreds of thousands of amendments, with thousands more added each month, so we have to be targeted in our approach to selecting documents to update, based on user research and usage statistics to help us understand our users priorities.

Our first target was to bring all Primary legislation (i.e. Acts) up to date, and we recently reached the significant milestone of getting over 99% of primary legislation up to date. Until we reached this point we did not update secondary legislation, although we were capturing and publishing details of all amendments to secondary legislation so that it is still possible for a user to discover that a Statutory Instrument has been changed using our Changes to Legislation function.

For a list of amendments to the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 see: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/changes/affected/all/2004?affected-title=The%20Communications%20%28Television%20Licensing%29%20Regulations%202004%20

Since hitting that Primary milestone we have begun to bring secondary legislation into scope for update, but not all at once. We have prioritised keeping all new secondary legislation (since 2018) up to date, and selecting certain categories of secondary legislation for update – in particular, those SI’s which are impacted by the exit from the EU, and will be heavily amended at the end of the transition period.

More recently, we have also selected legislation impacted by legislative changes in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic – keeping the various regulations relating to the lockdown, international travel restrictions etc. up to date has been a huge challenge for the team, but also clearly highly valuable given the significant public interest in this area of law.

Given your feedback we will add the Communications (Television Licensing) Regulations 2004 to our list of documents to prioritise, however it is big, we will need to do some work to analyse what needs to be done, and we need to continue to keep our focus on our main priorities so we are unable to provide a definite date for completion. I hope that this is helpful, please let us know if you have any other concerns.

EXPLANATORY ANNEX
Exemptions applied.

Section 22: Information intended for future publication
Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) exempts information intended for future publication.

(1) Information is exempt information if:
(a) the information is held by the public authority with a view to its publication, by the authority or any other person, at some future date (whether determined or not),
(b) the information was already held with a view to such publication at the time when the request for information was made, and
(c) it is reasonable in all the circumstances that the information should be withheld from disclosure until the date referred to in paragraph (a).

Section 22 is a qualified exemption and we are required to conduct a public interest test when applying any qualified exemption. This means that after it has been decided that the exemption is engaged, the public interest in releasing the information must be considered. If the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in withholding it then the exemption does not apply and must be release.

In the FOIA there is a presumption that information should be released unless there are compelling reasons to withhold it. We have considered whether it would be in the public interest for us to provide you with the information ahead of publication, despite the exemption being applicable.

Arguments in favour of disclosure:
There is a general public interest in the keeping legislation up to date in line with their revisions.
Disclosure would improve transparency and consequently accountability in the legislative process.
Disclosure would also reinforce public confidence that legislation and its revisions were being recorded and kept up to date.

Arguments against disclosure:
It is in the public interest to adhere to the existing publication process for legislation.
The premature publication of these legislation revisions would circumvent the publication process and the order of prioritisation established by The National Archives, thereby placing undue pressure on members of TNA staff and potentially interrupting the scheduled release of other legislation revisions.

On this occasion, we have concluded that the balance of the public interest test falls in favour of withholding this information.

Further guidance can be found at:
https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1172/information-intended-for-future-publication-and-research-information-sections-22-and-22a-foi.pdf