My Department follows the Cabinet Handbook in relation to preparation of Bills. Following a decision in principle on the policy issue involved, or where the proposed legislation is in accordance with the general lines of policy, Government authority is then sought for the drafting of legislation in accordance with a general scheme. A Regulatory Impact Assessment is carried out where changes to a regulatory framework are anticipated.
My Department prepares a general scheme of the proposed Bill in numbered Heads. Each Head comprises instructions for drafting and explanatory notes where appropriate.
On rare occasions and subject to DPER Circular 05/13 'Procurement of Legal Services and Managing Legal Costs', my Department has engaged external legal assistance to support the development of principles and policies and the preparation of legislative proposals.
The draft scheme is circulated for observations to the relevant Departments as well as the Office of the Attorney General and then submitted to Government for approval. Once approval has been received, the Office of Parliamentary Counsel to the Government (OPC) in the Office of the Attorney General is responsible for drafting the Bill.
The OPC also drafts secondary legislation for my Department. Separately, some drafting of secondary legislation is outsourced to a panel of service providers which was appointed in September 2020 following a competitive tendering process for this purpose.
As my Department does not the outsource the drafting of Bills, there are no associated costs.