Research and analysis

Impact assessment opinion: trade unions' registers of members

Red-rated evaluation of BIS impact assessment on amendments to the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.



Proposed changes to regulation

View the original impact assessment.

The proposed changes are intended to provide a level of transparency and consistency (not achieved by current legislation) to assure trade union members, the general public and employers that trade union membership lists are accurate. The proposal is for this to be achieved by placing a statutory duty on trade unions to provide to the certification officer, an annual membership audit certificate that provides an opinion on the maintenance of the register.

Factors contributing to rating of the RPC opinion

The impact assessment lacks a sound evidence base and is insufficiently robust to justify RPC validation of the estimated costs to civil society organisations (trade unions). The impact assessment (IA) needs to provide a more detailed assessment of all likely costs to trade unions, including all familiarisation costs and recurring costs to small unions. The assessment should be supported by further evidence that was gathered from consultation with stakeholders, in particular quality assurers.

This IA received a red rating, meaning ‘not fit for purpose’.


The Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) gives independent advice to government on the quality of analysis supporting new regulations.

Following scrutiny of an IA carried out prior to a regulatory proposal, the RPC provides an ‘opinion’ on the quality of analysis and evidence presented in the IA. This opinion then informs the decisions of ministers as to whether they proceed or not with the proposal.

In a small number of instances departments have chosen to proceed with an IA which has received a red rating from the RPC.