Consultation Responses

A significant part of our output, which often receives less attention, is our submissions to Government or international bodies' consultations. A selection of these submissions can be found below.

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Wed, 05 May 2021

Since 1 November 2020, UK-established video-sharing platforms (VSPs) must comply with new rules around protecting users from harmful content. Ofcom are consulting on draft guidance for providers on the regulatory requirements.

The NSS has raised concerns regarding free speech, as allegations of 'inciting hatred' may be used by religious groups to censor videos that criticise or ridicule religion.

Consultation on the exception of teachers from the FETO
Thu, 29 Apr 2021

The NSS opposes the exception of teachers from the Fair Employment and Treatment (NI) Order 1998. The NSS supports efforts to remove this exemption, including for both primary and post-primary teachers, along with statutory monitoring and reporting responsibilities for the employment of teachers equivalent to those for comparable roles.

Mon, 19 Apr 2021

Northern Ireland's Minister for Communities has commissioned an Independent Review of Charity Regulation in NI, to consider the Charities Act (NI) 2008 (the Act) and the roles of the Charity Commission and the Department. It will make recommendations on changes that can be made to improve the delivery of services and the operation of the regulatory framework going forward.

The NSS's response has highlighted the problem of including "the advancement of religion" in the list of charitable purposes in law, as it enables religious organisations that provide no tangible public benefit, and sometimes those that cause harm, to register as charities. It highlights concerns regarding Core Issues Trust, which promotes 'change orientated therapy' for gay people, and the difficulties the Charity Commission appears to face in challenging this charity.

Thu, 25 Mar 2021

The government seeks views to help inform the development of the government's Women's Health Strategy, as there is "strong evidence" of the need for greater focus on women's health and to recognise and act on the inequalities.

Our submission highlighted the barriers faced by women in conservative, insular religious communities to accessing information about healthcare, and their vulnerability to violent abuse. We also called for better relationships and sex education in all schools for all pupils and better protection for women's reproductive rights.

Wed, 03 Mar 2021

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency are consulting on the potential reclassification of desogestrel (the 'mini pill') to a pharmacy medicine. This means it could be sold without prescription.

The NSS has responded saying that making desogestrel available as a Pharmacy medicine would significantly increase women's reproductive health choices and ease of access to effective contraception, leading to fewer unwanted pregnancies.

The response below refers to desogestrel product Hana; we also submitted an identical response with regards to the other desogestrel product Lovima.

Mon, 22 Feb 2021

The Welsh government is consulting on whether the temporary approval has had a positive impact on abortion services for women.

The NSS has said the primary consideration should be the safety and welfare of women seeking abortion services. The government should ensure all people from all backgrounds and communities can access safe, timely, non-judgmental healthcare including abortion care and sexual health counselling and treatment.

Mon, 22 Feb 2021

This consultation is solely seeking views on whether to keep the existing approach or to make permanent the temporary COVID-19 measure allowing for home use of both pills for EMA up to 10 weeks' gestation for all eligible women in England.

The NSS has said the primary consideration should be the safety and welfare of women seeking abortion services. The government should ensure all people from all backgrounds and communities can access safe, timely, non-judgmental healthcare including abortion care and sexual health counselling and treatment.

Mon, 22 Feb 2021

Our response to the Scottish Parliament's Justice Committee's short timescale call for views on the options proposed by the Cabinet Secretary for Justice for the inclusion of amendments into the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill at Stage 3 on freedom of expression.

Fri, 18 Dec 2020

The Law Commission is consulting on provisional proposals to reform the law governing how and where couples can get married.

The NSS is broadly supportive of the Commission's proposals. We support the shift away from a 'buildings-based' approach to marriage law to an 'officiant-based' approach; the introduction of universal civil preliminaries; relaxation of the the prohibitions of religious content in civil weddings; and the more inclusive approach to authorising what religious groups and non-religious belief groups can officiate legally-recognised weddings. Read more...

Fri, 18 Dec 2020

The Scottish government seeking views on the future arrangements for early medical abortion at home across Scotland.

The NSS has said the primary consideration should be the safety and welfare of women seeking abortion services. The Scottish Government should ensure all people from all backgrounds and communities can access safe, timely, non-judgmental healthcare including abortion care and sexual health counselling and treatment.

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