Insights UK House of Commons responds to House of Lords amendments to Online Safety Bill


The House of Lords has been considering the proposed Online Safety Bill since the beginning of 2023 and the Bill had its final reading in the House of Lords on 6 September. A small number of amendments were proposed and these have now been considered by the House of Commons. Amongst other things, the House of Lords sought to clarify the provisions relating to the children’s risk assessment and safety duties by requiring consideration of how the design of the service in question affects the level of risk of harm to children e.g. by enabling adults to search for other users of the service or to contact other users of the service. The House of Commons has offered compromise amendments to address this, which also introduce the need to consider the features of a service which affect how much children use the service. The House of Lords also sought to add an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (unnecessary suffering of an animal) to the list of Priority Offences under the Bill, and the House of Commons agreed. The amendments appear to be designed to bring content which contains or promotes animal torture within the scope of the law. Other proposed House of Lords amendments were rejected.

The House of Lords will now decide if it agrees with the House of Commons’ response to its proposed amendments. Otherwise, the Bill will go back and forth between the houses until it is agreed.

For background and the House of Lords’ proposed amendments, click here.