Finance & Constitution Committee begins next phase of its constitutional scrutiny: Common UK frameworks


Holyrood’s Finance and Constitution Committee has begun the next phase of its constitutional scrutiny with a call for evidence on Common UK frameworks.

The move signals the start of detailed preparatory work by the committee ahead of new legal and policy frameworks being established post-Brexit across the UK and devolved areas.

Finance & Constitution Committee Convener Bruce Crawford MSP said:

“This next phase in our constitutional scrutiny is incredibly important, as common frameworks will determine how a range of policy areas work across the UK and devolved nations, whether it applies to business, agriculture or the environment.

“What’s also incredibly important is that the very process of developing common frameworks is likely to give us an early indication of the effectiveness of relationships between the UK Government and devolved institutions.”

Mr Crawford added:

“Our committee is already commissioning international comparative research on how frameworks operate in Europe, Canada and Australia. We’ll also want to hear from academics and from policy experts.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of effective parliamentary scrutiny in this next phase of our work.”

Common UK Frameworks - Call for Evidence

The Committee recognised in its interim report on the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that “significant further work is required in relation to the scrutiny of developing and agreeing common frameworks” and “that this is a critically important area of work and will consider it further.”

The Committee identified a number of areas which require further detailed examination:

• What should replace the current EU policy-making processes across the UK;

• Addressing the governance gap in relation to the monitoring, implementation and enforcement of frameworks;

• The interaction between frameworks and the negotiation of new international agreements including free trade deals;

• Funding of obligations and commitments arising from frameworks.

The Committee would welcome written submissions dealing with the issues outlined above and any other relevant views in relation to the development and agreement of common UK frameworks.

The closing date for responses is Friday 31 August 2018

Full call for evidence.

Background information

SPICE briefing extract

A central argument for common UK frameworks is that if they are not created, then once the UK ceases to be bound by EU law, the potential for policy divergence within the UK will significantly increase. Policy variation between the four nations of the UK is not, of course, inherently problematic. Indeed, the very rationale of devolution is to enable policy differentiation in response to local circumstances, and so lessons can be learnt about which approaches work best (as part of a ‘policy laboratory’). However, the absence of common standards could in some areas have negative consequences, for instance by imposing new burdens on business or undermining coordination in tackling cross-border policy issues. The difficult task is to identify where the potential negative effects of policy variation are serious enough to necessitate constraints on devolved policy autonomy.



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