Constitutional Issues: post Brexit update From the constitutional issues board

The Constitutional Issues Board

From back row: Derek Croll, Susan Duffy, Colin Chisholm, Mary Ann Masson, Huw Williams, Callum Thomson, Judith Morrison, Ken Hughes (Chair), Tracey White (and David McGill, not pictured)

As Chair of the Constitutional Issues Board (CIB), I thought it would be useful to give you a flavour of the breadth of work we are doing to plan for the many aspects of constitutional changes. The EU referendum result has obviously given us a lot more to think about and while it will be very much work-in-progress for the foreseeable future, our focus remains to make sure that the Parliament is well placed to respond to challenges that will come our way.

Here is an at-a-glance look at our the four areas of work the Board is currently taking forward.

Four areas of work for CIB

We would like to tell you more...

What follows below is a brief bit of detail and some background on why the Board was formed.

For those of you with a thirst for information, please invite us to attend your team meeting – we’d be delighted to come along. Simply contact one of the Board's secretariat members:

Gillian Turner (x86581), Lucy Scharbert (x85218), Nicola Hudson (x85458), or Gary Cocker (x85236).

Gillian, Lucy, Nicola and Gary

A bit of background

We started out several years ago as the Constitutional Issues Advisory Group. In 2013, we became the Referendum Planning Group and, following September 2014, we were the Further Devolution Board. And actually, that’s quite a neat way to put into context the reason for the Board's existence: we are living in a time of change.

Changes we know about

The diagram below illustrates some of the constitutional changes that we know about (further devolved powers), arising from the Smith Commission which was set up following the Referendum on Scottish Independence. Work is being carried out in offices throughout the Parliament to ensure that we adapt to these changes while continuing to achieve the goals set out in our strategic plan. One of the Board's responsibilities is to oversee this work.

Further devolved powers

And changes that are not yet clear

The other parts of our remit concern possible or likely changes, the consequences of which are not so clear. It is the Board's role to make contingency plans for a number of possible changes which could affect us in the short and longer term.

  • EU Referendum

Of course the most recent event to impact upon the Scottish Parliament’s constitutional position is the result of the Referendum on EU membership that will see the UK leave the European Union. There is much we don't yet know about what this will mean for us. The Board has agreed to take forward 6 strands of work for contingency planning in response to the result of the EU Referendum.

  • External Factors

There are of course other external factors, besides EU withdrawal, which may have a significant impact on the parliamentary service. These include UK Parliament procedures for English votes for English laws, and possible repeal of the Human Rights Act or withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights. The Board will monitor developments in these areas for their impacts.

I hope this is a helpful explanation of how things stand at the moment. As I said above, please get in touch to invite us to your team meeting to learn more and to ask any questions you may have. We look forward to seeing you.

Ken Hughes

February 2017

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