Select Committee on Constitution Second Report


CHAPTER 1:  ARRANGEMENTS FOR INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

16. The arrangements for intergovernmental relations in the United Kingdom rest on a non-statutory basis. The institutions created for them have no legal basis; they exist by virtue of a set of intergovernmental agreements, chief among them the Memorandum of Understanding and Supplementary Agreements, whose own legal status is unclear.[4] The devolution statutes - the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the Scotland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 1998 - create the various devolved bodies and establish the framework within which they exercise their powers, but do not set out how the governments will deal with each other.

17. As noted in the Introduction, the way devolution has been implemented in the United Kingdom means that a high level of interaction between levels of government is inevitable. Quite apart from necessary links at the highest political levels, the interplay between functions that have been devolved and those retained at United Kingdom level means that many policies or initiatives of one level of government will affect the other in some way. Even where a function has been given to all three devolved administrations, as with many aspects of health or agriculture, the fact that the UK Government retains responsibility for it in England means that there are also close connections between devolved and UK administrations.

18. The arrangements for intergovernmental contact have been very ably described by the various governments involved in their memoranda to us.[5] Their chief features are:

(a) the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding and supplementary Agreements, between the UK Government and the three devolved administrations;

(b) the various bilateral concordats between a particular UK Government Department and a devolved administration; and

(c) the arrangements for meetings between devolved administration and UK Government Ministers through the framework of the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC), established by Supplementary Agreement A to the Memorandum of Understanding.

19. The Memorandum of Understanding sets out the key principles of intergovernmental working, as seen by the administrations. These are:

(a) communication between administrations;

(b) co-operation;

(c) the sharing of information, statistics and research; and

(d) respect for the confidentiality of information shared between the administrations.

20. The Memorandum of Understanding also includes supplementary agreements dealing with specific topics of over-arching significance, such as inward investment, the conduct of international relations and management of EU matters, and the collection of statistics. Bilateral concordats largely repeat the key principles agreed between the UK Government and devolved administrations for one particular UK Department and one devolved administration, either in areas where each organisation has responsibility for the same area of policy (such as health or agriculture), or where the two have different but overlapping responsibilities (as with the Home Office and National Assembly for Wales or the Ministry of Defence and Scottish Executive). This formal network of agreements covers most parts of the UK Government affected by devolution, although not all of them - Northern Ireland is, for understandable reasons, largely outside their scope.

21. Witnesses to our inquiry have been keen to emphasise that such agreements create the framework for the dealings each administration has with the others, and are not a substitute for those dealings. That is partly because of the nature of the agreements themselves, but mainly because the concordats are themselves largely procedural.

22. These mechanisms and principles appear to us to be relatively limited in scope compared with those in other countries with similar arrangements. They exhibit nothing like the formality or intensity of arrangements in Spain or Canada, for example. Moreover, we have found that in practice the relationships are considerably less formal than an analysis of the mechanisms outlined in the various documents involved, such as the Memorandum of Understanding, would suggest. The Welsh First Minister described the formal aspects of the relationship as accounting for only 20 per cent of the relationship between the administrations, and personal chemistry and goodwill as accounting for 80 per cent of the relationship.[6]

23. Our inquiry has found that:

(a) a large amount of contact takes place between the four administrations, frequently and at a variety of levels. Many devolved administration Ministers have a high level of contact with their counterparts at Whitehall.[7] Officials, whether senior or junior, also have a high level of contact with their counterparts;

(b) these contacts are highly informal. They often take place by telephone or e-mail. Many of the meetings in person are quick words when people meet socially or for other purposes. Consequently it is impossible to keep records of them. Formal, minuted meetings - especially of representatives of all four governments - are a rarity;[8]

(c) the justification for this informality is the fundamental goodwill of each administration toward the others;[9]

(d) the bulk of the informal contacts tend to be bilateral, between the UK Government and one devolved administration. This appears to be where the bulk of working-level matters are dealt with - they are not referred to the JMC or discussed in other settings with the other devolved administrations.
Box 1

How it works in practice: the case of Foot and Mouth disease

Although agriculture in general is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, animal health appears to be particularly complex in the pattern of functions that are devolved or reserved. This was made readily apparent during the 2001 outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease. Even the very detailed official reports on the outbreak do not attempt to map the precise responsibilities of the UK Government and devolved administrations. They do little more than note that some functions were devolved and others retained by the UK Government.[10]

The very first response to the crisis was by the UK Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF). Thereafter certain aspects of the crisis were dealt with by MAFF and others by the devolved administrations. In Scotland, matters were largely in the hands of the Scottish Executive. In Wales, the situation was compounded because most of the non-veterinary staff responsible for animal health had transferred to the National Assembly, but the Assembly did not have the legal powers needed to deal with the crisis. However, the Assembly was seen as being politically accountable. The ultimate solution was for the Assembly to be appointed as MAFF's agent to deal with matters on the ground, using powers in section 41 of the Government of Wales Act, and for many of the Statutory Instruments needed to be made jointly by MAFF Ministers and the National Assembly. Even so, although the National Assembly was in practice dealing with the crisis in Wales, many key decisions had to be taken by a UK Minister at MAFF rather than by the Assembly.[11] Similar problems did not arise in Scotland as the various powers had all been transferred to the Scottish Parliament and Executive. However, in both Scotland and Wales, much

(continued)

Box 1

(continued)

depended in practice on the Chief Veterinary Officer at MAFF (Mr Jim Scudamore) having confidence in the Assistant Chief Veterinary Officers for each devolved area and allowing them autonomy to deal with issues that arose locally.[12]

For Northern Ireland the issues raised by the crisis were rather different. Not only does Northern Ireland rely on agriculture more than other parts of the UK, but as it does not share a land border with any other part of the UK but does share a land border with the Republic of Ireland issues of animal health and disease control are more complicated. Northern Ireland's determination to deal with the initial outbreaks of the disease so as it eliminate it altogether may have caused concern at MAFF but was ultimately effective.[13]

The crisis created an intense pattern of intergovernmental contact and working. That included innumerable telephone calls; Scottish Executive and the National Assembly for Wales staff being based in the operational headquarters at Page Street, Westminster; and involvement of all three devolved administrations in the COBRA (the acronym for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A) network based in Downing Street. The use of COBRA appears to have improved co-ordination considerably, and both the Scottish Executive and National Assembly for Wales participated in its meetings. In the case of Northern Ireland, it was not possible to send staff to London and liaison was therefore effected through the Northern Ireland Office.[14]

Clearly there were tensions in the relationship, if only because Scotland was free of the disease months before England was, but was unable to approach the European Commission for a change in its export status until the disease had been eliminated from England. However, a devolved administration in Northern Ireland was able to seek to change its status ahead of England.[15]

It appears that the shared determination of officials and Ministers to deal with that crisis, and the effectiveness with which the Scottish and Welsh administrations did so on the ground (which they attribute in part to being much closer to the action) were largely responsible for the effectiveness of intergovernmental co-operation during the crisis. This way of working put a premium on finding a common approach to the problem, even where the administrations disagreed. Staff from a variety of different organisations - some from MAFF or the State Veterinary Service, some from the devolved administrations, some from the Army or the Police -worked together on an ad hoc basis to deal with the emergency. At working level they do not appear to have made much distinction between the different interests of the organisations for which they worked. Where there were differences, these were an issue for senior figures operating at a high level and not for operational staff. It is not clear to us what would have happened if there had been fundamental disagreement about the approach to be taken and the Scottish Executive or National Assembly had declined to make instruments to parallel those being made by MAFF for England - in other words, we are unclear what real discretion they had at the level of policy.[16] The operational discretion of the Scottish and Welsh institutions depended in large part on the efficiency with which they appeared to deal with matters, compared with England, and the pressures on UK Ministers and senior officials to focus on the English aspects of the crisis.

In other words, a solution was delivered more despite the formal arrangements for intergovernmental relations rather than because of them. We consider it would be dangerous to assume that future crises affecting devolved functions will be capable of being solved in the same way. Devolved administrations may be more conscious of their distinct interests in future, or less willing to help the UK Government resolve its own problems.

INFORMALITY AND THE RELIANCE ON GOODWILL

24. We have noted the heavy reliance on goodwill in intergovernmental relations. Many of our witnesses emphasised the need for goodwill to make these relations work, and attributed their smoothness to date to the existence of such goodwill.[17] The view that came across was that such goodwill permitted the high level of informality that presently exists, and meant that the need to have more formal procedures, or use those that already exist, was reduced. As the Secretary of State for Scotland put it in evidence

"…there is little doubt that the easy, informal relationship which exists between myself and the present First Minister, and existed with the previous First Minister, because we are all members of the same party, does help … the very fact that we can each lift the phone to one another and discuss matters knowing we are among friends and with a similar long-standing desire to see not just a successful Scottish Parliament but also a stronger United Kingdom helps." [our italics] [18]

25. We would certainly not seek to recommend the absence of goodwill as an element of intergovernmental relations. We are pleased to note that goodwill exists and acknowledge its value to date. However, we are concerned by the sheer extent of the reliance on goodwill as the basis for intergovernmental relations within the United Kingdom. We are also concerned that goodwill appears to have been elevated into a principle of intergovernmental relations: it is used to explain the avoidance of disputes and to justify maintaining the present informality of the system. Some also argue that it works against the pluralist concept of devolution in that informality helps perpetuate previous practices. While matters may be relatively straightforward now, we wish to ensure that good and effective relations between governments can continue even if the present level of goodwill should decline.

26. In any case we suspect that the present levels of goodwill will diminish over time. The first reason for this is political. At present, Labour is the dominant partner in the administrations in Edinburgh and Cardiff and also forms the UK Government in London. It is clear that commitment to a common set of values and objectives, including making devolution appear to be a success, is an important element of the present cordial relations. Even in the present situation, the similarity of outlook of the different Labour administrations can be exaggerated. Sooner or later, moreover, Labour will lose its dominance in one or more administrations, and governments of different political complexions will have to deal with each other. Whether that takes, for example, the form of a Labour government in London and a nationalist administration in Cardiff or Edinburgh, or a Conservative one in London and a Labour administration in office in Scotland or Wales, is a secondary issue. It is having administrations of different political persuasions that is our principal concern. Ways to deal with such differences beyond relying on goodwill and being "among friends" need to have been established in advance if a change of government is not to threaten devolution as a whole. There was widespread acknowledgement that ensuring there could be successful co-operation between governments formed from differing parties and with different priorities would be a challenge.[19] However, there was a marked reluctance to take any action now that might reduce the scale of that challenge.

27. Second, part of the foundation of the present level of goodwill is that the senior politicians involved, whatever their party, know each other well. That is because so many of the prominent figures - whether Ministers, opposition politicians or indeed presiding officers - have shared experience as MPs at Westminster. However, many of those elected to the devolved legislatures and assemblies have never held elected office before. As all the United Kingdom parties and Plaid Cymru and the SNP have declared their opposition to people holding multiple mandates and being elected to both Westminster and a devolved body, this trend is likely to increase over time. (Only Northern Ireland still has individuals who are both MPs and MLAs.) Unlike his predecessors, the present Scottish First Minister (Jack McConnell MSP) has never been elected to the United Kingdom Parliament, and the only members of his Cabinet with Westminster experience are Jim Wallace MSP, the Deputy First Minister and Minister for Justice and Home Affairs, Malcolm Chisholm MSP, Minister for Health and Community Care, and Lord Watson of Invergowrie MSP, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport. In the Welsh Assembly Government only Rhodri Morgan AM, the First Minister, has sat at Westminster. As politicians make their careers wholly within a devolved administration, and look less to Westminster, governments will find that they can no longer rely on past acquaintance serving as a foundation for continued relations. The system needs to be able to cope with people who have no knowledge whatever of each other until they become ministerial counterparts.

28. Third, the range of differences that need to be dealt with at the moment is limited, but that too will change with time. The devolved administrations increasingly pursue distinct policies. As this process continues, the aggregate differences involved will increase. These differences are likely to develop whatever changes there may be in the political parties in office at the various levels. At the moment the areas of policy difference are limited, but as they grow the more issues may need to be dealt with through the formal mechanisms, and the more complex those issues will be.

29. We recommend that further use should be made of the formal mechanisms for intergovernmental relations, even if they seem to many of those presently involved to be excessive. Formal mechanisms, such as the Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC), are not intended to serve as a substitute for good relations in other respects, or for good and frequent informal contacts, but rather to serve as a framework for such relations and to act as a fall-back in case informal personal relations cease to be sufficient. Such mechanisms are likely to become increasingly important when governments of different political persuasions have to deal with each other.

The role of the Joint Ministerial Committee

30. Joint Ministerial Committee meetings are the tip of the iceberg of intergovernmental contact. They take a number of forms. The annual 'plenary' JMC is attended by the United Kingdom Prime Minister and Deputy, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretaries of State for, and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister from, each devolved administration. The JMC for European matters now appears to meet at least twice a year, as part of the UK Government's preparations for European Council meeting at the end of each EU Presidency. This is discussed in more detail in Chapter Six below. There are also functional JMC meetings in a number of areas, most notably Health, and the JMC for Officials also appears to have recently been revived, after a single meeting in November 1999.[20]

31. Under the Memorandum of Understanding it is for UK Ministers to determine whether to convene a meeting of a 'functional' JMC, although any Minister may call for one. The UK Minister also chairs any meeting. The only meeting required is an annual plenary meeting of the JMC.[21] However, the areas in which 'functional' JMC meetings are held, and the frequency with which they are held, do not correspond with the areas of important interaction or overlap of policy between governments. In the area of health - a very important devolved function - JMC meetings have taken place only once a year. Although education, like health, is devolved to all three administrations, its ministers do not appear to meet at all. Environmental matters are to a greater or lesser degree devolved too, and can raise complicated issues involving the powers of UK Government, public agencies, local authorities and devolved administrations (as for example with the question of planning permission for the windfarm at Cefn Croes, Ceredigion, which Mrs Morley drew to our attention).[22] They too are not discussed within the JMC framework, although the interaction between devolved and retained functions in this area is clearly highly intricate. While a number of functional JMC meetings on Poverty were held in 1999-2000, those have not recurred - even though anti-poverty strategies are likely to involve co-ordination of a number of areas of policy, some devolved (e.g. health, education or inward investment and economic development) and others reserved (e.g. social security). Again, however, there is no use of the JMC framework for such matters.

32. We have not been able to find any clear criteria to establish whether intergovernmental Ministerial meetings are held, and whether meetings are held within the JMC framework or not. We believe that there is a need to clarify the basis on which such meetings take place and whether they take place within the JMC framework or not.
Box 2

Ministerial Meetings for Agriculture

In agriculture and rural affairs, Ministers described themselves as meeting "most months". There were in fact nine such meetings in 2001.[23] These meetings involve five Ministers; one from each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and two from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). This practice pre-dates devolution, and is based on the principle that the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (as it then was) would chair the meeting and represent United Kingdom interests, and that a more junior Minister would speak specifically for English interests and concerns.[24]

The agenda for such meetings is largely driven by the agenda for the forthcoming EU Council of Ministers meeting. However, the meetings also deal with domestic matters affecting only the United Kingdom as well. They are in turn prepared by meetings of officials two weeks beforehand, and the whole process is reviewed annually.[25]

All the official witnesses from whom we heard expressed overall satisfaction with the arrangements. Mr Walker, President of the National Farmers' Union Scotland, suggested that the situation had changed since Mrs Beckett became Secretary of State, and had assumed a more activist approach to such meetings than Mr Brown, her predecessor.[26] This was not accepted by those who attend the meetings.

One curiosity is that, although these formal meetings take place more often than in other sectors and appear to be more extensively prepared at official level than many other meetings, they are not classed as meetings of the JMC. We were told that there is no particular reason for this, but as the existing arrangements are working well it is seen as unnecessary and that the additional formality of the JMC framework remains in reserve to be used if needed.[27] There was a view that such formality would be undesirable at the present time and that any publicity about these meetings would inhibit free discussion at them.[28] We find this rather strange, since these are clearly formal meetings already and the Memorandum of Understanding provides expressly that the JMC is a consultative not executive body, which reaches agreements not decisions, and that its proceedings will remain confidential to permit the free exchange of views.[29]

33. We therefore recommend:

(a) that the criteria to determine whether a meeting should be a Joint Ministerial Committee meeting should be resolved and published;

(b) that at least one formal meeting of the JMC in 'functional' form should be held each year in each policy area where functions are devolved to two or three devolved administrations and exercised by the UK Government for the rest, or where there is substantial overlap between functions that are devolved and those retained at United Kingdom level; and

(c) that the existing agriculture Ministers' meetings become JMC meetings, assuming that they meet the criteria stipulated above.

34. A further issue is the patchiness of the publicity given to JMC meetings. While the plenary JMC meeting is publicised, only limited publicity seems to be given to many other meetings of the JMC in its functional format. While we were told that press statements are always issued after meetings of the JMC (Europe),[30] the Committee's own inquiries have been unable to locate any press statements from the meetings that took place in January and June 2002, nor did any reports of those meetings appear in the Scottish or United Kingdom national press. While government press offices cannot be expected to be responsible for whether newspapers publish stories drawing on government press statements, the fact that these statements have had such limited availability undermines the objective of making information publicly available about such meetings.

35. In any case, there is a question-mark about the information that has been made public following JMC meetings. We have been made aware of concerns expressed by opposition parties at the lack of material made public. It is very hard to form an understanding of what the JMC meetings actually do from press statements. It takes an inquiry of the scale of ours - which is not easily repeated - to form a reasonably clear view. The reason for this appears to us to be the high level of concern paid by all four governments to keeping intergovernmental negotiations and discussions confidential. While we understand and acknowledge the sensitive nature of many of the matters discussed and the need for those participating in such discussion to be able to speak with candour, it seems to us that this degree of confidentiality is excessive. We consider that greater attention should be paid to the interest of ensuring that Parliament and the public are aware of what Ministers do when they attend such meetings.

36. In particular, we are struck by the discrepancy - drawn to our attention by Professor Robert Hazell - between the information made available to Parliament and the public about JMC meetings and devolution and that made available about EU Council of Ministers meetings, and in particular European Council meetings.[31] We were also struck by the practice adopted in the Northern Ireland Assembly for the reporting of all meetings of the British-Irish Council or North-South Ministerial Conference attended by Northern Ireland Ministers, with a statement made followed by a generous period for questions.[32]

37. We therefore recommend the following steps to ensure greater openness:

(a) the UK Government should issue a substantive press statement as a matter of course after every meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee. Wherever possible, that statement should be agreed by the parties, and should contain as much information as possible. At the very least, it should record the fact that the meeting took place, where it took place and who attended it; and

(b) the UK Prime Minister should make a statement to the House of Commons after each annual plenary meeting of the JMC regarding both that meeting and the conduct of intergovernmental relations within the United Kingdom generally over the previous 12 months.

Concordats

38. The UK Government and devolved administrations have placed much emphasis in their evidence to us of the importance of the concordats. However, although the value of having concordats is unquestioned, their usefulness in practice is more questionable. Some witnesses have said to us that if there needs to be regular reference to concordats to ensure good relations, then relations are already bad.[33]

39. While we can understand this view, we do not entirely agree with it. We consider that the point of concordats and other agreements is to facilitate good relations. That means that concordats are kept up to date and ready for use.

40. Other material put to us suggests that the Government considers that the chief value of the concordats is the process of making them, rather than actually using them to facilitate intergovernmental relations.[34] The preparation of concordats ensured that civil servants and Ministers, especially in Westminster, had thought about the new ways of working that would arise following devolution. That may well be true (the way the civil service has responded to devolution is discussed in more detail in Chapter Five below). However, most routine intergovernmental interaction is handled by officials in the middle ranks, between Higher Executive Officer and Grade 7 or the lower rungs of the Senior Civil Service. Such officials change posts fairly frequently - at least every 5 years, and often every 2 or 3 years - and this means that the benefits of their experience of drafting the concordats will diminish as time passes.

41. We are also concerned by the possibility that one party might decide unilaterally to withdraw from such fundamentally important documents. We emphasise that such a risk is wholly theoretical and utterly remote at present; all the witnesses from whom we heard emphasised the value of the concordats. We also accept that such an act might not greatly help the party repudiating them, which would lose its own protection under them if it did so. However, while the risk may be hypothetical now, the time at which it will cease to be a theoretical issue will be the time when the risk is real. This risk therefore needs to be pre-empted.

42. It appears to us that there is a single solution to these two problems. That is that all concordats should be made for a fixed term, say of five years. At the end of that period they should cease to have effect and would therefore need to be renegotiated. That would mean that concordats would have to be periodically updated and made to reflect the circumstances of the time. During that fixed term it would not be open to any party to withdraw from or repudiate the concordats. They could however be amended if the parties wished to do so, to bring them up to date with changing circumstance

43. We recommend that concordats be made for a fixed term only, capable of being varied during that term if necessary but to terminate at the end of that term and be renegotiated. During that term, it would not be open to a party to withdraw from or repudiate a concordat.

44. If this recommendation should not be adopted, we consider that efforts need to be made to ensure that all involved are aware of the existence of concordats and their content. This should include supplying all relevant agreements to officials who take up a post which may involve dealing with the devolved administrations, on their appointment to that post; and ensuring that concordats are covered as part of the induction of such staff. Similarly, the nature and importance of the concordats will need to be covered as part of the initial briefing for all newly-appointed Ministers.

45. We also recommend:

(a) that all concordats and other agreements between the UK Government and any devolved administration should be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament within two weeks of their being concluded; and

(b) that the UK Prime Minister's annual statement about intergovernmental relations should be accompanied by the deposit of a list in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament of all concordats and other intergovernmental agreements concluded during the previous 12 months or in force at the date of the plenary Joint Ministerial Committee meeting.

The resolution of disputes

46. Three mechanisms for resolving devolution-related disputes exist:

(a) the Joint Ministerial Committee (presumably in its plenary form), for disputes of a political nature;[35]

(b) the courts, and, ultimately, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, for legal disputes involving 'devolution issues' - principally, challenges to the action of a devolved institution for being beyond that body's legal competence;[36] and

(c) the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the UK Cabinet, for disputes regarding financial matters.[37]

47. The consensual nature of intergovernmental relations to date means that these mechanisms have not yet been seriously tested.[38] We are therefore unable to comment on whether they would be appropriate or effective in the event of a real dispute. Much would depend on the circumstances of a particular dispute - the general political situation, which parties were in office in London and the devolved capitals, how important the issues were to the parties involved, and what support the parties were able to recruit. We have an unresolved concern that these mechanisms may not prove adequate to the challenges arising from a highly-charged political dispute, especially if the parties are accustomed to informal rather than formal dealings with each other.

48. We also have some particular concerns about the UK Government's position regarding financial disputes. These are discussed in Chapter Three below.

The broader dimensions of intergovernmental relations

49. Any survey of intergovernmental relations that looked purely at arrangements between the UK Government and the three devolved administrations would be incomplete. The picture needs to take into account two other sets of arrangements: those with the European Union (EU), and those established under Strands 2 and 3 of the Belfast Agreement.[39] Relations with the EU are the subject of Chapter Six, but we need briefly to discuss some issues arising from Strands 2 and 3.

50. Under Strand 2, the North-South Ministerial Conference has been established. That meets in both plenary, functional and 'institutional' formats and involves ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive and the Government of the Republic of Ireland in co-operation on a wide range of practical matters, including administering EU Objective 1 aid under the 'PEACE II' and other programmes. Under Strand 3 there is the British-Irish Council, sometimes called the 'Council of the Isles'. That involves the UK and Irish Governments, the three devolved administrations and the governments of the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles.

51. The evidence presented to us suggests that the North-South Ministerial Conference has been more successful and effective in practice than the BIC. There are several reasons for this. The obvious one is that progress with the BIC has been interrupted by the difficulties that the peace process in Northern Ireland has encountered. As a result it became much more active in the second half of 2001 and during 2002 than it had been hitherto. It is also partly because the NSMC has tangible business to deal with while the BIC is a more symbolic and political body, and partly because the NSMC has its own dedicated secretariat to facilitate the holding of meetings, provide continuity and give impetus to its work.[40] Both bodies have been valuable not just in relation to the Northern Ireland peace process, but in improving relations within the British Isles generally.


4   In full, Memorandum of Understanding and supplementary agreements between the United Kingdom Government, Scottish Ministers, the Cabinet of the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Executive Committee Cm 5240, December 2001 (henceforth 'Memorandum of Understanding'). See also the section on 'Concordats' in Chapter One of this report, and R. Rawlings 'Concordats of the Constitution' (2000) 116 Law Quarterly Review, pp. 257-86.  Back

5   See Memorandum by the Cabinet Office, evidence volume pp. 14-24, especially paras 3-12; Memorandum by the Scottish Executive paras 3-8, evidence volume pp. 108-12,; Memorandum by the Welsh Assembly Government, National Assembly for Wales, paras 4-8, evidence volume pp. 230-33; Memorandum by the Northern Ireland Executive, paras 7-17, evidence volume pp. 315-20.  Back

6   Evidence of the Rt Hon. Rhodri Morgan AM, 27 May 2002, Q. 816.  Back

7   Evidence of Patricia Ferguson MSP, 15 May 2002, Q. 346 and Q. 395; and evidence of the Rt Hon. Paul Murphy MP, 10 April 2002, Q. 161. Back

8   For example Memorandum by the Cabinet Office, para. 3, evidence volume p. 14; evidence of the Rt Hon. John Prescott MP, 27 February 2002, Q. 48; evidence of Mr Ian Gordon, 20 March 2002, Q. 105; evidence of the Rt Hon. Dr John Reid MP, 10 April 2002, Q. 158; evidence of the Rt Hon. Paul Murphy MP, 10 April 2002, Q. 161.  Back

9   See for example evidence of the Rt Hon. Helen Liddell MP, 10 April 2002, Q. 157.  Back

10   See The 2001 Outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease. Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General HC 939, especially paras 1.17-1.20. Foot and Mouth Disease 2001: Lessons to be Learned Inquiry Report. Chairman, Dr Iain Anderson CBE HC 888 is a partial exception; see paras 5.4 and 9.9-9.10. However, the existence of the devolved administration and the role of COBRA in linking them with MAFF or other parts of UK Government are not even mentioned in chapter 11 on 'Joining Up Government'.  Back

11   Evidence of Carwyn Jones AM, 28 May 2002, QQ 960-71.  Back

12   Evidence of Ross Finnie MSP, 15 May 2002, QQ 419-23; evidence of Mr Andy Lebrecht and Mr Jim Scudamore, 24 April 2002, QQ 248-52.  Back

13   Evidence of Peter Small CB and Pat Toal, 10 June 2002, QQ 1178-81.  Back

14   Evidence of Mr J. Scudamore, 24 April 2002, Q. 249; evidence of Mr R. Finnie MSP, 15 May 2002, Q. 419; evidence of Mr C. Jones AM, 28 May 2002, Q. 972; evidence of Mr P. Small and Mr P. Toal, 10 June 2002, Q. 1181.  Back

15   Evidence of Jim Walker, 15 May 2002, Q. 324; evidence of Mr P. Small and Mr P. Toal, 10 June 2002, Q. 1178.  Back

16   See evidence of Mr R. Finnie MSP and David Crawley, 15 May 2002, QQ 420-23.  Back

17   For example, evidence of the Rt Hon. J. Prescott MP, 27 February 2002, QQ 44, 48; evidence of the Rt Hon. R. Morgan AM, 27 May 2002, QQ 816-17, 822.  Back

18   Evidence of the Rt Hon. H. Liddell MP, 10 April 2002, Q. 157.  Back

19   See for example evidence of the Rt Hon. J. Prescott MP, 27 February 2002, Q. 63; evidence of the Rt Hon. P. Murphy MP, 10 April 2002, Q. 174.  Back

20   Evidence of Mr Gerry Loughran, 10 June 2002, Q. 1218. See also evidence of Mr Jon Shortridge, 28 May 2002, Q. 1048; evidence of Mr Peter Unwin, 20 March 2002, Q. 123.  Back

21   Memorandum of Understanding, Agreement on the Joint Ministerial Committee, paras A1.3-A1.8.  Back

22   Evidence volume, pp. 427-29.  Back

23   Memorandum by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, para. 6; evidence volume, p. 70.  Back

24   Memorandum by DEFRA, para. 6, evidence volume p. 70; evidence of Mr Peter Small CB, 10 June 2002, Q. 1165.  Back

25   Memorandum by DEFRA, para. 6, evidence volume p. 70; evidence of Mr A. Lebrecht, 24 April 2002, QQ 249, 257-58.  Back

26   Memorandum by National Farmers Union Scotland, para. 4; evidence of Jim Walker, 15 May 2002, Q. 312.  Back

27   Evidence of Mr A. Lebrecht, 24 April 2002, QQ 254-58; evidence of Mr R. Finnie MSP, 15 May 2002, QQ 424-27; evidence of Mr P. Small CB, 10 June 2002, QQ 1165-70.  Back

28   Evidence of Mr R. Finnie MSP, 15 May 2002, Q. 426. Back

29   Memorandum of Understanding, Agreement on the Joint Ministerial Committee, paras A1.10-A1.11.  Back

30   Evidence of Michael Roberts, 24 April 2002, Q. 237.  Back

31   Evidence of Professor R. Hazell, 10 July 2002, Q. 1412.  Back

32   Evidence of Lord Alderdice FRCPI, FRCPsych, MLA, 10 June 2002, Q. 1239.  Back

33   For example see evidence of Mr R. Finnie MSP, 15 May 2002, Q. 425.  Back

34   For example, evidence of Mr J. Shortridge, 28 May 2002, Q. 1048.  Back

35   Memorandum of Understanding, Agreement on the Joint Ministerial Committee, paras A1.6-A.1.7.  Back

36   'Devolution issues' are defined in the relevant Schedules to the devolution Acts - Schedule 6 to the Scotland Act, Schedule 8 to the Government of Wales Act, Schedule 11 to the Northern Ireland Act.  Back

37   HM Treasury, Funding the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly: a Statement of Funding Policy, (3rd edition, July 2002), para. 11.2.  Back

38   The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has to date given judgement in ten cases involving devolution issues, though none has affected significantly the issues addressed in this report. The judgements can be found on the Judicial Committee page of the Privy Council website: www.privy-council.org.uk Back

39   The Belfast Agreement: An Agreement Reached at the Multi-Party Talks on Northern Ireland Cm 3883 (The Stationery Office, London, 1998).  Back

40   Evidence of the Rt Hon. D. Trimble MP MLA and Mr M. Durkan MLA, 10 June 2002, QQ 1116-21; evidence of Professor Paul Bew, 10 June 2002, QQ 1096-97.  Back


 
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