Supplementary memorandum by the Department
for Constitutional Affairs
DCA Responsibilities for Devolution
The Department for Constitutional Affairs has a number
of responsibilities relating to devolution. This note explains
the roles of the units concerned: Devolution and Crown Dependencies
Division, the Scotland Office, the Wales Office, and the Office
of the Advocate General for Scotland.
Devolution and Crown Dependencies Division
Devolution and Crown Dependencies Division is part
of the Constitution Directorate, supporting Lord Falconer as Chairman
of the Cabinet Committee on Devolution Policy (PD) in his responsibilities
for the overall UK devolution settlement and relations between
the nations of the UK. The Division's Devolution Policy Branch
is responsible for:
1. Formal devolution machinery for liaison
with the devolved administrations. This includes: the Memorandum
of Understanding between the UK Government and the devolved administrations
(which sets out the broad principles on which relationships should
be conducted); and the Joint Ministerial Committee, chaired by
the Prime Minister and attended by the heads of the devolved administrations,
Lord Falconer and the territorial Secretaries of State.
2. Facilitating the operation of devolution
by: advising departments on dealing with the devolution-related
aspects of their work; trouble-shooting and resolving difficult
issues (particularly where they involve the interests of several
departments, have implications for more than one of the settlements,
or raise significant constitutional questions); and promoting
awareness of devolution, both within Whitehall and outside.
3. Providing the Secretariat to the British-Irish
Council, in conjunction with the Irish Government. The Council
was established as part of the Good Friday Agreement, and its
membership comprises the UK and Irish Governments, the devolved
administrations, and the Crown Dependencies.
4. Providing a central focal point within
DCA for guidance and advice on devolution and the promotion of
devolution and its implications for the Department.
The Division's Crown Dependencies Branch, previously
part of the Constitutional Policy Division, is responsible for
facilitating relations between the UK Government, the Crown and
the Crown Dependencies (the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey,
and the Isle of Man) on a range of interests and responsibilities
including constitutional and legislative matters and Crown appointments.
The Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Darling,
represents the interests of Scotland in the Cabinet, particularly
in those matters reserved to the UK Parliament. He is responsible
for the smooth operation of Scotland's devolution settlement,
and acts as guardian of the Scotland Act (including its various
order making powers). He is supported by Parliamentary Under-Secretary
of State, Anne McGuire MP and the staff of the Scotland Office,
who are a distinct entity within the Department for Constitutional
The Scotland Office is currently organised into three
policy divisions (Parliamentary and Constitutional, Economy and
Industry, and Home and Social); Ministerial Private Offices; a
Finance and Administration Division; and an Information Division.
The headquarters of the Scotland Office is at Dover House in Whitehall
and it also occupies leased premises in Melville Crescent in Edinburgh.
It shares accommodation with the Scottish Executive at Meridian
Court in Glasgow.
The Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Hain, represents
the interests of Wales in the Cabinet. He is responsible for promoting
the devolution settlement for Wales and for promoting primary
legislation at Westminster making specific provision for Wales.
He is guardian of the Government of Wales Act 1998 (including
the making of Transfer of Functions Orders under it). He is supported
by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Don Touhig MP and
the staff of the Wales Office, who are a distinct entity within
the Department of Constitutional Affairs.
As the Assembly does not have primary legislative
powers, all legislation made in Westminster covers Wales and the
Wales Office has developed considerable expertise in dealing with
the implications of this for policy development leading to legislation
and Bill handling.
Office of the Advocate General for Scotland
The Advocate General for Scotland is an UK Government
Law Officer and has a number of statutory responsibilities under
the Scotland Act. The Office of the Solicitor to the Advocate
General for Scotland provides legal advice and services relating
to Scots law and the Scottish devolution settlement to UK Government
departments. The Legal Secretariat to the Advocate General provides
support to the Advocate General in her role as a Law Officer.
The Advocate General and her staff are also part of the Department
for Constitutional Affairs for administrative purposes.
Department for Constitutional Affairs:
Organisation chart showing responsibilities for devolution
11 November 2003