5 Working relationship between the Parliaments and Governments
In practice the principle that the UK Parliament would not normally legislate on a devolved matter in Scotland without the agreement of the Scottish Parliament operates through a system of consultation. The UK Cabinet Office publishes Devolution Guidance Notes which provide advice on the working relationships between the UK and Devolved Governments. Box 9 outlines the areas on which such notes have been published.
Box 9 Devolution Guidance Notes
- Common working arrangements: advice on common working arrangements between the UK government and the devolved administrations. It sets out an introduction to the main principles involved in the managing of the devolution settlements and looks in more depth at bilateral relations, correspondence, parliamentary business, legislation and concordats.
- Handling correspondence under devolution: the general principles for the handling by UK government departments of correspondence from members of the devolved legislatures. Guidance on the handling of inter-ministerial and inter-departmental correspondence is available in devolution guidance note 6.
- Role of the Secretary of State for Scotland: the functions and the role played by the Secretary of State for Scotland following devolution.
- Circulation of inter-ministerial and inter-departmental correspondence: the conventions to be followed by UK government departments when they are involving devolved administrations in matters which are the subject of correspondence between UK ministers, or otherwise writing to ministers of devolved administrations.
- Court proceedings regarding devolution issues: not yet published.
- Post-devolution primary legislation affecting Scotland: guidance for UK government departments on handling legislation affecting Scotland. Sets out how the LP Committee expects departments to handle primary legislation affecting Scotland, while ensuring the smooth management of the government’s legislative programme.
- Ministerial accountability after devolution: general advice on matters which remain the responsibility of UK ministers, and for which they are accountable to the UK Parliament.
- Attendance of UK ministers and officials at committees of the devolved legislatures: advice for UK ministers and civil servants on how to deal with invitations to attend committees of devolved legislatures. It does not provide guidance on the giving of evidence to these committees.
- Handling of parliamentary business in the House of Lords: general principles to be put in practice in business before the House of Lords. Comprises 2 separate weeks on Bills, and on parliamentary questions and debates.
- Use of Scotland Act 1998 Week 30(2) Orders: the use of Week 30(2) Orders to amend the list of reservations in the Scotland Act - either increasing or reducing the scope of reserved matters.
- Scottish legislative proposals giving devolved powers and functions to UK bodies: Acts of the Scottish Parliament can, in certain circumstances, include provisions giving powers or functions to UK government ministers, UK departments or other UK bodies. The Scottish Executive and the UK government have agreed a protocol setting out the procedures which will apply if considering the possibility of legislating in this way.