About the Inquiry
In its Interim Report on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, the Committee noted the importance of what have come to be termed ‘common frameworks.’ This is a reference to the regulatory convergence and harmonisation provided for by EU law, including in areas where EU competence corresponds with devolved competence.
The delegated powers supplementary memorandum published alongside the Clause 11 amendments to the Bill explains that the powers conferred by Clause 11 are required to allow the creation of common UK frameworks where these are required following Brexit. The proposed Intergovernmental Agreement states “that this is likely, in whole or in part, in 24 areas” where “common frameworks with a legislative underpinning may be required.”
The UK Government has published a framework analysis setting out areas of EU law that intersect with devolved competence in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This states that there are:
• 49 policy areas where no further action is required;
• 82 policy areas where non-legislative common frameworks may be required; and
• 24 areas where legislative frameworks might be needed.
111 of these areas fall within the devolved competence of the Scottish Parliament. In addition the framework analysis includes 12 further policy areas that the UK Government believes are reserved but are subject to ongoing discussions with the devolved administrations. There is no legislative provision within the Bill stipulating which areas within the framework analysis will be covered by Clause 11 regulations.
The UK Government published a Revised Framework Analysis in April 2019 which provides a 'snapshot' of how the underlying risk analysis and categorisation of policy areas is evolving in light of ongoing work between the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments.
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 closing date for submissions was Friday 31 August 2018. Ten responses were received from the following organisations:
A summary of Written Evidence has been produced by the clerks. You can read it here:
The Committee held a roundtable evidence session with the organisations and individuals who submitted written evidence on the morning of Wednesday 24 October.
The Committee has also commissioned comparative research on agreement making within the following countries:
A summary of this research has been provided by SPICe:
Finance and Constitution Committee visit to Brussels, 17-18 September 2018
Joint Event with Royal Society of Edinburgh and Scotland’s Futures Forum, 2 November 2018
The Committee held an event in conjunction with the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Scotland’s Futures Forum on 2 November to explore what common frameworks might look like and how they might work in practice. The event was attended by a broad range of stakeholders including members of the Scottish Parliament, House of Commons, House of Lords and National Assembly for Wales, as well as experts from academia, industry and the third sector from across the UK. An unattributed note of the event has been published online.
Quarterly Reports on Common Frameworks and the use of Section 12 Powers
Should you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact the Committee clerking team via email or by telephone on 0131 348 5215.
An update on progress in Common Frameworks, Cabinet Office UK Government, 3 July 2019 (448KB pdf)
The Committee published a report on Common Frameworks on 25 March 2019.
The report received the following responses: