The Scottish Parliament's think-tank

Post-Brexit Common Frameworks

Bruce Crawford MSP introduces the Post Brexit Common Frameworks event at the RSE, George Street. 02 November 2018 . Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

In November 2018, the Futures Forum collaborated with the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee and the Royal Society of Edinburgh to consider the arrangements for governing the United Kingdom after the UK leaves the European Union.

Read the full report here: Common Frameworks Conference Event Report


As the UK leaves the European Union, it will no longer be subject to European legislation that sets legally binding frameworks in a series of policy areas.

UK Common Frameworks are the key mechanism by which the UK Government and devolved Governments might seek to develop and deliver a UK-wide approach in those key policy areas. As a form of intergovernmental relations, they will be a new way of working across the UK.

Organised the Futures Forum in conjunction with the Finance and Constitution Committee, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Parliament’s External Experts Panel, this half-day conference at the Royal Society of Edinburgh explored what these frameworks might look like and how they might work.

It looked at the role of Parliaments and stakeholders such as business, voluntary organisations and the public sector in considering their development, implementation and delivery. It also considered what should happen if disagreements arise.

As conference chair, Bruce Crawford MSP, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee, introduced the event. He welcomed participants, 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 throughout the UK.


Michael Russell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations

The Cabinet Secretary opened his contribution by noting that, although the Scottish Government did not want and does not want Brexit to happen, he hoped that the Administrations throughout the United Kingdom can work together and find a way forward to make the process happen. The Cabinet Secretary noted that the principles of Common Frameworks had been agreed, and there was now a need to test those principles against the reality of the different situations in which they would be needed. It is in these tests that the the importance of a dispute resolution comes in, as disagreements will inevitably happen.


Clare Slipper, NFU Scotland

Clare opened by noting that, since the EU referendum, one of NFU Scotland’s key priorities has been to support the development and delivery of a new system of agricultural support that genuinely fits the specific needs of Scottish farmers and crofters. Although not constitutional experts, NFU Scotland can communicate the concerns of its members, which are not necessarily about where the powers will sit after we leave the EU but about what will be done with them. Ms Slipper noted that Scotland’s farmers and crofters help maintain the agricultural patchwork that contributes to Scotland’s USP as a producer of high quality food and drink. The fact that agriculture also keeps people on the land – in its remotest communities, stimulating rural economies, and managing the environment and landscapes – is why after Brexit it is crucial that a new agricultural support system for Scotland is developed.

Read the full report here: Common Frameworks Conference Event Report

Post-event work

The discussions at the event have fed into two parliamentary inquiries. Click the links below to find out more:

Scottish Parliament Finance and Constitution Committee Inquiry on Common Frameworks

House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee Inquiry on the Relationship between the UK and Scottish Governments