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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/devolution-guidance-for-civil-servants/devolution-guidance-for-civil-servants
1. Devolution and You
Work is under way to increase the powers and responsibilities of the legislatures and devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland has also received additional powers.
Devolution puts power closer to the citizen and recognises the wish of the people of the devolved parts of the UK to have more say over issues that affect their lives. You can read this overview of the devolution settlements.
Understanding how devolution operates in the UK is important for all civil servants, regardless of which government we work for. This is because it can affect the policies we work on and the public services we manage. UK Government departments, together with the devolved administrations, have information to support our learning and understanding of devolution. If you would like further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or your Devolution co-ordinator who will be able to provide you with a range of learning material.
We have a series of blogs from people who have experience of how devolution work and what it means in practice. This includes Philip Rycroft, Head of UK Governance Group and Permanent Secretary (Department for Exiting the European Union), who shares his view on devolution and why it’s important to be in the know.
Devolution isn’t new. In the late 1990s, the UK Parliament devolved powers to the legislatures of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Not all the powers devolved are the same - this is called asymmetric devolution.
Civil servants from all parts of the UK have learnt how to work with these settlements. Further changes in recent years means the devolution of significant new powers.
3. How devolution affects the way we work
As more powers are devolved, you will need to understand the changes in order to assess potential impacts on your work. There are three main reasons why it is important to think about this:
- the territorial extent of your work may be affected – for example you may be working on a policy that has an effect in England only, or Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland only, or UK-wide
- if you are a civil servant working for the UK Government you may need to work with one or more of the devolved administrations to successfully implement your policy or deliver your service
- if you are working on something that is devolved, you have a good opportunity to learn from different approaches taken in other parts of the UK and can share learning about common problems
4. Working together
Officials working for the governments of the UK, Scotland and Wales are part of the same Civil Service organisation and share the same culture and values as set out in the Civil Service Codes for:
The Northern Ireland Civil Service is a separate organisation but shares the same culture and values as set out in the Civil Service Code:
These common values make it easier for civil servants from across administrations to work together, and regular contact will improve your understanding of devolution and how it affects your work area.
A toolkit of guidance is also available for civil servants working with devolved administrations.
5. One Civil Service Interchange
This scheme helps civil servants to develop networks and share learning across the administrations of the UK. Under this scheme, you can get first hand experience of your counterparts’ expertise so you have the chance to see what’s working elsewhere and apply that in your work area. You can do this by job shadowing, short term project working or traditional loan and secondment arrangements. These flexible arrangements provide a range of options for those who don’t necessarily want to seek a long term posting away from home.
Find out what the Cabinet Secretary thinks about One Civil Service Interchange by reading his blog. Most recently, Shan Morgan, Permanent Secretary of the Welsh Government, wrote about devolution from a Welsh Government perspective. If you wish to get involved in job shadowing opportunities or want to find out more about how you can become involved contact us.
- UK Government departments: email@example.com
- Scottish Government: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Welsh Government: email@example.com
- Northern Ireland Civil Service: firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Who to contact
Not everyone needs to be an expert, but if your role requires it, you may need to develop more detailed understanding. There are many people who can guide you.
The three Territorial Offices are Scotland Office, Wales Office and Northern Ireland Office and are all UK Government departments. They represent the UK Government’s interests in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the interests of the devolved territories in the UK Government. They can provide support and advice, and you can find out more about them and the work that they do by following these links:
7. Devolution co-ordinator contact details
Devolution coordinators can provide more detailed advice on how devolution affects a UK Government department’s work.
|Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy||Marcus Brooks||030 0068 email@example.com|
|Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government||Mark Ewbank||030 3444 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Department For International Development||Steven Roddie||01355 843 email@example.com|
|Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs||Eric Bates||020 8225 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Department for Exiting the European Union||Siân Parkinson||075 2535 email@example.com|
|Department for Culture, Media and Sport||Wendy Shales||020 7211 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Department for Transport||Andy Robinson||020 7944 email@example.com|
|Department of Health and Social Care||Alison Raw||020 7210 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Department for Work & Pensions||Richard Poureshagh||020 7449 email@example.com|
|Department for Education||Lorna Bertrand||020 7340 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Foreign and Commonwealth Office||Devolution Unit||020 7008 email@example.com|
|Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs||Paul Stansfield||0300 058 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Her Majesty’s Treasury||Tom Hughes||0207 270 email@example.com|
|Home Office||Grant Oliver||020 7035 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Ministry of Defence||Carolyn Kemp||020 7807 0703||DSP-Devolution-AH2@mod.uk|
|Cabinet Office||Devolution Mailbox||020 7276 email@example.com|
|Ministry of Justice||Geraint Davies||020 3334 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Office of the Advocate General||Neil Taylor||013 1244 email@example.com|
|Attorney General’s Office||Francesca Debenham||0207 241 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Department for International Trade||James Trinder||020 7215 email@example.com|
|Scotland Office||Rachel Irvine||020 7270 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Wales Office||David Harries||029 2092 email@example.com|
|Northern Ireland Office||Bilal Zahid||020 710 firstname.lastname@example.org|
8. Devolved Administrations
|Scottish Government||Alison Morris||0131 244 email@example.com|
|Welsh Government||Owen Davies||02920 82 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Northern Ireland Executive||Bernie McClusker||028 9037 email@example.com|