Guidance

Devolution guidance notes

The devolution guidance notes (DGNs) set out advice on working arrangements between the UK government and the devolved administrations.

Detail

Following the May 2015 general election, the Prime Minister agreed that those areas of constitutional reform for which the Deputy Prime Minister previously held responsibility, should transfer to the Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and continue within the Cabinet Office. This includes responsibility for constitutional matters, devolution and electoral reform. Responsibility for the Electoral Commission, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and the Boundary Commissions also remains in the Cabinet Office.

These devolution guidance notes (DGNs) set out advice on working arrangements between the UK government and the devolved administrations.They provide an introduction to the main principles involved in the managing of the devolution settlements, bilateral relations, correspondence, parliamentary business, legislation and concordats.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Role of the Secretary of State for Scotland: the functions and the role played by the Secretary of State for Scotland following devolution.

  4. Role of the Secretary of State for Wales: the functions and the role played by the Secretary of State for Wales following devolution.

  5. Role of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland: the role of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland following the restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland. It makes clear that the role retains responsibility for policing, criminal justice and constitutional matters affecting Northern Ireland.

  6. 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.

  7. Court proceedings regarding devolution issues: not yet published.

  8. Post-devolution primary legislation affecting Northern Ireland: guidance on handling legislation that affects Northern Ireland. It sets out what should be done if you wish to include in a Bill provisions that apply to Northern Ireland and deal with transferred (ie devolved) matters.

  9. Post-primary legislation affecting Wales: guidance for UK government departments on handling legislation affecting Wales. Sets out how the Legislative Programme (LP) Committee expects departments to handle primary legislation affecting Wales, while ensuring the smooth management of the government’s legislative programme.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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 sections on Bills, and on parliamentary questions and debates.

  14. Use of Scotland Act Section 30(2) Orders: the use of Section 30(2) Orders to amend the list of reservations in the Scotland Act - either increasing or reducing the scope of reserved matters.

  15. 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.

  16. Superseded by DGN17: Modifying the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales.

  17. Modifying the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales: Orders in Council made under Section 109 of the 2006 Act may modify the legislative competence of the Assembly by amending Schedule 7.