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  • The Future of Scottish Devolution within the Union: A First Report

    December 2008

  • Presented to the Presiding Officer of the

    Scottish Parliament and to the

    Secretary of State for Scotland,

    on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government,

    December 2008


  • The Future of Scottish Devolution within the Union: A First Report

    In the Spring of this year I was asked to take the chair of the Commission on Scottish Devolution. The Commission is supported by the Scottish Parliament and the United Kingdom Government. This, the First Report of the Commission, sets out our thinking so far, and invites further discussion and evidence on the subjects in our remit.

    Devolution to Scotland in 1999 was a very significant constitutional development, and one conclusion which we can already draw from our work is that it has been a great success. But constitutions do not stand still. They develop in response to opportunities and pressures as they arise. 10 years after the Scotland Act, our task has been to explore what the scope for further development might be.

    In thinking about change, we bear in mind two things that will recur throughout this report. Both are critical elements of our remit. First, how can we help the Scottish Parliament serve the people of Scotland better? The ultimate and only purpose of constitutional change is to help improve people’s lives. Secondly, how is change consistent with Scotland’s continued place in the United Kingdom, which we value?

    Our task is not finished, but in this report we look at the functions of the Scottish Parliament, how it is financed and is accountable to the Scottish people, and how the new Scottish political institutions relate to the rest of the UK. In each of these areas, we set down our current thinking and ask some general and some quite specific questions about possible developments. We will very much welcome responses to these questions from across Scotland and beyond to help us to produce our final recommendations next year.

    The members of the Commission come from different walks of life and from across Scotland. All have made significant contributions to public life in Scotland and beyond. I would like to thank them, and the Commission’s Secretariat, for their unstinting commitment to this fascinating and important project.

    We have been very grateful to those who gave us evidence, and engaged with us as we considered the issues. We will very much welcome responses from across Scotland and beyond to the issues we raise and the questions we set out in this report, to help us produce our final recommendations next year.

    Kenneth Calman

    2 December 2008


  • The Commission

    • Rt Hon Lord Boyd of Duncansby QC (Colin Boyd) – former Lord Advocate, and Labour peer

    • Professor Sir Kenneth Calman KCB (Chairman) – Chancellor of the University of Glasgow

    • Rani Dhir MBE – Executive Director, Drumchapel Housing Cooperative

    • Professor Sir David Edward – retired Judge of the European Court of Justice

    • Lord Elder (Murray Elder) – Labour peer

    • Audrey Findlay CBE – former Leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Convener of the Scottish Liberal Democrat Party

    • Lord Lindsay (Jamie Lindsay) – former Scottish Office Minister, Conservative peer and Chairman of the Scottish Agricultural College

    • John Loughton – youth activist and former Chairman of the Scottish Youth Parliament

    • Murdoch MacLennan – Chief Executive, Telegraph Media Group

    • Shonaig Macpherson CBE – Chair of the National Trust for Scotland and of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry

    • Iain McMillan CBE – Director, CBI Scotland

    • Rt Hon Lord Selkirk of Douglas QC1 (James Selkirk) – former Scottish Office minister and Conservative peer

    • Mona Siddiqui – Professor of Islamic Studies, University of Glasgow

    • Matt Smith OBE – Scottish Secretary, UNISON

    • Rt Hon Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC (Jim Wallace) – former Deputy First Minister and Liberal Democrat peer

    The Future of Scottish Devolution within the Union: A First Report | December 2008

    1 Lord Selkirk was known, when a Minister and MSP, as Lord James Douglas-Hamilton.


  • Commission Secretariat

    The Commission is supported by a Secretariat consisting of officials seconded from the UK Government and the Scottish Parliament. The Secretariat advises the Commission on all aspects of its work, and acts as a general contact point for enquiries and public engagement.

    Professor Jim Gallagher CB FRSE (Commission Secretary)

    Paul Kett (Head of Secretariat)

    Robin Haynes

    Chris Jennings

    Andrew Mylne

    Simon Olsen

    Niva Thiruchelvam

    Contacting the Commission

    You can write to the Commission Chairman at the following address:

    Sir Kenneth Calman Chairman, Commission on Scottish Devolution c/o Scottish Parliament Edinburgh EH99 1SP

    You can contact the Secretariat by post, telephone or email:

    Commission Secretariat 1 Melville Crescent Edinburgh EH3 7HW

    Telephone: (020) 7270 6759 or (0131) 244 9073



    The Commission’s website is:

    The website contains further information about the Commission and all aspects of its work. In particular, it includes Commission minutes and other papers, transcripts and notes of oral evidence, written submissions, and information about methods of engagement (including an online questionnaire and discussion forum).

    The Future of Scottish Devolution within the Union: A First Report | December 2008


  • Contents

    Volume 1: Report

    Chapter 1 Introduction 3

    Chapter 2 Context and background 7

    Chapter 3 Engagement and evidence-gathering 20

    Chapter 4 Principles: devolution and the Union 25

    Chapter 5 The powers and functions of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government 37

    Chapter 6 Financial accountability 56

    Chapter 7 Relationships between the Parliaments, Governments 75 and institutions

    Chapter 8 Other features of the Scotland Act 94 and the operation of the Scottish Parliament

    Chapter 9 Summary 99

    Annexe A Reserved matters 105 (from Schedules 4 and 5 to the Scotland Act)

    Annexe B Membership and Summary of Conclusions 110 of the Independent Expert Group

    Annexe C Barnett Worked Example 114

    Annexe D Shared Competence – Considerations from the EU Approach 115

    Volume 2: Evidence

    Part 1: Local engagement events

    Part 2: Written submissions

    Part 3: Oral evidence

    Part 4: Other sources

    Contents | December 2008


  • 2

  • Chapter 1 Introduction

    Establishment and remit of the Commission

    1.1 The remit of the Commission on Scottish Devolution is:

    To review the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 in the light of experience and to recommend any changes to the present constitutional arrangements that would enable the Scottish Parliament to serve the people of Scotland better, improve the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament, and continue to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom.

    1.2 This remit was agreed by the Scottish Parliament on 6 December 2007 when it resolved to support "the establishment of an independently chaired commission to review devolution in Scotland".2

    1.3 The motion, moved by Wendy Alexander MSP, not only set out a remit for the Commission, but also encouraged UK parliamentarians and parties to support it and called on the Scottish Parliament's corporate body to provide "appropriate resources and funding". The motion was given a clear Parliamentary endorsement (by 76 votes to 46 with 3 abstentions). An amendment to the motion by Nicola Sturgeon MSP, which called for a referendum with independence as one of the options, was defeated (by the same margin).

    1.4 The UK Government first indicated its support for the Commission in a Written Answer in the House of Lords on 31 January 2008.3 It then pledged to provide resources to support the Commission’s work in a Written Ministerial Statement on 25 March 2008.4

    1.5 The Commission is independent of any political party, and of the Scottish Parliament and the UK Government. It reports to both, and it will be for them to consider how best to take forward the Commission’s conclusions and recommendations.


    1.6 Kenneth Calman was announced as the chairman of the Commission on 25 March 2008, and the rest of the membership was confirmed on 28 April, the day on which the Commission first met at the Scottish Parliament.

    1.7 Six of the fifteen members of the Commission were nominated by the three political parties that supported the motion in the Scottish Parliament – two each by the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative parties – and bring extensive experience of public life, both at devolved and UK level. The majority of the members, including the chairman, have no direct connection with any political party, but instead bring a wide range of skills and experience from the public, private and voluntary sectors.

    1.8 The full membership is listed on page ii and biographies of all the Commission members are available on the Commission’s website, .

    Chapter 1 Introduction | December 2008


    2 The full text of th