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Scotland, United Kingdom

Transparency and Participation (SCO0010)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Scotland Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Organisational Readiness in Exiting the EU, Scottish Government

Support Institution(s): Other Actors Involved State actors involved • Other partners could be included as this work evolves CSOs, private sector, multilaterals, working groups • Active partners could include: • Open Government Network • Rural Parliament YoungScot • Other partners to be included as this work evolves

Policy Areas

Citizenship & Immigration, Marginalized Communities, Public Participation, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Scotland Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Commitment 5: Transparency and participation in Scotland as the UK exits the European Union
November 2018 – 2020 (end of Exit Transition period) Lead Implementing agency/actor Organisational Readiness in Exiting the EU, Scottish Government
Commitment description What is the public problem that the commitment will address? Since the UK-wide vote to leave the European Union in 2016, the UK, as the member state negotiating with the EU, has not provided objective information on the process, outcomes and potential implications of leaving the European Union. From discussions with stakeholders in Scotland, there is a perception that the public are confused and do not trust information surrounding Brexit, with a wide range of conflicting information regarding the possible terms of the UKs future relationship with the EU, and what this means for individuals and businesses in Scotland and the EU, and other EU nationals living in Scotland. This was also recognised by the Open Government Partnership. The Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) Interim Progress Report for the United Kingdom 2016-2018 National Action Plan recommended: The government must ensure citizens have access to information on how the Brexit process will impact their lives, given the major institutional changes that will take place in the UK as a result. Moving forward, the IRM researcher recommends that the government and CSOs (Civil Society Organisations) continue experimenting with new ways of engaging with a wider range civil society stakeholders and the public around this and other key issues. Whilst this recommendation was made to the UK Government, the impact of Brexit will be felt as strongly, and even more so in some areas of Scotland, where there are particular concerns from individuals and organisations around depopulation from less migration, less EU funding and lower exports to the EU. This is in the context of the majority of citizens voting to remain in the EU, and where devolution means the policy
and legal implications of decisions made by the UK Government will have different implications and impacts on Scotland. What is the commitment? The Scottish Government is committed to proactively publishing information on the potential impacts of Brexit and actual impacts as these are realised. Where research and analysis is commissioned, we will seek to publish results where possible. To support and encourage involvement of people and communities so we can hear their views and they can understand the information, implications and impacts of the decisions taken by the UK Government. The Scottish Government will make public its preferred approach to leaving the European Union, and the supporting evidence for that approach. We will engage with stakeholders, including the Scottish Parliament, to provide our ongoing assessment of EU exit negotiations, the implications of the outcomes for Scotland and we will listen to views to inform the Scottish Government’s response. This will help to raise understanding by policy makers about the implications and to help protect what matters to the people of Scotland as the UK leaves the EU. This is in addition to the commitments contained within our Agreement with the Scottish Parliament on Intergovernmental Relations, which has been commended to other administrations as a model of good practice. The Scottish Government has already published several papers including: • In our Scotland’s Place in Europe publication published in 2016 and updated in 2018, we clearly set out potential implications of Brexit and our position to remain in the EU. • What’s at Stake for Individuals and What’s at Stake for Businesses highlights what stakeholders in Scotland are concerned about . All our publications relating to Brexit are collated here.
How will the commitment contribute to solving the public problem? Publishing a clear position, based on evidence and analysis, at an early stage helped ensure that people were informed as negotiations began. By continuing dialogue across and within communities we will continue to improve understanding of all of the issues people are facing in regard to the impacts of Brexit; increase understanding of and influence the Scottish Government’s policy with regards to negotiations with the UK Government and help build consensus in Scotland for mitigation of the impacts of Brexit on people’s lives and wellbeing. Why is this commitment relevant to Open Government Partnership values? This commitment supports the Open Government Partnership values of openness, accountability and participation in relation to arguably the biggest policy impact for a generation or more, which will change not only the policy environment but the legal basis and basic rights of all those resident in Scotland and Scots resident in EU countries. Additional information At the time of developing the 2018-2020 Scottish National Action Plan the shape of the Brexit agreement and therefore the potential impacts on Scotland are not known. We are therefore keen to build on flexibility to this commitment to enable us to respond appropriately to this fast moving environment which is largely outwith the control of the Scottish Government. Milestone Activity with a verifiable deliverable Start Date End Date To hold 3 roundtable discussions with citizens and interest groups in the run up to Brexit September 2018 March 2019 To engage rural communities and work with Scottish Rural Parliament and potentially others, to deliver a discussion on the impacts of Brexit on rural communities November 2018 November 2018
To work with Children in Scotland to deliver a young people’s advisory panel on Brexit and MyLifeMySay to deliver Brexit Cafes for young people to understand their concerns and views on the future UK-EU relationship with a report due in December, 2018 September 2018 December 2018 As set out in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, we are making provision for a service that will provide practical advice, information and support for EU citizens in Scotland. We envisage a service that will improve awareness and understanding of rights, entitlements and requirements, and we will set out more details of the service in the coming weeks. We will make provision for an advice and support service for those 235,000 EU citizens resident in Scotland. This will seek to offer information on the new settled status scheme and provide support to EU citizens in understanding the impact Brexit will have on them. End of 2018 Until no longer required Contact information Name of responsible person from implementing agency Doreen Grove Title, Department Head of Open Government, Ingage, Scottish Government Email and Phone Doreen.grove@gov.scot 07767343230 Lead: Alan Johnston – Deputy Director, EU Exit Readiness - Alan.Johnston@gov.scot 68 Other Actors Involved State actors involved • Other partners could be included as this work evolves CSOs, private sector, multilaterals, working groups • Active partners could include: • Open Government Network • Rural Parliament YoungScot • Other partners to be included as this work evolves

IRM Midterm Status Summary

5 Transparency and participation in Scotland as the UK exits the European Union

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“The Scottish Government is committed to proactively publishing information on the potential impacts of Brexit and actual impacts as these are realised. Where research and analysis is commissioned, we will seek to publish results where possible. To support and encourage involvement of people and communities so we can hear their views and they can understand the information, implications and impacts of the decisions taken by the UK Government. The Scottish Government will make public its preferred approach to leaving the European Union, and the supporting evidence for that approach. We will engage with stakeholders, including the Scottish Parliament, to provide our ongoing assessment of EU exit negotiations, the implications of the outcomes for Scotland and we will listen to views to inform the Scottish Government’s response. This will help to raise understanding by policy makers about the implications and to help protect what matters to the people of Scotland as the UK leaves the EU.”

Activities

  1. To hold 3 roundtable discussions with citizens and interest groups in the run up to Brexit
  2. To engage rural communities and work with Scottish Rural Parliament and potentially others, to deliver a discussion on the impacts of Brexit on rural communities
  3. To work with Children in Scotland to deliver a young people’s advisory panel on Brexit and MyLifeMySay to deliver Brexit Cafes for young people to understand their concerns and views on the future UK-EU relationship with a report due in December, 2018
  4. As set out in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government, we are making provision for a service that will provide practical advice, information and support for EU citizens in Scotland. We envisage a service that will improve awareness and understanding of rights, entitlements and requirements, and we will set out more details of the service in the coming weeks.
  5. We will make provision for an advice and support service for those 235,000 EU citizens resident in Scotland. This will seek to offer information on the new settled status scheme and provide support to EU citizens in understanding the impact Brexit will have on them

Start Date: December 2018

End Date: December 2020

Context and Objectives

According to Scotland’s second action plan, the UK Government has not provided objective information on the process, outcomes and potential implications of leaving the EU and there is a perception that the public in Scotland do not trust information surrounding Brexit. The action plan further notes that the impact of Brexit will be felt particularly strongly in areas of Scotland where there are concerns around depopulation, less EU funding and lower exports to the EU. Devolution also means the policy and legal implications of decisions made by the UK Government will have different implications and impacts on Scotland. [41]

In order to address this gap in information and trust, this commitment aims to continue dialogue across communities in Scotland to:

  • improve understanding of all of the issues people are facing in regard to the impacts of Brexit;
  • increase understanding of and influence the Scottish Government’s policy with regards to negotiations with the UK Government; and
  • help build consensus in Scotland for mitigation of the impacts of Brexit on people’s lives and wellbeing.

This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information as it aims to provide greater transparency to the public in Scotland on the implications of Brexit. It is also relevant to the value of civic participation as it aims to provide opportunities for different groups of citizens to inform the Scottish Government’s response to Brexit.

This commitment is specific enough to be verifiable as it includes a number of clear deliverables targeted at specific groups, such as a set of roundtable discussions, a discussion with the Scottish Rural Parliament, a young people’s advisory panel, Brexit Cafes for young people etc. It also includes provisions for an advice and support service for EU citizens in Scotland, although it is not specific about what such a service will entail, noting that “we will set out more details of the service in the coming weeks”. It should be noted that activities 4 and 5 are duplicated.

Doreen Grove described Brexit as “the biggest issue affecting trust in government in the UK at the moment”, [42] while Michael Russell labelled it the “elephant in the room” that needed to be addressed in the OGP action plan. [43] For Elric Honoré, including a commitment on Brexit in the action plan forces the government to become more responsible and responsive than perhaps it might have been. In his view, the Scottish Government has a duty of care to its citizens to deal with the consequences of Brexit. [44]

However, while recognising the centrality of the issue of trust around Brexit for the citizens of Scotland, the IRM researcher considers that the commitment is likely to have only a minor impact on mitigating the trust gap. This is largely because of the limited clarity on the types of information the government plans to make public as a result of the activities. Furthermore, it is not clear how understanding people’s concerns through the range of proposed participation activities will ultimately translate into mitigating the potential impacts of Brexit on citizens.

Next steps

Given the limited potential impact of this commitment, the inherent uncertainty surrounding the Brexit process, and the limited control which the Scottish Government has over it, the IRM researcher does not recommend carrying this commitment forward to future action plans. Moreover, in light of the challenges presented in Scottish context by the requirement to limit the number of commitments to five, it is recommended that other issues emerging more strongly from public consultation be considered in future instead, such as supporting citizen journalism or reforming the mechanisms for handling NHS complaints. [45]

[41] Scotland's Open Government Action Plan 2018-2020: detailed commitments, https://www.gov.scot/publications/scotlands-open-government-action-plan-2018-20-detailed-commitments/
[42] Interview with Doreen Grove and Niamh Webster, Open Government Team, 17 May 2019.
[43] Interview with Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, 16 May 2019.
[44] Interview with Elric Honoré, civil society chair of the OGP Steering Group, 15 May 2019.

Commitments

  1. Financial and Performance Transparency

    SCO0006, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  2. Open Policy Making and Participation in Service Delivery

    SCO0007, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Improve Data Use

    SCO0008, 2018, Access to Information

  4. Public Service Accountability

    SCO0009, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  5. Transparency and Participation

    SCO0010, 2018, Citizenship & Immigration

  6. Financial Transparency

    SCO0001, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  7. Measuring Scotland’s Progress

    SCO0002, 2017, Capacity Building

  8. Deliver a Fairer Scotland

    SCO0003, 2017, Marginalized Communities

  9. Participatory Budgeting (Also Known as Community Choices in Scotland)

    SCO0004, 2017, Capacity Building

  10. Increasing Participation

    SCO0005, 2017, Capacity Building

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