Common frameworks

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What is a common framework?

A common framework is an agreed approach to a particular policy, including the implementation and governance of it.

What do common frameworks do?

Common frameworks help to make sure that there is some degree of consistency in policy and practice.

Why are common frameworks being developed in the UK?

The UK and devolved governments have agreed that common frameworks will be needed after the UK’s exit from the EU to ensure that, in certain policy areas, there is no divergence between the nations of the UK where that would be undesirable.

During its membership of the EU, the UK and all of its governments have been required to comply with EU law. This has ensured that in many policy areas, including some that are devolved, a broadly consistent approach has developed across all four nations.

Following its exit from the EU on 31 January 2020, the UK entered a transition period which is due to run until 31 December 2020. Throughout this transition period all parts of the UK must continue to comply with EU law. Once the transition period ends this requirement will also end, allowing the possibility of policy divergence between the four nations of the UK. Common frameworks are being developed to ensure that rules and regulations in certain policy areas remain consistent across the UK.

Further detail on common frameworks can be found in these answers to some frequently asked questions and this collection of additional background material and other useful information.

What is the Scottish Parliament’s role in relation to common frameworks?

As part of its scrutiny role, the Scottish Parliament needs to be able to consider the Scottish Government’s approach to the development of common frameworks. The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government have worked together to produce a protocol for the sharing of information relating to common frameworks.

The committees of the Scottish Parliament will lead on scrutinising those common frameworks that fall within their respective policy areas. In addition, the Finance and Constitution Committee will also consider the wider implications of common frameworks in general and their potential constitutional impact.

You can find out more about the work of each committee below. If you’re not sure which committee is considering a specific common framework, you can take a look at our handy guide.

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