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Celebrating a year of 'Devolution and You'

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Philip Rycroft
Philip Rycroft, Second Permanent Secretary, Head of UK Governance Group, Cabinet Office

Do you understand devolution? Do you know what it means for your work? Do you know how policy is made in the other governments of the UK and how the four parliaments and assemblies go about their business?

Whether you work for a UK Government department or for one of the devolved governments, it has never been more important that we as civil servants understand the governance of the whole of the UK. Without that understanding, we will not be well placed to advise our respective ministers on how best to achieve their objectives.

That’s why one year ago we launched the Devolution and You  campaign - a learning resource for all civil servants, to help improve knowledge of devolution and how the different governments interact.

The Devolution and You learning campaign is a successful collaboration between the UK Government, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government. It reflects the common purpose we share to give civil servants the tools and understanding we need to do our jobs effectively and is enthusiastically supported by the Civil Service Board

Two women and a man (left) at an exhibition stand with banners behind.
The Devolution and You stand at Civil Service Live 2016 in Sheffield

Over the last year the campaign has delivered a wide range of activities and events and has benefited thousands of civil servants. For example, during Devolution Learning Week, 22 UK Government departments, as well as the Scottish Government and Welsh Governments, delivered nearly 70 events.  At Civil Service Live 2016, 32 sessions on intergovernmental working were delivered across the 5 venues, with hundreds of civil servants attending.

So some great successes so far, but we have much more to do. Later this year the first tranche of the new suite of learning will be launched on the Civil Service Learning platform. The new learning is both on-line and face-to-face, and civil servants from all three administrations will be able to access tailored workshops to support their devolution learning.

Following the outcome of the EU referendum, this work takes on an added dimension and a new urgency. For civil servants in UK Government Departments, it means supporting the delivery of the commitment by the Prime Minister to fully engage the Devolved Administrations in preparations for EU exit. For all of us, it means working through the consequences of the referendum for inter-governmental relations in the UK and for the devolution settlements.

So we have much to do and Devolution and You will help us do it. Underpinning the joint enterprise of Devolution and You are the values we share: integrity, honesty, impartiality and objectivity - and a strong belief in public service. Those values, combined with ever-improving understanding of the governance of the UK, will mean that we will continue to serve our respective ministers effectively.

Sir Derek Jones, Permanent Secretary, Welsh Government said:

We are now 17 years into the Devolution Project. Perhaps now more than ever, it is vital that the Civil Service functions effectively for the UK as a whole, and is seen to do so. One of the best ways of doing this is by making the most of devolution, and using the diverse experiences of our colleagues across administrations. Devolution and You is making this possible for more and more of us, and even after just a year, we are beginning to see real benefits.

Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary, Scottish Government said:

Devolution and You is an important programme for civil servants as it encourages us to consider the impacts of our policies on other administrations and to engage with our counterparts at a time when effective delivery requires us to work together.

There has never been a better time to use the skills promoted by the Devolution and You campaign to understand how the UK's administrations can work together. Find out more about the Devolution and You learning campaign here. You can contact us at:

Devolution and You launched July 2015

  • 17 devolution-themed sessions at Civil Service Live 2015
  • 32 devolution-themed sessions at Civil service Live 2016
  • 69 Devolution Learning Week events
  • more than 20 UK Government tailored seminars to SCS in departments
  • 5 Civil Service Local discovery sessions
  • 4 Policy Profession ½-day workshops
  • UKG hosted 50 Scottish Government and Welsh Government staff at the One Civil Service Interchange job shadowing week in February
  • WG hosted 40 UKG and SG staff at the WG One Civil Service Interchange job shadowing week in June
  • SG is due to host 35/40 UKG and WG staff for an interchange job shadowing week in early November

Follow UK Governance and Devolution Team on Twitter: @CSDevoTeam

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Dakota posted on

    It is not devolution we need, it is unity. A lot of people are feeling lost in a country that has no unity. If the politicians want devolution, we have to implement it, but that does not mean we have to be enthusiastic about it.