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New report highlights a successful UK devolved relationship

Publication of the first ever Intergovernmental Relations Annual Report demonstrated successful collaboration and cooperation with the devolved administrations across the UK.

Covering the year of 2021, the reported showed that devolved cooperation was essential to successful government action on the Covid-19 pandemic, introducing levelling up as a core aspect of the national agenda through city and growth deals, and bringing in action on climate change to a global stage through COP26 and ambitious targets.

According to the report, there were more than 440 ministerial meetings between the UK Government and the devolved administrations held during 2021.

This was then further supported by extensive daily engagement between civil servants across the different governments, as the UK Government worked closely with counterparts within the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive.

As part of a commitment to transparency, the UK Government is to publish reports on engagement between the governments on a quarterly basis, with the reports publicly available.

Secretary of State for Levelling Up and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, Michael Gove, said: “Regular, meaningful and sustained joint working between the UK and devolved governments over the last twelve months has delivered for people across the whole United Kingdom. 

“We faced the Covid-19 pandemic together, co-operating on a world-leading vaccination roll-out which benefitted people in every corner of the UK. At COP26 in Glasgow, we stood as one in our determination to set ambitious climate change goals which will protect our planet for the future. 

“While we do not always agree, we have shown in the most challenging of times that we can put our differences aside and work together in the interests of the people we serve.”

Prepared by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the new Intergovernmental Relations Annual Report is the latest step in further increasing that transparency of intergovernmental affairs, and follows a landmark agreement published earlier this year between the UK Government and devolved governments which established new ways of working.

There has also been the establishment of inter-ministerial steering groups and official-level working groups by the Intergovernmental Relations Review.

These groups will meet regularly throughout the year, with the first – chaired by Mr Gove – meeting last week to discuss the global political situation and levelling up.

This new structure has also seen a new mechanism introduced for avoiding, escalating and resolving disputes, supported by joint secretariats and based upon consensus.

Public Sector Executive will be delving into the UK levelling up debate at an upcoming virtual event. Register your interest here

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