§ Mrs. McKenna
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement regarding the non-statutory agreements to be drawn up between departments of the United Kingdom Government and the Scottish Executive. 
§ Mr. Dewar
The White Paper, "Scotland's Parliament" noted that the Scottish Executive and Departments of the UK Government will need to develop mutual understandings covering the appropriate exchange of information, advance notification and joint working.
The Government have produced guidance for departments setting out the main principles which might govern such non-statutory agreements. Their aim will be to ensure that the business of government in Scotland and at the UK level is conducted smoothly, by setting the ground rules for administrative co-operation and exchange of information. Their purpose is not to create legal obligations or restrictions on any party, or to constrain the discretion of the Scottish Executive, or Parliament, or that of UK Government Departments.
Work on draft concordats will proceed before devolution, but they cannot be agreed until the Scottish Executive is established. The coverage of each agreement would be a matter for the Scottish Executive and the UK Government to agree. Likely common topics include: consultation arrangements in relation to proposals for legislation and executive action; exchange of policy papers, analysis and statistics; participation in working groups and official committees; liaison on EU and international matters; and consultation about UK/GB public bodies.
Copies of the guidance have been placed in the libraries of both Houses of Parliament.