Commission on Scottish Devolution

An independent review of the experience of devolution in Scotland

Header Image Commission on Scottish Devolution: About the Commission
Faic an duilleag seo sa Ghàidhlig


Commission members group photo


The remit of the Commission on Scottish Devolution is:

"To review the provisions of the Scotland Act 1998 in the light of experience and to recommend any changes to the present constitutional arrangements that would enable the Scottish Parliament to serve the people of Scotland better, improve the financial accountability of the Scottish Parliament, and continue to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom."


The starting point for the Commission was a debate in the Scottish Parliament on 6 December 2007. This resulted in the Parliament formally resolving to support "the establishment of an independently chaired commission to review devolution in Scotland". The Parliament's resolution goes on to set out the Commission's remit (above), and to instruct the Parliament's corporate body to "allocate appropriate resources and funding" for it.

The United Kingdom Government signalled its support for the Commission in January 2008. In a written Ministerial Statement on 25 March, the Secretary of State for Scotland said the UK Government would work with the Scottish Parliament to provide support for the Commission.

The appointment of Sir Kenneth Calman to chair the Commission was announced on 25 March 2008, and the rest of the membership was confirmed on 28 April.

Meetings and structures

The Commission's first meeting was held in the Scottish Parliament on 28 April. This agreed, in particular, the creation of four initial "task groups" to take forward key elements of the work - looking at functions, principles, financial accountability, and engagement. A further task group on inter-governmental relations was established following the Commission meeting on 30 May.

Since then, the Commission has met on a roughly monthly basis, with the task groups actively pursuing matters within their remits in the periods between Commission meetings. (Minutes of Commission and Task Group meetings can be found on the Papers page.) During the autumn of 2008 and spring of 2009, Commission members undertook a programme of local engagement events (for further details, see the Local Events page) and sessions of oral evidence (for further details, see the Oral Evidence page).

Commission reports

The Commission’s First Report [PDF - 347KB] was published on 2 December 2008, giving an overview of progress to date and setting out a range of issues on which further evidence and engagement was sought.

The Commission’s Final Report [PDF - 2.62MB] was published on 15 June 2009. It includes a wide range of recommendations covering all aspects of the Commission’s remit. This concludes the Commission’s work.

Task Groups chairs

The chairs of the five task groups are:

  • Principles: Sir Kenneth Calman
  • Functions: Professor Sir David Edward
  • Engagement: Murdoch MacLennan
  • Financial Accountability: Shonaig Macpherson
  • Inter-Governmental Relations: Jim Wallace.

Independent Expert Group

There is also an independent expert group, established to advise the Commission on financial accountability. It is chaired by Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University. The other members of the expert group are:

  • John Aldridge, former Finance Director at the Scottish Executive
  • Professor David Bell, Professor of Economics, Stirling University
  • Professor Robin Boadway, Professor of Economics, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • Professor Julia Darby, Professor of Economics, University of Strathclyde
  • Dr Sandra Eden, senior lecturer in tax law, Edinburgh University
  • Professor Clemens Fuest, Professor of Economics, University of Cologne, and Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the German Federal Ministry of Finance
  • Professor Andrew Hughes Hallett, Professor of Economics and Public Policy, George Mason University, Virginia, USA, and Professor at St Andrews University.
  • Professor Charlie Jeffery, Professor of Politics, Edinburgh University
  • Professor Alex Kemp, Schlumberger Professor of Petroleum Economics, University of Aberdeen
  • Iain McLean, Official Fellow in Politics, Nuffield College, Oxford, and Professor of Politics, University of Oxford
  • Jeremy Peat, Director of the David Hume Institute, former Group Chief Economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland and a former economic adviser at HM Treasury and the Scottish Office
  • David Ulph, Professor and Head of School of Economics and Finance, St Andrews University