For the purpose of this discussion, I am going to assume that on the day on Scottish Independence, Scotland will not have managed to sign their treaty of accession to the European Union and as such would be operating as an independent country outside of the European Union.
It has been estimated that over 200 institutions that are currently undertaken by the UK government that would
- have to be replicated by institutions in Scotland
- Absorbed into existing Scottish Institutions
- Continue operating as they do currently provided that funding is independent
- Some other arrangement as yet to be determined (because no one has thought about it)
There are a number of practicalities which will need to be addressed in order to achieve the creation of these institutions or to ensure that their functions can continue:
As these institutions do not exist within a specifically Scottish Legislative environment, significant amount of legislative work will have to undertaken by the parliament of an Independent Scotland. Some questions come to mind:
- How can a Scottish Parliament pass legislation for an independent Scotland, prior to going independent?
- As Westminster passes about 50 statutes a year, we can therefore assume that it will take Scotland a minimum 4 years to pass the relevant legislation
- 18 months is insufficient time to pass all the relevant legislation – so will the Scottish parliament pass the legislation without the appropriate scrutiny or will they operate a hybrid (not totally independent Scotland – relying on the RUK to bail them out again)
- What will be the nationality requirement for employment in Scotland, especially for the Scottish government or Scottish institutions?
- What will be the employment / redundancy rights and safeguards for non-scottish nationals employed in Scotland?
- Having passed the relevant legislation for the establishment of the new Scottish institutions, there will need to be a recruitment process to fill the senior positions in those institutions. Senior positions will take 2-3 months to identify suitable positions and then depending upon their current employment contracts they will almost certainly have a period of gardening leave before being able to take up the new employment. Whilst some individuals will be able to transition from current roles to a more senior one, most will require the recruitment of new individuals who will be experienced in the development of policy frameworks and the supporting bureaucratic infrastructure.