Corporate

Brexit Assessments

Request

I am interested in information from held by your organisation that relates to the process of planning and preparing for a possible future when the UK may not be a member of the European Union ("Brexit").

In particular:

1. How much has been spent on external consultants or support to advise on the implications and consequences of brexit, or recommend actions to mitigate any possible brexit impacts? If spend has occurred, please confirm the name of the supplier or suppliers and copies of any material produced by this process.

2. Please supply copies of any brexit planning documentation held by the organisation or consumed by senior management. This may include, but should not be limited to, Risk Assessments, Action Plans, Meeting minutes, Reports and presentations. 

3. Please supply technical or advisory briefing documentation on brexit that has been produced by the organisation and supplied to other government agencies or bodies.

4. Please supply copies of any technical or advisory documentation that has been supplied to the agency from other public bodies that relates to Brexit contingency planning. 

5. Please supply details of any assessment that has been made of the financial impact on the organisation, either positive or negative, of the brexit process. Has the organisation set-aside a contingency fund or invested as a direct consequence of the brexit process? If so, please provide summary details.

Response

To take your numbered questions in turn:

Q1. We have not spent any of our funds on external consultants or support to advise on the implications or consequences of Brexit, or recommend actions to mitigate any possible Brexit impacts.

 

Q2. FSS has allocated resources to a formal programme structure to provide oversight of our preparations for EU exit.  We are linked in to the Scottish Government’s EU exit programme, and are working with other Government departments across the UK on planning for a range of scenarios including that of ‘no deal’, to ensure that a functioning statute book and enforcement arrangements are in place from Day 1. A copy of the FSS EU exit programme structure is attached. 

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested (i.e. Programme Board papers and minutes).

In response to a request from the Scottish Government, FSS has produced a draft high level delivery plan, taking into account scenarios including that of ‘no deal’. 

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections  29(1)(a) (formulation or development of government policy), 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) and 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA applies to that information. 

Under Section 25 of FOISA, we do not have to provide information under FOISA if it can reasonably be obtained without making an FOI request. The Food Standards Scotland (FSS) Board has received and discussed several reports relating to the impact of EU Exit on FSS, and our approach to preparations and planning. These reports, and the minutes of the Board’s discussions, have been published and can be found at the following links:

March 2017 - Initial consideration of consumer interests associated with exiting the European Union

November 2017 – Leaving the European Union – progress report, including strategic and practical challenges

March 2018 – an update on delivery of FSS Strategy, including the impact of EU exit

May 2018 - To provide the Board with background information on ‘single market’ principles and how these relate to the development of UK frameworks in the area of food law

The minutes of the May 2018 Board meeting are also published at the above link.

In May 2018 the FSS Chair chaired a roundtable discussion on the regulatory challenges of getting product to market, with attendance from across food and drink businesses and representative bodies. Read the report.

 

Q3. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide the information you have requested because exemptions under sections  29(1)(a) (formulation or development of government policy), 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) and 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA applies to that information. 

 

Q4. Our aim is to provide information whenever possible.  However, in this instance, some of the information you have requested is not held by FSS for the purposes of FOISA because we received it in confidence from the UK Government.  This means that, under the terms of section 3(2)(a)(ii) of FOISA,  we are unable to disclose it in response to your request.  However, you may wish to submit a new request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) to Defra, the Department for Health and Social Care, and the Food Standards Agency, who should be able to help you further.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections 29(1)(a) (formulation or development of government policy), 30(b)(i) (free and frank provision of advice) and 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views) of FOISA applies to that information.   

 

Q5. At the beginning of June, FSS estimated the amount of additional funding required for work to be undertaken as a consequence of EU exit, in order to request additional funding from the Scottish Government.

FSS had allocated £922K for the financial year 2018/19, and estimated that a further £100K would be needed in respect of staffing resource for the necessary legislative work; £185K in respect of staffing resource for delivery of the programme of change required for EU exit; and (subject to the caveat that this element is difficult to estimate due to uncertainty around outcomes) £700K to resource the putting in place of additional capability that might be needed, for example with respect to supporting risk assessment and risk management, imports and exports, and to provide support for additional training and tasks to be undertaken by local authorities such as in relation to imports and exports.

FSS expected that the programme of Brexit work would still be in place in 2019/20, and assumed the same baseline cost of £922K, and estimated that additional funding of between £700K and £1400K would be required to deliver anticipated new obligations post EU exit.

FSS was allocated an additional £885K, as set out (though rounded up to £900K) on page 99 of the 2018-19 Autumn Budget Revision, which was laid before the Scottish Parliament in September 2018 and is published here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/2018-19-autumn-budget-revision-supporting-document/pages/30/

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