March 22nd 2018 - March 29th 2018 | Crowne Plaza, Edinburgh

Agenda Day 2 - The Scottish Government Explained


Registration and Refreshments


Welcome and introduction by the Chair

Kenny MacAskill, Former MSP (1999-2016) and Former Cabinet Secretary for Justice 

Session One

The Scottish Government Explained


The Scottish Government

  • History of devolution
  • Devolved government and what it does
  • Its powers & its limitations
  • Its relationship with the UK government
  • The programme and structure of government
  • The civil service and politicians
  • Relationship with parliament
  • Reform and change

Professor Stephen Tierney, Professor of Constitutional Theory and Deputy Head of Edinburgh Law School, University of Edinburgh




Panel: Being in Government

  • How relationships change
  • Where advice comes from
  • Working with the civil service
  • Setting the agenda
  • How it can all end

Linda Fabiani, SNP MSP, deputy presiding officer and former minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture

Jackie Baillie, Labour MSP, for Dumbarton and former minister for Social Justice in Labour/LibDem Scottish Executive

Liam McArthur, LibDem MSP, former Special Advisor to the former Deputy First Minister, Jim Wallace, in the Labour/LibDem Scottish Executive


Questions and discussion


Refreshments and networking

Session Two

Governments working together


The Scottish Government:

  • Who’s who
  • Directorates and portfolios
  • Civil servants and elected members
  • Relationship with parliament

James Hynd, Head of Cabinet, parliament and Governance Division


Q & A


Inter-Governmental Relations

  • How the Scottish Government works with the UK Government and other devolved administrations
  • Maintenance of the devolution settlement
  • The architecture and soft diplomacy of inter-governmental relations

Ian Davidson, Constitutional and UK Relations Division, Scottish Government


Questions and discussion


Lunch and networking

Session Three

Looking Ahead: What’s next for Scotland?


The Scottish Government and Europe

  • The JMC and how it works
  • Negotiating with the UK
  • A smooth Brexit?
  • What would we keep and what would we discard
  • The Scottish dimension
  • A 2nd referendum?

Michael Russell MSP, Minister for UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe, Scottish Government


Q & A


Do we ever get what we actually vote for in a referenda?

Mark Diffley, Mark Diffley Consultancy & Research (MDCR) and former Director, Ipsos Mori Scotland


The Future of Scottish Politics

Ranging from varying backgrounds, our panellists will reflect on the past referendums, current Brexit negotiations and the prospect of a second independence referendum and how this may impact your sector and organisation.

John Edward, Director, SCIS and Scotland Adviser, Open Britain

Dr Jan Eichhorn, Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Edinburgh

Mark Diffley, Mark Diffley Consultancy & Research (MDCR) and former Director, Ipsos Mori Scotland


Q & A


Closing remarks from the chair​


Close of day two


Close of day two