The Joint Ministerial Committee (JMC) is not a single defined body in the same sense as a parliamentary committee. Set up under Supplementary Agreement A of the Memorandum of Understanding between the UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Assembly on Devolution, the JMC convenes under several distinct formats.
The Plenary Session:
The Plenary Session, or JMC(P), normally convenes annually. Acting as an overarching committee, the JMC(P) can cover any aspect of government relations, both foreign and domestic. The Economy and the state of intergovernmental relations usually form part of the JMC(P) agenda. The meeting is chaired by the Prime Minister.
The MoU provides for administrations to call for an extraordinary meeting of the JMC in the appropriate functional format if they so wish.
The Domestic Session:
The Domestic Session, or JMC(D), normally convenes two to three times each year and presents an opportunity for Ministers from the four UK administrations to come together to discuss matters that affect our internal relations. The Deputy Prime Minister normally chairs the meeting and each administration will field their most relevant portfolio Ministers for the topics being discussed.
The European Session:
JMC(Europe) meets on a quarterly basis to discuss forthcoming meetings of the European Council and European issues affecting the UK and devolved administrations. It also acts as the forum for the exchange of information and the discussion of strategic or cross-cutting issues where there is a devolved administration interest. JMC(E) is normally chaired by the Foreign Secretary or the Minister for Europe.
The JMC also acts as a forum for settling inter-administration disputes that cannot be solved through bilateral official or ministerial channels, The dispute resolution protocols are set down in the Memorandum of Understanding.
The JMC is a private space. It is seen as a valuable forum for Ministers to participate in frank confidential discussion on issues that may be sensitive in nature. Announcements made in relation to meetings of the JMC will generally be in the form of a joint statement or communiqué from all administrations.
Administration of the JMC is provided by a Joint Secretariat. This is not a single body, located in one place, but is instead made up of representative officials from the four constituent administrations. The Secretariat maintain lines of communication between administrations, meeting regularly, and provide any support necessary to facilitate JMC meetings and ensure that Ministers and policy officials are kept informed of outcomes and agreements arising from them.