An in-depth plan on how to set up an independent Scotland is about to be published in a brand new book. Here, we run our second extract from the Common Weal project:

Part Two, The Second Year of Transition 

BY the start of the second transition year banks will be starting to be ready to offer the first bank accounts denominated in the Scottish currency. These will then need to be accompanied by a public information campaign about how the new currency will be introduced and to encourage people to start thinking about making the transition to the new accounts. The central bank should at this point begin to build up the foreign currency reserves it is going to need to support and protect the new currency.

READ MORE: How To Start a New Country ... the timeline for an independent Scotland (Part One)

Moving towards a Scottish energy system should begin now. This will be a mainly technical process in which a Scottish Transmission System Operator (to regulate the national grid) and an energy regulator (to monitor the overall market and protect consumers) must be set up.

The political convention held at the end of the previous year should have set an interim policy approach for tax and social security systems. These agreements should now be turned into policies which can be put in place as development of the technical systems to operate the tax and social security system progress.

The first quarter of the second year is the latest point at which the process of setting up a customs service should begin. This means recruiting staff, creating customs offices and setting up the infrastructure needed at ports and airports.

READ MORE: First Minister pledges to move quickly on Scottish National Investment Bank

This is also the time to start to prepare for a post-independence broadcasting set-up. That means that a national broadcaster is created and that both putting in place technical requirements and programme commissioning begins. There will also have to be negotiations with the BBC to secure a commercial deal to enable Scotland to maintain access to BBC content after independence. Finally, a media regulator needs to be set up to replace Ofcom.

The start of the second year is also the time to begin initial trade negotiations. This should begin with conversations with EFTA and initial contact with the European Economic Area. It should be possible to negotiate a rapid entry to EFTA and from there take the steps towards single market membership through the EEA.

By the second quarter of the second year people will be taking up Scottish bank accounts and so will be able to own and spend the new Scottish currency – though only in digital form. It is important that they are able to use these accounts so by this point it must be made possible to pay all Scottish taxes in the new currency.

Robin McAlpine: We must be prepared to systematically build an independent Scotland that works in all areas

It is also time to create a new immigration service for Scotland and to set up a system of “citizen identifiers” to replace National Insurance Numbers. This is also when we should design the relationship between citizens and the data the state holds about them.

By the middle of the second transition year the steps to disentangle a new Scottish civil service from the existing UK civil service should begin. This will also mean a very large recruitment process to begin to replace the many government functions which are currently delivered for Scotland from other parts of the UK.

There are a range of regulatory bodies which must be in place for Scotland to become a member of the European single market. Some exist but others don’t and they vary substantially in terms of how hard they are to set up. Indeed, it may be wise to have begun the creation of some of these well before this point. This takes us into the third quarter of the second year.

It is good practice to have a large public consultation on what the banknotes and coins of the new currency will look like; the easiest way to do that is to integrate it into the ongoing public consultation over the new constitution. By the middle of the second year it is time to start commissioning the physical notes and coins, which means that all vending machines in the country need to be adapted to accept them. This should also begin now.

Ideally it would have been best to start the preparations for Scotland’s border with England by this point but since many of the arrangements will rest on negotiations with the rest of the UK it may not be until this point that proper planning for the border arrangements can begin (though some technical aspects can start much earlier). Another procurement job at this point will be to begin the production of Scottish passports.

By the end of the second year it will be worth starting to work our way through the many international treaties to which Scotland is a signatory through its membership of the UK. A different approach to each will have to be taken so they will need to be prioritised.

We now enter the final transition year. At this stage all the existing work programmes will be at a peak with many work streams beginning to come to a conclusion and many “facts on the ground” starting to be in place. It will be 18 months since negotiations with the rest of the UK began. If adequate preparations have been made it is to be hoped that these negotiations will be reaching agreement.

As we get into the second quarter of the final year the large public constitution-writing process should have been completed and the findings should be being written up as a final proposed constitution for Scotland.

The midway point of the final year is a crucial milestone. We should now be seeing all the main systems in place and “shadowing” the existing systems. That means having tax, social security, IT arrangements, customs service, new government departments and so on all in place and operational. They will not yet take over these functions but by operating them as a “shadow” to the UK systems which on which we will still be relying there is a six-month “trouble-shooting” period in which to make sure they are robust and ready to take over responsibility after independence.

It is also important that by this point all the technical infrastructure to manage Scotland’s borders is in place and operating as a shadow to the UK systems. The border policy position will also be clear by this point assuming negotiations have been completed. These must be implemented.

At this point, with less then six months to go before independence, it will be important to underpin the new constitution by seeking public support for it in an approval referendum. It is important to be clear on what this means; the decision to become independent has been made and independence day has been set. That decision was made on the basis of a published interim constitution. The crowd-sourced, publicly produced constitution developed by the National Commission will also be ready. The people of Scotland will be asked formally to approve that new constitution. If they don’t, Scotland would progress on to independence based on the interim constitution and the issue would become one for the Scottish Parliament after independence.

Since there will be a referendum, this is also an opportunity to resolve any other contentious issues which have not yet been resolved. For example, questions about whether we should rejoin the European Union (the process for which couldn’t begin until after independence anyway) and who should be the head of state could be resolved at this point.

As we go through the third quarter of the year it should also become mandatory to pay all taxes in Scotland in the new currency. This will involve a campaign of public support to help people get their bank accounts set up so taxes can be collected.

The start of the last quarter of the last year is when the logistical process of issuing the new banknotes and coins should happen. There will have to be support for retailers and in being ready to trade primarily using this currency and employers supported to be able to pay wages in it.

The second last step is to refinance all the national debt. This will include both the debt incurred by the National Commission in setting up the new country and also any debt that Scotland would inherit as a result of negotiations with the UK. That debt will be refinanced and then inherited by an incoming Scottish Government.

The final step is then to introduce the new banknotes and coins into general circulation and to switch over from all the existing infrastructure to all the new infrastructure which has been created over the preceding three years – moving to the new computer systems and so on.

Preparations will also have been made to hold a full Scottish General Election within three months of independence day. This is when independent Scotland will choose its first government – and when the business of being a proper country starts in earnest.

And with all this done, at the end of the third transition year, the work will be complete. Scotland will become an independent country.

You can buy the book here