The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) - Exiting the European Union

Mon 30 Jul 2018

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) - Exiting the European Union

Client: The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

Programme: Exiting the European Union

(Delivered in London, Bristol and York, Various dates from Jan - May 2017)

The client

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people's day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.

Defra is a ministerial department, supported by 33 agencies and public bodies.

Our purpose is to unleash the economic potential of food and farming, nature and the countryside, champion the environment and provide security against floods, animal and plant diseases and other hazards.

The problem

Following the result from the referendum on whether the UK would leave the European Union, the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs contacted Dods Training as they wanted us to deliver an overview of the process and implications on the UK’s exit from the EU. They wanted the training to focus particularly on Article 50 and the conditions for the UK exit, changes to UK domestic policy because of the UK leaving, with a specific look at environment and agriculture and to consider trade agreements between the UK and non-EU countries such as the US, China, Japan and India.

Our actions

As DEFRAs needs were so specific to them as a government department, we thought it best to have a face-to-face meeting with representatives from the department and the expert trainer (who has an extensive background in working within and with the European Union). Following this meeting, we pulled together an agenda that would be beneficial for anyone whose work involves the UK exiting the EU and related UK policy areas, including those who wish to develop their understanding of how negotiations work and practice the skills needed for achieving positive outcomes in negotiations.

We decided to offer participants the opportunity to listen to Defra colleagues who have hands on experience of negotiations and will included the chance to take part in “mock” negotiations to develop understanding and provide an insight into what their future tasks might involve. Ultimate the agenda was designed to strengthen delegates confidence in communicating and working with the EU within and beyond the UK.  


We piloted this course and due to its fantastic feedback, we have delivered this course on several dates across the UK. The participants gained an insight into how the EU takes decisions, but more specifically how Defra and Whitehall is tackling the process of exiting the EU.

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