At the end of January 2019, the Institute for Government, a highly-regarded independent think tank, published a Report entitled "Brexit : two months to go", co-authored by two of the Institute's senior staffers, Joe Owen and Tim Durrant.
The Report analyses both the state of Legislation (Brexit-related) and the state of Implementation (of new processes, new systems and new staff) as at the two months marker prior to Brexit and concludes that, whilst some progress has been made on both fronts, there is a huge amount that remains to be done.
The Report uses a traffic- light system - red , amber and green - to highlight "progress" or more often , a lack of thereof.
On the Legislative front, six major Bills remain to be enacted - the Trade Bill, Agriculture Bill, Fisheries Bill, Immigration Bill, Healthcare ( International Agreements) Bill and the Financial Services Bill - though it is acknowledged that five major Brexit-related Acts have made it to the statute book - the EU Withdrawal Act, Sanctions Act, Road Haulage Act, Nuclear Safeguards Act and the Customs Act.
On Brexit-related secondary legislation, being UK statutory instruments, the Report states that as of 25 January only 100 out of an estimated total of around 600 statutory instruments had been enacted , though about half of the remainder (i.e. about 250 out of a total of around 500) had at least begun their Parliamentary passage.
On Implementation, the Report analyses what is happening in many areas - the UK-EU border; citizens and migration; health; transport; services; energy and environment; competition, tax and data; law and justice; EU programmes and funds; and international agreements - and the conclusion appears to be that, whilst planning for new arrangements is more advanced in some areas than in others - the overall position is not encouraging.
The Report is somewhat critical of the UK Government and in particular expresses the view that whilst the Government "has not had enough time to begin with to do everything required" , the Government "has made its problems worse by refusing to openly engage and keeping its plans secret". Not everybody would agree with this assessment, acknowledging that the Government has a very difficult task and that whatever it does is likely to attract the opprobrium of somebody.
Whilst the essential thrust of the Report is rather negative, those who advocate the "glass half full" approach may at least derive some comfort from what has been achieved.