The Constitution Unit


Devolution across the UK

Much of the Unit's work on devolution has involved comparative studies of how devolution has unfolded across the UK, working with research partners in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions. The biggest such exercises were the Leverhulme-funded research programme on The Dynamics of Devolution (1999-2005), with ten linked research projects; and the Devolution Monitoring Reports 1999 to 2009. Working with a team of 25-30 people, we produced these on a quarterly basis for ten years, from 1999 to 2005 and from 2006 to 2009. The reports provide the most detailed archival account of devolution in the UK in the first ten years.

We also produced a series of books chronicling how devolution unfolded in the first ten years. These were The State and the Nations: The First Year of Devolution (2000); The State of the Nations 2001; The State of the Nations 2003; Has Devolution made a Difference? The State of the Nations 2004; Devolution, Law Making and the Constitution (2005); The Dynamics of Devolution: The State of the Nations 2005; Devolution and Power in the UK (2007).

We have conducted a lot of thematic studies looking at different aspects of devolution. Most of these also involved research partners. Unit researchers who have led our work on devolution include Robert Hazell, Scott Greer (1999-2003), Barry Winetrobe, Alan Trench (2001-5), and Akash Paun (2005-8). Our thematic studies have included Managing Conflicts after Devolution (2000), The Future of the Territorial Secretaries of State (2001), Breaking the Mould: the UK's new territorial Assemblies (2001), Devolution and Health (2003), The Law and Devolution (2004), Parliament and Devolution (2004), Coalition Government in Scotland and Wales (2004).

Comparative studies include the Effective Scrutiny project (2003-5), which compared the effectiveness of scrutiny committees in Westminster, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, English regional assemblies and local government; Intergovernmental Relations in Canada: Lessons for the UK? (2003); and Parliament's Watchdogs (2008), which compared the different roles of constitutional watchdogs in Westminster, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Following the close result of the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, we convened a team of experts to forecast different scenarios in Devolution and the Future of the Union (2015).