The Constitution Unit


Devolution in Wales

The Constitution Unit has been closely involved from the start with devolution in Wales.  One of our earliest reports in 1996 was An Assembly for Wales, which warned that Labour's model of executive devolution would not work, for lack of legislative time at Westminster. It recommended primary legislative powers for the Welsh Assembly, eventually adopted in the Government of Wales Act 2006.  We worked closely with the different commissions which analysed why devolution in Wales was not working, commented on the government's 2005 White Paper, and called for very different relations between London and Cardiff if the 2006 legislative model was to work properly.

The evolution of the different models of devolution in Wales is recorded in detail in the series of Welsh Devolution Monitoring Reports, 1999-2005 and 2006-09, produced in partnership with the Institute for Welsh Affairs.

The Constitution Unit had long advocated that devolution in Wales should be based upon a reserved powers model, similar to that in Scotland. In 2015 we convened a group of experts to reconsider these issues, leading to the publication of a joint report with the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University: A Reserved Powers Model for Wales. In February 2016, the same group offered an expert commentary on the government's proposals for further Welsh Devolution in a further report: Challenge and Opportunity: The Draft Wales Bill 2015.­­