The Constitution Unit


The Dynamics of Devolution

1999 - 2005

Principal Investigator: Robert Hazell

  • Final Report to the Leverhulme Trust
  • Final Report to the ESRC

About the Programme

Devolution will transform the UK's system of government. To understand the changes, The Constitution Unit has brought together teams of experts from across the UK and overseas, all well placed to explore the new dynamics that emerge. The five-year research programme is built around three main themes, with 11 projects in total. A monitoring exercise underpins the whole programme.

Theme 1 National and Regional Identities and Attitudes

There is widespread evidence of multiple identities in the UK. These different national and regional identitities have played a vital role in shaping devolution reforms. However, the reforms will now also play a part in shaping identities. This theme will analyse the causes and manifestations of distinct and overlapping identities, focusing in particular on the impact of the new political institutions. It also explores public attitudes towards devolution and the extent to which the new institutional arrangements strengthen civil society and the legitimacy of government.

Project 1 The Dynamics of Regional and National Identities
Project 2 The Impact of Devolution on Public Attitudes
Project 3 Attitudes towards the Unit

Theme 2 The English Question

England is the hole in the devolution programme. This asymmetry is largely due to a perceived lack of demand for an independent English parliament. Yet this ignores the latent regionalism in many areas, and the impact that devolution elsewhere in the UK may well have in England. The 'knock on' effect could be manifested in a resurgence of regional identity and demands for greater regional autonomy; and by a renewed focus on England as a whole, including searching for new forums for England at Westminster.

Project 4 Regional Attitudes and Structures-a Comparative Study
Project 5 Business Attitudes towards Regional Structures
Project 6 The Impact of Devolution on Westminster

Theme 3 Intergovernmental Relations

Links will need to be made betweeen the devolved governments and the UK government, with the EU, and between the devolved units themselves. The operation of these links will be vital to the effectiveness of the devolution programme. This theme will study the effectiveness of the new structures and procedures developed to support intergovernmental relations, and compare the fledgling machinery in the UK with more mature systems overseas.

Project 7 Intergovernmental Relations in the UK
Project 8 Intergovernmental Relations and the EU
Project 9 Multi-Level Electoral Politics withina Devolved System of Government
Project 10 Funding a Devolved System of Governance
Project 11 Policy Making within Devolved Governance: Case Study of Health Policy