UCL News


Devolution monitoring reports online

17 February 2006

The Constitution Unit within UCL Political Science has published the latest of a series of reports monitoring devolution across the country.

From 1999 to 2005, the unit led a major research project into the functioning of devolution since its earliest days, the fruits of which included 103 reports and the five-volume 'State of the Nations' book series. The Devolution Monitoring Programme has successfully secured further funding and so will continue for three more years from January 2006.

The Devolution Monitoring Programme 2006-2008 is comprised of five research teams, which record and analyse all significant developments in the field of devolution and devolved governance, and produce three reports per year in their respective areas of expertise - Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the English Regions and Devolution and the Centre. The unit plans to continue the annual 'State of the Nations' devolution yearbook series as well as hosting an annual conference on devolution.

The quarterly reports are published instantly on the Constitution Unit website, and emailed to a growing list of subscribers, mainly made up of policy makers and practitioners, media figures and academics from the UK and overseas. They are also press-released to national and regional media, summarised in the unit's newsletter and collated in the annual 'State of the Nations' review.

Professor Robert Hazell, programme manager and director of the unit, said: "The team's main achievement thus far has been to produce reports, without fail, every quarter since 1999. The resultant archive is impressive - a careful and systematic account of devolution as it unfolded. Since the reports essentially provide information and analysis rather than findings or recommendations, we do not expect them to influence policy or practice. However, many policy makers and practitioners read the reports and learn a lot about devolution in other parts of the country, which is poorly reported in the national press."

The Constitution Unit has been closely involved with the development of devolution policy in the UK for over a decade. In 1996 it produced three major reports, 'Scotland's Parliament', 'An Assembly for Wales', and 'Regional Government for England', which provided detailed blueprints for the new Labour government elected in 1997. It was also involved in the design of the Scottish Parliament and in auditing the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly at the end of their first year.