The UK’s Changing Union project is a joint initiative between Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University, the Institute for Welsh Affairs, and Tommorrow’s Wales/Cymru Yfory on the future of the Union and the Welsh devolution settlement. We are funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Nuffield Foundation for a period of three years between January 2012 and January 2015. The project itself has two inter-related aims.
First it seeks to overcome the disconnected nature of the contemporary debates on territorial-constitutional matters in the four countries of the UK – debates which are currently conducted largely independently of each other and in which the implications of change in one place upon the other countries or upon the whole of the union are only rarely considered.
Against this background of a wider engagement with the future of the UK’s territorial constitution, the project has been established to make a seminal contribution to the deliberations of the Commission on Devolution in Wales (or the Silk Commission) that was established in 2011 by the UK government.
The project’s work falls into the following work strands:
- The Forum on the Changing Union: A Changing Union Forum formed and led by the Wales Governance Centre, tracks and informs the constitutional debate as it develops from 2012 to 2015. It examines the various options being propounded in the various debates and works through their wider consequences. The Forum draws together a group of opinion-formers active in the various individual debates, including academics, politicians and other policy-makers and practitioners. These deliberations are published twice yearly.
- The Commission on Devolution in Wales: In November 2011 the UK government announced the establishment of a new Commission on Devolution in Wales chaired by Paul Silk. The Commission has, in its first year, examined the fiscal powers of the National Assembly and Welsh Government with a view to improving financial accountability. In 2013, the Commission is reviewing the current constitutional settlement for Wales more generally. As part of our work in this area we have generated significant outputs which have fed directly into the Commission’s work. These outputs are also aimed at providing Welsh civil society with the solid information base it will require to understand and influence the Commission’s work, as well as subsequent reactions to its recommendations from the UK and Welsh governments. We are continuing work in this area with contributions to be made on the capacities of the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh civil service, as well as additional work in the fields of media, policing and energy.
- Dissemination and debate: To sit alongside our publication programme during the course of the project, we are developing innovative ways of engaging wider civil society in Wales and the other nations of the UK in the debate. Throughout the process we seek to communicate with engaged elements in civil society and also to extend this to a wider public. In particular, we have set up the Our Future initiative to engage young people in the debates. If you would like to work with us, please do get in touch.
The project is overseen by a Steering Committee compromising of three members from each of the partner organisations. The members are as follows:
Wales Governance Centre- Professor Richard Wyn Jones (Project Chair), Dr Rebecca Rumbul, Mr Hywel Ceri Jones
IWA- Geraint Talfan Davies, Lee Waters, Jess Blair
Cymru Yfory- Peter Price, Michelle Matheron, David Davies
Our Future- Matt Francis