Constitutional Affairs Committee

Press notice No. 45 of Session 2006-07

25 July 2007


On the 11 February 2007 the Constitutional Affairs Committee announced its inquiry into Devolution: A Decade on. (The terms of reference for this inquiry are attached below). The Committee will begin taking oral evidence for this inquiry in October. In the light of the changes that have occurred since the elections to the devolved Parliament and Assemblies and the creation of the Ministry of Justice in May and the publication of the Government's Green Paper The Governance of Britain on 3 July, the Committee are re-issuing a call for written evidence. This evidence should be received no later than 30 September 2007.


2007 marks the tenth anniversary of the devolution referenda which resulted in the creation of the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. The impact of devolution on the politics and governance of the constituent parts of the UK where it has been implemented cannot be underestimated, and has been the focus of much political and academic interest. However, asymmetric devolution has also had a considerable impact on the centre, and in particular on the practices and procedures of Westminster and Whitehall. A decade on, the Constitutional Affairs Committee has decided to undertake an inquiry into the impact of devolution at the UK level, and its consequences for the United Kingdom’s constitution.

In doing so, the inquiry will focus on some major questions: what problems and issues have arisen? What outstanding issues remain to be addressed? What does the future hold? The inquiry will therefore examine the condition of the UK’s constitution a decade on.

The Terms of Reference for the inquiry are as follows:

1. Westminster: How does Parliament deal with devolution issues, e.g. legislating for Scotland and Wales.

2. What issues remain outstanding, e.g. ‘the English question.’

3. Whitehall: What impact has devolution had on Whitehall? Has there been a change in culture? How have they responded to the divergence in policy making? How have the Concordats developed, and are they working?

4. Intergovernmental relations: How are bodies such as the British Irish Council working? What about representation at the EU level?

5. What is the future of the current Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? Are the current arrangements for the Wales and Scotland offices within the DCA appropriate?

6. Devolution and the Courts: have there been legal disputes in the context of devolved/reserved issues and policy divergence?

7. What are the other outstanding issues around reserved and devolved issues? How could these be best resolved? Is the UK’s model of asymmetric devolution sustainable?

8. What are the broader consequences of devolution for the future of the UK’s constitution?

Call for evidence:

Written evidence should if possible be in Word or rich text format-not PDF format-and sent by e-mail to The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from. The deadline is 30 September at 5pm.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be in the format of a self-contained memorandum and should be no more than 3,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary. Further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere, though previously published work can be referred to in a submission and submitted as supplementary material. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. PLEASE BEAR IN MIND THAT COMMITTEES ARE NOT ABLE TO INVESTIGATE INDIVIDUAL CASES.

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

For data protection purposes, it would be helpful if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details in a covering letter or e-mail.

1. Committee Membership is as follows: Rt Hon Alan Beith MP (Chairman), David Howarth MP, Siân James MP, Jessica Morden MP, Julie Morgan MP, Robert Neill MP, Mr Andrew Tyrie MP, Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Jeremy Wright MP

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