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31 Mar 2004 - symmetrical with no region-to-region variation in powers, and over time there has been a long-term, gradual migration of ...... Broadband Wales, the largest UK public sector funded project for enhanced broadband connectivity and access for business and consumers. 74. The boundary between devolved ...
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Report of the

Richard Commission

Commission on the Powers and Electoral Arrangements of the National Assembly for Wales Spring 2004

contents chapter

page

1

Introduction

1

2

The historical and international context

5

3

The views of the people of Wales

23

4

The role and structure of the Assembly

47

5

The scope and adequacy of the devolved powers

85

6

The scrutiny of unelected public bodies

125

7

The Wales–Whitehall relationship

141

8

The Wales–Westminster relationship

169

9

The boundaries of devolution

183

10 The financing of devolved government

197

11 The cost of devolution

215

12 The electoral arrangements

225

13 Developing devolution in Wales

241

14 Conclusions: the way ahead

253

annexes 1 Terms of reference

265

2 Programme of evidence sessions

267

3 Public meetings

281

4 Index of written evidence

283

5 Primary legislation affecting Wales

291

6

Acts of the first session of the Scottish Parliament, 1999-2003

299

7

Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly, 1999-2002

303

8

Letter to the Chair

305

chapter 1: introduction

Introduction This chapter sets out the background to the Commission and explains our approach, processes and the structure of our report. Background 2. The Richard Commission was appointed in July 2002 by the First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales. Our Chair, Lord Richard, was appointed by the First Minister. Five Commissioners were appointed following open competition and interview. Four were nominated jointly by the four party leaders in the first Assembly.

Terms of reference 3. These are set out in full at Annex 1. They require us to review two aspects of the National Assembly, which came into being in July 1999: the adequacy of its powers and its electoral arrangements. 4. Within the powers part of the remit, there are two elements: the depth of the powers – the capacity of the Assembly to act within the fields that are devolved to it; and the breadth of the powers – whether more fields should be devolved.

The Commission’s approach 5. In considering the way forward, we have been conscious of the fact that the current devolution settlement is only four years old, covering one Assembly and barely four UK Parliamentary sessions.

6. In evaluating the evidence submitted, we have sought to distinguish between constraints or frustrations arising from the structure of the settlement, and those which could be described as ‘teething’ problems, which naturally occur in the first years of such radical constitutional change. 7. The Rt Hon Peter Hain MP, Secretary of State for Wales, suggested to us that: a practical delivery benchmark test should be applied to any proposal for change: how will it benefit life in Wales? How will it improve it in 1 practical terms? 8. We set out in Chapter 13 the vision and principles that have informed our enquiry. We have worked on two assumptions. First, that gains in democracy and accountability are valuable in themselves. Second, that more open, participative and responsive governance is likely to produce better policy outcomes. We recognise, however, that conclusive evidence on this would be elusive even if our review had been conducted at a 2 much later stage. It is also fair to say that better delivery of public services, or improvements in