Q & A
What happens next?
The All Wales Convention report was presented to First Minister Rhodri Morgan and Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones at the Senedd on Wednesday, 18th November 2009. We believe the report's recommendations deserve serious consideration, but it is now a matter for the elected politicians to take action as the work of the All Wales Convention is now complete.
Does the report favour a Referendum?
The All Wales Convention's judgement is that a 'yes' vote in a Referendum on more law-making powers for the National Assembly is obtainable. However, there are many factors which need to be taken into consideration before a decision on holding a Referendum can be taken.
Why does the All Wales Convention believe this to be the case?
We are convinced that Part 4 of the Government of Wales Act (2006) offers substantial advantage over the present arrangements in Part 3. It would offer greater efficiency, permit a strategic approach to the drafting of the legislation, provide greater clarity, be more consistent with the rule of law and democratic tradition, and reflect the emerging maturity of the Assembly. This appears to be a view shared by a majority of the Welsh people.
How did you form this judgement?
From evidence gathered and research undertaken by the All Wales Convention. We held over 23 public events attended by over 1700 people, contacted over 200 organisations to spread the word, held 13 oral evidence sessions, ran a Wales-wide radio campaign and schools competition and let's not forget the interactive website and popular facebook© pages.
In total nearly 3,000 views were received and our report reflects this body of diverse opinions.
What is clear is that there is an undoubted appetite for devolution in Wales with 72% favouring the present or somewhat increased devolution. However the constitutional arrangements are not fully understood and are seen as complex.
In our opinion, a Referendum would be tightly contested, but before any Referendum takes place, more work needs to be undertaken to improve public awareness and understanding of the workings of devolution.
The current lack of public awareness of the processes of devolution will impact on any proposed Referendum in our view.
How would the process of getting to a Referendum work?
For any Referendum to take place there must first be an agreement by two thirds of Assembly Members to a Referendum. If this were agreed by Assembly Members in Cardiff Bay, there would then need to be agreement to a Referendum by both Houses of Parliament and agreement on the question to be put to the Welsh electorate. If a simple majority of the Welsh people voted in favour of more law-making powers then Part 4 of the Government of Wales Act (2006) would then come into force and primary law-making powers in the twenty devolved policy areas would be transferred to Cardiff Bay from Westminster.
If the Welsh people were to be given the opportunity to vote in a Referendum, when would it take place?
This is now a matter solely for the politicians, but our work has suggested that if a Referendum is to be held in good time before the Assembly election in May 2011, then ideally a decision should be taken by June 2010. We have noted in our judgement that there will be a new First Minister in Wales, a General Election, and perhaps a referendum in Scotland on independence before that date. Any of these could have an impact on voting intentions in Wales.
What happens now to the All Wales Convention?
The work of the All Wales Convention is now over. However, the Convention's website will remain as a record of the Convention's work.
How does this report measure up?
The All Wales Convention report is a robust report - we consulted widely across Wales, we used innovative and imaginative techniques to engage with the public and have drawn clear and concise conclusions from a rich evidence base.