Preparing to respond – All Wales Convention gets drafting
The chair of the Convention, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, and his team of 16 Executive Committee members, aim to comment on how informed the people of Wales are about the devolution process and the issues potentially impacting on voting behaviour in any referendum in Wales. The ultimate decision on whether or not to propose a referendum will be taken by the Assembly Government.
The public consultation, which started in January, has been comprehensive; almost 700 pieces of evidence have been submitted by individuals and organisations, with around 2000 people having their say by completing questionnaires at the 23 public events held throughout Wales. Over 200 organisations were contacted to disseminate information about the devolution debate and a range of meetings and presentations were given to individuals and associations. Over 12,000 people visited the Convention’s website, www.allwalesconvention.org, and many chose to express their views via the on-line forms and forum. The Convention has also encouraged the use of topical technology, with a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Inclusiveness and engaging with people who generally aren’t interested in politics were key drivers for the consultation, which saw the Convention’s roadshow visiting more unconventional places such as the Cwm Golau Integrated Children’s Centre at Merthyr Tydfil and holding a Tea Dance at Denbigh Town Hall. Informing the younger generation was also a prime focus. The Convention ran a school’s competition, which was won by Ysgol Morgan Llwyd, Wrexham, visited a number of schools across Wales and held a series of debates and meetings at Welsh Universities, including Swansea, Bangor, Aberystwyth and Cardiff.
Sir Emyr Jones Parry said:
Analysing all the evidence we’ve collected from organisations and members of the public is both fascinating and challenging. We are on schedule and I remain confident that we will have the report completed and published before the end of November.
I’d also like to thank the people of Wales for contributing to the devolution debate. I’m pleased that so many chose to get informed and get engaged. The report itself will advise the Welsh Assembly Government of the sentiment and opinions of the people of Wales, their knowledge and understanding of the current political settlement, and their thoughts and views on giving the Assembly further powers. It will then be up to our politicians to decide whether or not to hold a referendum.