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Understanding devolution in Wales
Understanding devolution in Wales

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2.2 Commissions in review

There have been many reviews of the powers granted to the Welsh institutions. Here’s an overview of the most significant ones:

The Kilbrandon Commission (1969) – Also known as the Royal Commission on the Constitution, this was the first formal consideration of how power could be dispersed across the UK. It ultimately led to the referendum in 1979.

The Richard Commission (2002) – Also known as the Commission on the Powers and Electoral Arrangements of the National Assembly for Wales. It was established by Rhodri Morgan to address the early criticisms of devolution in Wales, notably that there was limited scrutiny and capacity for action. This resulted in the Government of Wales Act (2006) and the separation of executive and legislature.

The Holtham Commission (2008) – Also known as the Independent Commission on Funding and Finance for Wales, this group of economists assessed the Barnett formula and the Assembly’s tax-raising powers.

The All-Wales Convention (2008) – Set up to better explain the devolution settlement and prepare the ground for a referendum on law-making powers which took place in 2011.

The Silk Commission (2011) – Also known as the Commission on Devolution in Wales, this wide-ranging review into the policy competencies and financial powers of the National Assembly for Wales. It resulted in two Wales Acts in 2014 and 2016.

The Thomas Commission (2017) – Also known as the Commission on Justice in Wales, this was established by Carwyn Jones to deal with the ‘unfinished business of the Silk Commission’ relating the devolution of justice.