Understanding devolution in Wales
Understanding devolution in Wales

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Understanding devolution in Wales


Enter a discussion on devolution and invariably someone will use the expression that ‘devolution is a process and not an event’. While this may be cliche, it is also very accurate. The purpose of this free course, Understanding devolution in Wales, is to help you understand the current state of the devolution settlement in Wales and the events which shaped it.

This course is divided into three parts: the first sets out the positions of the major political parties in Wales then traces the devolution settlement as it developed between 1997 and 2021. The second probes the major issues facing devolution in Wales today. The final section considers the relationship between devolution and voters in Wales.

Note on terminology

The Welsh Parliament was known as the National Assembly for Wales and Members of the Senedd (MSs) were known as Assembly Members (AMs) between 1999 and 2020. The Welsh Government was known as the Welsh Assembly Government until 2011. These terms will be used when historical references are made.


The course contains a glossary defining some potentially unfamiliar terms. You will occasionally find terms highlighted in the text – clicking on them will take you to the definition in the glossary. You can also navigate to the glossary manually at any time, at the end of whichever section you are studying.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371