Powers and Policy Levers

Powers and Policy Levers


At the end of November 2015 we launched a two year programme of research and knowledge exchange funded by the Economic and Social Research Council which investigated how the Welsh Government has used its powers and policy levers and the lessons for policy makers in Wales. The programme sought to address some important questions including:

  • Do Welsh Ministers have the powers and policy levers that they need to achieve their objectives?
  • If not, what additional powers might be necessary?
  • Could they make more effective use of existing policy levers?
  • How can the Welsh Government work effectively with the UK government, local government and other agencies?

At the centre of this programme were two case studies of Welsh Government policy making drawn from the period 2011 to 2016. This period, which is that of the fifth term of the National Assembly for Wales, was selected because it is the first in which the National Assembly had full primary legislative powers in devolved matters.

Our case studies were chosen because we believe that they illustrate different aspects of recent Welsh policy making. The first study is of the development and implementation of reforms to statutory provision for homeless people in Wales, which came into force in April 2015. The second study is of the Welsh Government’s (as yet unsuccessful) attempt to introduce a statutory Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) regime for alcohol in Wales. Both cases examine the Welsh Government’s ability to develop distinctive legislation-based policies in devolved areas and draw on original oral evidence from key policy actors in government, the third sector, and academia, as well as comprehensive analysis of policy documents, debates, and academic and ‘grey’ literature.

Our outputs included:

In addition, in March 2016 we convened an expert workshop entitled ‘Improving policy delivery in Wales’, which brought together policymakers and policy experts from the academic, public and third sector to discuss the wider context of policy making and delivery within Wales since devolution. This produced a very constructive discussion, which was so candid that we decided, after consultation with participants, not to publish the report of the workshop. However, the report helped participants reflect upon policy making practice and culture, and very helpfully informed our own thinking about the wider project.

In October 2017 the PPIW became part of the Wales Centre for Public Policy. The Centre builds on the success of PPIW, and will continue the Institute’s work of meeting Welsh Government Ministers’ evidence needs, alongside a new mission to support public services to access, generate, evaluate and apply evidence about what works to key economic and social challenges.


For further information contact Andrew.Connell@ppiw.org.uk

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