Devolution in Wales – In Robust Health or a Precarious Balancing Act?

Katherine S Williams, Martina Y Feilzer


This paper outlines how devolution has evolved in Wales since 1998, noting the effects of both macro-level political ideology and alterations of governance. The paper reflects on the particular position of non-devolved criminal justice services in the Welsh structure of governance and delivery of social justice and the underlying processes of service delivery in Wales. It assesses the fragility of the new multi-level governance and civil society and questions their ability to build permanent and reliable devolved entities and their effectiveness in meeting the challenges caused by Westminster policy. It also analyses how changes in devolution processes affect the delivery of criminal justice services in Wales and points to the effects of recent changes in governance proposed by the UK Government – the new localism – which tend to undermine the devolution process in subtle yet significant ways. Thus, the criminal justice arena is regarded as a good measure for the health of devolution in Wales.

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