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23 September 2011
Cardiff has led the way to bring together Wales’s foremost constitutional research unit with the National Assembly for Wales.
The University’s Wales Governance Centre has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler AM, which will see the Centre setting up a base on the Pierhead building in Cardiff Bay.
Providing the Assembly with access to quality, relevant research, the partnership will enable the legislature of Wales to continue to develop strong lawmaking and scrutiny systems that will result in laws that are responsive to the needs of the people of Wales.
Presiding Officer, Rosemary Butler AM, said: "The aim is to harness the research capacity of Wales’ leading higher education institutions in order to support the work of the National Assembly for Wales. That can only help make devolved governance in Wales as effective as possible and, ultimately, improve the quality for life for the nation’s citizens.
"I look forward to the contribution that some of our brightest minds will bring to the way we make laws at the National Assembly for Wales."
The Wales Governance Centre will pursue the initiative in a way that draws together the five university signatories of the St David’s Day Group. In March 2009 Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Bangor, Swansea and Glamorgan Universities announced their intention to act together, combining their strengths and talents to drive forward the knowledge economy in Wales.
Dr David Grant, Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University, said: "This partnership will create an important hub for an all-Wales public policy network which will be able to draw on the academic expertise of the country’s five research intensive universities for the benefit of the people of Wales. This is an exciting development for the Assembly and for all the institutions involved."
The Wales Governance Centre will use the Pierhead Building to host regular seminars, meetings, policy discussions, lectures and briefings. It will seek to focus in depth on specific policy areas as well as capture more general developments. In addition, it will provide working space for visiting academics from higher education institutions in Wales and beyond who wish to engage more closely with the policy community.
To mark the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Assembly and Wales Governance Centre, experts from the fields of politics, law and academia came together at the Pierhead, in Cardiff, for a conference to discuss: "The National Assembly for Wales as a legislature – then, now, the future".
Among those taking part were Wales Governance Centre’s Director Professor Richard Wyn Jones, Professor Laura McAllister from the University of Liverpool, Sir Chrisopher Jenkins and constitutional expert Alan Trench.
They were joined by Sir Emyr Jones Parry, Chair of the All Wales Convention that looked into the future powers of the Assembly; former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament and Chair of the National Assembly’s independent Remuneration Board, George Reid; and the First Welsh Legislative Counsel to the Welsh Government, Professor Thomas Watkin, who is also an Honorary Visiting Professor at Cardiff Law School.
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