Comparing Devolved Governance

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Comparing Devolved Governance
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  This article was downloaded by: []On: 02 September 2014, At: 09:45Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH,UK Regional & Federal Studies Publication details, including instructions for authorsand subscription information: Comparing Devolved Governance Luis Moreno aa  Spanish National Research Council (IPP-CCHS-CSIC,Madrid)Published online: 30 Aug 2014. To cite this article:  Luis Moreno (2014): Comparing Devolved Governance, Regional &Federal Studies, DOI: 10.1080/13597566.2014.943738 To link to this article: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all theinformation (the “Content”) contained in the publications on our platform.However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, orsuitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressedin this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not theviews of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content shouldnot be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sourcesof information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions,claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilitieswhatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connectionwith, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content.This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes.Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly  forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   1   0   9 .   1   1   5 .   7   6 .   2   4   6   ]  a   t   0   9  :   4   5   0   2   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4  Book Review Comparing Devolved Governance Derek Birrell  Basingstoke/New York  ,  Palgrave Macmillan, 2012 , ISBN 978-0-230-27320-7The main aim of the volume is to carry out a comprehensive review of governmentacross all three devolved administrations of the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland,Scotland and Wales). The inclusion of the word ‘governance’ in the title of the book makes explicit the intention by the author of incorporating in his analyses those otherbodies and loci of decision making not exclusively related to governmental bodiesandthepublicdeliveryofgoodsandservices.However,asitcouldnotbeotherwise,Pro-fessorBirrellmakesextensiveuseofgovernmentalsourcesasempiricaldatafortheana-lysesmadeinthebook.Theseincludematerialsfromthethreedevolvedadministrationscomprising strategies, reports and special inquiries from individual departments.However, it is clarified that the scrutiny of governance actions pays also attention tonon-state interventions. In the context of the UK, where ‘quangos’ (quasi-non-govern-mental organisations) flourished after World War II during the long-pre-devolutionaryperiod,theenmeshmentofcivilsocietyinitiativesandpublicregulationsisanareaoftheoutmost interest for researches of decentralised governance.The chapters and sections of the volume examine in a comparative manner variousareas of observations which had previously received little attention, such as the oper-ation of the regional executives and the development of inter-governmental relations.This exercise is carried out in an integrated fashion: within each chapter the major fea-tures of devolved governance are described and compared systematically regardingNorthern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The layout of the book covers key aspects of the operation of devolved governance in eight main chapters: one relating to powersand financial resources; three to the operation of executive government and parlia-ment/assemblies; three concerning the administrative and delivery systems; and oneon inter-governmental relations.Following the introductory section, and among other areas for general comparisonon powers and resources, chapter 2 explores whether the implementation of the BarnettFormula involves differences in outcomes. The Formula establishes percentages of identifiable per capita expenditure on services around 97% in England, 127% in North-ern Ireland; 117% in Scotland and 111% in Wales. Some reflections are made on futurepossible changes, on which the outcome of the referendum on Scottish independence isto be considered a major intervening variable. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 cover the core insti-tutions of devolved government concerning the working of the three executives, aswell as the operation of the three elected chamber.The next three chapters focus on the administrative and delivery institutions, thecivil service, local government and ‘quangos’. The author pays special attention to  Regional and Federal Studies , 2014    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   1   0   9 .   1   1   5 .   7   6 .   2   4   6   ]  a   t   0   9  :   4   5   0   2   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4  the political and policy role of senior civil servants and underlines common concernsabout the policy-making capacity in the devolved administrations. Likewise, a majorfocus is on the relationship between the devolved administrations and local govern-ment including partnership arrangements at decision making, delivery and communitylevels. Chapter 8 examines the major debate that has taken place about the role of the‘quangos’ under devolution and their relationship with the devolved administrations.The following chapter is devoted to inter-governmental and external relations andemphasizes the important level of engagement of all three devolved administrationswith the institutions of the European Union.The concluding chapter assesses the appropriateness of the continuing orthodoxyon the asymmetrical nature of devolution, and on whether more recent trends mark a movement towards greater symmetry, particularly as regards what the authorlabels as ‘devolved style of governance’. This style is to be put to test as a consequenceof the referendum on independence in Scotland.Certainly, the attempt of making independence and secession synonymous con-cepts is a simplification. In fact there is a growing strand of academics contendingthe over-determining view that a nation is to equate  par force  a sovereign state. Pro-posals for greater autonomy for Scotland within the UK are found to be popular insocial surveys. The so-called ‘devo-plus’ or ‘devo-max’ arrangements for Scotlandwould imply further devolution of powers, particularly as regards fiscal matters. If that is the case, other parts of the UK, such as Northern Ireland and Wales mightfollow the pattern of emulation with regard to Scotland and they could claim furtherdevolution of powers. Birrell points to the fact that such policy copying and transferhas already been identified as operating between the three devolved administrationsas regards, in particular, the social policy field.Beyond the debate on Scotland’s independence and its implications for the UnitedKingdom as a whole, this book is to be most useful for practitioners, scholars and stu-dents of the UK’s devolved system of multi-level governance, a system that is evolvingtowards new political scenarios of institutional re-accommodation. It greatly contrib-utes to illuminating comparatively sectors of governance that have too often been neg-lected in analyses of the UK’s devolution.Luis Moreno # 2014 Spanish National Research Council (IPP-CCHS-CSIC, Madrid)  Book Review    D  o  w  n   l  o  a   d  e   d   b  y   [   1   0   9 .   1   1   5 .   7   6 .   2   4   6   ]  a   t   0   9  :   4   5   0   2   S  e  p   t  e  m   b  e  r   2   0   1   4
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