Devolution and Decentralisation in Wales and Brittany, 2001-2002


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

This is a mixed methods study. The data are an output from an ESRC-funded comparative project on Devolution and Decentralisation in Wales and Brittany, part of the ESRC’s Devolution and Constitutional Change programme. The project set out with several objectives: to compare public opinion about political institutions and public policy in Wales and the French region of Brittany; to compare and contrast mass and elite opinions on institutions and policy within and across Wales and Brittany; to inform policy practice in Wales by drawing lessons from experience in Brittany (especially in the fields of regional languages, education and training) and to contribute to our knowledge of European regional governance by adopting a comparative perspective and elaborating new theoretical frameworks. Around 200 face-to-face interviews were conducted in Wales and Brittany as well as a Welsh language focus group, a comparative opinion survey, and an elite questionnaire in four languages (English, Welsh, French and Breton). The data for Political Institutions, Public Policy and Public Opinion in Brittany, France, 2001 and Political Institutions, Public Policy and Public Opinion in Wales, 2001 also provides information from the opinion poll carried out in Brittany and Wales in June 2001. The market research companies interviewed a representative sample of individuals, selected by quotas of age, gender, socio-economic group and locality. Interviews were conducted by telephone, using CATI. The data for Political Institutions, Public Policy and the Policy Community in Brittany, France, 2001-2002 (elite survey) and Political Institutions, Public Policy and the Policy Community in Wales, 2001-2002 (elite survey) provides information from the elite survey conducted in Brittany and Wales in 2001 and 2002. The questionnaire was distributed to members of the policy community. The data for Regional Governance and the Policy Community in Brittany, France, 2001-2002 and Devolution and the Policy Community in Wales, 2001-2002 provides transcripts and summaries of interviews conducted in Brittany and Wales during 2001 and 2002. The interview sample for the 'policy community' data were determined by snowball sampling and advice from members of an advisory group.

Main Topics:

Public Opinion and Policy Community data for Wales and Brittany The socio-demographic variables are those of region; locality; gender; occupation of chief income earner; level of education; country of birth; intended vote in a general election; intended vote in an Assembly election (Wales)/ Regional Council election (Brittany); working status; time spent in Wales/Brittany; age; marital status; children in full time education and level of interest in politics. Most of the survey material is in the form of detailed analysis of attitudinal and opinion variables on matters relating to devolution/decentralisation; Welsh/Breton identity and attitudes (preferences) towards issues of the Welsh/Breton language; education and training. The principal attitudinal questions investigate views on devolution/decentralisation for Wales/Brittany; the 'Moreno' identity scale; the Loire-Atlantique and administrative region of Brittany; opinions and views on the performance of the National Assembly/Brittany Regional Council; beliefs about the main challenges facing Wales; future expenditure priorities; preferences for regional political institutions; relations between the Assembly/Regional Council and similar bodies elsewhere in Europe; importance of organisations and levels of government for the governance of Wales/Brittany; understanding of, and views om, the Welsh/Breton language; public policy and decision-making arenas and the Welsh/Breton language; lessons from linguistic experiences elsewhere; Breton language in schools; attendance at a training course in the past 24 months; priorities for spending money on training in Wales/Brittany; decision-making arenas and training in Wales/Brittany; priorities for improving the training of young people and attitudes towards adopting more interventionist policies (the importance of qualifications against employment, the desirability of training levies and whether there should be a legal requirement to undertake training); lessons from experiences elsewhere. Regional Governance and the Policy Community in Brittany Interviews The data consists of a rich archive of 67 interview transcriptions. Prolonged face-to-face interviews took place during two separate periods of six months in France, from April to September 2001 and 2002. Interviews were taped and transcribed. They lasted an average of one hour. The basic interview schedule aimed at elucidating complex processes of governance within the regional policy community, as well as identifying lessons and specifying contacts from cross-national comparisons. Interviewees also completed a questionnaire (see policy community data for Brittany) that allowed for structured comparisons between Wales and Brittany. Three types of actor were identified: regional political; language; education and training policy actors. The interviews are remarkable for revealing a mass of detailed information about the workings of political and policy processes at the meso-level in France. The interviews throw as much light on the broader issues of governance and decentralisation, as on the detailed operation of policy communities in the distinctive (and contrasting) worlds of training and regional languages. Devolution and the Policy Community in Wales Interviews The data consists of 54 interview transcriptions, mainly in the form of detailed summaries. The individuals taking part in the survey represented a wide range of organisations concerned with devolution, especially in the area of education and training. The richness of the data rests upon the detailed questioning of Assembly members from all parties at the mid-term of the first Welsh Assembly, as well as investigation within the Welsh policy community more generally. Many more interviews were carried out than those presented (just over one-half of the total), but the data presents an excellent overview of the research carried out. Resources ran out before the transcription for all interviews could be completed. Transcription and anonymisation of the Welsh language interviews was not possible within the timsecale of the project therefore the Welsh interviews have restricted access . The interview schedule followed the following lines of enquiry, taking care to elucidate answers to a broad range of questions, variable according to interlocutor: general attitudes to devolution: does devolution make a difference?- if so, how and why?; assessment of the performance of the National Assembly for Wales; precise examples of policy difference and convergence especially (but not only) in the field of education and training; likely institutional evolution; relations between the Assembly and similar bodies elsewhere; policy lessons; contacts; networks; attitudes to Welsh identity and preferences towards issues of the Welsh language, education and training. Interviewees also completed a questionnaire (see policy community data for Wales). These interviews allow appreciation of the full range of free-flowing, in-depth narratives on devolution, to complement the more structured opinion poll and elite questionnaires that were carried out. Standard Measures A mixture of measurement techniques were used, mainly nominal and ordinal (four point Likert scale)

Quota sample

Purposive selection/case studies

(opinion data: quotas based on age, gender, socio-economic group and locality); (elite and intervie

Face-to-face interview

Telephone interview

Postal survey

(opinion data: telephone); (elite data: face-to-face and postal); (interview data: face-to-face)

Metadata Access
Creator Cole, A., Cardiff University, School of European Studies
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2004
Funding Reference Economic and Social Research Council
Rights Copyright A. Cole; <p>The Data Collection is available to UK Data Service registered users subject to the <a href="" target="_blank">End User Licence Agreement</a>.</p>
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Text; Numeric; thematically organised transcripts; interview summaries
Discipline Economics; Public Finance; Social and Behavioural Sciences
Spatial Coverage Brittany; Wales; France