Inquiry into inter-institutional learning

Dear Huw

Thank you for your letter informing the Committee of your inquiry looking at inter-institutional relations between Wales and the UK.

In light of your letter, the Committee discussed this issue at its meeting of 25 January. It is our view that strong inter-parliamentary working and liaison between Parliamentary Committees is essential for effective scrutiny and can enable the free exchange of ideas and improved policy learning. In respect of the remit of our Committee, this is particularly the case for example in respect of cross-border health and social care issues.

We also consider there is scope for improvement in the way UK Government Departments co-operate with Assembly Committees in respect of the scrutiny of policy issues where there is an overlap between devolved and non-devolved areas. It appears that such co-operation is often at the discretion of individual Ministers or civil servants rather than an accepted understanding that such co-operation is essential and has the potential to benefit all those involved.

We understand, for example, that there were challenges experienced by our predecessor Committee in engaging the relevant Home Office Minister and officials in its inquiry into new psychoactive substances in respect of some non-devolved policy areas of direct relevance to the inquiry. Whilst the issue was eventually resolved, and oral and written evidence was received, this was only following repeated efforts by Committee staff and correspondence from the then Committee Chair.

We welcome the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee’s inquiry into this important issue and look forward to hearing your conclusions in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Dai Lloyd AM

Chair, Health, Social Care and Sport Committee