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Joint working

Betsan Powys | 15:45 UK time, Wednesday, 14 May 2008

It barely covers two sides of A4 but it sums up the unhappiness amongst AMs with the process of drawing down new powers from Westminster pretty neatly.

It's the report of the Proposed Vulnerable Children LCO committee.

In it they express their "disappointment" that the majority of their recommendations haven't been included in the revised Order and that "there are many areas we have not been able to scrutinise and report on".

There's concern that while the Assembly LCO Committee wanted to work jointly with the Welsh Affairs Select Committee to scrutinise the Order, "this has subsequently proved not to be possible".

And there's yet more disappointment that despite cross party support in the Assembly for the conferral of powers in relation to the physical punishment of children - it isn't, of course, happening. You must remember the 'Slap in the face of the Assembly' headlines.

At the other end of the M4 I think it's fair to say things are no better. There's frustration that the process isn't delivering as it might, that joint working is just not working and outright fury that the Presiding Officer questioned the Welsh Select Committee's 'tardy' scrutiny last week.

And then there was that half-hearted invitation from the MPs to AMs to 'observe' their scrutiny ... but not join in.

A quick call today to find out how many have taken up the invitation: in other words, will the authorities need to book a mini-bus or will a tandem do?

The answer is neither. There will apparently be no-one going.

It's perhaps no surprise then that the Ministry of Justice has issued a guide for officials' on devolution which tells them to:

"Be open and helpful to approaches from colleagues in the Devolved Administrations"

and to

"Ask the experts - your colleagues in the Devolved Administrations want to work with you".

A guide for the politicians is coming out soon.

UPDATE: Why are there no AMs going to 'observe' the Welsh Select Committee scrutinising the LCO today? One suggestion is that it would have been "helpful" to let them know officially of today's date before Tuesday afternoon.

Bring out that guide.


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