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Out with the old, in with the ...

Betsan Powys | 15:06 UK time, Wednesday, 16 July 2008

So on the very last day of Assembly business out go health trusts and local health boards and in come seven new bodies who'll run the health service in Wales ... just like they did when I lived in a place called South Glamorgan and before terms like service providers and health commissioning had ever been coined.

Out go any plans to prevent patients in North Wales to cross the border to receive neurosurgery treatment, out goes a problem that had got bigger and bigger for Labour AMs in the North East and in come calls from David Jones MP for Edwina Hart to resign.

Out go plans to do anything anytime soon about a Federal College, a body that would ensure the provision of education through the medium of Welsh in higher education. A "planning board" keeps the One Wales pledge alive.

And out goes lack of clarity about how to transfer powers to the Assembly. In case you were worried about holiday reading, your problem has been solved. With me to Tenby I'll be taking a copy of this and this - two new sets of guidelines which are designed to ease the devolving of powers.

The first is the Ministry of Justice's offering; the second is written for Welsh Assembly Government departments and 'complements' the first.

The Ten Commandments for Whitehall officials dealing with Wales don't actually include the words: 'Be nice. Your neighbour probably does have the right to ask you for those powers you know' but that, in essence, is what they're trying to say.

The good news for anyone still uncertain about the effects of devolution is that one thing is spelled out very clearly:

"Government departments ... should not normally object to proposals for legislative competence on the grounds that the Welsh Assembly Government could pursue policies that differ from England ..."

Glad that one's been cleared up.

I also spot an opening for a 'finish the sentence' competition:

"UK Government Departments should maintain a clear distinction between the scope of legislative competence in the proposed Order and the detail of any Measures likely to be brought forward as a result of the Order being made. The contents of likely Assembly Measures are ..."

I turn the page and find the sentence has trailed off. MPs, AMs, blog readers: feel free.


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