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Devolved, regional and local Government and policy engagement

What is the role of devolved, regional and local Government within policymaking and how can academics contribute and influence through policy engagement?

Devolved administrations

Since 1997, devolution in the UK has created a Parliament in Scotland, a Parliament (Senedd Cymru) in Wales and a National Assembly in Northern Ireland. Devolution has transferred varying levels of power from the UK Parliament to the UK's nations.

The UK government retains responsibility for UK-wide functions, such as defence, immigration, foreign policy, and macro-economic policy. However, devolved governments now have responsibility for certain policy areas including health, education, and the environment.

In Scotland these powers include additional economic responsibilities.

Regional and local Government

Regional government

In England, there is one regional tier of government: the Greater London Authority (made up of the Mayor and Greater London Assembly). It runs Transport for London, the Met Police, fire services, spatial planning and housing grants, public health, and some post-16 skills and apprenticeship functions.

Elsewhere in England, Combined Authorities (combining Local Authorities) of varying size and powers have been established, usually with an elected Metro Mayor. The ‘trailblazers’ of Greater Manchester and the West Midlands have the most extensive powers, including transport, policing and spatial planning.

The ‘West of England Combined Authority’ comprises three Local Authorities (Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset, and South Gloucestershire) and an elected Mayor. Local Enterprise Partnerships will be folded into the Combined Authorities from April 2024. There are also some pan-regional groupings, including the Western Gateway.

Local Authorities

Local Government in England comprises of two-tier and unitary Local Authorities. There are 317 Local Authorities covering England – see the interactive map. Local Government is responsible for a range of vital services for people within its reach. These services include social care, schools, housing, planning, and waste collection.


Routes for engagement with devolved administrations are similar to those for the UK Parliament and Civil Service.

For example: researchers can horizon scan and respond to consultations and evidence requests; engage with sub-national Committees with calls for expert evidence; and engage with initiatives similar to POST.

At regional and local levels, similar policy engagement opportunities also exist, including policy engagement with relevant Local Authorities, officers, and councillors. It is also possible to engage across Local Authorities via representative bodies such as the Local Government Association.

Further information

Learning from others

Read about Bath academics who have worked with devolved, regional or local Government as part of their research:

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