Alan Trench: About me

Speaking at ‘Scotsman’ conference on a Scottish independence referendum, March 2012

I am an academic, associated with the University of Ulster (where I’m Professor of Politics), the University of Edinburgh (where I’m an honorary fellow in the School of Social and Political Science) and the Constitution Unit at University College London (where I’m an honorary senior research associate).  I am also a solicitor admitted in England and Wales, now non-practising.

My work on devolution has concentrated on intergovernmental relations and how devolution affects the UK state at the centre, though I’ve also done a good deal of work on Wales and its developing constitution, and on financial issues. Friends say I have a unique knowledge of how devolution affects all parts of the UK.

I’ve published numerous papers and book chapters on various aspects of devolution, and edited several books too, including recently Devolution and Power in the United Kingdom and The State of the Nations 2008.  I’ve written for papers such as The Herald, The Scotsman, the Western Mail and the Guardian’s Comment is Free blog, and made broadcast appearances on various radio and TV programmes in Scotland, Wales and across the UK, including ‘Today’ on Radio 4, ‘Newsnight Scotland’ on BBC2, ‘Good Morning Wales’, on BBC Radio Wales and ‘Scotland at Ten’ on BBC Radio Scotland.   I contributed sections on intergovernmental relations (and sometimes also finance) to the Devolution Monitoring Reports for Scotland and Wales co-ordinated by the Constitution Unit at UCL from 2005 until they ended in 2009.

As well as devolution in the UK, I’m interested in how federal and decentralised systems of government work in other countries around the world.  I’ve carried out work on Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and Spain, and have a working knowledge of other systems including the United States, Belgium, Italy, and Brazil.

I have been specialist adviser on aspects of devolution for two House of Lords select committees  – the Constitution Committee for its major inquiry on Devolution: Inter-Institutional Relations in the United Kingdom in 2001-03, and more recently the Ad Hoc Select Committee on The Barnett Formula which reported in July 2009.  Since October 2010 I have been specialist adviser to the Commons Welsh Affairs Committee, mainly for constitutional matters.  I’ve also submitted evidence to many other inquiries, including the Calman Commission in Scotland, the Holtham Commission in Wales and the Commons Justice Committee’s inquiry into Devolution: A Decade On, as well as committees of the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly.  I was formerly constitutional adviser to Tomorrow’s Wales/Cymru Yfory.

I am available for speaking engagements, media appearances and consultancy assignments.  Please contact me at devolutionmatters[AT]gmail.com if you want to discuss a project.

[Updated 2 November 2013]