Ewch i’r prif gynnwys
Ian Stafford

Dr Ian Stafford

Lecturer in Politics

Ysgol y Gyfraith a Gwleidyddiaeth

+44 29208 74723
Adeilad y Gyfraith, Ystafell 2.36, Rhodfa'r Amgueddfa, Caerdydd, CF10 3AX
Ar gael fel goruchwyliwr ôl-raddedig


My teaching and research interests include devolution and territorial politics, British politics and public policy, theories of public policy analysis, comparative politics and US politics.

Current projects include the three year WISERD Civil Society project 'Buidling Trust? Institutions and interactions of multi-level governance in the UK, Germany and France' (with Professor Alistair Cole) and further research on transport policy within Wales (with Professor Jonathan Bradbury, Swansea University). I was also part of a cross-national team that recently completed a three year Leverhulme Trust funded International Network project ‘Territorial Governance between Convergence and Capacity’ (IN-2012-109) led by Professor Alistair Cole.

I have published on a wide range of topics, most recently the article ‘States of convergence in territorial governance' in Publius: The Journal of Federalism (with Alistair Cole, Jean-Baptiste Harguindeguy, Romain Pasquier and Christian de Visscher) and a book published by Palgrave, Devolution and Governance: Wales between capacity and constraint (with Alistair Cole).















Adrannau llyfrau




My broad research interests focus on territorial politics and public policy within UK and European contexts. This work has operationalised a variety of theoretical and conceptual frameworks to explore policy and decision-making processes, for example, Koppenjan and Klijn’s (2004) work on network management and Kingdon’s (1995) work on policy streams.

My empirical interest has primarily centred on the UK, either in comparative studies across devolved administrations, for example, exploring debates around policy divergence/convergence and the impact of the asymmetrical model of devolution in the UK, or the detailed analysis of single case studies, for example, the development of transport policy in Wales since devolution and the rescaling of governance arrangements in England.

Current & Completed Projects

Over the past four or five years I have worked in four broad areas of research:

Buidling Trust? Institutions and interactions of multi-level governance in the UK, Germany and France

This project will utilise a mixed-methods design incorporating interviews, focus groups, a scoping analysis of secondary quantitative data and a cross-national survey to explore the role of trust and transparency within the context of multi-level governance. The core research question focuses on the extent to which a pan-European convergence in norms of trust has emerged and its relationship to transparency. The research will examine the interplay of trust and transparency within and between three EU states: the UK, France and Germany. Within each state the project will focus on one strong identity and one ‘instrumental’ region to explore the impact of factors such as varying identities, institutional configurations and resource profiles on trust and transparency.

A mixed methods research design will allow associations between multi-level governance and trust to be mapped comparatively
1). National Trust Profiles: quantitative scoping analysis - The RA will undertake secondary quantitative scoping analysis of the three EU member-states, with a view to compiling a cross-national ‘trust’ profile, designed to elicit variation in attitudes towards political institutions and policy arenas.
2). Regional Trust Profiles - The project will add value by undertaking a cross-national representative survey, with a target of 1000 individuals in each of our six regions, to be carried out as an online survey.
3). Qualitative data analysis: comparing policy communities and focus groups
The project will conduct semi-structured interviews with 72 actors in the UK, France and Germany. Interviews will occur with comparable members of the policy community in six regions on the basis of a semi-structured interview schedule that links trust and transparency to scalar preferences, institutional configurations, identity mixes, and perceptions of social and cultural capital and output legitimacy. Around 60 semi-structured interviews will take place across the six regions (10 per region), along with 4 interviews to capture the national and supranational levels in each country) (total 72 interviews). Interviewees in Wales, Saxony, Brittany, South-West England, Ile-de-France and Hesse will be drawn from functionally equivalent panels, determined via purposive sampling. Focus groups will allow for visual and oral comparisons of observable interactions in similar conditions in our regions. We propose to convene two groups in each region, to be held in short succession of each other, hence 12 groups in total.

Research Questions

  • Is there a pan-European convergence in norms of trust? 
  • Are certain types of democratic polity/national systems of multi-level governance better equipped to retain trust than others? 
  • Are trusting relationships related to national systems of multi-level governance, and the emphasis they place on the scale of governance or the proximity of decision-making? 
  • Does Europeanisation engender more distant relationships across the policy spectrum? Or are these sentiments played out differentially according to the field of policy intervention?


  • In the medium term, the research will be disseminated widely through working papers and practitioner briefings in French, German and English (as set out in the previous section), standard academic publications, the deposition of a cross-national dataset in the WISERD Data archive.
  • Published outputs will include a project monograph in English, at least five refereed journal articles (targets are Journal of European Public Policy, Comparative Political Studies,  European Journal of Political Research, British Journal of Political Science, West European Politics  and Political Studies), and an electronic database, made accessible via the WISERD Dataportal
  • The PI or CI will attend – and present papers or organise panels – at the following UK and international conferences:  RSA, 2016, ECPR 2017, IPSA 2018. Early publication of a practitioner focussed publication Wales, the United Kingdom and Europe: Europeanising Devolution (ISBN: 978-0-85672-608-8 ) jointly produced by the British Academy and the Learned Society of Wales, gives an indication of the engagement with practitioners in advance of the formal project. 
  • Longer-term impact will be measured in terms of enhanced inter-cultural communication and policy transfer. Dissemination will continue beyond the formal end of the project. 

Territorial Governance between Convergence and Capacity

A three year Leverhulme Trust funded International Network, led by Professor Alistair Cole, which brings together scholars from across Europe interested in, and working on questions of territorial governance. The core questions to be investigated by the network revolve around whether the economic crisis has undermined, or reversed the seemingly relentless trend towards decentralisation across Europe from the 1980s to c. 2010. In short, has the context of the fiscal and sovereign debt crisis since 2008 potentially undermined the trend towards enhanced devolution? Or, on the other hand, are the dynamics of policy divergence essentially endogenous (domestic-level), sheltered from the direct effects of these global and European pressures? The network endeavours to capture these processes of convergence and divergence by comparing territorial dynamics in public finance, education and intergovernmental relations in five European states: the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Belgium.

The project focuses on five regions – Wallonia, Andalucía, Wales, Brittany and Saxony – that combine a distinctive and developed territorial capacity with fiscal deficits and/or dependent relations with central States. The research design encompasses semi-structured interviews (30 per region), and a small number of contextual interviews with actors at central government level (10 in each country). The fieldwork in Wales began in late November 2012 and will be completed by early summer 2013. Emerging findings from the Welsh case will be presented at a one-day conference, Europeanising Devolution on 24 May 2013, organised by The Learned Society of Wales in partnership with The British Academy, and with support from Cardiff University, the Leverhulme Trust and the University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES),

Exploring the governance of England

The governance of England has remained a problematic issue within the wider devolution settlement since the introduction of the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales in 1999. The regional reform agenda pursued by the previous Labour administration was ultimately undermined by the failure of the November 2004 referendum in the North East on elected regional government and the fortunes of alternative approaches, such as city regions, waxed and waned. However, since the May 2010 General Election the Coalition Government has swept away the last remnants of the regional administrative tier and pursued a radical agenda of ‘localism’, characterised by the devolution of functions and budgets to local authorities and communities, for example, via bottom-up Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Whilst there have been commentaries on the emergence and early development of these new ‘localist’ structures, there has been little systematic analysis of the capacity of these emerging governance structures to effectively integrate multiple strands of policy and collaborate to respond to strategic challenges facing wider localities. This research builds on past collaborations with Dr Sarah Ayres at the School for Policy Studies at Bristol University, notably the ESRC funded research project ‘English regionalism: rhetoric or substance? Evaluating decision making procedures for Regional Funding Allocations’ (RES-061-23-0033).

Transport policy in Wales

Transport provides a useful case study in understanding many of the wider themes that have emerged since the introduction of devolution in Wales, notably the challenges around building decision-making capacity and developing effective governance arrangements for delivery. My current research builds on work initially undertaken through two separate research projects. Firstly, the University of Wales Board of Celtic Studies funded research project ‘Public Policy and Wales-only Legislation: A Study of Transport Policy’, completed at Swansea University and led by Professor Jonathan Bradbury. This project analysed the development of the transport policy community within Wales since the introduction of devolution and the process by which further transport functions were devolved to the Welsh Assembly Government via the Railways Act 2005 and Transport (Wales) Act 2006. The project also began to examine the initial use of these newly devolved powers by the Welsh Assembly Government, particularly in terms of the development of the Welsh Transport Strategy. This research was then taken forward by the small-scale research project Regional Governance of Transport Policy in Wales as part of the policy strand within WISERD. This project focused on relationship between and decision-making processes adopted by the Welsh Government and Regional Transport Consortia in the development of the Welsh Transport Strategy, National Transport Plan and Regional Transport Plans. A co-authored monograph providing an overview of transport policy in Wales is in development and several papers are in the process of being submitted for publication.

Conference Participation

I regularly participate in the following conferences:

  • Political Studies Association Annual Conference
  • Political Studies Association Territorial Politics Specialist Group Biennial Conference
  • Regional Studies Association International Conference
  • Regional Studies Association Winter Conference
  • Policy and Politics Annual Conference
  • Public Administration Committee (PAC) Annual Conference

Reviewer Activities

I have reviewed papers for a variety of academic journals including Regional and Federal Studies, Public Management Review, Political Studies and the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.


I currently teach on the third year module US Government and Politics (PL9374) and three postgraduate taught modules Public Policy (PLT069), Themes and Debates in Contemporary Comparative Politics (PLT432) and Devolution and Public Policy in Wales (PLT074).

I am also the convenor of the Politics and Public Policy MSc programme and the pathway convenor of the Departments Social Science Research Methods (SSRM) MSc progarmmes.




Uwch Ddarlithydd mewn Gwleidyddiaeth, Adran Gwleidyddiaeth a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol, Ysgol y Gyfraith a Gwleidyddiaeth Caerdydd


2009-12 Cydymaith Ymchwil (Polisi) (Sefydliad Ymchwil a Data Economaidd Cymdeithasol Cymru, Prifysgol Caerdydd)

2007-2008 Cydymaith Ymchwil, Ysgol Astudiaethau Polisi, Prifysgol Bryste (prosiect ymchwil a ariennir gan ESRC 'Rhanbartholdeb Saesneg: Rhetoric or Sylwedd? Gwerthuso Gweithdrefnau Gwneud Penderfyniadau ar gyfer Dyraniadau Ariannu Rhanbarthol', RES-061-23-0033)

2005-2006 Cynorthwy-ydd Ymchwil, Adran Gwleidyddiaeth a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol, Prifysgol Cymru Abertawe (prosiect ymchwil a ariennir gan y Bwrdd Astudiaethau Celtaidd 'Deddfwriaeth Cymru yn unig: Astudiaeth o Bolisi Trafnidiaeth yng Nghymru')


Tystysgrif Ôl-raddedig 2014 mewn Addysgu a Dysgu Prifysgol (Prifysgol Caerdydd)
2006 PhD Gwleidyddiaeth (Prifysgol Cymru Abertawe, Ysgoloriaeth Prifysgol Cymru)
2001 MA Gwleidyddiaeth Ewropeaidd (Prifysgol Cymru Abertawe, Ysgoloriaeth ESRC)
2000 BA (Anrh.) Gwleidyddiaeth (Prifysgol Cymru Abertawe)

Meysydd goruchwyliaeth

Mae gen i ddiddordeb mewn goruchwylio myfyrwyr PhD ym meysydd:

  • Gwleidyddiaeth Diriogaethol
  • Datganoli yn y DU
  • Dadansoddiad Polisi
  • Gwleidyddiaeth Gymharol