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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 March 2008, 17:45 GMT

Wide opinion sought on more power

Children with their arms in the air
Children will be among those consulted about any plans

Details of how public opinion on whether the Welsh Assembly should have more powers have been drawn up under the All Wales Convention.

Children, ethnic minority groups, business leaders and trade unions are likely to be consulted.

Regional citizens juries could be set up to test the evidence for and against a move to full legislative powers.

And the latest technology may be used, including an online interactive debate, for public opinion on any proposals.

The details were revealed in the terms of reference for the convention which was recommended by a special committee of Labour and Plaid Cymru politicians.

Both First Minister Rhodri Morgan and his deputy Ieuan Wyn Jones have accepted the recommendations.

Public meetings

The committee of politicians, known as the establishing committee, suggested targeting local papers, radio stations and community newsletters to make sure the public's views are heard.

Children and young people could be included in the convention's work through schools' councils and student unions.

There are plans for public meetings across Wales and information packs to be made available.

But opposition parties have concerns.

Although the Welsh conservatives said they would work with the convention, leader Nick Bourne said: "It is also vital this convention does not become a campaigning body, but one which reflects the views of everyone in Wales from both sides of the argument."

And Mike German, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats said: "I'm amazed at how little these terms of reference tell us.

"How convenient that it has been published today - at the start of the Easter recess - when ministers cannot be questioned on it."

But Rhodri Morgan the First Minister said: "I wish to congratulate the members of the Establishing Committee for their work, they have completed their task quickly and efficiently, paving the way for the Convention to start work."

And the Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said: "I'm delighted that by the summer the All Wales Convention will be able to start work in earnest, gathering information and views from organisations and ordinary members of the public in all corners of Wales."

The work of the convention, chaired by former British ambassador to the united nations Sir Emyr Jones Parry, will cost 1.5m and will start this summer. It is due to report back its findings in Autumn 2009. A referendum would have to be held by 2011.

Both parties in the Welsh Assembly Government, Labour and Plaid Cymru, have agreed to campaign for a success outcome to that referendum.

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