Senedd Commission                                    

 

Venue:

Remote - Digital

 

Date:

Monday, 20 June 2022

 

Time:

10.00 - 12.00

 

 

 

Minutes: 

 

 

 

Commission Members:

 

Rt. Hon. Elin Jones MS (Chair)

Rhun ap Iorwerth MS

Janet Finch-Saunders MS

Ken Skates MS

Joyce Watson MS

 

 

 

 

 

Officials present:

 

Siwan Davies, Director of Senedd Business

Arwyn Jones, Director of Communications and Engagement

Ed Williams, Director of Senedd Resources

Sulafa Thomas, Head of Commission and Member Support

Gwion Evans, Head of the Llywydd's Private Office

Nia Morgan, Director of Finance

Lowri Williams, Head of Human Resources and Inclusion

Matthew Jones, Sustainability Manager

Gruffydd Jones, Official Languages Scheme Deputy Manager

Matthew Richards, Head of the Legal Service, Head of the Legal Service

 

 

 

 

 

 

Others in attendance:

 

 

 

 

 

<AI1>

1      Introduction

 

</AI1>

<AI2>

1.a  Introduction and apologies

 

Commissioners noted apologies from Manon Antoniazzi and the temporary delegation to Siwan Davies to exercise any function of Clerk and as an additional accounting officer during the Clerk’s absence.

 

</AI2>

<AI3>

1.b  Declarations of interest

 

There were no declarations of interest.

 

</AI3>

<AI4>

1.c   Minutes of the previous meeting

 

The minutes of 9 May were agreed.

 

</AI4>

<AI5>

2      Annual Report and Accounts 2021-22

 

Commissioners approved the final version of the annual report and accounts covering 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, subject to any minor corrections or edits.

In doing so they discussed elements relating to the Official Languages, and agreed to more overtly reference them within the Commission priorities for the year ahead.

Commissioners welcomed the approach of publishing the report on a new suite of webpages that would showcase highlights from the report (and the other annual reports – Diversity & Inclusion, Official Languages Scheme and Sustainability), concluding that it made the content much more accessible and consumable.

The report will be signed and laid on behalf of the Auditor General for Wales and published online before the end of the summer term.

 

</AI5>

<AI6>

3      Annual Reports

 

</AI6>

<AI7>

3.a  Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report 2021-22

 

Commissioners agreed the Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report 2021-22 along with the accompanying suite of Diversity and Inclusion data reports and Consolidated Action Plan.

Commissioners welcomed the report of the work that had been done and the improvement actions under the equal pay and gender, ethnicity and disability pay gap report. They were keen to enable benchmarking across other organisations.

The Commission also noted the inclusion of analyses for socio-economic background for internal and external job applicants and that socio-economic data will be collected for the Commission’s workforce this year and an analysis included in next year’s report.

 

</AI7>

<AI8>

3.b  Sustainability Annual Report 2021-22

 

Commissioners agreed the report on the sustainability performance of the Senedd estate and operations over the past year, subject to minor edits.

The report highlighted key environmental achievements, performance against targets including the first year of the Carbon Neutral Strategy, use of utilities, and a summary of improvements planned for the forthcoming financial year. 

Commissioners discussed beginning to change the terminology used when referring to low emissions and no emissions, particularly in the context of emerging technology and reflected that these developments could also be considered in relation to procurement.

 

</AI8>

<AI9>

3.c   Official Languages Scheme Annual Report 2021-22

 

Commissioners agreed the report of the work undertaken across the organisation to enable the Commission to uphold its commitment to deliver exemplary bilingual services.

They discussed the learning journey and the importance of being inclusive and enabling, mindful of their previous Diversity and Inclusion discussion. Commissioners commented on the relationship to recruitment, and acknowledged the value of data and of outreach in reducing barriers.

 

</AI9>

<AI10>

4      Ways of Working

 

Commissioners noted project progress, principal delivery risks and next step. They also discussed matters relating to long-term options for the Tŷ Hywel estate, beyond the lease expiry in 2032, and noted that professional advice would be sought, informed by the Commission discussions. They agreed that all options should be included for the purpose of seeking advice and that further discussions would be undertaken with Welsh Government officials in relation to the site adjacent to the Senedd.

 

</AI10>

<AI11>

5      Members' Survey Results Report

 

Commissioners were presented with the results of the 2022 Member and Support Staff survey, which would form the baseline data for the Sixth Senedd.

Commissioners expressed an interest in the services provided to support wellbeing as there was some expressed lack of awareness of them, and inquired about progress of the Dignity and Respect review, which had been informed by survey responses, and were informed that a report would come to Commission by the Autumn.

Commissioners agreed to share relevant findings with the Remuneration Board, and to then share the results report with Members, Support Staff and Commission Staff by publishing the information internally.

 

</AI11>

<AI12>

6      Rules & Guidance on use of Senedd Resources

 

Commissioners were provided with information about the outcome of the recent review of the Rules and Guidance on use of Senedd resources, following formal consultation.

They noted the purpose of these Rules as to ensure the regularity and propriety of the management of the public money provided to the Senedd Commission and for which the Clerk is accountable as principal accounting officer of the Senedd Commission under section 138 of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

Commissioners were presented with the updated Rules text and with the draft report of the consultation. Commissioners commented on the revised wording relating to the application of judgment and on the importance of consistency in decisions relating to the admissibility of claims.

Commissioners noted the updated Rules and Guidance on the Use of Senedd Resources proposed to be issued by the Clerk and Chief Executive, as the principal accounting officer of the Senedd Commission and in the exercise of powers delegated to the Clerk and Chief Executive by the Senedd Commission, following consultation.

They were informed that the proposed rules would also be provided to the Standards of Conduct Committee and that it was intended apply the updated version of the rules from the beginning of summer recess. At that time both the report and the rules would be published on the Commission website.

 

</AI12>

<AI13>

7      Covid update

 

Commissioners were updated on measures and approaches on the estate. They discussed the implications of high community case rates, and that it was important that anyone wishing to wear facemasks should feel comfortable to do so.

They observed that some caution remained advisable and agreed it would be helpful to re-offer advice to all building users.

 

</AI13>

<AI14>

8      Papers to note:

 

</AI14>

<AI15>

8.a  Annual Staff Survey Results

 

Commissioners noted the results of the Annual Commission Staff Survey and agreed to share the summary report with PAPAC; and to publish the results report, as per the PAPAC recommendation.

 

</AI15>

<AI16>

8.b  PAPAC Update

 

Commissioners noted the update which would be provided to the Committee relating to the Scrutiny of Accounts 2020-21. The letter would provide information on progress in responding to recommendations relating to the work of the Commission as an employer in its continued commitment to furthering inclusion for all.

 

</AI16>

<AI17>

8.c   Finance Committee / PAPAC letters - Covid

 

Commissioners noted the final update for the Committees about financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in relation to the 2021-22 financial year.

 

</AI17>

<AI18>

8.d  ARAC Draft Minutes - 29 April 2022

 

Commissioners noted the routine update of ARAC meetings.

 

</AI18>

<AI19>

8.e  Executive Board update (RAD decisions)

 

Commissioners noted the routine summary of recruitment decisions provided to each Commission meeting.

 

</AI19>

<AI20>

8.f    Notes from Senedd Party Contact Group 12 May 2022

 

Commissioners noted the routine update of SPCG meetings.

 

</AI20>

<AI21>

9      Any other business

 

·         Safeguarding – Joyce Watson raised a follow up to the Commission’s consideration last autumn, supporting the importance of Members  taking steps (including training) to provide suitable assurance to the public given their position. It was agreed that background information would be provided to Commissioners.

·         Senedd reform – Llywydd informed Commissioners that a substantive discussion would be included on the agenda for the next Commission meeting.

·         Other matters – Janet Finch-Saunders referred to correspondence about the Jubilee and made inquiries about the flag protocol.

 

</AI21>

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