Minutes - Business Committee

Meeting Venue:

Video Conference via Zoom

Meeting date: 11 May 2020

Meeting time: 12.30 - 14.01







Committee Members:

Elin Jones MS, Llywydd (Chair)

Rebecca Evans MS

Darren Millar MS

Siân Gwenllian MS

Caroline Jones MS

Committee Staff:

Aled Elwyn Jones (Clerk)

Others in attendance

Ann Jones MS, Deputy Presiding Officer

Manon Antoniazzi, Chief Executive & Clerk of the Senedd

Siwan Davies, Director of Senedd Business

Siân Wilkins, Head of Chamber and Committee Service

Gwion Evans, Head of the Llywydd's Private Office

Elin Roberts, Policy Adviser to the Llywydd

Helen Carey, Welsh Government

Bethan Garwood, Deputy Clerk



1       Introductions, apologies and substitutions



2       Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes for the meeting were agreed by the Committee for publication.



3       Organisation of Business



3.1   This Week's Business

Feedback from last week’s plenary meeting

The Llywydd asked Business Managers to remind Members of the time limits on speaking, and to remain succinct.


Topical Questions

Business Committee agreed that topical questions should continue to be scheduled after the First Minister’s Statement, and any decision to move a question to earlier in the session should be done with the agreement by email of Business Committee.


The order of speakers on statements

The Llywydd confirmed that for statements, the Conservatives will be called first 6 times for every 5 times that Plaid Cymru are called first. This is in line with the allocation usually used for Leaders and spokespeople questions.



Business Committee agreed to continue with the practice of there not being any questions on the BSA.



Sian Gwenllian asked for a recall of the Senedd tomorrow morning, to discuss the new Covid-19 regulations that are coming into force in England and Wales, and the differences between the approaches of the two governments. The other Business Managers did not agree there was a need to recall the Senedd before Wednesday’s scheduled meeting and so the majority view was against the proposal.



3.2   Three Week Timetable of Business

The Trefnydd drew Business Managers’ attention to the fact that the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 will be added to the 3 Week Timetable of Government Business for Wednesday 20 May. This will enable them to be considered alongside the No. 2 Amendment Regulations already scheduled for that day.


Business Committee agreed that the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee should report in time for the two sets of regulations to be debated at the same.


Wednesday 3 June 2020


·         The Regulated Services (Service Providers and Responsible Individuals) (Wales) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 (15 mins)


The Committee agreed to continue to schedule Topical Questions as the sole item of Senedd business for the next three weeks.



4       Legislation



4.1   Local Government and Elections (Wales) Bill

Business Committee agreed to consult the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee on the proposed revised timetable for the Bill, and return to the matter at a later date.



4.2   LCM on the Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill

Business Committee agreed to refer the LCM on the Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill to the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills and the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committees, and to agree a reporting deadline at a later date.



5       Plenary



5.1   Plenary Business and the Covid-19 Emergency

The majority of Business Managers were content with plenary continuing to take place on a Wednesday for the foreseeable future. They also agreed that if the amount of business increases significantly - for example Committee reports on Covid-19 related scrutiny - then it will be necessary to split the meeting over a morning and an afternoon session.


Business Managers agreed to increase the ratio of the number of Members for Labour (including Ministers), the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Brexit Party to 16, 8, 7, 3 from this week, with a view to possibly increasing the number of Members to the full 60 after half term.


Business Managers considered the remaining elements of the paper and agreed to discuss with their groups and return to the matter next week, with a view to making changes after half term.


Darren Millar proposed the creation of a separate committee focussed on Covid-19, as proposed in a letter from the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives to the Llywydd. The Llywydd asked the secretariat to circulate the letter to Business Managers outside of the committee, and for groups to consider the proposal alongside the paper on Plenary.



5.2   Letter from the Chair of the Standards of Conduct Committee

The Business Committee has agreed to only schedule debates relating to Covid-19 in the short term, and Business Managers also noted that a virtual Emergency Senedd is not currently conducive to debates and decisions on Standards matters.

Whilst sanctions are a matter for the Standards of Conduct Committee, the Business Committee also noted that some of the sanctions listed in Standing Order 22.10, such as the withdrawal of the rights of a Member to access the Senedd estate, may not be appropriate in the virtual parliamentary environment.



6       Committees



6.1   Committee Timetable

Business Committee considered and agreed the timetable. Business Managers also agreed that Tuesday morning slots for committees should be from 9am to 11am to allow group meetings to continue to start at 11am.






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