National Assembly for Wales Committee Data Report: 2018-19

Introduction

1.         The National Assembly for Wales is the democratically elected body that represents the interests of Wales and its people, makes laws for Wales, agrees Welsh taxes and holds the Welsh Government to account.

2.         In its report on Making Laws in Wales, the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee recommended that:

“the Assembly Commission invests resources in capturing data relevant to the operation and function of scrutiny in the Assembly as a means of facilitating the decision-making process and ensuring the efficient use of time and resources in the delivery of services to Assembly Members.”[1]

3.         In particular, the Committee suggested that such data could include:

“the number of draft Bills considered by Assembly committees, the number of Bills subject to post-legislative scrutiny; the amount of available time used by committees and the amount of time used by committees for policy and legislation scrutiny.”[2]

4.         The Assembly Commission (the corporate body responsible for ensuring that property, staff and services are provided for the National Assembly for Wales) accepted this recommendation.

5.         It is intended that a data report on the work of Assembly Committees will be published on an annual basis. The reports will cover a one year period of May-April, reflecting that each Assembly will be elected for five years, beginning in the month of May.

6.         The Annexes to this report contain data from previous years to give an initial corpus of data for comparison.

The amount of available time used by committees

7.         Committees are one of the key mechanisms that enable the Assembly to fulfil its statutory and constitutional functions, including holding the Welsh Government to account and making laws.

8.         The Assembly has committees set up to look at specific subjects. Each committee carries out tasks, such as examining the general principles of a proposed law (a Bill), or conducting an investigation into policy decisions made by the Welsh Government. In this way, Committees play a key role in holding the Welsh Government to account and making laws.

9.         One data set that the Fourth Assembly’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee expressed a particular interest in was “the amount of available time used by committees.”[3]

10.      In a sense, so long as a committee exists, it is using time. For example, when a committee starts investigating an issue, they may ask people to write to them (or send them a video) setting out what they think about a particular issue,[4] or produce a survey or questionnaire to gather people’s views. Individual Members of a committee may receive and read (or view) such responses at any time.  Members may also engage in committee work outside of meeting slots.

11.      However, for the purpose of addressing the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee’s interest in the amount of available time used by committees, we have focussed specifically on the use of ‘meeting slots’.

12.      Standing Order 11.9 requires the Business Committee to publish from time to time, a timetable for periods of not less than six months, which must include times available for committee meetings. The majority of Assembly committees are allocated ‘meeting slots’ within a fortnightly timetable of business. Committees are not allocated meeting slots during recess periods.

13.      During these meeting slots a committee may hold formal meetings, asking people to come and answer questions about an issue they are investigating. A committee may also use meeting slots to hold informal meetings, visit particular projects related to the issue they are investigating, or otherwise use the allocated time to assist them in their various roles.

What is a meeting slot?

14.      Although ‘meeting slot’ is a commonly used concept within the context of Assembly Business, different committees start and finish at different times. We consider committees that meet for any period of time during their allocated slot to have met. Specifically, whilst the entirety of a Thursday is made available to some committees on a fortnightly basis, any duration of business (formal or informal) during this time is counted as making use of a single available slot.

15.      For the purpose of presenting data, we have therefore:

a.         treated any duration on a Thursday as being one meeting slot;

b.         treated meetings that did not take place due to a committee having only recently been established, or otherwise did not take place due to external factors (for example: industrial action) as slots unused;

c.         treated a slot as ‘used’ if a Committee conducted business of any form during a slot (whether that was formal or informal, and regardless of what length of time that business took).[5]

What proportion of meeting slots are used?

16.      Taking this definition, we can say that- in total- committees used 94% of their available meeting slots between May 2018 and April 2019.

17.      The individual committees’ use of meeting slots (including both those used formal meetings and informal activities) are detailed in Table 1 below.

Committee

Slots available

Slots used

Children, Young People and Education Committee

36

36

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

36

34

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

4

4

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

36

33

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

35

33

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

36

36

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

37

34

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee[6]

37

31

Finance Committee

35

31

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

36

36

Petitions Committee

18

18

Public Accounts Committee

36

32

Standards of Conduct Committee

18

13

Total

400

376

Table 1

18.      It should be noted that the remit of the Standards of Conduct Committee (such as investigation of complaints) necessitates both that it is able to meet on a regular basis, and that in practice it is unlikely to need to use all of its available meeting slots.

Numbers of formal committee meetings held

19.      In total, Committees formally met 350 times between May 2018 and April 2019.

20.      The number of formal meetings held by each committee, including those held outside their formal slot[7] is set out in Table 2.

Committee

Formal Meetings

Children, Young People and Education Committee

29

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

27

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

2

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

34

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

38

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

30

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

34

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee[8]

32

Finance Committee

32

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

33

Petitions Committee

18

Public Accounts Committee

30

Standards of Conduct Committee

21

Total

350

Table 2

21.      The total number of formal committee meetings held within particular quarters of the May 2018 to April 2019 period is set out in Table 3.

Quarter

Number of committee meetings

1 April - 30 June 2018

95

1 July- 30 September 2018

48

1 October- 31 December 2018

105

1 January- 31 March 2019

102

Total

350

Table 3

22.      A similar breakdown of formal committee meetings by Assembly Term is laid out in Table 4

Assembly Term

Number of committee meetings

Summer 2018

125

Autumn 2018

123

Spring 2019

102

Total

350

Table 4


 

Committee activities taking place outside the
National Assembly for Wales Estate

What are committee activities outside the Assembly estate?

23.      Committees meet- formally or informally- or otherwise gather evidence outside the Assembly estate for a range of reasons. Formal meetings outside the Assembly Estate can enable a wider range of people to observe them, or can facilitate particular witnesses in giving evidence.

24.      Informal meetings might be based in settings that witnesses are more familiar with, which can make discussions less intimidating for people taking part. Informal committee meetings are usually based around a more relaxed discussion where witnesses feel comfortable asking questions to the committee members or to each other. Notes of informal discussions can be taken if the witnesses agree to this. These notes can then be used for more formal committee business (such as a committee report). Witnesses can remain anonymous in the notes if they prefer.

25.      Other forms of evidence gathering include visits, whereby one or more members of a committee might visit a specific place or project to learn more about it.

How often did committee activities take place outside the Assembly estate?

26.      Committees met or otherwise gather evidence outside the Assembly estate for the purpose of informing committee inquiries, on a total of 21 dates between May 2016 and April 2017. A breakdown by each committee is set out in Table 5.

27.      Table 5 also reflects that on occasion, committees have met or otherwise gathered evidence in multiple locations across Wales on the same date. This could involve a committee as a whole meeting in multiple locations, or could involve a committee splitting up its members to gather evidence in multiple places, and report back to the committee.

Committee

Date

Event location

Children, Young People and Education Committee

20 June 2018

Cardiff

Children, Young People and Education Committee

4 October 2018

Across Wales

Children, Young People and Education Committee

24 January 2019

Risca and Denbighshire

Children, Young People and Education Committee

7 February 2019

Merthyr and Aberaeron

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

2 May 2018

London

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

24 May 2018

Tongwynlais

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

6 June 2018

Cardiff Bay

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

12 July 2018

Milford Haven

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

25 July 2018

Royal Welsh Showground, Llanelwedd

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

30 January 2019

Bridgend

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

28 March 2019

North Wales

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

6 July 2018

Aberystwyth

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

2 May 2018

Cardiff

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

4 July 2018

Cardiff

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

22 November 2018

Cardiff

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

6 December 2018

Aberystwyth

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

21 February 2019

Swansea

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

27 June 2018

Taffs Well

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

27 September 2018

Roose

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

25 October 2018

London

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

15 November 2018

Treforest

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

17 January 2019

Manchester

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

19 July 2018

Across Wales

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

17 January 2019

Bridgend

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

14 February 2019

Gloucester

External Affairs and Additional Legislation

22 October 2018

London

External Affairs and Additional Legislation

18 February 2019

Brussels

Finance Committee

07 June 2018

Swansea

Finance Committee

5 December 2018

Treforest

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

21 June 2018

Carmarthen & Cardiff

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

5 December 2018

Cardiff

Public Accounts Committee

21 May 2018

Cardiff

Public Accounts Committee

21 January 2019

Across Wales

Public Accounts Committee

4 March 2019

Wrexham

Table 5

28.       The term “Across Wales” is used above where the committee visited multiple locations in one day, often by splitting the members into smaller reportage groups in order to visit more locations/projects than it would be possible for the entire committee to visit within the time available.

Informal Committee activities taking place on the
National Assembly for Wales’ Estate

29.      As previously noted, Committees sometimes use informal activities to assist their inquiries. Informal meetings can take place inside or away from the Senedd, and are not recorded word for word.

30.      Most informal activities and meetings that took place between May 2018 and April 2019 were not on the Assembly estate. These are recorded in Table 5.

31.      However, a further 12 informal activities took place on the Assembly estate between May 2018 and April 2019. A breakdown of such activities is detailed in Table 6.

Committee

Date

Nature of event

Children, Young People and Education Committee

26 April 2018

Report Launch

Children, Young People and Education Committee

4 July 2018

Stakeholder Roundtable Event

Children, Young People and Education Committee

26 September 2018

Stakeholder Roundtable Event

Children, Young People and Education Committee

13 February 2019

Working group with Stakeholders

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

16 May 2018

Stakeholder workshop

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

28 June 2018

Stakeholder workshop

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

26 July 2018

Informal Meeting

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

6 November 2018

Informal Meeting

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

14 June 2018

Report Launch

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

12 November 2018

Seminar session

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

7 March 2019

Report Launch

Public Accounts Committee

17 September 2018

Networking Event

Table 6

Use of committees’ formal meeting time

How do committees divide up their formal meeting time?

32.      Committees can use formal meeting time for a variety of purposes. One issue that the Fourth Assembly’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee expressed particular interest in was “the amount of time used by committees for policy and legislation scrutiny.”

33.      In practice, many aspects of scrutiny are intertwined, rather than conducted in isolation. When examining a Welsh Government proposed Bill, for example, a committee would also typically wish to consider the policy context of the Bill, and indeed the financial consequences anticipated to arise from the proposed legislation. Similarly, when examining a Welsh Government policy area, a committee would typically also consider the financial and legislative context of that policy area.

34.      Nevertheless, we have sought to differentiate committee activity into a number of broad categories, which we have based on what the ‘primary’ focus of the activity could reasonably be said to be. These categories are:

35.      ‘Policy scrutiny,’ which refers to time scheduled on committee agendas for committee inquiries;

36.      ‘Primary Legislation,’ which refers to time scheduled on committee agendas for the consideration of primary legislation (as part of either Stage 1 or Stage 2);

37.       ‘Subordination Legislation, which’ refers to time scheduled on committee agendas for the consideration of subordinate legislation;

38.      ‘Financial Scrutiny,’ which refers to time scheduled on committee agendas for scrutiny of the Welsh Government’s financial decisions and financial decisions of others scrutinised by the Assembly (e.g. Assembly Commission, Auditor General for Wales ,Public Service Ombudsman for Wales). This includes - but is not limited to - consideration of the draft budget;

39.      ‘Scrutiny of Legislative Consent Memoranda,’ which refers to time scheduled on committee agendas for the consideration of UK legislation that by convention requires the consent of the Assembly

40.      ‘Post legislative scrutiny,’ which refers to time scheduled on committee agendas for reviewing the Welsh Government’s implementation of primary legislation previously passed by the Assembly;

41.      ‘Stand-alone Ministerial scrutiny,’ which refers to time scheduled on committee agendas for scrutinising a Welsh Minister on a range of matters within their portfolio, and which does not form part of any particular policy inquiry that a committee might also be doing.

42.      ‘Other,’ which refers to time scheduled on committee agendas for activities not covered under the headings above, such as a Committee’s consideration of its Forward Work Programme, consideration of correspondence that does not relate to a current inquiry, etc.

What is the proportion of formal meeting time used for policy and legislative scrutiny?

43.      Using these broad categories, we can say that between May 2018 and April 2019, the total time allocated in committee agendas for policy scrutiny was 502 hours. In the same period, the total time allocated in agendas for legislative scrutiny was 85 hours. From this, it can be determined that the ratio of policy scrutiny to legislative scrutiny was 6:1.[9]

44.      Or it could be said that for each hour of Policy Scrutiny that was scheduled on committee agendas, on average, 10 minutes of Legislation Scrutiny was scheduled on committee agendas.

45.      It may be noted that the proportion of time dedicated to legislation by Committees is heavily influenced by each Bill’s timetable (i.e. how many weeks a Committee has to scrutinise the general principles of a Bill), the number of amendments tabled on a Bill, and the number of Bills that are within the remit of a particular Committee. As such, a Committee will have limited control in practice as to how much of its time it dedicates to legislative scrutiny as opposed to other activities.

46.      Table 7 sets out a breakdown of formal committee activity as allocated in committee agendas between May 2018 and April 2019.


 

 

Policy Scrutiny

Primary Legislation

Subordinate Legislation

Financial Scrutiny

Scrutiny of Legislative Consent Memoranda

Post Legislative Scrutiny

Standalone Ministerial Scrutiny

Other

Total

CYPE

01:19:20

00:17:05

00:00:00

00:06:55

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:02:10

00:08:25

03:05:55

CCERA

01:17:55

00:00:30

00:01:15

00:05:30

00:08:05

00:00:00

00:01:40

00:06:10

02:17:05

SFM

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:04:00

00:00:00

00:04:00

CLA

00:12:30

00:18:35

00:07:45

00:00:00

00:04:31

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:02:40

01:22:01

CWLC

02:16:15

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:02:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:01:00

00:11:10

03:06:25

EIS

02:13:50

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:02:40

00:00:15

00:00:15

00:03:50

00:06:00

03:02:50

ELGC

02:10:25

00:18:25

00:00:00

00:08:35

00:00:00

00:01:15

00:00:00

00:05:35

03:20:15

EAAL

01:17:30

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:02:00

00:00:00

00:16:20

00:06:50

02:18:40

Fin

00:18:55

00:10:00

00:00:40

01:07:15

00:00:10

00:06:30

00:00:00

00:05:05

03:00:35

HSCS

02:09:55

00:20:45

00:00:05

00:03:15

00:01:10

00:11:25

00:00:00

00:03:40

04:02:15

Pet

01:08:20

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

01:08:20

PAC

02:07:30

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:17:05

00:00:00

00:06:05

00:00:00

00:08:00

03:14:40

SoC

00:14:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:10:45

01:00:45

Total

20:22:25

03:13:20

00:09:45

03:05:15

00:16:11

01:01:30

01:05:00

03:02:20

34:03:46

 

61.3%

10.4%

1.2%

9.4%

2.0%

3.1%

3.5%

9.1%

100%

Table 7


47.      In Table 7, time is expressed as 24 hour days: hours: minutes. To conserve space, we have abbreviated committees’ names- a key to these abbreviations is set out in Table 8 below

Short Name

Full name

CYPE

Children, Young People and Education Committee

CCERA

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

SFM

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

CLA

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

CWLC

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

EIS

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

ELGC

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

EAAL

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

Fin

Finance Committee

HSCS

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

Pet

Petitions Committee

PAC

Public Accounts Committee

SoC

Standards of Conduct Committee

Table 8


 

Length of time Ministers have been scrutinised by committees

48.      One of the key functions of committees is to hold the Welsh Government to account. When committees engage with external stakeholders in their inquiries, they are build up evidence and information with which to scrutinise Welsh Government Ministers.

49.      Between May 2018 and April 2019, Ministers were scrutinised by committees in formal meetings for a total of 4 days and 2 hours – or 98 hours. That is 12% of the time that committees sat.

50.      This figure includes both scrutiny as part of a committee inquiry (policy scrutiny) and stand-alone scrutiny.

51.      It does not include time related to the legislative process (on the basis that this incorporates consideration of both Government and non-Government legislation and amendments).


 

Membership of committees

52.      One of the unusual features of politics in Wales, compared to the other Parliamentary bodies of the UK, is that it is commonplace for Members to sit on multiple committees.

53.      Excluding membership of the Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister, and Business Committee,[10]at the end of the May 2018-April 2019 period, there were:

- 17 Members not sitting on committees (including Ministers, the Llywydd and the Deputy Presiding Officer)

- 11 Members sitting on 1 committee

- 23 Members sitting on 2 committees

- 9 Members sitting on 3 committees

54.      In addition to their roles as committee members, 4 Members had roles as Assembly Commissioners, 3 as Opposition Group Leaders and 3 as Non-Government Business Managers.


 

Number of Bills considered by committees

55.      When a Bill is first introduced in the Assembly, it will normally be assigned by the Business Committee to a single committee, who will consider and report on the Bill as part of Stage 1, and debate and vote on amendments to the Bill at Stage 2.

56.      Table 9 shows which committees have been assigned Bills during this reporting period.

Committee

Number of Assembly Bills considered

Children, Young People and Education Committee

2

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

2

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

2

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

1

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

2

Committee of the Whole Assembly[11]

1

Total

10

Table 9

57.      It may be noted that in addition to the responsible committee assigned a Bill by the Business Committee, the Finance Committee and Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee will also normally consider and report on each Bill introduced in the Assembly, as part of Stage 1 scrutiny.

Pre-legislative scrutiny conducted by committees

58.      No Welsh Government draft Bills were subject to pre-legislative scrutiny during this reporting period.

Number of Acts subject to post-legislative scrutiny

59.      During this reporting period, there was no work specifically attributed to post-legislative scrutiny although some policy inquiries have included the effect of Welsh Government legislation within their scope.

Annex A

Data from the year 1 May 2017- 31 April 2018

60.      Notes on this year

61.      In total committees used 89.8% of the available meeting slots between 1 May 2017 and 31 April 2018

62.      The individual committees’ use of meeting slots (including both those used formal meetings and informal activities) are detailed in Table 1 (2017-18) below.

Committee

Slots available

Slots used

Children, Young People and Education Committee

34

31

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

34

31

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

4

4

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

33

30

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

34

30

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

34

30

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

34

31

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee[12] [13]

38

35

Finance Committee

34

29

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

34

29

Petitions Committee

17

17

Public Accounts Committee

33

31

Standards of Conduct Committee

17

14

Total

494

387

Table 1 (2017-18)

63.      In total, Committees formally met 322 times between May 2017 and April 2018

64.      The total number of formal meetings held by each committee is set out in Table 2 (2016-17)

Committee

Formal Meetings

Children, Young People and Education Committee

30

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

21

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

4

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

31

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

28

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

27

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

31

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee[14]

31

Finance Committee

28

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

29

Petitions Committee

17

Public Accounts Committee

29

Standards of Conduct Committee

16

Total

322

Table 2 (2017-18)

1.     The total number of formal committee meetings held within particular quarters of the May 2016 to April 2017 period is set out in Table 3 (2016-17)

Quarter

Number of committee meetings

1 April - 30 June 2017

79

1 July- 30 September 2017

48

1 October- 31 December 2017

96

1 January- 31 March 2018

99

Total

322

Table 3 (2017-2018)

65.      A similar breakdown of formal meetings by Assembly Term is laid out in Table 4 (2016-17)

Assembly Term

Number of committee meetings

Summer 2017

111

Autumn 2017

112

Spring 2018

99

Total

322

Table 4 (2017-18)

66.      Table 5 (2017-18) also reflects that on occasion, committees have met or otherwise gathered evidence in multiple locations across Wales on the same date. This could involve a committee as a whole meeting in multiple locations, or could involve a committee splitting up its members to gather evidence in multiple places, and report back to the committee.

Committee

Date

Event location

Children, Young People and Education Committee

28 September 2017

Across Wales

Children, Young People and Education Committee

1 February 2017

Across Wales

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

18 May 2017

Across Wales

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

22 June 2017

Maesteg

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

28 September 2017

Cardiff

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

4 October 2017

Cardiff Bay

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

12 October 2017

Across Wales

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

30 November 2017

Edinburgh

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

18 January 2018

Swansea and Gower

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

27 October 2017

Cwmbran

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

16 February 2018

Newtown

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

28 February 2018

Cardiff

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

11 May 2018

Cardiff

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

15 June 2017

Glasgow

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

5 October 2017

Brussels

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

8 February 2018

North Wales

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

17 January 2018

Cardiff & Newport

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

31 January 2018

Neath Port Talbot

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

26 June 2017

Brussels

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

16 October 2017

Brussels

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

5 February 2018

London

Finance Committee

15 June 2017

Edinburgh

Finance Committee

13 July 2017

Beaumaris

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

6 April 2017

Across Wales

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

7 December 2017

Newport

Public Accounts Committee

12 June 2017

Across Wales

Public Accounts Committee

3 July 20178

Cardiff

Table 5 (2017-18)

67.      A further 10 informal activities took place on the Assembly Estate between May 2017 and April 2018. A breakdown of such activities is detailed in Table 6 (2017-18)

Committee

Date

Nature of event

Children, Young People and Education Committee

24 January 2018

Stakeholder event

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

20 September 2017

Informal Meeting

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

14 March 2017

Stakeholder Workshop

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

18 September 2017

Stakeholder event

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

8 March 2018

Stakeholder event

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

18 September 2017

Stakeholder event

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

4 December 2017

Seminar Session (Informal)

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

29 January 2018

Informal meeting

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

25 January 2018

Stakeholder event

Public Accounts Committee

18 September 2018

Networking event

Table 6 (2017-18)

68.      Using the broad categories defined in para 48-45 above, we can say that between May 2017 and April 2018 the total time allocated in committee agendas for policy scrutiny was 700 hours. In the same period, the total time allocated in agendas for legislative scrutiny was 98 hours. From this it can be determined that the ratio of policy scrutiny to legislative scrutiny was 7:1.[15]

69.      Or it could be said that for each hour of Policy Scrutiny that was scheduled on committee agendas, on average, 8 minutes and 24 seconds of Legislation Scrutiny was scheduled on committee agendas.

70.      Table 7 (2017-18) sets out a breakdown of formal committee activity as allocated in committee agendas between May 2017 and April 2018.


 

Policy Scrutiny

Primary Legislation

Subordinate Legislation

Financial Scrutiny

Scrutiny of Legislative Consent Menoranda

Post Legislative Scrutiny

Standalone Ministerial Scrutiny

Other

Total

CYPE

03:10:20

00:11:45

00:00:00

00:04:25

00:00:45

00:00:00

00:04:40

00:01:30

04:09:25

CCERA

03:23:40

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:03:30

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:02:30

00:05:10

04:10:50

SFM

00:06:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:01:00

00:07:00

CLA

00:00:00

00:01:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:01:00

CWLC

00:07:05

00:01:35

00:00:50

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:05

00:09:35

EIS

03:04:35

00:00:00

00:03:30

00:03:35

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:01:30

00:01:00

03:14:10

ELGC

03:12:50

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:04:00

00:00:20

00:06:25

00:02:00

00:02:10

04:03:45

EAAL

03:01:15

00:10:50

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:30

00:00:00

00:02:00

00:09:25

04:00:00

Fin

03:01:15

00:04:25

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:30

00:00:00

00:02:00

00:09:25

03:17:35

HSCS

01:11:35

00:15:40

00:01:30

01:02:05

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:06:25

03:13:15

Pet

02:20:15

00:19:20

00:00:00

00:09:25

00:00:15

00:00:20

00:00:00

00:04:25

04:06:00

PAC

01:00:50

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:15

01:01:05

SoC

02:22:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:15:10

00:00:00

00:01:45

00:00:00

00:03:40

03:18:35

Total

29:04:55

04:02:10

00:05:50

02:23:20

00:02:35

00:08:30

00:12:40

00:21:10

08:06:25

 

74.4%

10.4%

0.6%

7.6%

0.3%

0.9%

1.3%

4.6%

100%

Table 7 (2017-18)


71.      Between May 2017 and April 2018, Minister were scrutinised by committees in formal meetings for a total of 2 days and 23 hours – or 71 hours. That is 7.5% of the time that committees sat.

72.      Table 9 (2017-18) shows which committees have been assigned Bills during this reporting period

Committee

Number of Assembly Bills considered

Children, Young People and Education Committee

2

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

3

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

1

Finance Committee

2

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

2

Committee of the Whole Assembly

1

Total

 

Table 9 (2017-18)

73.      No Welsh Government draft Bills were subject to pre-legislative scrutiny during this reporting period.


 

Annex B

Data from the year 1 May 2016 – 31 April 2017

74.      It should be noted that the majority of committees did not meet in May and June 2016, as committees were being established and the committee timetable developed and agreed during this period.

75.      In total committees used 90.3% of the available meeting slots between 1 May 2016 and 31 April 2017

76.      The individual committees’ use of meeting slots (including both those used formal meetings and informal activities) are detailed in Table 1 (2016-17) below.

Committee

Slots available

Slots used

Children, Young People and Education Committee

26

23

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

26

26

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

3

3

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

28

28

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

26

23

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

26

25

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

26

23

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee[16]

22

20

Finance Committee

27

27

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

25

25

Petitions Committee

14

14

Public Accounts Committee

25

23

Standards of Conduct Committee

14

6

Total

288

260

Table 1 (2016-17)

77.      In total, Committees formally met 250 times between May 2016 and April 2017

78.      The total number of formal meetings held by each committee is set out in Table 2 (2016-17)

Committee

Formal Meetings

Children, Young People and Education Committee

21

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

20

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

2

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

28

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

22

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee

24

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

21

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee[17]

20

Finance Committee

26

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

24

Petitions Committee

13

Public Accounts Committee

23

Standards of Conduct Committee

6

Total

250

Table 2 (2016-17)

2.     The total number of formal committee meetings held within particular quarters of the May 2016 to April 2017 period is set out in Table 3 (2016-17)

Quarter

Number of committee meetings

1 April - 30 June 2016

5

1 July- 30 September 2016

41

1 October- 31 December 2016

94

1 January- 31 March 2017

110

Total

250

Table 3 (2016-2017)

79.      A similar breakdown of formal meetings by Assembly Term is laid out in Table 4 (2016-17)

Assembly Term

Number of committee meetings

Summer 2016

21

Autumn 2016

119

Spring 2017

110

Total

250

Table 4 (2016-17)

80.      Table 5 (2016-17) also reflects that on occasion, committees have met or otherwise gathered evidence in multiple locations across Wales on the same date. This could involve a committee as a whole meeting in multiple locations, or could involve a committee splitting up its members to gather evidence in multiple places, and report back to the committee. For example, on 9 February 2017, Members of the Children, Young People and Education Committee met with parents at two separate locations to support the committee’s scrutiny of the general principles of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill.[18] 

Committee

Date

Event location

Children, Young People and Education Committee

26/01/2017

City Hall, Cardiff

Children, Young People and Education Committee

09/02/2017

Across Wales

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

22/09/2016

Across Wales

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

24/11/2016

North Wales sites (starting and ending in Bangor)

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

26/01/2017

Across Wales

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

02/03/2017

Sites in Pembrokeshire

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

20/03/2017

Newport City Campus, University of Wales

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

28/09/2016

Cardiff Bay

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

08/12/2016

Across Wales

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

17/02/2017

Trinity St David’s University, Carmarthen

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills

09/03/2017

Shrewsbury

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills

29/09/2016

Nantgarw and Cardiff

Equality, Local Government and Communities

01/12/216

Glasgow & Edinburgh

Equality, Local Government and Communities

05/10/2016

Across Wales

Equality, Local Government and Communities

17/11/2016

Across Wales

Equality, Local Government and Communities

25/01/2017

Cardiff

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

28/11/2016

Wrexham

Finance Committee

23/06/2017

Newport City Campus, University of South Wales

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

21/09/2016

Cardiff Bay

Public Accounts Committee

05/12/2016

Cardiff Bay

Public Accounts Committee

20/03/2017

Newport

Table 5 (2016-17)

81.      A further 8 informal activities took place on the Assembly Estate between May 2016 and April 2017. A breakdown of such activities is detailed in Table 6 (2016-17)

Committee

Date

Nature of event

Children, Young People and Education Committee

28/09/2016

Stakeholder Event

Children, Young People and Education Committee

20/10/2016

Informal meeting

Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee

06/10/2016

Stakeholder Event

Committee for the Scrutiny of the First Minister

20/09/2016

Informal meeting

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

16/11/2016

Stakeholder Event

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

29/09/2016

Informal meeting

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

27/03/2017

Stakeholder Conference

Finance Committee

15/09/2016

Informal Meeting

Public Accounts Committee

12/09/2016

Informal Meeting

Table 6 (2016-17)

82.      Using the broad categories defined in para 48-45 above, we can say that between May 2016 and April 2017 the total time allocated in committee agendas for policy scrutiny was 362 hours. In the same period, the total time allocated in agendas for legislative scrutiny was 115 hours. From this it can be determined that the ratio of policy scrutiny to legislative scrutiny was 3:1.[19]

83.      Or it could be said that for each hour of Policy Scrutiny that was scheduled on committee agendas, on average, 19 minutes of Legislation Scrutiny was scheduled on committee agendas.

84.      Table 7 (2016-17) sets out a breakdown of formal committee activity as allocated in committee agendas between May 2016 and April 2017.


 

Policy Scrutiny

Primary Legislation

Subordinate Legislation

Financial Scrutiny

Scrutiny of Legislative Consent Menoranda

Post Legislative Scrutiny

Standalone Ministerial Scrutiny

Other

Total

CYPE

01:08:55

00:22:30

00:00:00

00:02:30

00:01:10

00:00:00

00:03:00

00:09:30

02:23:35

CCERA

01:05:35

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:02:45

00:00:10

00:00:00

00:01:30

01:02:30

02:12:30

SFM

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:03:10

00:03:45

00:06:55

CLA

00:22:15

00:07:35

00:02:35

00:00:00

00:01:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:03:15

01:12:40

CWLC

01:13:15

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:03:20

00:00:05

00:00:00

00:02:00

00:17:35

02:12:15

EIS

02:00:06

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:04:45

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:04:00

00:10:40

02:19:31

ELGC

01:09:55

00:15:30

00:00:00

00:04:00

00:00:15

00:09:35

00:05:45

00:07:40

03:04:40

EAAL

01:17:05

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:03:05

01:20:10

Fin

00:04:05

01:21:10

00:00:00

01:05:20

00:00:30

00:00:00

00:01:00

00:17:50

04:01:55

HSCS

01:11:30

01:00:25

00:00:00

00:04:20

00:01:05

00:00:00

00:03:45

00:09:50

03:06:55

Pet

00:12:37

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:01:30

00:14:07

PAC

02:01:05

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:01:00

00:14:05

02:16:10

SoC

00:03:15

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:00:00

00:03:55

00:07:10

Total

14:13:38

04:19:10

00:02:35

02:03:00

00:04:15

00:09:35

01:01:10

05:09:10

28:14:33

 

50.9%

16.8%

0.4%

7.4%

0.6%

1.4%

3.7%

18.8%

100%

Table 7 (2016-17)


85.      Between May 2016 and April 2017, Minister were scrutinised by committees in formal meetings for a total of 3 days and 22 hours – or 94 hours. That is 13.8% of the time that committees sat.

86.      Table 9 (2016-17) shows which committees have been assigned Bills during this reporting period

Committee

Number of Assembly Bills considered

Children, Young People and Education Committee

1

Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee

2

Finance Committee

2

Health, Social Care and Sport Committee

1

Total

6

Table 9 (2016-17)

87.      No Welsh Government draft Bills were subject to pre-legislative scrutiny during this reporting period. However, the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee and External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee both initiated inquiries into the constitutional and legislative implications of the UK Government’s White Paper on the ‘Great Repeal Bill,’ during this reporting period.

88.      During this reporting period, the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee undertook a post-legislative inquiry into the Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Act 2015, reporting in December 2016.

89.      In addition, in February 2017 the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee’s Expert Reference Group on Climate Change met for the first time. This group was established to provide support to the Committee to scrutinise the progress of the Welsh Government in meeting its targets on climate change mitigation, including post-legislative scrutiny of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.



[1] Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, Making Laws in Wales, October 2015, Recommendation 32.

[2] Ibid, para 392.

[3] Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, Making Laws in Wales, October 2015, para 392.

[4] This is called a 'call for evidence'. Anyone can respond to a call for evidence, in writing, through videos or in an audio form (giving written and digital information to a committee).

[5] In taking this decision, we recognised that this meant that a committee which met from 9:00-9:05 on a Thursday would be recorded as using the entire available slot. This may appear to be potentially misleading. However, later in this report (Table 7) we have also provided a breakdown of the time (in days, hours and minutes) that committees have scheduled for formal meetings.

[6] External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee was originally titled Reserve Policy and Legislation Committee.

[7] Individual committees may request to the Business Committee to meet outside their normal slot when required (e.g. where they require additional time or have witnesses who cannot attend during their normal slot). The Standards of Conduct Committee normally has a slot on alternate Tuesdays. This committee has obtained standing permission to meet on the other Tuesdays where it’s functions require.

[8] External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee was originally titled Reserve Policy and Legislation Committee.

[9] This has been rounded. The calculation is actually 5.905882353 to 1.

[10] For the purpose of presenting these statistics, we have chosen to exclude membership of the Scrutiny of the First Minister committee on the basis that it does not meet as part of the fortnightly meeting pattern. We have also chosen to exclude membership of Business Committee because it functions in a significantly different way to other committees (for example, it has shorter meetings and one of its members will normally be a member of the Welsh Government).

[11] The Committee of the Whole Assembly is comprised of all Assembly Members and is chaired by the Presiding Officer.

[12] External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee was originally titled Reserve Policy and Legislation Committee.

[13] Includes meetings of the Sub-Committee on the Regulation of Registered Social Landlords (Wales) Bill which during its existence had access to 5 slots and used 4 of these.

[14] External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee was originally titled Reserve Policy and Legislation Committee.

[15] This has been rounded. The calculation is actually 7.142857143 to 1.

[16] External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee was originally titled Reserve Policy and Legislation Committee.

[17] External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee was originally titled Reserve Policy and Legislation Committee.

[18] A summary of key points raised at the events is available at http://www.senedd.assembly.wales/documents/s60571/Event%20with%20Parents%209%20February%202017%20Summary%20of%20Evidence.pdf

[19] This has been rounded down. The calculation is actually 3.147826086956522 to 1.