Transition to the Fifth Assembly
This page gives details of any meetings held which will, or did, discuss the matter, and includes links to the relevant Papers, Agendas and Minutes.
Note: Meeting Agenda can change at short notice. Particularly where future meeting dates are indicated more than a week in advance. Please check before planning to attend a Committee Meeting that the item you are interested in has not been moved.
The Board reflected on the Assembly election and the early days of the Fifth Assembly, including initial meetings with the new Llwydd (Presiding Officer). New and returning Members had fed back very positively regarding the friendly and professional welcome and oath taking arrangements that had been in place for their arrival.
Fifth Assembly Preparations
- Restricted enclosure 4
- Restricted enclosure 5
- Restricted enclosure 6
- Restricted enclosure 7
- Restricted enclosure 8
- Restricted enclosure 9
Sulafa Thomas presented a set of documents that had been prepared as the overarching framework principles for the governance of the organisation, rules of conduct for Commission meetings and the delegation of functions to the Chief Executive. These had been reviewed and updated from the Fourth Assembly in light of experience and best practice and would be presented to the new Commission for approval at its first meeting.
Management Board discussed the framework and recommendations. Gareth Watts said he would strongly advocate recommending to the Commission that the upper limit at which the Chief Executive and Clerk could authorise capital expenditure should be increased from the current £1million threshold. This would reflect increases in delegated limits elsewhere in the public sector and, in particular, bring the Assembly Commission more in line with the arrangements at the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body has delegated to their Clerk and Chief Executive the authority to approve capital expenditure up to £10million and contract awards in excess of £5million.
The Board agreed to reflect this in the documentation and also ensure that the wording generally was consistent with the draft strategy paper. Management Board also agreed to:
· present a bilingual set of documents for the Commissions consideration of how they wish to receive papers going forward;
· include mention of the Remuneration Board and also the DPO’s involvement in Commission meetings;
· remove the qualification on FOI from disclosure of Directors;
· bring forward the paragraph on Commissioners responsibilities (currently para 5 Annex A)to make more explicit the importance of the role.
Finally, Sulafa Thomas asked that Heads ensure the Members’ intranet pages were up to date and to identify staff that could be made available at short notice for the Member welcome events and Royal Opening.
Arrangements for Commission business during dissolution
- Restricted enclosure 12
Transition to the Fifth Assembly - Update
- Restricted enclosure 15
Fifth Assembly Dashboard - Feb 2016
- Restricted enclosure 18
The Board received the latest dashboard indicating work in progress, key issues and risks.
They considered whether there was a wider role for Heads to meet with new Members in the first few weeks and it was agreed that they would attend the reception after the election of the Presiding Officer, as well as meetings being arranged with Members.
· Heads of service to make sure Members’ intranet is up to date and there is consistency of style and accuracy of content; and to identify any potential resource for volunteers to help with proofing new and updated documents and collating candidate information.
Fifth Assembly Transition Dashboard - Jan 2016
- Restricted enclosure 21
The Board received the latest dashboard - indicating work in progress, key issues and risks - and was reassured by the progress being made. The need for continued effective communication between those involved in the transition preparations over the next few months was emphasised.
· Heads of service to make sure Members’ intranet is up to date; flag any guidance/rules that need to be considered in relation to the Members’ code of conduct and included in the compendium of information being collated by the Welcome/Induction strand.
· Lowri Williams and Dave Tosh to discuss the suggestions in relation to the May privilege day with the Trade Unions.
Fifth Assembly dashboard update
- Restricted enclosure 24
8.1 The Board received the latest dashboard indicating work in progress, key issues and risks.
Fifth Assembly Transition - welcome, induction and CPD
- Restricted enclosure 27
- Restricted enclosure 28
The Commission discussed a paper that provided proposals for welcome and induction arrangements for Members and their staff following the Assembly election in May 2016.
Commissioners also considered recommendations for an approach to Member and support staff CPD in the Fifth Assembly, following an in-depth review of the CPD programme in the Fourth Assembly.
These had been informed by:
- lessons learned and feedback from Members on post-election arrangements in 2011;
- the findings of the 2015 Members’ and AMSS survey, which included a question on the transition to the Fifth Assembly;
- discussions with Members (as part of a review of CPD);
- recent experience at Westminster with Members of Parliament;
- initial discussions with party groups; and
- feedback from the Committee Chairs forum on 24 September.
Commissioners agreed that lessons learned from the Fourth Assembly induction and CPD arrangements should feed into developments for the Fifth Assembly. Commissioners noted that the CPD offer was highly valued by Members and their support staff and that positive outcomes had been delivered as reflected in satisfaction surveys. It was agreed that future opportunities would be presented to Members in a way that recognised their entire range of responsibilities to ensure the best use of time and value for money.
Fifth Assembly - Vote 2016 awareness campaign
- Restricted enclosure 31
The Commission considered a paper which provided a broad outline of the planned communications activities supporting the Vote 2016 campaign, focusing on the National Assembly election on 5 May 2016.
Commissioners felt the plans offered an opportunity to further engage the people of Wales in the democratic process. They were content with the approach outlined, including the opportunity to position the Senedd’s tenth anniversary on 1 March 2016 as a key milestone in the campaign that will promote the building as the home of Welsh democracy and public life.
Commissioners discussed the importance of maintaining some more ‘old fashioned’ marketing methods – such as leaflets and posters – alongside the electronic and social media to reach a wide range of audiences.
Dissolution of the Fourth Assembly and Transition to the Fifth Assembly
- Restricted enclosure 34
- Restricted enclosure 35
- Restricted enclosure 36
Commissioners considered a paper providing information to inform decisions relating to preparations for dissolution of the Fourth Assembly.
The first area for decision related to the use of Assembly resources during the dissolution period at the end of the Fourth Assembly. Commissioners discussed the options, and agreed that some, limited, Commission resources enabling Members to complete residual casework only would be permitted. This takes account of the restrictions necessary to give effect to the fundamental concept of dissolution - ensuring a level playing field for all candidates seeking election.
Further information will be provided before the summer recess, and guidance will be prepared for Members and issued in the autumn term to enable Members to prepare for dissolution in a timely way. Commissioners also flagged the importance of guidance for support staff being available to AMs (as employers).
Commissioners also considered a recommendation from the Remuneration Board about providing an outplacement/advice service in relation to the 2016 election. Commissioners agreed to provide this type of service to support Members losing their seat at an election, and particularly to support staff who will be made redundant as a consequence of their employer no longer being an Assembly Member.
Fifth Assembly Transition Dashboard
- Restricted enclosure 39
At their January meeting the Management Board had agreed to receive dashboard style reports on Fifth Assembly transition preparation to enable the Board to keep up to date on progress, review resources and target them to the best effect to ensure successful delivery of Fifth Assembly responsibilities. Progress was being managed by Service Heads with responsibility sitting with 'strand leads' to coordinate the individual strand areas of pre-dissolution, dissolution period, election, Member welcome and induction, early business and procedural advice, Royal opening and operational preparations.
Sulafa Thomas, who was coordinating the Fifth Assembly transition preparations, presented the dashboard and asked the Board to consider resource requirements during the transition period, taking into account 'business as usual' needs; where there was surplus capacity that could be moved to support the project; and how to match skills with delivery needs appropriately. The Board agreed that it was important to consider whether there was a need to temporarily reallocate resources to alleviate the bigger pressures, in both pre-dissolution and post-election periods.
· Management Board to be clear about what the key deliverables for each strand are as these develop;
· Service Heads to assess where there would be surplus capacity, so Management Board can ascertain what resource would be available and how to match need with skill, to ensure everything needed was delivered at each stage of the transition; and
· The Management Board note to staff to flag that staff should initially approach their Service Head to identify their interest in becoming involved with the Fifth Assembly transition work.
Draft Commission papers - Fifth Assembly transition
- Restricted enclosure 42
- Restricted enclosure 43
- Restricted enclosure 44
- Restricted enclosure 45
Management Board were asked to comment on the draft paper that would be presented to Commissioners at their meeting on 25 June. The purpose was for decisions to be taken on dissolution matters, including the use of Commission resources and on outplacement services for Members and their staff. The paper also provided an update on the public awareness campaign, which had been agreed to in principle at their meeting in January.
The Board made recommendations on the draft, including that:
· the covering paper should more clearly set out statutory functions and timeline;
· Appendix 1 - should include an outline of what happened at the last dissolution in relation to resources, but the annex on the full legal position was not necessary;
· Appendix 2 - Vote 16 could be revised as a separate paper as decisions had been made in principle already; and
· Appendix 3 - risks could be strengthened and the range of options appropriate for Members separated from those for their staff.
A discussion on the transition project work would also be taking place at the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee on 8 June. It was noted that a dashboard would be provided at the next Management Board meeting, to update the Board on progress, key risks and issues for all strands of the project.
Action: Management Board members to consider scenario planning for the period of dissolution from April to September, to make best use of staff resources, including where there are inter-dependencies.
Transition to the Fifth Assembly
- Restricted enclosure 48
- Restricted enclosure 49
- Restricted enclosure 50
Commissioners received a paper which provided information on the planning for dissolution of the Fourth Assembly and transition to the Fifth Assembly.
Commissioners confirmed that their approach to the arrangements for the dissolution of the Assembly will be to ensure that Members and their staff have full and early information to enable them to plan for dissolution and that those Members who are stepping down are given support to enable them to wind up their Assembly work. Commissioners felt that it would be helpful to work through Groups to communicate with Members and suggested holding sessions with Groups in due course.
When the Assembly is dissolved Members immediately revert to being members of the general public and lose all the privileges associated with being an Assembly Member. This, by necessity, will involve restrictions upon former Members’ use of Assembly resources during the dissolution period.
Commissioners felt that the issue of the number of Members needed to constitute a Group should be considered during the Fourth Assembly.
The Commission will take specific decisions later in 2015, and the Remuneration Board’s final package of decisions in respect of remuneration and financial support of Members in the Fifth Assembly will be confirmed by May 2015.
Transition to the Fifth Assembly (Commission consideration 5 March)
- Restricted enclosure 53
- Restricted enclosure 54
- Restricted enclosure 55
- Restricted enclosure 56
Sulafa Thomas presented a draft paper on the scope and progress with planning for the dissolution of the Fourth Assembly and transition to the Fifth Assembly.
There was confidence that all necessary work would be delivered, but there was an opportunity to ensure the way it was delivered was smooth and not overly bureaucratic. There were areas of the transition that were less certain because of current constitutional changes and scenario planning was therefore important. Further work was also needed to confirm the scope and that responsibilities identified sat with the right person. Once the framework was finalised then work could begin on delivery. This would require a lot of coordination and a governance structure and it was agreed that one member of senior management should have oversight and responsibility for coordinating the work as SRO, with light touch reporting of progress to Management Board. The Board reviewed several versions of reporting style and agreed that teams would use the detailed version (C), with reports to Management Board based on an abbreviated programme dashboard (A) with a high level pictorial timeline.
The arrangements proposed would be presented to Commissioners on 5 March for them to note and ensure preparations reflected their priorities.
· Adrian Crompton to lead on scenario planning.
· Sulafa Thomas to prepare paper to present principles to Commissioners ensuring that it is Member-centric; provide clarity where there may be tensions; define responsibility for leaders of work streams and ensure clarity on what they were accountable for.
· Once appointed, SRO to work with Non Gwilym to put a communications framework in place.