Ways of working
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.
Item for decision: Supporting Members in response to Covid-19
· Overview paper – Paper 3
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2.1 The Board considered its options related to supporting Members in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
2.2 The Board agreed not to provide additional office costs at this stage but to keep the situation under constant review.
2.3 The Board agreed to maintain the status quo on staffing provision for the time being.
2.4 The Board agreed to consider setting up a central allowance to fund a homeworking allowance for support staff, based on HMRC rates. The Board noted that it would be at the Member’s discretion whether or not to provide it to staff.
2.5 The Board discussed what further provisions it could put in place to support flexible working arrangements. The Board agreed to maximise flexibility where possible and that it would put in place a range of options to assist Members with supporting their staff to work flexibly where required.
- The secretariat to prepare a letter to Members and support staff outlining the Board’s decisions.
Item for decision: Review of the Board's effectiveness
· Scoping paper for review – Paper 6
- Restricted enclosure 5
4.1 The Board welcomed Gareth Watts, Head of Governance, to the meeting.
4.2 The Board considered proposals to conduct an end or term review of its effectiveness, including the scope, draft Terms of Reference and themes to explore further.
4.3 The Board agreed to conduct an end of term review which will consider the effectiveness of the Board’s performance over its term; how it has discharged its functions in line with the 2010 Measure and how it has delivered against its strategy.
4.4 The review is expected to be completed by May 2020 and will inform the Board’s legacy report, which will be published at the end of its term in office.
- The secretariat to conduct a review of the effectiveness of the Board’s work and report back to the Board later in the spring term.
Item for discussions: Process for Assembly Members' expenses and allowance: Claims process, appeals and business cases
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5.1 The Board considered and agreed the processes for Assembly Members’ expenses and allowance.
Item for discussion: The Board's Engagement Strategy
- Restricted enclosure 11
3.1 The Board considered its engagement strategy and agreed to:
· consider the options for developing its own independent microsite and social media presence; and
· develop a bespoke engagement strategy for each piece of work.
The Secretariat to:
· prepare an example of how the Board’s microsite may look; and
· identify ways to approach engagement and communications for forthcoming work.
Consideration of the Board's strategy for 2016-2021
2.1 Board members discussed the outcome of the strategy day in Colwyn Bay and the visits to AM constituency offices in North Wales.
2.2 At the strategy meeting, the Board agreed to develop a strategy document which outlined its key objectives and strategic priorities for the Fifth Assembly, in preparation for developing a Determination fit for the Sixth Assembly.
2.3 The Board considered and agreed its draft strategy document for 2016-2021, subject to some minor amendments. The Board agreed that the document should be published at the beginning of the spring term to be transparent about its work and to enable productive dialogue with Members and those who take an interest in its work and the future capacity of Wales’ democracy.
2.4 The Board received an update from Adrian Crompton on the Commission’s announcement that it intends to explore the future capacity of the Assembly.
2.5 The Board discussed how its strategy would flex to respond to the priorities and objectives in the Assembly Commission’s announcement, in particular in meeting the challenges posed by anticipated changes to the constitution, such as the increase in numbers of Assembly Members.
2.6 The Board agreed that one of its immediate priorities would be to gain an understanding of aspects within its remit that may deter individuals from standing for election to the Assembly and aspects that attract people to the job.
2.7 In line with its commitment to constantly review the performance of the Board and the impact of its decisions, the Board agreed to conduct reviews into the existing provisions which were put into the Determination for the Fifth Assembly and whether the existing principles underpinning the Determination are fit for purpose.
· Publish strategy document and circulate to key stakeholders in the spring term.
Visits to the constituency offices of Assembly Members in north Wales
Friday 16 September 2016:
4.1 The Board visited a selection of AMs in north Wales to get a better understanding of the challenges faced by AMs in their constituency offices, the work carried out by AMSS, and to have a general discussion to provide the board with more contextual information.
4.2 The Board would use this evidence to inform their strategy over the course of the Fifth Assembly.
3.1 The Board held a strategy day to prioritise areas of work for the remainder of the Board’s mandate and in preparation for the Sixth Assembly.
3.2 The strategy day was facilitated by Roger Dobson, an expert in Human Resources, and Ben Shimshon from Britain Thinks.
3.3 In discussion the Board considered its strategic goals and developed an ambitious set of priorities focused on consultation, engagement, and evidence gathering.
3.4 The Board agreed to develop a strategy document which set out its principles, priorities and objectives for the Fifth Assembly, focusing on creating a Determination that is fit for the Sixth Assembly.
Item for decision: Proposals for Remuneration Board strategic away day
- Restricted enclosure 20
9.1 The Board considered a paper with proposals for the Board’s strategy day in September which would take place in Colwyn Bay.
9.2 The Board agreed that it should explore methods and principles of effective engagement and consultation. The Board would also explore the potential to invite a facilitator to the meeting to steer the Board through strategic discussions.
9.3 The Board agreed to visit constituency offices in North Wales to engage with AMs and AMSS.
- Research Service to provide briefing on examples of international practice in managing the remuneration of elected Members to be provided weeks before the strategy day.
- Secretariat to design a programme for the strategy day.
- Secretariat to contact potential facilitators.
- Secretariat to arrange visits to AM offices in North Wales.
Item for decision: Proposals for Governance Principles and guidance on the conduct for business for the Remuneration Board
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6.1 The Board discussed amendments to the draft Governance Principles and Guidance on the Conduct of Business.
6.2 The Board agreed that it would consider the content of this document at its away day.
6.3 The Board agreed that the descriptors of the Board’s role and principles in the draft document should be amended to be more easily understood.
6.4 The Board agreed that it should adopt the Assembly Commission’s bilingual languages scheme as it was an example of good practice. This should be reflected in the draft document.
Engaging Members in the Fifth Assembly
- Restricted enclosure 29
8.1 The Board agreed to hold a ‘drop-in’ session in the Senedd on Tuesday 5 July.
8.2 The Board considered key messages reinforcing its approach to its role and remit. This was to ensure consistent messages are conveyed.
8.3 The Board agreed that this approach enables the Board to respond to key issues identified in the previous Board’s Legacy Report and which is also being considered in the context of the proposed Governance Principles and Supporting Guidance document.
8.4 The Board agreed that it would speak to Assembly Members early in the Fifth Assembly to seek their views and experiences on the validity and effectiveness of the winding up allowance.
8.5 The Board requested that the audit report on Members’ allowances should be brought to a meeting in the future.
8.6 The Board directed the secretariat to liaise with the party groups to organise slots within the party meetings as soon as it practicably possible. The Chair indicated that it was both desirable and necessary for other Board Members to be available to either support the Chair at those group meetings or represent the Board themselves.
8.7 The Board requested a briefing note from the secretariat to guide the discussions at the party meetings.
Proposals for Governance Principles and guidance on the conduct of business for the Remuneration Board
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4.1 The Board considered a paper outlining the draft content of potential ‘Governance Principles’ and discussed how the document may be best utilised to inform the Board’s work programme in the future.
4.2 The Board agreed that it should exchange good practice with other Boards and panels on a regular basis, for instance in the practices of taking evidence. The Board also noted that supporting officials should engage with their peers supporting those Board and panels.
4.3 The Board agreed that the Governance Principles document should include reference to the Board’s financial governance and, in particular the principles for managing the Board’s finances appropriately.
Engaging Members in the Fifth Assembly
- Restricted enclosure 36
3.1 The Board considered options for early engagement with new and returning Members following the 2016 Welsh general elections.
3.2 The Board also identified key stakeholders that they felt it would be appropriate to meet with during the early stages of the fifth Assembly. These included the new Presiding Officer, the Assembly Commission and political parties for the Fifth Assembly. They would be approached by the Board’s secretariat with a view to organising meetings following the elections.
Proposal for a Charter for the Remuneration Board
- Restricted enclosure 39
- Restricted enclosure 40
3.1 The Board discussed the merits of having a document which would outline its core principles and ways of working. The Board considered a paper highlighting key areas for discussion. The Chair invited Board members to consider how they wished to proceed.
3.2 The Board agreed that it would consider the item further at its meeting in January and discuss the benefits of such a document as part of its strategy for the Fifth Assembly.
· The Secretariat to provide the Board with a paper outlining the core principles and conventions of the Board to be considered at its meeting on 28 January 2016.
Feedback from visit to the Dail
PAC(4)-32-14 paper 2
- Restricted enclosure 43 , View reasons restricted (5/1)
5.1 The Committee considered a paper following their visit to Dail.
Preparation for meeting with the Assembly Commission
7.1 The Board discussed the forthcoming meeting with the Assembly Commission and they key issues which needed to be discussed at that meeting.
7.2 The Board received apologies from Mary Carter and Stuart Castledine who would be unable to make that meeting.
Briefing from Assembly Commission staff on Freedom of Information
5.1 The Board received a briefing from Assembly Commission staff on the Freedom of Information process.
5.2 The Board noted that there had been five FOI requests since 2011.
5.3 The Board agreed that the Secretariat should request permission from Wragge & Co to publish its report to the Board on AM pension scheme.
5.4 To enhance transparency, the Board agreed that it should be made clear in public consultations that all responses will be open to publication, unless specifically requested not to by the responder.
5.5 The Board agreed that the note of their decisions following each meeting can be published onto the web site.
Audit of Board activities and remit
· Note from internal audit - Paper 9
- Restricted enclosure 50
4.1 The Board invited Gareth Watt, Internal Auditor to the meeting.
4.2 The Board agreed with proposals for an internal audit and discussed its scope and methodology for such a review.
Discussion on expert adviser
Discussion on ways of working
1. The Board discussed ways of working.