Agenda and minutes

Venue: Conference Room 4B - Tŷ Hywel

Contact: Sulafa Thomas, x6227 

No. Item




Introduction and apologies


No apologies were received.

Eric Gregory, Chair of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee (ACARAC), was welcomed to the meeting. Adam Price, AM was also welcomed back from his paternity leave.


Declarations of interest


There were no Declarations of Interest.


Minutes of the previous meeting


The minutes of 4 June were agreed.


Assembly Commission Audit and Risk Assurance Committee Annual Report 2017-18


Eric Gregory, Chair of ACARAC, introduced the Committee’s Annual Report, in accordance with ACARAC’s terms of reference. He commented on a number of aspects of the Committee’s experience over the previous year. In particular he highlighted the Commission’s excellent record of acting on Internal Audit recommendations, robust risk management and the agile approach to managing projects involving users in developing systems.


Commissioners commented on the good, clear governance statement in the Commission’s Annual Report and Accounts following the Chief Executive’s first year in post, and the positive impact on readability of the new style of annual report.


Commissioners noted the ACARAC Annual Report, which will be published by the Committee.



Assembly reform programme


Commissioners considered an update on work on the Assembly reform programme and a summary of consultation findings following the public consultation, which ran from 12 February to 6 April.


The Commission considered the consultation findings and took a number of decisions in preparation for, or shaping their approach to, making legislative proposals.  They agreed:

·         in principle to joint working with Welsh Government through a Memorandum of Understanding regarding proposals to change the Assembly franchise.

·         to propose legislation on the franchise and name change for implementation prior to the 2021 election. A second Bill on the electoral system and size may follow if cross-party consensus on those matters emerges;

·         to reduce the minimum voting age for Assembly elections to 16; and

·         to exclude certain policy matters from the scope of the Assembly reform work: prisoner voting, voting rights for legal residents of Wales regardless of their nationality or citizenship, and job sharing for Members.


The Llywydd requested that Commissioners take two specific issues back to discuss with their groups and to provide feedback before the end of term. These were:

        the descriptor for Members post-name change; and

        the issue of disqualification in relation to membership of the House of Lords. This had been recommended by the Fourth Assembly’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee and endorsed by the current CLAC.


Commissioners agreed that the Llywydd would make a written statement communicating the consultation headlines and the decisions it has taken on its legislative strategy, together with the broad scope of the first Bill on electoral reform, before the end of term. They agreed that a summary of the main findings of the consultation would be published within a few weeks, with a full report on the consultation published in the autumn.



Budget Strategy - Commission Budget 2019-20


As part of the continuing development of the Commission Budget for 2019-20, Commissioners considered a number of emerging aspects of their approach to budgeting, and provided direction in order that preparation of the draft budget could continue in readiness for their consideration in September.


Their considerations included:

        agreeing a response to the consultation letter from the Chair of the Remuneration Board to the Llywydd on their second consultation on proposals arising from a review of staffing support for Members;

        forecasts for 2018-19;

        presentation of the draft budget 2019-20, in light of recommendations from the Finance Committee; and

        potential priority projects for 2019-20.


The Commission agreed this working paper should not be published.  The draft budget will be laid following the Commission’s final consideration in September.



Draft Annual Report and Accounts 2017-18


Commissioners approved the draft of their Annual Report and Accounts covering 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018, subject to any minor corrections or edits. They agreed the report would be laid before the end of the summer term and published online.



Draft Annual Diversity and Inclusion Report


Commissioners agreed the report, introduced by Joyce Watson as Commissioner responsible, and that the finalised report should be published.


Commission cleaning contract


Commissioners returned to the matter, initially considered at their June meeting, of the options for the renewal of the existing cleaning services contract, in particular linked to issues around contract staff terms and conditions.


Commissioners agreed to extend the current contract for one year in order to fully map out the requirements for the contract and tender the contract through the next issue of the NPS framework.



Papers to note:


Executive Board update (RAD decisions)


Commissioners noted the latest routine update.


Pension Board Investment strategy


Commissioners noted the investment strategy agreed by the Pensions Board.


Any other business


Brussels office – Commissioners noted that the WG is content to continue the existing arrangement for the Commission’s Brussels Office, provided by Welsh Government in Wales House, Brussels, on the same terms until the end of the December 2020.


Cyber awareness briefings from AM & AMSS – It was flagged that the take-up of cyber awareness briefing sessions is mixed, Commissioners were asked to advocate its importance with their groups.


Pensions Board – Commissioners agreed that arrangements for a Commission representative on the Pension Board could be undertaken out of meeting if necessary.