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Y Pwyllgor Materion Cyfansoddiadol a Deddfwriaethol

Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

20/05/2019

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Carwyn Jones AM
Dai Lloyd AM
David Melding AM Yn dirprwyo ar ran Suzy Davies
Substitute for Suzy Davies
Mandy Jones AM
Mick Antoniw AM Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair

Swyddogion Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru a oedd yn bresennol

National Assembly for Wales Officials in Attendance

Alex Hadley Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Gareth Howells Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
P Gareth Williams Clerc
Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 14:30.

The meeting began at 14:30.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datganiadau o fuddiant
1. Introduction, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

This is a meeting of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. We'll go on to item 1. Apologies from Dawn Bowden, and David Melding is here in place of Suzy Davies today. So, welcome to the committee, David. The usual housekeeping rules apply. I will just ask now if there are any declarations of interest.

2. Offerynnau sy’n cynnwys materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i'r Cynulliad o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3
2. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3

And if there aren't any, I'll move straight on to item 2, which is the instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. The National Health Service (Welsh Language in Primary Care Services) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2019: you have before you the report, regulations and an explanatory memorandum. The regulations place six duties relating to the Welsh language upon primary care providers in Wales through the terms of their agreements with local health boards. The regulations were made on 8 May, laid on 9 May, and come into force on 30 May. The Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee has received representations regarding the content of these regulations and is in correspondence with the Minister. And I now go over to the lawyer. Are there any comments on this?

One technical point and two merits points, starting on pack-page 2. The technical point notes some inconsistency in the citation of the enabling powers in the preamble to the regulations. The Welsh Government has not yet responded. The two merits points simply raise some of the main policy issues that arise, namely that these regulations impose a light-touch Welsh language regime on providers of primary care services in Wales and that these Welsh language obligations will take effect on 30 May.

Wel, tri pheth. Yn y lle cyntaf, mae'r amserlen yn dynn iawn. Dyna fyrdwn y neges oddi wrth Gadeirydd y pwyllgor diwylliant. Hynny yw, fe roddwyd y rheoliadau yma gerbron ar 9 Mai ac mae disgwyl iddynt ddod yn weithredol 21 diwrnod yn union wedi hynny, ac, wrth gwrs, mae yna bryderon ynglŷn â mater polisi. Hynny yw, dydy'r mater polisi ddim yn fater i'r pwyllgor yma, yn naturiol, ond dwi'n ymwybodol bod nifer fawr o bobl yn teimlo fod y newidiadau yma'n wan iawn ac, fel dywedodd ein cyfreithiwr ni, yn light touch. Wel, mae rhai pobl eisiau mwy na light touch.

A hefyd, y peth arall ydy bod y memorandwm esboniadol, yn y copi sydd gyda fi, yn uniaith Saesneg, a dŷn ni'n sôn yn fan hyn am reoliadau sy'n ymwneud efo rheoliadau'r gwasanaeth iechyd gwladol, defnydd o'r Gymraeg yn y gwasanaeth iechyd gwladol, a dwi'n cael EM sy'n uniaith Saesneg. Felly, dwi ddim yn credu bod hynny'n sefyllfa foddhaol o gwbl, mae'n rhaid i fi ddweud.

Well, three things. First of all, the timetable is extremely tight. That's certainly the message from the Chair of the culture committee. Now, these regulations were tabled on 9 May and they're expected to be implemented exactly 21 days later, and, of course, there are some concerns about policy issues. Now, the policy issues aren't matters for this committee, naturally, but I know that many people do feel that these changes are very weak and, as our lawyer described it, light touch. Well, some people want to see more than a light-touch approach.

And also, the other thing is that the explanatory memorandum, in the copy that I have, is only available in English, and we are talking here about regulations related to the National Health Service (Welsh Language in Primary Care Services) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations and we have an EM that's in English only. So, I don't think that that is satisfactory in any way whatsoever, I have to say.

Well, it clearly isn't satisfactory and clearly we have, of course, in front of us, the letter from the Chair of the culture committee on the issues that are raised. The issue that's raised with us is, obviously, a concern, if the 21-day minimum time limit is breached, because it means there's no opportunity to scrutinise. Thank you.

Anything further to add? Any other comments on this? I mean, the options to us, really—. We have to raise this matter now with the Minister, why there is the delay in the opportunity to scrutinise, but the actual—. I'm sure those issues are going to be raised as well by that particular committee, and presumably the health committee might have interest in this as well, which you Chair, Dai.

Yes, well, I do chair, and the health committee has not been able to analyse and scrutinise these regulations because of the lack of time and we're in recess next week, as you know, and there just wasn't the committee time for the health committee to go through these at all. So, I've written to the Chair of culture in that vein. It seems to me the culture committee has taken the lead on this, but the health committee's view was that we didn't have time to do the necessary scrutiny.

Chair, is there any legal requirement for them to be made by 30 May or could we just say they should stop the process and allow proper scrutiny? I completely agree with Dai. It's to the point of parody that we have an explanatory memorandum in English only on Welsh language regulations, in probably the most important public service that people receive and may—well, often do—want to access through the medium of Welsh. So, I share his frustration fully on this.

14:35

What is the imperative with regard to the timetable? Is there any way we can request that it be deferred or delayed?

The committee could, if it chooses, write in support of the Chair of the culture and Welsh language committee about these regulations, and of course, Members do have an opportunity to table a motion to annul any regulations. That would require, then, a debate in Plenary about those regulations.

Could such a motion be used to just delay the implementation date?

I would need to check, but as far as I'm aware, it would be a straight vote to annul—

All or nothing. It would revoke them in their entirety.

And that would revoke the entirety and then we'd lose them completely.

Yes, they could be revoked and then re-laid again.

What are the powers in respect of the culture committee? They can do likewise, can they?

They're able to report on the regulations if they so choose. It's open to any Member to table a motion to annul.

An individual Member, yes.

Well, I'm content to, if somebody can guide me in the process of moving a motion to annul this, then, I think.

In that case, we can write to express the same concerns and to endorse the comments that have been made about the delay—I mean, those are very valid points—and then what actions the individual takes in terms of getting this matter forward, if that motion is there, then obviously we will report on it as well at the same time, or speak on it in our capacity. 

3. Offerynnau sy'n cynnwys materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i’r Cynulliad o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3 - trafodwyd yn flaenorol
3. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3 - previously considered

We move on to item 3, then: instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Assembly under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3—previously considered.

The Education (Student Support) (Postgraduate Master’s Degrees) (Wales) Regulations 2019, we've had the revised report. These regulations were considered by the committee on 13 May. That was the last meeting. A Government response has now been received, and the draft report considered at last week's meeting has now been updated. Any comments?

Just to note.

4. Papurau i'w nodi
4. Papers to note

Okay. Item 4, papers to note. A letter from the Llywydd to the Finance Committee on the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill. Again, we're invited to note the letter from the Llywydd concerning the ability of the Assembly to legislate for direct payments to the Electoral Commission from the Welsh consolidated fund. This, obviously, is a matter that's still under consideration. I understand discussions are still under way, so we note that, and that will obviously come back to us at some stage.

On to item 4.2, a letter from the Llywydd to the Minister for Housing and Local Government and the Minister for Education on the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill. Members are invited to note the letter from the Llywydd to the Minister for Housing and Local Government and the Minister for Education, concerning preparations and resources for education and awareness raising in relation to the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill. This relates, obviously, to finance issues that we raised in our evidence session. Shall we discuss this in private session?

Item 4.3, a letter from the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs on the Nitrate Pollution Prevention (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019. Members are invited to note the letter concerning the nitrate pollution prevention regulations. Noted.

Item 4.4, a letter from the Llywydd to the Chair on the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill. This letter was circulated, I think, last Friday. Is that right?

It's in the supplementary pack.

Oh, sorry, it's in the supplementary pack that we've got in front of us. We're invited to note the letter. Noted?

5. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o'r cyfarfod
5. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Item 5, a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the meeting for the following business. So, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi), I invite the committee to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Do Members agree? That's agreed. We now move into private session.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 14:39.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 14:39.

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