Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol
Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee15/09/2021
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies MS|
|Carolyn Thomas MS|
|Delyth Jewell MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Hefin David MS|
|Heledd Fychan MS|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Dawn Bowden MS||Dirprwy Weinidog y Celfyddydau a Chwaraeon, a’r Prif Chwip|
|Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip|
|Jason Thomas||Cyfarwyddwr, Diwylliant, Chwaraeon a Thwristiaeth, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Director, Culture, Sport and Tourism, Welsh Government|
|Sioned Evans||Cyfarwyddwr, Busnes a Rhanbarthau, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Director, Business and Regions, Welsh Government|
|Vaughan Gething MS||Gweinidog yr Economi|
|Minister for Economy|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Martha Da Gama Howells||Ail Glerc|
|Tanwen Summers||Dirprwy Glerc|
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.
Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.
The committee met by video-conference.
The meeting began at 09:30.
Bore da. Hoffwn groesawu'r Aelodau i gyfarfod a sesiwn dystiolaeth gyntaf y Pwyllgor Diwylliant, Cyfathrebu, y Gymraeg, Chwaraeon, a Chysylltiadau Rhyngwladol. Yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 34.19, rwyf wedi penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o gyfarfod y pwyllgor er mwyn diogelu iechyd y cyhoedd. Mae'r cyfarfod hwn yn cael ei ddarlledu'n fyw ar Senedd.tv, ac mae'r holl gyfranogwyr yn ymuno drwy fideo gynhadledd. Os ydw i’n gadael y cyfarfod am unrhyw reswm, mae'r pwyllgor wedi cytuno y bydd Heledd Fychan yn cadeirio dros dro tra byddaf yn ailymuno. Rydym wedi derbyn ymddiheuriadau gan Tom Giffard. Oes gan unrhyw Aelodau fuddiannau i'w datgan? Heledd.
Good morning. I'd like to welcome Members to this meeting and the first evidence session of the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport, and International Relations Committee. In accordance with Standing Order 34.19, I have determined that the public are excluded from attending this committee meeting in order to safeguard public health. This meeting is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv, and all participants are joining via video-conference. If for any reason I drop out of the meeting, the committee has agreed that Heledd Fychan will step in temporarily whilst I seek to rejoin. We've received apologies from Tom Giffard this morning. Are there any declarations of interest? Heledd.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Jest eisiau bod yn hollol dryloyw fan hyn—cyn i fi gael fy ethol i'r Senedd mi oeddwn i'n gweithio i Amgueddfa Cymru, ac fel rhan o'r rôl honno mi fues i ar nifer o bwyllgorau'r Llywodraeth, gan gynnwys cyfrannu at y strategaeth ryngwladol, y trafodaethau ynglŷn â'r strategaeth ddiwylliant, ac mi ôn i'n rhan o weithgor Cymru-Iwerddon, Cymru-yr Almaen, Cymru-Japan, a Cymru-Tsieina hefyd.
Thank you very much. I just wanted to be entirely transparent—before election to the Senedd I did work for National Museum Wales, and as part of that role I was on a number of Government committees, including contributions to the international strategy and discussions around the culture strategy, and I was part of the Wales-Ireland, Wales-Japan, Wales-Germany, and Wales-China working groups too.
Diolch, Heledd. Wel—. O, a Carolyn.
Thank you, Heledd. Well—. Oh, and Carolyn.
I'd just like to declare I'm still a county councillor. Previously, I was a member of the Welsh Local Government Association and deputy leader of a council.
Diolch, Carolyn. Thank you.
Wel, croeso i'r tystion i'r sesiwn yma y bore yma. Allwch chi, plîs, gyflwyno eich hunain ar gyfer y cofnod?
A warm welcome to our witnesses to this morning's session. Could you please introduce yourselves for the record?
Morning. I'm Dawn Bowden and I'm the Deputy Minister for arts and sport.
Good morning. I'm Vaughan Gething. I'm the Minister for Economy.
Morning, Chair. I'm Jason. I'm director of culture, sport and tourism.
Thanks, Jason. Sioned.
Bore da. Sioned Evans, director of business and regions.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Fel byddwch chi yn ymwybodol, mae amser yn brin gyda ni y bore yma, ac mae yna lot i gyfro, felly byddaf i'n gofyn am gynilder gan Weinidogion a'r tystion a'r Aelodau hefyd, plîs. Dyma ydy ein sesiwn gyntaf fel pwyllgor fel sesiwn dystiolaeth, a dwi yn awyddus i wneud yn siŵr bod pob Aelod yn mynd i gael yr un faint o amser i ofyn cwestiynau. Felly, mi wnaf i ddechrau gyda rhai cwestiynau fy hunan.
Thank you very much for that. As you will be aware, time is short this morning, and there's a great deal to cover, so I would ask for some brevity from Ministers and Members. This is our first evidence session as a committee and I'm eager to ensure that every Member has an equal opportunity to ask their questions. So, I will start with some questions of my own.
Minister, can you provide an update on whether the Cabinet—and when will a decision be likely to be made on the use of vaccine passports and any other COVID documentation in entertainment settings?
That's probably one for me, and I don't really have much to add to what the First Minister said yesterday. The First Minister indicated yesterday in the Chamber that the Cabinet will be meeting again this week and that he would expect to announce a decision on the use of vaccine passports in any setting by the end of this week. The First Minister is due to have a press conference on Friday. But also you've already heard the First Minister say that we don't expect to introduce vaccine passports for access to public services. So, as I say, I don't think there's much more to add to what the First Minister said yesterday.
Okay. Thank you for that, Minister. Could I ask then what specific objectives you think that vaccine passports would need to meet for the Welsh Government to introduce them—whether that's specific impact that they'd have on transmission within venues or any other objective?
Well, again, I think the First Minister dealt with this yesterday. Vaccine passports are a possible tool if we see risks to the public health situation, and there are real risks now. Even the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom set out that there were risks yesterday, and, in the UK plan, within plan B, they anticipate that, with a week's notice, they could introduce vaccine passports.
We have high levels of COVID in circulation, we have rising numbers of people going into our hospitals, and the NHS is busy at this time of year—we are about a third over our normal capacity in critical care. So, we already have risks within our system and we may need to make choices about whether vaccine passports are an extra tool to allow us to diminish risks and—[Inaudible.]—to keep businesses open as opposed to having to take measures that we've had to take at various points in the past where businesses have needed to close. The big difference between now and previously is that our vaccination programme means that there is a range of protection. But that protection only exists if you have had the vaccine, and both doses. So, again, I think all of that has been set out in the past. I'm happy to reconfirm the position that we're at, and, as soon as the Cabinet has made a decision, the First Minister will be able to make an announcement.
Thank you for that, Minister. I'm sure lots of entertainment bodies who will be listening to what you have to say will be waiting with interest to hear what the decision will be at the end of the week. So, in terms of—
I think it's also fair to say, actually, that a number of entertainment venues have already decided to, effectively, implement this. If you're buying tickets for a range of events, you may well find that you are expected to have a COVID pass that either shows a recent test that is negative, or to show that you're doubly vaccinated. I think if—. I didn't go into a field or a tent for the Green Man festival, but I know others did and enjoyed it, and they again—[Interruption.]—have those arrangements in place. That's my dog saying hello. But, equally, if you were to buy a ticket for an event in the stadium in the near future, you shouldn't be surprised, regardless of what the law says, that the event organisers want you to demonstrate you've got a vaccine pass already. So, that's already happening in larger events. So, this isn't something where there is either a lack of awareness that this might happen, or equally that some event organisers want to take matters into their own hands. They want to protect their ability to run events successfully, both for patrons and, indeed, the staff and performers.
Thank you for the detail on that, Minister. The final thing I just wanted to ask on this is—and, again, I take completely what you're saying, that a decision will be communicated later in the week—how much—? Again, if the decision were to be to introduce them more widely, how much notice would you expect that venues could expect to have? You said that it could happen with perhaps a week's notice. Is that—
No, that's what the UK Government announced. The UK Government, in their winter plan, basically said, 'Everything's fine for now.' But if it isn't fine, then they could move to plan B, and they would give people a week's notice to introduce vaccine passports. I don't think that's optimal, and, in the conversations we've had, it's clear that people want a bit of notice, and a week doesn't really sound like much notice. So, Scotland have made a decision, and they're going to introduce them from 1 October. Until the undeniable u-turn on the weekend from the UK Government, they were due to introduce vaccine passports from 1 October as well. So, we've got a number of things to think about here about what is helpful, but, as I say, the Cabinet hasn't made a decision. So, I'm just reconfirming what's already in the public domain. But I think—. I'm not sure if Sybil's intervention—the Scottish terrier—was really in favour or against vaccine passports, or asking me to consider the practical and ethical issues of their introduction.
I'm sure—. The jury will decide about the canine intervention. [Laughter.]
I don't think she gets a vote, to be fair.
Hefin, you indicated you wanted to come in here.
Yes. Just regarding any decision on it, if a decision is made in the positive, will, then, the regulations be presented to the Senedd for a vote and debate in advance of the introduction of the rules, or would it be after the introduction of the rules?
I couldn't, obviously, give you a cast-iron answer either way, Hefin. I think it would be unhelpful of me to try to say a definite 'yes' or 'no', because it depends on the decision being made. There would need to be a regulatory change. And actually, then, there is a conversation between the Government and others in the Business Committee about when regulations come to the Senedd. I understand that Senedd Members may want to be able to vote before any changes come into place, but we have to introduce them within a matter of a few weeks in any event after changing the regulations, so—. But if Members have a particular view in this committee, then that will be, I guess, helpful for the Government to know when we're actually making choices. But the first choice we have to make is whether to introduce them, if so, on what basis, and then to have a timeline for their introduction. And, of course, for them to continue, the Senedd would need to approve them. So, this isn't simply a matter for the Government; we need to persuade Members that, in whatever circumstances that the Government decides, and our recommendations and our advice from not just Welsh Government officials, but, of course, a range of those—chief medical officer and our scientific adviser—whether this is a helpful additional area of managing the risk that we know still exists, because, I'm afraid, the pandemic is still not quite over.
Diolch am hwnna, Gweinidog. Symud ymlaen at bwnc gwahanol, bydd nifer o aelodau'r pwyllgor yn awyddus i ofyn i chi am eich blaenoriaethau yn y portffolio hwn, ond un o'r pethau penodol rôn i eisiau gofyn—fe wnes i sylwi doedd dim cyfeiriad at yr iaith Gymraeg yn yr hyn roeddech chi wedi'i ddanfon inni fel tystiolaeth agoriadol: allwch chi roi tri enghraifft penodol o fel bydd rhannau y celfyddydau a chwaraeon o'ch portffolio yn cyfrannu tuag at aneliadau'r Llywodraeth am yr iaith Gymraeg? Pa bynnag—. Dawn.
Thank you for that, Minister. Moving on to a different topic, a number of committee members will be eager to ask you about your priorities in this portfolio, but one of the specifics I wanted to ask—I noticed that there was no reference to the Welsh language in your evidence provided to us: can you give us three specific examples of how the culture and sport areas of your portfolio will contribute towards the Welsh Government's Welsh language aims? Dawn.
Thank you. Thank you for that. I think, in terms of the Welsh language, it is threaded through everything that we do. We will be making sure, for instance—. I'll just give you an example; we're just advertising for the new president of the library. A Welsh language requirement will be written into that advertisement. We would expect that the person appointed will be a Welsh speaker. Throughout all of the programme that we have for government, everything that we are doing—built into that we'll have the Welsh language front and centre. So, our programme for government talks about access and equality, and that is not just in terms of ethnicity and gender, that is also language equality and language access. So, throughout everything we do, that is going to be implicit and explicit in the policies and the programme for government.
Diolch am hynny, Dawn. Os oes unrhyw enghreifftiau mwy penodol dŷch chi eisiau inni fod yn edrych arnyn nhw, os byddech chi'n gallu ysgrifennu atom ni fel pwyllgor am rai o'r pethau yna, buasen ni yn ei werthfawrogi fe. Jest yn olaf gen i am nawr, ynglŷn â'r cynnig i werthu Bad Wolf, beth ydy goblygiadau hyn i delerau'r cyllid sy'n cael ei ddarparu gan y Llywodraeth i'r cwmni cynhyrchu a hefyd ar gyfer unrhyw effaith ar gadwyni cyflenwi lleol, plîs?
Thank you for that, Dawn. Can you give us any more specific examples that you'd want us to look at? And if you could write to us as a committee with some of those examples, then we would certainly appreciate that. Finally from me now, on the proposal to sell Bad Wolf, what are the implications of this for the finance provided by the Government to that production company and any impact on supply chains on a local level? Thank you.
Well, Bad Wolf, we can't say an awful lot about it at the moment, because, obviously, the discussions that are going on with Bad Wolf over—. The current commercial aspects of those discussions are—you know, there's commercial confidence attached to that, so we can't say too much about that. But, as that progresses, I'm more than happy to provide further detail to the committee, as that situation progresses. What I can say to you is that, to date, over £8.5 million has been paid out against the original £9 million award to the company, because they evidenced a Welsh spend of £132,910,000-odd, and it's expected that all outputs are going to be fully achieved by the end of 2021. So, in April 2021, Creative Wales entered a separate agreement, outside of the original agreement, to secure the production of the third series of His Dark Materials in Wales, and, under the terms of that agreement, Bad Wolf is required to evidence a Welsh spend of over £21 million to achieve the grant award of just £2 million. So, filming is currently under way; no award has yet been issued under that agreement as yet. But, as I say, we will provide more information on the potential sale of the company once we've progressed that further and once we're no longer in a situation where commercial confidence is the paramount consideration.
Diolch am hynny; buasen ni'n gwerthfawrogi'r wybodaeth yna pan fo'n bosibl i'w danfon atom ni. Roeddwn i eisiau symud ymlaen nawr at gwestiynau gan rai o aelodau'r pwyllgor. Ydy Alun Davies gyda ni? Dwi'n methu â'i weld e ar y sgrîn. Rwy'n meddwl efallai dŷn ni wedi colli Alun.
Thank you; I would appreciate receiving that information when it is available. I wanted to move on to questions from committee members. Is Alun Davies still with us? I can't see him on the screen. I think that we may have lost Alun.
He's just messaged to say his internet's gone down, so he's struggling.
Reit. Diolch, Hefin. Am nawr, te, gwnawn ni fynd at Heledd a gwnawn ni ddod nôl at Alun ar ôl Heledd.
Thank you, Hefin. We will therefore move to Heledd and come back to Alun when he returns.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Un o'r pethau byddwn i'n hoffi gwybod ydy os ydych chi'n gallu amlinellu yn union eich gweledigaeth ar gyfer datblygu'r strategaeth ddiwylliannol rydych chi'n barod wedi dweud y byddech chi'n ei blaenoriaethu yn y Senedd hon.
Thank you very much. One of the things I'd like to know is whether you could outline exactly your vision for the development of the culture strategy that you've already stated will be a priority of yours in this Senedd.
Well, I think—. I've responded to this, actually, to Heledd, I think it was. My first question as Minister was from Heledd on this particular issue, and I'll reiterate that I'm absolutely committed to creating a cultural strategy and setting out my priorities and ambitions for all the complementary strategies for the creative industries, the historic environment and Visit Wales. The timing of the work on the new culture strategy will be critical. It needs to be informed by a clear understanding, really, of our path out of COVID restrictions and by the outcome of the spending review in the autumn, which the Minister for Economy might have more to say about. But developing a new strategy—it continues to be a priority for the early part of next year. Again, I think I have spoken about this previously, and I'll be building on the work started by my predecessor where appropriate, but my focus is going to be on the priorities set out in the programme for government and the challenges and the opportunities presented as we emerge from the pandemic. So, I think what you can expect to see in the cultural strategy will be what is already set out in the programme for government, but I do want to work with colleagues across the Chamber on developing that. I know that Heledd was previously involved in the work with my predecessor, and I hope that she'll continue to work with me on that. But the work on this has been held up, necessarily, because of everybody's efforts being diverted towards COVID, but it is still very much one of my priorities and we're still working on it, but it is not likely to be recommenced in earnest until the new year.
If I may just say, Heledd, that underscores some of the questioning around the Chair's initial foray into what may happen in the future. We're still dealing with an amount of uncertainty, which is frustrating and deeply unhelpful but unavoidable. We had hoped earlier in the year that we'd be on a smoother path out, potentially, and that would have allowed us to add more certainty, not just in the cultural sector but a range of others. People want some certainty to plan for the future.
As Dawn indicated, the spending review and the budget event at the end of October will be really important for us about the resource we have available. And that certainly isn't clear to us. There is a real concern that we could end up seeing financial retrenchment rather than investment in the future. And the uncertainty over post-European Union funding is also important for us here as well. But if we do end up facing more uncertainty and difficulty this winter, even of a modest kind, then that will mean that the clarity and planning for the future will be more difficult. So, I think that's why the Deputy Minister set out the time frame for the future, but we've already set out in the programme for government, as she said, a range of I think pretty significant commitments that show that culture has a real place at the heart of the Government.
Wel, mi fuaswn i'n dadlau, 'Profwch hynny, felly, gyda strategaeth ddiwylliannol.' Dwi'n meddwl, o fod yn gweld y Llywodraeth ddiwethaf, cyn COVID, yn gweithio ar strategaeth ac ati, mi fuasai rhywun yn gallu dadlau mai COVID, tra roedd nifer o'n sefydliadau ni ar gau, nifer o sefydliadau diwylliannol, fyddai'r amser perffaith i fod wrthi yn meddwl am rai o'r syniadau yma. A byddem ni'n gwerthfawrogi fel pwyllgor, ac yn sicr fi fel aelod o'r pwyllgor, mwy o wybodaeth ynglŷn â'r ffordd rydych chi'n mynd i fynd ati efo'r strategaeth ddiwylliannol ac oes yna unrhyw fwriad o ymgysylltu â ni fel pwyllgor neu bobl Cymru yn ystod y broses yma, neu ydy hi'n fater eich bod chi'n mynd i'w gwneud hi'n fewnol?
Well, I would urge you to prove that with the cultural strategy. Having seen the previous Government, pre-COVID, working on a strategy, one could argue that COVID, whilst a number of our institutions were closed, would have been the perfect time to have been thinking about some of these ideas. And I would appreciate, and we as a committee would appreciate, more information about how you're going to approach the cultural strategy and whether there is any intention to engage with us as a committee or with the people of Wales, or is it a matter of you doing it internally?
Well, I think I've already given a commitment along those lines, Heledd, both when I answered your question in the Senedd and when I met you on a one-to-one basis subsequently. I don't work in isolation in this brief, and I will be wanting to work across parties, and I will want to work and engage with organisations that have something to contribute to culture in Wales. So this is not something that I'm going to be sat in my office just burrowing away on my own; we have a whole Government that is interested in the cultural strategy and the culture portfolio in Wales, and I want to work with people both inside and outside the Senedd who have an interest in progressing our cultural strategy. So, you have my commitment on that. I've given it previously, both publicly and privately, and I'll do it again today.
I do think, though, that part of the question suggesting that the ideal time was when things were closed doesn't recognise the fact that, when things were closed, people weren't sitting around waiting for things to do. And the resource that's available in the Government has been deployed in a manner that I can't overstate how demanding that's been, not just for Ministers but for our officials. Our officials haven't just worked nine to five; it's placed extraordinary demands on them. And, being very direct and honest, it simply would not have been possible to have created an additional cultural strategy during the times that we lived through, when other things have been closed, because all those officials have been redeployed into other areas. So, I don't want any impression to be created that somehow we could have done something when, as a matter of fact, it simply wasn't possible. We'll have lots more to talk about, about what's happened over the time of the previous lockdowns and everything in between, but we are looking forward to what we can do in the future, as the Deputy Minister has outlined.
Jest cyn i fi ddod nôl at Heledd, dwi'n meddwl roedd Carolyn Thomas eisiau dod i mewn ar y pwynt yma. Oedd e ar y pwynt yma? Mae Carolyn yn dal ar miwt.
Just before I come back to Heledd, I think Carolyn Thomas wanted to come in on that point. Carolyn is still on mute.
I think I'm unmuting myself, then the host is muting me again. I think, regarding a cultural strategy, that town centre renewal and culture will go hand in hand, and that plays into the economy of town centres as well. So, as town centres reinvent themselves going forward, they could be centres of culture for maybe different festivals, food festivals, art festivals, museums, having sports based in town centres, boxing clubs, swimming clubs, community activity as well. It's really important; it would be a good idea. A lot of the funding for town centres is centred around active travel and other projects, and I know when funding's come forward, people that manage town centres—town centre managers, town and community councils, and other groups and organisations, volunteers—would like to see a funding pot, a grant funding pot, or more flexibility over funding so that they can use it for the seeds of growing festivals, maybe canopies, promoting the museums and the activities that are there. So, I think it really needs to have more of a higher priority, really, going forward, and that will help grow the economy as well. And, can I also ask, as a new member of the committee and a new MS, how the responsibilities work out between Ministers and Deputy Ministers, if that's okay? So, Vaughan, are you more in charge of the economy side of things, and then, Dawn, sports, and then, the culture side? I don't know how it all works out, and who's responsible for what, so if you could explain that to me.
Chair, can I just come back on one or two of those things? I'm sure Vaughan's got something to say on that as well.
Certainly, and then we'll come back to Heledd. Yes, of course.
Sorry. Apologies, Heledd.
I think it's probably important to say a couple of things. One is that the current programme for government has more cultural commitments than any other programme for government has ever had, so I think that's our starting point here. And just because we haven't currently got a strategy that's set out in writing as such, it doesn't mean that we're not getting on with the work that we need to do developing that strategy and actually implementing the things that need to be part of that strategy, because that's our programme for government, and my priority is to ensure that the commitments that we've given in the manifesto and in our programme for government are carried out and they don't sit and wait for us to come and develop some kind of document. So, that's work that is ongoing, notwithstanding the fact that we don't actually have a cultural strategy written down on a piece of paper yet.
And in terms of what Carolyn has just been talking about, I agree absolutely with her in terms of the town centre regeneration. But of course, within this portfolio, we do have transformation grants available for museums, and we do have events funding for major and minor events that come through myself and the Minister for Economy. So, it's not as though none of this is available and none of this has been thought of or none of this is being done; it is there and we're just pulling it all together and it is all part of the programme for government, as I've said.
In terms of how the work is divided up between myself and Vaughan, I'll let him explain what happens on his side of things, but one thing I would say is that I was really pleased that this portfolio was put into the economy department, because I'm absolutely clear that culture, arts and sports are key drivers in our economy. If we look at the creative industries, for instance: one of the biggest employers in Wales. There is a major economic impact in developing our cultural sectors, and that's why I think it sits properly within the economy department.
So, I am responsible for all of those sponsored bodies that we fund, and I'm responsible for working with a number of other organisations and governing bodies to develop our programme for government. That's my role, but it sits very properly in my view within the economy brief.
Thank you for that, Minister. Minister, Vaughan, before we bring you in, I think Alun Davies had a supplementary he wanted to ask just on that point, and then I promise we will come back to you, Heledd.
Thank you very much, and thank you for that very full answer, Dawn. You said two things: you said first of all you're already implementing the programme for government, and then you said that you were developing the programme for government. Now, those are two different things, of course, and I'd be interested to know which you're actually doing. I'd also be interested to know what your objectives are, because Vaughan will have heard me in government arguing that our programmes for government aren't worth the paper they're not written on, and this programme for government, when I read it, you know, so what? You're going to invest in facilities—well, why wouldn't you? What else are you going to do? I'm interested in which facilities and where they're going to be, how much you're going to be spending on them, how you're going to take decisions on that, when you're going to do it. How do we hold you to account? Because the one thing that's missing from the programme for government, well, the things that are missing, are any timelines, any deadlines, any financial allocations, any elements of responsibility, and no targets, no objectives that are set out that are in any way accountable.
So, the programme for government, as Vaughan has heard me say in Government before, is just a series of words. It doesn't mean anything. What I'm interested in from you, Minister, is knowing: what are your targets? Now, if you've already started to deliver and to implement the programme for government, your officials will have delivery plans in place, and I would be grateful, Delyth, if the committee could ask the Minister to provide us with those delivery plans so that we can actually look then, and hold both Ministers to account, for delivering on their objectives.
I'd certainly welcome having that information. If I could just make another appeal for brevity, I'm very aware that other Members will need to be coming back to questions. If we could have a relatively brief answer to those wide-ranging points that Alun just made.
Alun is absolutely right, there's implementing and there's developing, and some things still are in the process of being developed because we haven't got the final budgets on all of the things that we want to do yet. So, the things that are being developed are things like the work around the north Wales museum, which has been given a huge amount of impetus because of the world heritage site being awarded for the north Wales slate landscapes. We are developing a football museum in north Wales. We are developing work with Theatr Clwyd, and our commitment to fund Theatr Clwyd over the next three years, to a significant amount of investment into Theatr Clwyd, the only producing theatre in Wales, which is in desperate need of support, which we're committed to doing. So, there are things that are very tangible, and you're absolutely right that we will have a very detailed plan on those things and there will be a tangible outcome because we will have a north Wales museum that will have been developed, we will have a football museum in Wrexham, we will have Theatr Clwyd renewed and redeveloped, so those things are the physical things that we will see.
In terms of all the other areas, the development of sports facilities and 3G pitches and so on, I can't sit here today and tell you exactly when and where and how much, because it will depend on where the need is for those organisations or for those facilities to be undertaken. So, there are different things going on. There is development, there is implementation. I can tell you, for instance, that one of the things that we had in the programme for government was to establish a creative skills body for growing our own, if you like, in the creative industries and the wider cultural sector. I'm going to be making an announcement this week on the fact that we are establishing that creative skills body, so that's something that's very concrete in terms of one of our commitments. But much of it will depend on the funding that we have to develop the programme as we go through. A lot of what we want to do, of course, will be in the remit letters for our sponsored bodies, and of course we'll be happy to share that with you once those are signed off. But yes, I take your point, Alun, that there is a difference between implementation and development, but both things are happening at the same time.
If I can just say briefly—and I don't want to add much to what Dawn said on the programme for government—I understand Alun's view. To be fair, he's been consistent in his view over some time, about wanting more targets within the programme for government. You'll see more of what it means in the financial allocations when we get to the budget, in the budget rounds and the budget scrutiny that I'm sure we'll have the opportunity to enjoy before you and other committees as well, and then, actually, whether we're delivering through the term of this Government.
The second thing I should say, in terms of Carolyn's question, is that I've got overall responsibility for the whole department. Dawn is the deputy and has specific areas to lead on that she's outlined as well, and I've got larger budget responsibilities. So, for larger sums of money, I have to sign those off, but Dawn is able to make a whole range of decisions within her portfolio that she leads on. So, it does mean that every decision doesn't have to cross my desk. I think that would be incredibly unhelpful and slow things down, and I'm very pleased to say that we have a good working relationship, including from times past when the Dawn and Vaughan show was rather in the employment relationship side of things, where she was a trade union officer and I was a younger employment lawyer.
Diolch yn fawr. Heledd Fychan, diolch am eich amynedd. Gyda hynny, fe wnawn ni fynd nôl at eich cwestiynau. Diolch i'r Gweinidogion am yr atebion cynhwysfawr yna.
Thank you very much. Thank you for your patience, Heledd. We will now return to your questions, but thanks to the Ministers for their comprehensive answers there.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Mae gen i dri chwestiwn sydyn sy'n fwy quick-fire, ac wedyn mae gen i gwestiwn penodol ynglŷn ag amgueddfa gogledd Cymru. Yn gyntaf, fedrwch chi plîs gadarnhau, pan fydd y trafodaethau yn digwydd o ran cyllideb o ran y Cabinet, a fydd y ddau ohonoch chi yno neu ddim ond y Gweinidog?
Thank you very much. I have three questions that are more quick-fire, and then I have a specific question on the museum of north Wales. First of all, can you confirm, when discussions happen in Cabinet on the budget, will both of you be in attendance or will it simply be the Minister for Economy?
We now have Cabinet meetings where every Minister attends, including Deputy Ministers. So, yes, we are all part of those discussions and, indeed, we have a range of discussions leading up to the Cabinet that decides on the budget between ourselves, the finance Minister and a range of others as well, as you would expect.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Cwestiwn arall:
Thank you very much. My next question:
Is the independence and future of our national institutions, namely the National Library of Wales and National Museum Wales, safe in your hands?
Well, I'd like to think so, Heledd, because I'm very committed to ensuring that those institutions are safe. We have committed in terms of national museums. We have committed to developing a national museum in north Wales, and I'm committed to ensuring that the other museum sites that we have across Wales are able to grow and actually implement the programme for government commitments around access and inclusion in those national institutions.
One of the things that I'm very clear about is that we have not done enough in those national institutions to ensure that the whole of Wales is fully represented in what those organisations do and is fully included in what those organisations do. So, I'm very much committed to ensuring that that changes, but committed also to making sure that those organisations develop and prosper, because unless they do, the second thing doesn't happen—i.e. the inclusion doesn't happen.
So, very early on, we can rule out that there won't be any return to some kind of Historic Wales proposals; that will be off the table for the term of this Government, then.
It's not in our programme for government, Heledd, and that's something that, you know—. It's not in our programme for government.
Os caf i ofyn yn benodol am amgueddfa gogledd Cymru, yn amlwg byddem ni wrth ein boddau'n clywed beth yn union ydy hynny, oherwydd rydach chi wedi sôn am yr amgueddfa lechi. Mae yna rai pobl yn meddwl efallai bod hon yn amgueddfa newydd sbon ar wahân. Beth yn union ydy amgueddfa gogledd Cymru, os gwelwch yn dda?
If I could ask specifically about the museum for north Wales, obviously we would love to hear exactly what that means, because you've mentioned the slate museum. There are some people who think that this is a new separate museum for north Wales. So, what exactly is the museum for north Wales?
Okay. As I said, I think the world heritage status for the slate landscapes is going to give impetus to the development of the north Wales museum. What we see, really, is the size, the scale and the accessibility of the national slate museums operating as the main access point for visitors who want to explore the newly designated world heritage site. So, the redevelopment is therefore going to focus on providing new and improved visitor facilities and interpretation to support the significant international profile that that's going to bring with it. So, you're right; it's not a new museum, in the sense that it is something that is going to be building on what already exists. So, it's going to be building on and improving on what already exists. But it is going to mean that we will bring displays and exhibitions, artefacts and so on, from other parts of Wales that will rightly sit in north Wales. So, pieces that are from north Wales that are currently exhibited in other parts of Wales will be brought to that area. So, it is developing what already exists and making it, hopefully, an international visitor attraction.
Diolch yn fawr iawn. Wedyn, felly, fel ein bod ni'n hollol, hollol glir, a dwi'n meddwl bod hwn yn bwysig—
Thank you very much. Therefore, so that we're entirely clear, and I think this is important—
Heledd, roedd Jason eisiau dod i mewn ar y pwynt yna, dwi'n meddwl. Jason.
Heledd, Jason did want to come in on this point, I think. Jason.
It was just on the previous point, Chair, to do with Historic Wales, if you want to bring me in after the slate museum answer.
Dwi jest eisiau inni fod yn hollol, hollol glir fan hyn. Felly, amgueddfa gogledd Cymru ydy ailddatblygiad Amgueddfa Lechi Cymru yn y rhaglen llywodraeth.
I just want clarity here. So, the museum of north Wales is a redevelopment of the National Slate Museum in the programme for government.
It is. It is a redevelopment of that site, but it will be the museum for north Wales, but utilising the site that already exists at Llanberis and expanding and developing that.
Jason, you wanted to come in.
Just briefly, Chair, thank you. On the previous point around Historic Wales, I think it's just right to mention that when we established Historic Wales, which is a partnership between Cadw, the national museum, the national library and the royal commission, the essence of all of that was to get all those organisations working more closely together. It was recognised that there are things that each organisation does where they complement each other, and that there are synergies that need to be exploited that weren't necessarily being exploited in the past. So, this partnership still exists. It still meets. It's the chief executives of each organisation plus senior trade union representation, and the chairs attend regularly as well. So, there is a commitment to maintain that partnership, going forward. We are still waiting to see the true benefits of bringing everybody together, but there is still a commitment for everybody to continue working closely together.
Thank you, Jason.
Chair, do you mind if I—?
Yes, come in.
Just finally on the north Wales museum, I should have mentioned in response to the question from Heledd that we have allocated £0.5 million for a feasibility study on the development proposals for north Wales. So, this isn't a kind of amorphous thing; they have been allocated funding to develop the plans for that museum.
Heledd, oedd yna unrhyw beth arall roeddech chi eisiau gofyn?
Heledd, was there anything else you wanted to ask?
I just wanted to pick up on Jason's point, to ask if we could receive an update as a committee in terms of the progress of Historic Wales and where it has got to to date, but also to distinguish between the initial Historic Wales, which was to remove the independence of National Museum Wales, and I think we need to make that distinction. I'm very pleased to hear the Minister set out today that there are no plans at all on the table to remove that independence of our national institutions, which is separate, of course, from the Historic Wales partnership.
Members will have to forgive me, I'm afraid; we will have to move on now, because I don't want any other Members to be without time.
Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen nawr at Alun Davies.
We'll move on now to Alun Davies.
Thank you. In terms of where we are at the moment, the work of the Government seems to be driven by two documents: it's the programme for government, which we've begun to discuss, but it's also the cultural recovery following COVID. I wonder if the Ministers could outline the relationship between those two documents.
Probably Vaughan might want to speak on that, because of the aspects of the cultural recovery fund.
The cultural recovery fund was introduced by one of my predecessors initially, as you know, from the extraordinary hit that the sector took during the pandemic, and we're still balancing helping the sector to recover and to survive, because there is still a very real possibility for shocks through the autumn, and then wanting to build through the programme for government to actually what genuine recovery looks like. It's possible some things will remain from changes in practice. A number of our visitor attractions, for example, may want to keep some of the timed entry for some time to come. There's been an interesting discussion I had with Techniquest, when I visited recently, where they said that they had found that the visitor experience was improved even though the numbers had reduced. And there's a balance there, isn't there, about whether that actually means that people are more likely to spend more time there and potentially spend more money than when there are larger numbers. But we're going to continue to need to look at, again, our ability to continue to fund and support businesses in all sectors, including in this sector, to be able to do that and to make sure that they survive and then to help support them to come out the other end. That really does depend on the uncertainty of this winter, and the greater certainty we get, and, indeed, the certainty we get from the budget and spending review will help us to make a range of those choices.
The programme for government sets out what our objectives are and what our new commitments are to carry on, so it doesn't always capture the things that are already happening. We've had a bit of that in the previous question and answer. But I don't think that that's new or different, in the sense that the programme for government is the manifesto that we put before the people of Wales and it's then translating that into immediate priorities for the Government. So, I think we'll see a great deal more of what that means in practice when we get to budget, and then the delivery we'll come back to even after budget scrutiny about how we're using that money. I'm well used to the fact that budget scrutiny isn't just about making the sums add up; it's what you're actually going to do with the money and how that helps you to deliver on your commitments.
The programme for government, as we've already described, does not contain any objectives, of course. It contains a few ambitions, but it doesn't contain any measurable objectives at all, not only in your portfolios, but in any portfolio. So, I think they would be useful. The Deputy Minister wasn't entirely clear in the previous answer to me. I did ask for any delivery plans that had currently been agreed within Government—and I don't presume to use committee's time this morning to pursue that, but I will ask the Chair to write to the Minister to confirm our request for that. I think the Minister certainly didn't say 'no', but she didn't say 'yes' either, so it was a very good answer from her point of view. So, it would be useful to look at those so that we can understand what Government is actually doing, rather than just talking.
So, in terms of where we're going now, though, one of the issues in the programme for government—. You say that you want to ensure that black, Asian and minority ethnic histories are properly reflected throughout our cultural and heritage sectors, including our national museums. How do you intend to do that?
Well, I mean, for a start, it will be something that will be included in the remit letters for our national sponsored bodies—
So, what will be in the remit letter? What do you intend to put in the remit letter?
Well, you know, it's still being drafted at the moment, so—
Yes, but what do you intend to put in it? I'm not interested in the drafting—
Yes, I understand what you're saying. I understand what you're saying. What I will want to see—. Because all of our national bodies have developed strategies around inclusion and access, and I will want to see specific actions that they intend to introduce. You may have seen the statements that I made on Monday of last week on widening access in the arts in Wales, and I set out there very clearly that I want to speak to our sponsored bodies about what that will mean. So, I'm not doing this in isolation, Alun; I'm doing it with our sponsored bodies and I want to talk to them about what my expectations are, and my expectations are that, at the end of this term of government, we will see all representations of Welsh life depicted in our national museums and in our national organisations, whether that's at board level in terms of who runs the organisations, or whether that is in the work that those organisations do. What I need to do is to be able to sit down with those organisations and discuss with them specifically how that can be achieved.
Now, I can't sit here in my office and tell them exactly how that needs to be done, because I need to know from them what they propose to do and how they propose to do that, and then I will be able to make judgments as to whether I believe that to be acceptable or not. They are going to be given a remit that will say, 'This is what needs to be done', and I expect them to tell me how they feel that they can do that and we will have a discussion around that to take that forward.
The reason I asked the question was because I remember Alun Pugh saying almost exactly the same thing 15 years ago, and I'm not entirely encouraged that there's been much progress in that time, if I'm quite honest. I'm just interested in your assessment as to where you believe the weaknesses are and where you believe there are areas of good practice and where you believe that we may be able to make some progress, and what your objectives would be. How will you know that you have achieved that particular objective?
From my point of view, access will be one of the key aspects, and one of the early discussions that I've had with the sponsored bodies is that I don't want to just see strategies and plans; I want to be able to talk to them at a given point in time during the period of this Government where they will be able to point to me how they have achieved the outcomes that I want to see. And the outcomes that I want to see are very clear. I want to see more young people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, or from deprived communities, being involved in our arts, in our sports, in our cultural sector. That will be measurable in terms of has that been achieved. So, we've got to look at that in terms of what we are able to deliver through the programme for government.
It's difficult at this stage, Alun, for me to say to you specifically what that will look like. I think this is going to be an ongoing conversation with yourselves as a committee on how this programme for government is developing and where those things are being achieved, and where they are not being achieved, what I am doing to ensure that they will be achieved. What I can't say to you this early in that programme is how all that is going to work out, but you can rest assured that I will continue to discuss that with you as a committee and seek your input wherever necessary as well.
Jason, do you want to come in?
Only a brief point. Thanks, Chair. Just to add, one good example would be in sport. Where we've committed funding to sport via the A Place for Sport scheme, this is all about improving facilities, but improving facilities in a way that increases access, regresses the gender disparity that we see in many, many sports. And we will be measuring this. Sport Wales measures this. They survey participants through the school sport survey on a regular basis. So, we will be able to track, over a number of years, from the point at which we introduced this fund, whether this has led to better access, better equality across sport. And there are other similar initiatives in all the different cultural bodies. But there is a long way to go in all of this, as the Deputy Minister quite rightly said there.
I agree, and I'm glad to hear you're measuring it. That means that you will have measurable objectives as well, I presume.
Is that yes?
For Sport Wales, absolutely. This all comes back, as the Deputy Minister said, to our remit letters. So, we issue a remit letter, and this time it will be a term-of-Government remit letter. It won't just be on an annual basis; it will link with the programme for government. Funding is linked to that and measurable outcomes, and that is not just on this area; it's across the board, really. So, absolutely. And we meet with our arm's-length bodies quarterly, and if things aren't being achieved where we've asked them to be achieved, there can be financial repercussions there.
Okay. So, for clarity, there will be measurable objectives and measurable targets for each one of the sponsored bodies. That will be contained in their remit letters, which I presume will be sent on a financial year basis—so, will be sent in March next year.
If I could come back, yes, they're in draft at the moment. These will need to be agreed by the Ministers in the short term, then issued to the arm's-length bodies, alongside their budget. But it is a term-of-Government remit letter, and it will absolutely include measurable objectives in that.
I'm trying to tie you down, sorry, on the timescale for this. I accept what the contents are. But, the timescale will be prior to the new financial year, so we can anticipate those remit letters being sent out in February or March of next year, and I presume you will send a copy of those remit letters to this committee.
If I could, again, Ministers and Chair, we always share copies of the remit letters; they are published, so we will certainly share those with the committee. Those remit letters will come into force this financial year to see us through the remainder of the term of Government, and then, obviously, every year, there is a budget settlement that goes alongside that.
Thank you, Jason. I think Heledd wanted to come in on this point.
Gwnaethoch chi sôn yn fanna am financial penalties i'r sefydliadau hyn os dydyn nhw ddim yn cyrraedd eu targedau, a hefyd sôn mai bob blwyddyn byddan nhw'n gwybod eu cyllideb. Onid ydy rhai o'r targedau yma yn gysylltiedig efo cyllid, a beth mae hyn yn ei olygu o ran annibyniaeth sefydliadau? Hefyd, ydy'r targedau yma'n cael eu cytuno ar y cyd, neu ydy o'n rhywbeth y mae'r Llywodraeth yn ei bennu? Dwi jest eisiau deall yn union beth rydych chi'n ei feddwl efo 'financial penalties' yn benodol yn fan hyn.
You just mentioned financial penalties for institutions and organisations if they don't achieve their targets, and you also mentioned that they would learn of their budgets annually. Aren't some of these targets linked to finance, and what does this mean in terms of the independence of these institutions? Also, are these targets jointly agreed, or are they something that's decided simply by Government? I just want to understand exactly what you mean by 'financial penalties' specifically here.
Minister, is it okay for me to come back again? Thank you. It's probably too harsh a term when I say 'penalties' there, but you will know, Heledd, from previous experience, that when we issue remit letters to arm's-length bodies, we want to get something for those. We provide funding to our arm's-length bodies to achieve things; if those things aren't achieved, then clearly we need to look at why they aren't being achieved, and sometimes that can mean redirecting finance to do things in a different way in future years. So, 'penalty' is probably the wrong term, but we obviously scrutinise the way in which public money is spent, and if it's not achieving the things that we set out, then we would need to look to do something differently there.
The Deputy Minister has lost the sound. Can we take a quick technical break to try and get the sound back, please?
Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:21 a 10:24.
The meeting adjourned between 10:21 and 10:24
Dylem ni fod wedi ailymuno nawr. Mi wnawn ni fynd nôl at gwestiwn olaf gan Alun Davies.
We will restart. We'll return to a final question from Alun Davies.
Thank you. You were answering, Mr Thomas, in the previous question, about financial penalties. I would hope that the Welsh Government would impose financial penalties, quite frankly. The Welsh Government is the elected Government of this country, and these national institutions are subordinate bodies, which should be delivering on the remit of that Government, and the Government certainly should be able to get its way. But we won't go into that debate this morning.
The final question I have—to both Ministers—is this: the Government has an international strategy, and the international strategy tries to cover many different things. I'd be interested, first of all, Vaughan, about your ideas and vision and any objectives you have for the overseas presence, for example—the offices and the rest of it. Then, Dawn, I'd like to understand how you see yourself as a Minister in your department contributing to that international strategy, and, again, the objectives and targets you have for that.
If we ask the Minister first, and then we'll go to the Deputy Minister.
Briefly on the previous set of questions, it's important we have a process in place to understand what we're doing, but not every meaningful step forward on the way that people like me are represented and taken account of and the way that our national institutions are run and operated as employers, and indeed in the information and the service they provide to the public—that isn't all going to be captured in sets of facts and figures. Some of that is your experience when you go in. And that is actually about listening to and trying to understand from the public whether the offer has changed or not. I can honestly say—. I remember Alun Pugh in and out of work, when he was a Minister, and I think things have changed, but there's still much more to do, so let's not pretend that nothing has changed. But we know we've still got much more to do and I think we've got much braver about confronting that, frankly, over the last few years.
On the international strategy, in terms of the responsibilities that I've got, obviously, there is a lot tied up economically with our international strategy as well as broader trade policy as well. Trade policy isn't devolved. We have to deal with the consequences of it, though. All the new trade deals—I expect that I'll come to this committee to discuss those as well; we need to understand whether it's this committee or the economic committee that will have prime oversight of that, because there are things that I think we could and should update you on in those areas.
There's also the point about our international presence at offices. Culture is an important part of our international presence and how people see Wales—our cultural offering and our cultural successes in a wide range of areas, whether it's the way that Welsh football fans are seen and welcomed when they visit places. That's not always the case when football fans go abroad. But there's a range of other things too. Those offices are primarily, though, about how our broader offer and relationship with the rest of the world actually leads to economic benefit. Other people will want to see a different form of activity. They're not, if you like, mini embassies, but they are there to work with the UK presence in those countries, to benefit the promotion of Wales on the international stage and what that will do for our ability to have deeper and more impressive relationships.
We've got a range of plans for different countries where we think there's opportunity to improve not just the relationship, but actually the economic return that that provides as well. And we're fortunate in having a significant Welsh diaspora. One of things that Eluned Morgan did, of course, was to look at how we could try to take advantage of that Welsh diaspora, whether that's in America, with its history, or indeed the fact that there are members of the British and Welsh Indian community who see themselves very much as Welsh and Indian and see themselves, quite properly, as having a stake in more than one country. And that is an advantage to us. So, we need to think about how that helps us on the wider world stage and what, hopefully, the end of the pandemic will allow us to do in remaking some of those in-person relationships. We've been able to do some things remotely, but I can say that the wider world is still very interested in Wales. We've had a number of ambassadors very interested in talking with the Government before the last election and since it. So, I'm optimistic, not just about our place in the world, but what that means for jobs, lives and the future economy here in Wales.
Thank you, Minister. Deputy Minister, I appreciate that you're struggling to hear us at the moment. If I could appeal for a brief answer because of how short on time we are.
Okay. I caught most of what Vaughan said, and I don't have an awful lot to add to that, other than just to say that, of course, our remit letters, which, as we've said already, are term-of-Government remit letters, are asking all our cultural bodies to work with the Welsh Government's international relations team to deliver the ambitions of the international strategy.
I think the fact that Amgueddfa Cymru—National Museum Wales is now working on its digital platforms is opening up a lot of the work of the national museums internationally. Big Pit, and now that the national slate landscape is an international world heritage site—that puts us on the international tourist map as well. And, of course, the National Library of Wales has recently developed its first international strategy. So, there is a lot going on within the sector, which reaches out beyond Wales, and quite rightly so. And clearly, as Vaughan said, the sport reach for Wales internationally speaks for itself. In terms of a nation, it truly punches above its weight. You go anywhere in the world—they all know who Gareth Bale is. You know, it's—. So, yes.
Viva Gareth Bale. Diolch yn fawr iawn. Mi wnawn ni symud ymlaen nawr at Carolyn Thomas.
Viva Gareth Bale. Thank you very much. We'll move on now to Carolyn Thomas.
Diolch. Previously—. I just wanted to come in, and you know when we talked about national museum for Wales, the slate museum—. Dawn, can you hear me, sorry?
Yes, it's okay, I can just hear you, yes.
Thank you. Can I just also ask you to think about the national park as well—for a new national park for north Wales, which was part of the manifesto? That does actually come under culture as well. We've got ancient hillforts there, we've got the Pontcysyllte aqueduct, which is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization heritage site as well. And I know it will probably come under the Minister for Climate Change, the designation, but I'm hearing that it could take up to 15 years to get through the process of creating a national park from an area of outstanding natural beauty, so I just wanted to make a plug for it here under the culture committee as well, please. Thank you.
So, I want to just talk about communication priorities for the sixth Senedd. During COVID we hear about how important it is to get the right communication across to people—the correct news, the true news as well. I've noticed as well, when we—you know, if we're having a new tv, there are so many channels that appear on a new tv, aren't there? So, it would be great if—. I don't know if you can legislate that the four important channels, the news channels—the BBC, BBC2, ITV, S4C—those are there, they're top of the list. I believe that it was legislated with Sky—that happened with them. So, now we've got all these other providers—Amazon, Netflix et cetera—and I just feel that it's really important that we can get—. We need to make sure it's a priority that people get the right news and access to the correct news.
Also, people pick up information via social media as well, and my concern is that they're not getting, again, the correct information. So, how should public service broadcasting be updated to reflect the growth of digital media? And what specific changes to public service broadcasting regulation are needed so that it's fit for the digital, multi-channel age? What can we do about it?
Good question. So—. Well, obviously, broadcasting is not a devolved matter, so we know that. So, what our priorities are are making sure that Wales gets the best deal that we can in terms of the organisations that we deal with, that we get our fair share of the licence fee, and that we develop relationships with all of those broadcasters to ensure that Wales is properly represented.
Now, I recall, when I was first elected to the Senedd, I sat on this committee, and one of the first inquiries that we did was about the representation of Welsh life in the media, and I think we've made significant progress on that. We now have a memorandum of understanding with the BBC that sets out very clearly our expectations of the BBC in terms of its programming, the amount of programming it would do in Wales, the amount of factual and drama programmes that will be produced in Wales but for a UK platform, so that we actually have the portrayal of Wales across the UK and not just in Wales. And I've also had meetings with all of the chief executives and director generals of the various mainstream broadcasters in Wales and made very clear to them my concern about how some of the news outlets deal with Wales. A lot of that we did see during COVID. At the beginning of COVID in particular there were real concerns about English-only news being promoted across Wales, so that there was a lot of confusion about COVID rules. We saw that improve significantly as the pandemic progressed, and I think we now are in a far better place than we were with the national broadcasters. Certainly, I had only a recent discussion with the director general of the BBC about this and he took that on board and was very clear that this is something that they have addressed and they will continue to address.
So, I think you’re absolutely right, Carolyn, it is about us making sure that Wales gets its fair share of the media outlets, that it is properly represented on the news outlets. Only yesterday I had a meeting with the National Union of Journalists to talk about how, in the printed media, we have similar progress on printed media as well, and they gave examples of how the UK Government actually placed adverts in Welsh press about UK or English COVID regulations and so on. So, all of those kind of things have to change. And one of the things that I agreed yesterday with the NUJ is that we will work with them to develop a news recovery plan in Wales, which will include all of those kind of areas. So, yes, we're fully alert to it, Carolyn, and it's something that's very much a priority for us in how we develop our relations with the various media outlets.
Okay. Thank you. What input are you having with licence fee discussions? So, what contribution has Welsh Government made to the UK Government regarding the licence fee review?
Sorry, I didn't catch all of that. Something about—
It's about the licence fee review. I know, again, it's UK Government, but what discussions have Welsh Government had with UK Government regarding the licence fee review?
Okay. Okay. So, we have been engaging in that agenda. We've responded to the Office of Communications' 'Small Screen: Big Debate' consultation on the future of public service broadcasting and the UK Government's recent consultation on the future of Channel 4. I don't know whether I've shared with you—. I did ask to share with you the letter that I sent to the UK Government this week on the proposals for the privatisation of Channel 4. I don't know whether you've seen that yet; I hope you have. So, we are involved in the—. As I say, we've engaged in the 'Small Screen: Big Debate' process and, throughout that, we've noted the importance of a sustainable funding model for public services. We've stressed that any reduction in the level of funding made available through the licence fee, either through to BBC Cymru Wales or to S4C, is going to have a hugely detrimental effect in destabilising services in Wales. So, we remain in contact with both BBC and S4C on that, and we just now have to await the outcome of the UK's decision, but we have very much been involved in the conversation and the consultation around that.
Okay. Thank you.
Did that answer the question? I wasn't sure that I got exactly what you were asking, but hopefully that covered it.
Deputy Minister, if you could send us some more information about the news recovery plan, actually, that would be useful to see when you have—
Sorry, Delyth, about the what?
About the news recovery plan.
Yes. Okay. Yes, will do.
Diolch yn fawr. Gwnawn ni symud ymlaen at Hefin David.
Thank you. We'll now move on to Hefin David.
Just before I move on to sport, can I just ask, with regard to journalism, when you pass public funding on to journalism in Wales, what standards are you expecting those organisations to meet with regard to impartiality and impartial reporting and independence?
I'm not entirely sure on that, Hefin, to be fair. Can I get back to you on that?
Because I really am not entirely sure, and I don't want to just make something up on the hoof.
Just by way of example, I'm aware that Nation.Cymru, the organisation—the news organisation—had funding from the Books Council of Wales, and what we want to see is a good, impartial news service, but that must come with standards, and I'd like to understand how you ensure that those standards are met before passing on public money to those kinds of organisations.
No, I think that's a fair point, and I'll make sure that I write to the committee about that.
Diolch, Gweinidog. Mae Jason eisiau jest dod mewn ar hwnna, dwi'n meddwl.
Thank you, Minister. I think Jason wanted to come in on that.
I think the Deputy Minister covered it, Chair. We can provide a note. So, yes, in the money that we provided via the books council to journalists out there, just to say, you've obviously got to strike quite a fine balance. We wanted to provide funding to basically increase the quality of journalism around Wales, but the more conditions Government puts on that money, the more risk that you then risk the impartiality of the journalism. But we can explain all that better in a note.
Okay. Some organisations are more impartial than others, and I'd cite The National newspaper and Caerphilly Observer as two very good examples, but not everyone follows those good examples, and I think it's worth perhaps this committee exploring that in a bit more detail too.
With regard to sport, Deputy Minister, have you looked at the attendance at championship football games and the upcoming Welsh internationals, being the biggest attended games, and what assessment will you be making with regard to the impacts on spread of COVID?
They will be covered by the COVID regulations as they currently stand. We're at level 0, as you know, and that doesn't put particular restrictions on outdoor events, which football matches, rugby matches and so on are. The only potential restriction is likely—. Well, is it a restriction? The potential restriction could be vaccine certification, which the Minister for Economy dealt with earlier on in this session. But, at the moment, in terms of the current COVID regulations, there shouldn't be an adverse impact on the number of people going into championship or league football, or non-league football, if it comes to that, other than what is required under COVID risk assessments. I think the biggest challenge we've got, actually, is getting people back into indoor venues, because there is still some concern and some reluctance, certainly among certain age demographics, to return to indoor events venues. So, that's probably going to be more of a challenge to us in the weeks and months ahead than outdoor events and outdoor sports venues.
So, just to be clear then, when you consider the future—. I'm really conscious you might—. Can you hear me okay?
I'm just wondering about the size of attendance at certain events, such as the internationals and the championship games, relative to all other sport in Wales, which have much smaller attendance. But what you're saying to me is any changes would be in line with moving from alert level 0 to alert level 1, for example; they wouldn't be considered on an individual basis.
They're not—. At this point in time, there's no consideration of them being treated differently or separately from any other event, and they will be subject to the COVID regulations and the necessary risk assessments that are required to meet those regulations.
Okay. I think we probably need to look at that in the bigger picture then. And what role would sport have in COVID recovery, do you think? Is there a specific opportunity for sport to play as we move out of the pandemic?
Well, I think in a couple of ways, really. So, we've got the economic aspect of sport returning fully, and so clubs start to see gate receipts coming back in again and so they are able to become part of the post-pandemic economic recovery, aren't they, because of all of that. So, I think there's that aspect of it in terms of the economy. The other aspect of sport, I think, post COVID, is the whole well-being agenda. One of the things that we noticed through the pandemic is the amount of people involved in sport generally—again, there was a division between those more affluent communities and those less affluent communities of the people that were involved in sport. So, we saw quite a drop-off of physical activity in some of the less affluent communities, so I would see the fact that we're getting into a post-COVID situation, or as we are into a post-COVID situation, those people will start to rejoin physical activity and that that will be contributing to the well-being agenda. So, I see sport having a very big role to play in that—at all levels, Hefin, not just elite sport. In fact, for most people, elite sport is not something that they participate in, it's more something that they watch. That's certainly always been my experience, anyway. So, I think it's more about—. It's those two avenues I would say.
Hefin, just before you continue. Forgive me for interrpting you. I think that the Minister—. Vaughan, had you unmuted yourself? I think that you wanted to come in on something.
Yes. It's just really about where we are with recovery and just the points about numbers. In the past, we've had different numbers for different activities; we're not there, at that point. But I think it was covered. So, it was just that, but I think we've moved on.
Okay. Right, Hefin.
That's fine. I understand that. I was just wondering whether there were any specific assessments being made for larger events and the answer is no, it's part of the broader movement between alert levels.
So, with regard to your priorities, what would be your top three sport priorities, Deputy Minister, in your term of office? Hang on, she's frozen.
We may have lost—
She's either staring me out or she's frozen. [Laughter.]
Right. Vaughan, you're muted at the moment.
Hang on, the Minister's back.
Can you hear us, Minister?
Okay, yes, I've got you now. I thought that it was just the sound that had gone, but it's all right, I'm back.
It looked like you were staring me out.
Do you know, I'm beginning to support Alun Davies's view that we should be doing all of this in person now.
Very much so. I was asking what would be your top three priorities for sport during your term of office and in the year ahead.
Top two or three.
On a personal level or on a governmental level? Can I say that Wales wins the next World Cup, and all that sort of stuff? But seriously, there are different priorities, aren't there, in terms of elite sport and community sport, but I would say my priorities would be, would certainly be—I said it quite flippantly—that we continue, our national teams continue, to be a major force on the world stage. I think we've shown that we can do that, so I want that to continue. And I want to see far more people involved in sport and activity at a community level, because that is very much part of our health and well-being agenda. So, those would be the two key things, I think, in terms of the elite performance and involvement and activity in sport at more of a community level.
So, that leads me on to the next, obvious question, which is: how do you as a Minister achieve that? How do you achieve the international performance, and how do you achieve that grass-roots performance? What do you do?
The international stuff is probably a little bit more difficult, because we don't have a direct input into that. We work very closely with the national bodies and as you know, Hefin, from the discussions that we had over the development of women's football in the FAW, the Welsh Government had no control over the fact that the FAW was taking the position that they took. And actually, it was a position that was needed and was well overdue, the development of the women's game, and I'm hoping that we're going to see the same with the WRU now and the development of the women's game in rugby. But we, as a Government body, will always seek to influence those national governing bodies to get them on board with our objectives—our programme for government and our objectives. I'll ask Jason to say a bit more about that in a moment.
Just before Jason comes in, while the topic is still there, we were frustrated, weren't we, with the fact that the changes to the women's league, that the Chair and I and Laura Anne Jones raised concerns, but there was no involvement with Government until after those decisions had been made. And you'd raised concerns with them as a Minister. Do you think that culture will start to change, whereby better dialogue will happen between yourselves and both the FAW and also the WRU?
Yes, I would certainly hope so, Hefin. I set out very clearly when I met with the FAW—. They've just appointed a new chief executive, who I haven't had the chance to meet yet, but I will be reiterating that when I meet with him, that we really have to have communication at all levels, and even though they are an independent body and they make their own decisions, the implications of what they do are very far reaching and they reach into our communities and they affect our communities, and they should be taking notice of what Welsh Government is wanting to see happen. So, I'm very hopeful that future communications and future relationships will improve in that direction, and I would expect the same with the governing bodies of rugby, cricket and other sports in Wales. I don't know whether Jason wanted to say something specifically on that.
Thanks, Deputy Minister. Yes, it was in regard to how we achieve those priorities, the question there. So, I think two things I would mention would be funding and infrastructure. I think both areas may be areas that the committee may be interested in in the coming years. Just very briefly on funding, I know that Sport Wales, over the last two years, have been engaging very robustly, openly and transparently with all the different governing bodies around Wales in terms of looking at a new funding formula moving forward, where they look at different metrics for how they fund those sports, so those sports can increase participation; more diversity et cetera would attract more funding with the aim of creating more diverse people in sport, basically. So, that's definitely something that I think the committee might be interested in and maybe Sport Wales themselves could possibly provide a note on that. I'm sure they would if they were asked.
And then, on the latter part around infrastructure, you will have noted that there is a commitment to this in the programme for government. For us to achieve the objectives that the Deputy Minister's set out, it's quite clear that we need the right infrastructure to do that, so there is a commitment from Welsh Government to do that, and we have made real progress in the past three years where we've put money into a place for sport which is really starting to reap some significant benefits all around Wales.
Thank you. I think Carolyn had a supplementary on that point.
Yes, just regarding access to sport. I know quite a few people from north Wales, once they've got to a really good standard and want to play for Wales, they have to come and train in Cardiff, which is a four- or five-hour car journey down and another four- or five-hour car journey back, and then paying for somewhere to stay with their parents, and it can be very expensive. So, many people stop when they get to that level. Whether it's—I know people who've played netball and basketball.
Over the summer, there was a 3x3 basketball competition that toured Wales as a whole, which was fantastic, and I saw people who were good at basketball as well, but just at different ages competing at that as it toured around, and I thought that was really good, because it brought basketball to people right across Wales as a whole, and they were so excited about it for weeks beforehand as well. So, really good.
But also, other sports like squash, badminton, I know people that have got to that great high standard and then they've got to go and train in England, because it's nearer than travelling to south Wales, so to Manchester or Liverpool from north Wales. So, it's about making it accessible and also the variety of sports. Basketball is really growing, I know, but people are so good at different aspects of sport, aren't they? Not just football and rugby.
Absolutely, yes. And actually, it's a very valid point, Carolyn, and in fact, some of these, what we would consider—and I use the term carefully—but these sort of minority sports, that we would see as minority sports, have actually seen significant uplifts in their funding this year for that very reason, that they are sports that attract quite a lot of people, quite a lot of young people, because not everybody wants to play football and rugby, but some kids want to play basketball, some want to do other kinds of sports.
So, we've seen significant funding increases in that, and that was a very clear decision taken by Sport Wales to do that. Jason, I don't know if there's anything you want to add to that, because that was something that was potentially a little controversial, wasn't it? Because it was something that we had to do with the same pot of money but it was a very deliberate choice that was made to ensure that some of these smaller sports could get funding to encourage people to participate.
Yes. I think Sport Wales, the way in which they approached this whole new method was very transparent; they engaged with everybody, all the different sports' governing bodies, and what they agreed was what the priorities should be for funding going forward, and equality of access was very much one; greater participation of young people in sports. So, everybody signed up to that, and then, what that new model does now is it looks at every single sport, what it's achieved previously, and the funding model will produce funding based on what they've achieved. So, if a sport is not increasing access, and the gender balance is still really, really swayed towards males, then that is going to affect the way in which they are funded.
So, we do believe this will lead to transformative change in the years and years to come, because governing bodies need funding to survive, so they will have to start doing different things, because if they don't start having wider audiences, they will not get the funding that they've previously become accustomed to. This will be difficult and it will prove certainly difficult in the first couple of years as organisations need to adapt to this, and Sport Wales I think have been quite pragmatic; they've not given big cuts in the first year to some sports that might have seen big cuts, but there will be change coming on the back of this, and it's why I do think it is an area that the committee might be interested in; a sort of dual-pronged look at this new funding model, but also look at the infrastructure that's there to support sport. I don't recall previous incarnations of the committee really looking at that in depth before, so it's something that could be quite helpful.
Just to point out to Members, I know that, very kindly, the witnesses have agreed, if need be, to stay until 11.05 a.m., but we are now into our last 10 minutes. Back to Hefin—
—os oes gennych chi unrhyw gwestiynau ychwanegol.
—if you have any further questions.
I hesitate to raise it, but I suppose we should mention Brexit. Does Brexit have any impact on your sporting portfolio?
There are certainly no benefits in my portfolio around sport, but again, Vaughan might have something to say about some of the wider issues on Brexit. He's been involved in discussions with the UK Government around that, but there are some significant adverse impacts on some of our creative industries in terms of freedom of movement and so on. I don't know whether, Vaughan, you want to say anything about some of the discussions you've been having around that.
However people voted, the reality of now being a third country in relation to the rest of the European Union is there in a whole range of activities, including in this part of the portfolio. So, for performing artists, whether you're an artist on the rise and going into smaller venues or someone doing a much more significant sort of stadium tour, there's a real issue. I think it was a House of Lords committee yesterday that was taking more evidence on this. There are real problems for people who want to be able to tour, because there's a limit on the number of stops you can make on a tour through Europe. That's part of the rules that are there, and we knew were there when we left. So, it is a really significant problem. It also means there are challenges for artists coming into the UK as well. And it isn't just music—there's a whole range of other areas where we can see that being a problem.
Now, I'm not sure that we'll see a great deal of benefit. The challenge is, will it affect the ability of some of these sectors to survive? In the performing arts, there are very real challenges. In sport, there may well be enough money in the elite end of professional sport, but it will change the way that people are able to operate. For example, the way people recruit and buy players in football may change in terms of some of our requirements under the new rules, but much of my anxiety and difficulty is about trade in goods and services, and you may want to come back when we talk about international aspects. As I said earlier, whether it's this committee or the economy committee that will be the lead committee on focusing on the realities of international trade and what that means for a very large number of Welsh businesses.
I'm glad to say I'm on that committee as well, so that'll be interesting.
One way or another you'll be there, Hefin, yes.
I won't hold back, Minister, I won't hold back. I think that's it.
I wouldn't think anything else would happen, Hefin.
I'm up now, Chair.
You're upsetting my dog, she can hear you.
I think we can all hear her. [Laughter.] One final question from me: does the Welsh Government have any plans to introduce another round of the cultural recovery fund?
Well, that's dependent on the position we're in with the pandemic. I don't want to, is the starting point, because I want us to be in normal enough trading and operating circumstances where we don't need to do that, but we do need to understand the reality of what's happening with the pandemic and what we need to do. In my previous role, I understood that it wasn't just a public health crisis, it was an economic one as well, and now I'm on that side of the coin, too. But I want us to be able to take measures to keep the public safe. Vaccination means we have a different level of tolerance for infection, but actually we're still seeing, as I said earlier, in our starting point, the reality is that there's a rising tide of public health harm taking place.
What I should say, though, is the only reason we're still operating at this level is because of the success of the vaccination programme. With infection rates as they are, without vaccination the country would have been closed down and into lockdown some time ago, and we would have seen a great deal more harm caused. So, that's the important point to remember: we're in the position we are now because of the success of vaccination, but with the UK Government adding in an element of caution, which you won't always have heard in the past, in what they announced and talked about yesterday, so the risks are real, and that may mean we need to do different things. Now, I'm not saying that's definitely going to happen, but the risks are there, which is why we're asking people again, for the remaining restrictions that are in place, please follow them. Wearing masks, for example, on public transport, I don't think is a big challenge to ask people, and actually, that's a really important part of keeping all the things open that we've come to enjoy once more, and that's really important for people in this sector, either to perform or indeed to be spectators, whether it's sport, culture or wider arts.
Ocê. Ar y nodyn pwysig yna, nawr ein bod ni wedi cyrraedd 11 o'r gloch, mi wnaf i ddiolch yn fawr iawn ar ran y pwyllgor i'n holl dystion ni: Vaughan Gething, Dawn Bowden, Jason Thomas a Sioned Evans. Byddwn ni yn ysgrifennu atoch chi am rai o'r pwyntiau rydyn ni wedi'u codi y bore yma, a rhai cwestiynau hefyd dydyn ni ddim wedi cael cyfle i'w gofyn, ond diolch yn fawr iawn. Rŷm ni'n edrych ymlaen at gydweithio gyda chi dros y pum mlynedd nesaf.
On that important note, we have reached 11 o'clock, and so I will thank all of our witnesses on behalf of the committee: Vaughan Gething, Dawn Bowden, Jason Thomas and Sioned Evans. We will be writing to you on some of the points raised this morning and with some further questions that we haven't had an opportunity to ask, but thank you very much for your attendance. We look forward to working with you over the next five years.
Croeso. Take care.
Fe wnawn ni symud ymlaen nawr at eitem 3, sef papurau i'w nodi. Mae yna sawl papur gan y pwyllgor i'w nodi bore yma. Efallai fydd Aelodau eisiau trafod rhai o'r rhain yn y sesiwn breifat. Eitem 3.1 ydy llythyr ar y cyd gennyf i a hefyd Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor Cydraddoldeb a Chyfiawnder Cymdeithasol at y Gweinidog Cyfiawnder Cymdeithasol ar ymateb Llywodraeth Cymru i argyfwng ffoaduriaid Affganistan.
Eitem 3.2 ydy llythyr eto gennyf i at Gadeirydd—. Na, sori, llythyr gan Gadeirydd y Pwyllgor Cydraddoldeb a Chyfiawnder Cymdeithasol ataf fi ynghylch cydweithio rhwng pwyllgorau yn y chweched Senedd.
Eitem 3.3 ydy llythyr gan Gadeirydd y pwyllgor yma at gadeirydd grŵp llywio llechi Cymru a Chyngor Gwynedd ynghylch ennill statws safle treftadaeth y byd UNESCO.
Eitem 3.4 ydy llythyr gennyf i at y Llywydd ynghylch amserlen y pwyllgor.
Eitem 3.5 ydy llythyr gan y Ffederasiwn Busnesau Bach ataf i ynghylch ffyrdd o weithio.
Eitem 3.6 ydy llythyr ar y cyd gan Amgueddfa Cymru a Chyngor Celfyddydau Cymru atom ni fel pwyllgor ynghylch adroddiadau ehangu ymgysylltiad.
Ac yn olaf, eitem 3.7 ydy llythyr gan Ddirprwy Gomisiynydd y Gymraeg atom ni fel pwyllgor yn ystyried y Gymraeg yng ngwaith y pwyllgor. Ydy pawb yn hapus i nodi'r papurau yna? Iawn, ocê.
We'll move on to item 3, which is papers to note. We have a number of papers to note this morning. Perhaps Members will want to discuss some of these in private session. Item 3.1 is a joint letter from me and the Chair of the Equality and Social Justice Committee to the Minister for Social Justice on the Welsh Government's response to the Afghan refugee crisis.
Item 3.2, again a letter from me—. No, it's a letter from the Chair of the Equality and Social Justice Committee to me on collaboration between committees in the sixth Senedd.
Item 3.3 is a letter from the Chair of this committee to the chair of the Wales slate steering group and Gwynedd Council on the award of the UNESCO world heritage site status.
Item 3.4, a letter from me to the Llywydd on the committee timetable.
Item 3.5, a letter from the Federation of Small Businesses to me on ways of working.
Item 3.6, a joint letter from National Museum Wales and the Arts Council of Wales to us as a committee on widening engagement reports.
And finally, item 3.7, a letter from the Deputy Welsh Language Commissioner to us as a committee on considering the Welsh language in the committee’s work. Is everyone content to note those papers? Okay.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
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.
Nawr, yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42, rwy'n cynnig bod y pwyllgor yn gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod. Ydy'r Aelodau yn fodlon derbyn y cynnig? Os felly, byddwn ni'n parhau yn breifat. Ocê, fe wnawn ni barhau'n breifat.
I propose, in accordance with Standing Order 17.42, to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Are Members content to agree that motion? In which case, we will continue in private. Okay, we'll move into private session.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:02.
The public part of the meeting ended at 11:02.