Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad
Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee21/03/2022
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies MS|
|Huw Irranca-Davies MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|Peter Fox MS|
|Rhys ab Owen MS|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Claire Fiddes||Dirprwy Glerc|
|Gareth Howells||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|Gerallt Roberts||Ail Glerc|
|P Gareth Williams||Clerc|
|Sarah Sargent||Ail Glerc|
|Sian Giddins||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 13:30.
The committee met by video-conference.
The meeting began at 13:30.
Good afternoon. Prynhawn da. Croeso ichi i gyd. Welcome, everybody, to this afternoon's meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. We have full attendance here, as we so regularly do on this committee, so thanks to all Members for joining us, and to our clerking team for all the briefing papers that we've had in advance of the meeting today. Now, we have some items to take care of in public session, and then a fair bit of work to do in private session today.
Just as normal, the housekeeping issues. We've done all the audio and translation testing. This meeting is being carried out in both Welsh and English. A sound operator will control the microphones, and if I do drop out because of internet problems, hopefully Alun will take over as Chair. If Alun drops out, then it's in everybody else's hands. Okay. Hopefully two at once will not be dropping out. This meeting is being broadcast as normal on Senedd.tv, and we'll be publishing the Record of Proceedings as usual. But apart from these online adaptations, all the other Standing Order requirements related to the Senedd and its committees remain in place.
So, we will get straight under way then with, as normal, our first substantial item of business under item 2: instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. Under these, we have item 2.1, SL(6)170, the Council Tax (Joint and Several Liability of Care Leavers) (Wales) Regulations 2022, which amend the Local Government Finance Act 1992 to remove eligible care leavers aged 24 and under from joint and several liability for the payment of council tax in relation to chargeable dwellings in Wales. So, the regulations will have the effect of reducing council tax liability for eligible care leavers to nil. We have no reporting points on this. So, are we happy to note that? And we are.
That takes us on, then, to item 2.2 under the same grouping of instruments that have clear reports. This is SL(6)171, the Menai Strait (East) Mussel and Oyster Fishery Order 2022, which confers on the Menai Strait Fishery Order Management Association a right of several fishery and a right of regulating a fishery for prescribed species of shellfish. These rights subsist over an area of approximately 694 hectares of the foreshore and the bed of the Menai strait. Again, we have no points for reporting, so I'm hoping that we're all just happy to note that. We are.
Item 2.3, then, under the same group: SL(6)179, the National Health Service Trusts (Membership and Procedure) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2022, which make amendments to legislation concerning the membership and the procedures of NHS trusts. There are no reporting points. Are we happy to note? We are.
That takes us to affirmative resolution instruments, again in this category of ones with no reporting points. This is item 2.4, SL(6)174, the Local Authorities (Amendments Relating to Publication of Information) (Wales) Regulations 2022. This relates to the duty placed on county and county borough councils in Wales to maintain a register stating the name and address of every member of their executive and of every member of a committee of the executive. And the register is required to be open to inspection. The regulations that we've got in front of us today make the necessary amendments to provide that the information that is open to inspection must not include a member's address. Committee members will be familiar with this from the policy discussions around this previously. Again, there are no points identified for reporting, so are we happy to note? We are. Thank you for that.
We note and agree all of those reports that have come forward, Gareth, and the points that arise from them. Thank you very much.
That brings us to item number 3, instruments that do raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. And we have one item here, item 3.1, which is SL(6)173, the Local Election Survey (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2022. It's a made negative resolution instrument, and we have a draft report and a Welsh Government response under paper 2 and paper 2(a). The Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 imposes a duty on a local authority to conduct or to arrange for the conduct of a survey by asking prescribed questions of candidates who are standing for election as councillors to the county or county borough council or to a community council in its area. Alternatively, the survey may be conducted entirely after the ordinary election of both the successful and unsuccessful candidates. The Local Election Survey (Wales) Regulations 2012 prescribes the questions that must be asked when conducting the survey, so these regulations we have in front of us amend the 2012 regulations and replace the original survey with a new survey, and on this particular instrument, our lawyers have identified one merits point for reporting. We had, by the way, a Welsh Government response on Friday; it's in the supplementary pack for Members. Gareth.
Diolch. The merits point notes that one of the changes being made to the survey is to reflect changes to equality and diversity language. For example, a reference to 'mental health issue' is changed to 'mental health condition', and the draft report asked the Welsh Government whether it carried out an equality impact assessment as a result. The Welsh Government response says it did not feel that a full equality impact assessment was considered necessary at this point, but it does intend to carry out a full evaluation after the 2022 survey is complete, and that will include a full set of impact assessments.
Thank you, Gareth. Are we content to note and agree that draft report? We are. Thank you very much. Thank you, Gareth.
That takes this on, then, to item number 4. We turn to the familiar common frameworks items here, and we have several papers there to note in the pack sent out to Members: a letter from the chair—. Well, it's four items of correspondence under this agenda item in relation to common frameworks.
We have correspondence from the chair of the Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee to the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, in which the chair of that committee shares her concerns about the lack of reference in common frameworks to the United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020 exclusions process.
We have correspondence from the chair of the Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee, in which she thanks the committee for sharing with them our recent correspondence with the Counsel General regarding the common frameworks programme, and Members will note that the Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee is very open to further engagement on these matters as well.
We have correspondence and an annex from the chairperson of the Committee for the Executive Office at the Northern Ireland Assembly to the chair of the Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee, detailing the summary of the experiences of the Northern Ireland Assembly's statutory committees regarding the common frameworks process.
So, we might well want to return to this in private session, but are we happy to note that correspondence on common frameworks for now? I'll just ask our clerking team: is there anything you wanted to flag at this point? Gareth? No?
No, okay. In which case, we'll note that for now and we will move on to item 4.1, which deals with the provisional plant health common framework, and we have paper 5 there, related to this, in your packs. So, I'd invite committee members to note the correspondence from the chair of the Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, in which the committee requests further information in relation to the provisional plant health common framework. Are we content to note that? We are.
That then takes us to item 4.2, the provisional fertilisers common framework. Again, I'd ask you to note another letter from the chair of the Common Frameworks Scrutiny Committee to the Secretary of State, in which the committee requests further information in relation to that provisional fertilisers common framework. Are we happy to note? We are.
And then, item 4.3, the provisional food compositional standards and labelling common framework. I'd invite you to note another letter from the Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee to the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Well-being, in which the Chair of that committee requests the views of Welsh Government on matters relating to the provisional food compositional standards and labelling common framework. And, again, are we happy to note that? We are.
That takes us onto item 5 in respect of the inter-institutional relations agreement. Under 5.1, we have correspondence from the First Minister in respect of the inter-institutional relations agreement, in which he confirms that the first meeting of the inter-ministerial standing committee will take place in two days' time on 23 March, and that items under discussion at that first meeting of the inter-ministerial standing committee will be the Ukraine crisis, UK legislation, the levelling-up White Paper and undertaking a stock take of inter-governmental relations. All of those, of course, will be of interest to us; some of those we've turned our attention to already and repeatedly on this committee as well. So, it's interesting to note those agenda items. Alun.
Given matters that we're going to be discussing later in the meeting, would it be useful if we were able to write urgently to the First Minister and say to him that one of the really key inter-governmental matters that concerns us is the way in which legislation is being taken through, and ask him to flag it up this week for substantive debate and discussion in the future?
That's a really good point, Alun. You've put it forward now. I think, Members, we can consider that when we go into private session. But I think it's definitely worthy of consideration because it's a timely moment to do it. Who knows, he might even have it on his list of things, but a gentle reminder from us wouldn't go amiss. Alun, thanks for that suggestion. If you're happy, we'll take it into private session and discuss it further amongst Members. There we are. Thanks, Alun.
That takes us, then, on to item 6, which is papers to note. We have, under item 6.1, a written statement by the First Minister in respect of publication of the terms of reference for the UK-wide COVID-19 public inquiry. And with that, for public record, we have papers on the written statement by the First Minister on 10 March 2022, and also, under paper 8, the UK COVID-19 inquiry draft terms of reference. This might well be something that we want to come back to in private session as well, but are we happy to note for now? We are. Okay.
We'll go onto item 6.2. I'd invite Members to note the correspondence from the Minister for Education and Welsh Language where he responds to some of the recommendations in the committee's Stage 1 report on the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill. The Minister has confirmed in his correspondence that he will respond to the remaining recommendations in a subsequent letter. Now, we haven't had that letter yet, but he has confirmed that he is going to be responding to the remaining recommendations. Of course, we undertook the general principles part of that debate in Plenary on 15 March, and the Bill is now on to Stage 2. So, just to note for public record how important it is that we do have that full response to the other recommendations in good time. We're happy to note that, I think.
We'll move on to item 6.3. We have correspondence here from the Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip in respect of the legislative consent on the Cultural Objects (Protection from Seizure) Bill. I'd ask Members to note this correspondence, obviously, from the Deputy Minister. The letter to us formally corresponds to the single recommendation that we put in our earlier report on the legislative consent memorandum for the Bill. Full details of developments that have occurred are provided in her letter to the Llywydd of 16 March. Just to note in particular, and for the public record, because we might want to revisit this when we go into private session as well, following requests that the Bill would be amended to provide a carve-out from the application of paragraph 11(1)(a) of Schedule 7(B) to the Government of Wales Act 2006, in relation to the concurrent power provision contained within clause 1 of the Bill, the UK Government has instead made amendments to the Bill to the effect that it no longer applies to Wales. Now, this has raised some interesting matters, some of which are causing us to scratch our heads. I wanted to mention this before we head into private session, because we might have to do some thinking here about how we unravel this mystery. We're really not clear, at this moment, about why this has been done and what's going on. So, if you're happy to note that now, colleagues, we'll take it into private session and discuss it. Gareth, just indicate by a nod of the head or a shake, there's nothing else you want to put on record at the moment that we need to put on record, is there? No. Okay. We'll return to this in private, then.
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.
That brings us, then, rapidly, today—it doesn't always work like that—to item No.7, a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public for the remainder of the meeting. So, we move into private. Are we happy to do so? We are. Good. We'll move into private and we'll wait for our committee clerks to let us know that we are in private session.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 13:47.
The public part of the meeting ended at 13:47.