Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad
Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee24/04/2023
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
|Peredur Owen Griffiths
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|P Gareth Williams
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 12:30.
The committee met by video-conference.
The meeting began at 12:30.
Prynhawn da, bawb. Croeso i chi i gyd.
Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to you all.
Welcome, everybody. Welcome back for the first of the sessions of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee after our recess. We've got quite a bit of business to get through today, both in private and in public. Just to say, we're doing this by virtual setting, but our Standing Orders apply as normal. We have audio, video and translation during the meeting. We have sound operators who'll be operating the mute buttons on this, and, of course, this is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv and the Record of Proceedings will be published as per normal. So, normal housekeeping arrangements: if we can make sure that our mobile devices are switched off and no emergency alerts go during the course of this meeting. And we will get under way. We have no apologies today. We have a full quorate here, which is great to see.
Our first substantive item is item No.2, which is, as normal, instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. We have one item here. Under item 2.1, we have SL(6)343, the Genetically Modified Food and Feed (Authorisations and Modifications of Authorisations) (Wales) Regulations 2023. These regulations authorise the placing on the market in Wales of specified genetically modified food and feed products, and these regulations also modify the authorisation holders' details for a number of existing authorisations. The eight GMO applications consist of six new and two renewal applications. The GMOs have been authorised for use in the EU. There is corresponding legislation that has been made in England and Scotland, and the regulations across Great Britain will come into force on 26 April. So, I hope that explains a little bit about it, but we have no reporting points. Colleagues, can I ask: do you have any comments on this one, or are we okay? We're okay with this one. Okay. So, we'll agree there the reporting points on this.
This takes us to item No.3, any instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under those Standing Orders 21.2 or 21.3. And we begin with item 3.1, SL(6)341, the Food Additives, Food Flavourings, and Novel Foods (Authorisations) and Food and Feed (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2023. We have the draft report in our pack. These regulations make provision in relation to Wales on regulated food product authorisations, and they also make minor corrections to food law and animal feed law, including to address technical issues in the Food and Feed (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) EU Exit Regulations 2022, which were raised by this committee last December. Now, I'm going to go to our lawyer, because our lawyers have identified five technical and one merits reporting points. So, over to you, Kate, please.
Thank you. The five technical reporting points identify two instances of apparently defective drafting and three matters that require further explanation from Welsh Government, and we're awaiting their response on those points. The merits point is just to draw Members' attention to the fact that these regulations are correcting the issues identified by the committee during scrutiny of the 2022 regulations in December.
That's great. Thank you, Kate. Any comments, colleagues? No. Happy to agree those reporting points, then. Thank you, Kate.
That takes us on to item 3.2, SL(6)345, the Education Workforce Council (Main Functions) (Wales) (Amendments Relating to Parental Bereavement Leave and Shared Parental Leave) Regulations 2023. These regulations are in relation to certain persons being able to carry out specified work for a specified period, and they amend the Education Workforce Council (Main Functions) (Wales) Regulations 2015. So, in some circumstances, the person can only carry out specified work for a specified period without obtaining qualified teacher status. The regulations add parental bereavement leave and shared parental leave to the list of statutory rights for which the specified period can be extended. Our lawyers have identified one merits reporting point on this. Kate.
Thank you. The merits point simply notes that no consultation has been carried out in relation to these regulations, and Welsh Government's explanation for that is set out in the explanatory memorandum.
Thank you, Kate. Are we content with the reporting points there, colleagues? We are. That's great.
We'll go on to item No. 4, then, which is, as per normal, instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Orders 21.2 or 21.3 that we have previously considered. Now, the first of these, under item 4.1, is in respect of SL(6)336, the Duty of Candour Procedure (Wales) Regulations 2023. We have a report and some correspondence in the papers for all of us. Now, we considered this instrument at our meeting on 27 March, and we laid our report the same day. So, I would just invite Members to note the letter from the Minister for Health and Social Services in which she responds to the points that we raised at that meeting. I don't know if anybody has any comments on this, or are we okay to note that? We are. Okay.
It takes us on, then, to the only other item in this section, item 4.2, SL(6)340, the Construction Contracts (Exclusion) (Wales) Order 2023. Again, we have a report and a couple of items of correspondence here. We considered this instrument at our meeting on 27 March, and we laid a report later the same day. Members are, again, invited to note the letter from the Minister for Climate Change where she responds to the points we raised. I don't know if colleagues have any comments on this. If not, we're happy to note that response.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o eitemau 6, 9 a 10 yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from items 6, 9 and 10 in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
That brings us, then, on to item No. 5, which is a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public for items 6, 9 and 10. So, we will be coming back into public session, but, just for those items, we're going to go into private. Are you happy to do so, colleagues? We are, and we'll move into private, please, if I could ask our clerks.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 12:37.
The public part of the meeting ended at 12:37.
Ailymgynullodd y pwyllgor yn gyhoeddus am 13:29.
The committee reconvened in public at 13:29.
Croeso nôl, bawb.
Welcome back, everyone.
Welcome back to this afternoon's session of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. We were in public session earlier on, and then we went into private to deal with a number of issues, but we're back in public session now to continue with our business for the day, and we begin with item No. 7. Item No. 7 is notifications and correspondence under the inter-institutional relations agreement, and we have first on this agenda item—item 7.1—correspondence from the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd in respect of the Plant Health and Phytosanitary Conditions (Oak Processionary Moth and Plant Pests) (Amendment) Regulations 2023. The letter informs us of her intent to consent to the UK Government making and laying the regulations by 2 May 2023, following a request from Lord Benyon, the Minister for Biosecurity, Marine and Rural Affairs. And within the letter, the Minister notes that the major changes introduced in the regulations only apply to the London area at present, and the other changes in the regulations are minor and technical in nature. The Minister goes on to state that
'divergence in regulations between Wales and England would cause greater confusion and burden for delivery bodies and industry',
and that she considers that,
'On this occasion...legislating separately for Wales would be neither the most appropriate way to give effect to the necessary changes nor a prudent use of Welsh Government resources given other important priorities.'
It's a form of words that we're familiar with previously. Shout at me if there's anything that you want to raise on these, otherwise I'll proceed, and we'll note them.
We then move to item 7.2. We have correspondence from the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd in respect of legislative amendments to allow a change in salmonella serotyping. The UK Government has requested the consent of the Minister to progress GB-wide secondary legislation to amend four pieces of retained EU law concerned with targets for the various requirements for sampling and testing for salmonella, and the Minister notes that although the Welsh Ministers are the appropriate authority in relation to Wales, a concurrent-plus power is being used, which allows for a GB-wide statutory instrument if consent of the relevant devolved Governments is provided. And the Minister states that the Scottish Government has requested the UK Government takes this approach.
The Minister also states she has fully considered the risks and benefits, and is minded to provide consent for a number of reasons, including working in accordance with the outcomes of the inter-governmental relations review of 2022, and the existence of robust governance arrangements. And the Minister, just finally, notes that the statutory instrument is anticipated to be laid in the UK Parliament on 13 July 2023.
Then we go to item 7.3, which is a written statement to note, by the Minister, in which she confirms she has given consent to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to lay the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (Amendment) Regulations 2023 in the UK Parliament. These regulations extend the transitional deadlines for the registration of existing chemicals with the Health and Safety Executive by GB businesses following EU exit by three years. In the statement, the Minister notes that the delegated power to amend the REACH regulations can only be exercised by the Secretary of State and are not exercisable separately by Welsh or Scottish Ministers. However, the Secretary of State must seek the consent of Welsh Ministers if the exercise of the regulation-making function is within devolved competence.
And that brings us, then, to item No. 8, papers to note, and, amongst the various papers, we have correspondence, under 8.1, from the Economy, Trade and Rural Affairs Committee to the Llywydd in respect of the Welsh Government's supplementary legislative consent memorandum No. 3 on the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill. The letter states that the committee considered the supplementary LCM at the meeting on 23 March and determined that, as the amendments in question did not make fundamental changes to the intent of the Bill, it decided not to lay a report.
Item 8.2, we have correspondence from the Minister for Economy in respect of the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill—the TANZ Bill. Its provisions, of course, were subject to the Senedd's legislative consent, and the Minister states that the Bill received Royal Assent on 23 March.
Under item 8.3, we have a written statement by the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution on the electoral reform White Paper. The Counsel General shares a summary of the responses received to the Welsh Government's consultation on proposals for electoral reform, and indicates also that reform to electoral registration and administration will now be taken forward. He also tells us that, in the longer term, Welsh Government will look to consolidate electoral law to improve clarity and accessibility, including by restating the franchise for devolved elections in one bilingual Act.
And then we have, under 8.4, a written statement by the First Minister, giving us an update on Senedd reform, including progress on the development of legislation to take forward the recommendations of the Special Purpose Committee on Senedd Electoral Reform. I also note that the First Minister states that a further update will be provided at the summer recess.
Under 8.5, we have the written statement by the Minister for Finance and Local Government in respect of the UK Government's Non-Domestic Rating Bill. The Minister tells us that she has decided it is optimal for certain provisions for Wales to be made within the UK Government's Bill and will be laying a legislative consent memorandum in due course.
Under item 8.6, we have a written statement by the Minister for Economy, giving an update on border controls, and within that he states that the Welsh Government has worked with the other Governments to develop proposals for a risk-based border regime for the import of goods from countries inside and outside the EU. And he states that the UK Government has published a draft border target operating model, which the Welsh Government supports.
Under 8.7, we have correspondence from the Minister for Social Justice to the Llywydd in respect of the Victims and Prisoners Bill, and the Minister states that she intends to lay a legislative consent memorandum as soon as they have a clear picture of the devolution consequences of that legislation.
And, under item 8.8, we have correspondence from the Minister for Finance and Local Government in respect of the Welsh Government's response to the committee's report on the Welsh Government's supplementary LCM on the Procurement Bill. So, those were supplementary LCMs Nos. 3, 4 and 5.
Under 8.9, we have correspondence from the Finance Committee to the committee Chairs in respect of the Welsh Government draft budget and the programme of engagement for the Welsh Government's forthcoming draft budget for 2024-25. Within it, there's detail of a number of engagement activities planned prior to the publication of the draft budget in the autumn. That'll be of particular interest to another member of this committee who chairs the relevant committee there.
Item 8.10, we have correspondence from the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd in respect of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, and it touches on the limited time available for scrutiny of the supplementary LCM, memorandum No. 4.
So, we seem happy to note all of that. In which case, we are going to, with the consent of Members, return now into private session. Before we do—. Sorry, my apologies—Gareth.
Sorry, there was a supplementary pack this morning, Chair: item 8.11.
My apologies. Let me just bring that pack up. You'll have had this come through later on, colleagues, and I'm just bringing it up here, now, in front of me. So, under the supplementary pack we've had, which my technology is now struggling with—. Bear with me; bear with me, Gareth, I'm afraid I've lost it for a moment, so just pause for a second. What I thought was going to be easy, to open this up, has now proved difficult. Hold on there. It has come through. Sorry, it's managed to open up; there was a time delay on it. Okay, so, in the supplementary pack that we had later today, there's one item there: we have correspondence from the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution in respect of the Welsh Government's response to the committee's report on the legislative consent memorandum on the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill. So, we have the response there for Members to note. Are you happy to note that? We are. Thank you very much. In which case, now, we will move into private session.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 13:40.
The public part of the meeting ended at 13:40.