Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad - Y Bumed Senedd
Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee - Fifth Senedd14/12/2020
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Carwyn Jones MS|
|Dai Lloyd MS|
|David Melding MS|
|Mick Antoniw MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol
Others in Attendance
|Anna Hind||Cyfreithiwr, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Lawyer, Welsh Government|
|Chris Warner||Dirprwy Gyfarwyddwr, y Cyfansoddiad a Chyfiawnder, Llywodraeth Cymru|
|Deputy Director, Constitution and Justice, Welsh Government|
|Jeremy Miles MS||Y Cwnsler Cyffredinol a’r Gweinidog Pontio Ewropeaidd|
|The Counsel General and Minister for European Transition|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Gareth Howells||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|P Gareth Williams||Clerc|
|Sarah Sargent||Ail 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.
Good morning. I welcome Members to this virtual meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. In accordance with Standing Order 34.19, I've determined that the public are excluded from the committee's meeting in order to protect public health. In accordance with Standing Order 34.21, notice of this decision was included in the agenda for this meeting. This meeting is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv, and the Record of Proceedings will be published as usual. Aside from the procedural adaptation relating to conducting proceedings remotely, all other Standing Order requirements remain in place. We have a full committee attendance. There are some housekeeping arrangements. The usual housekeeping arrangements will apply, and I'll just ask now if there are any declarations of interest. I see there aren't any.
In which case, we move straight on to item 2, which is the proposed Order in Council—an evidence session. I very much welcome the Counsel General, Jeremy Miles, together with Christopher Warner, deputy director, constitution and justice at Welsh Government, and Anna Hind, lawyer of the Welsh Government. I'm ready to go straight to questions to the Counsel General. Counsel General, are you okay with that approach?
Yes, certainly, Chair.
Well, firstly, thank you for your attendance, and obviously we appreciate the amount of issues and pressures that there are at the moment in terms of legislative and constitutional issues. But, with regard to this section 109 Order, I wonder if you could outline the background to the Order, and why this order is needed.
Certainly, Chair. Good morning. The Order started, really, as a means of amending Schedule 7A to the Government of Wales Act 2006, so that a range of references in the Schedule, which would become redundant effectively as a consequence of leaving the European Union, were cleaned up, effectively. So, that was the original intent: to remove references to EU obligations, EU parliamentary elections and so on. But then it became clear that it could also be used to solve a challenge that we identified as part of that process of legislating to leave the European Union, which is that, as a consequence of creating concurrent and concurrent plus functions between Welsh Ministers and UK Government Ministers, we identified a risk, given a feature of our devolution settlement here in Wales, that it might require Minister of the Crown consent in the future when the Senedd was legislating in the areas covered by that EU legislation. So, we took the opportunity of that pre-existing section 109 Order, if you like, to solve that question. And also there were some minor drafting errors in the Government of Wales Act—well, actually, in the Wales Act 2017, which amended the Government of Wales Act. We'd spotted some errors in that, and we took the opportunity of using this vehicle as well to clean those up as well.
Thank you for that, Counsel General. David Melding.
Diolch, Gadeirydd. Following on from that, which seems a very controlled answer that this process is very much driven by the Welsh Government, I just wonder if you could help us and say what sort of consideration is given to the creation of concurrent powers when Welsh Government gives consent to the UK Government to make regs in devolved areas. So, is it something that's used as a safety net if you are going to give power to make regs in devolved areas to UK Government, for whatever efficiency reasons, you actually do that as concurrent, or is this a bit of an appendix now that we're going to move away from?
Well, we had, in fact, been moving away from it. The reason the issue arises in our constitutional settlement in Wales—it doesn't exist in Scotland and Northern Ireland—is the requirement of this Minister of the Crown consent. I think the judgment at the time of the Wales Act—of the Government of Wales Act—was that because there were so few examples of these issues, and we expected that they would decline over time, that it wasn't felt to be an especially significant issue, if I can put it in those terms. But, as a consequence of, I suppose, an unexpected development in terms of legislating to leave the European Union, it became clear, in that context, that providing concurrent functions to map the complex range of powers and obligations that Ministers have right across the UK was sometimes the most effective way of doing that. That's also been a feature of the coronavirus legislation as well, for reasons that are probably obvious. But because of this question of requiring a Minister to provide consent for amendment in future, it's because of the functions, effectively, of the Ministers of the Crown, we've given very, very thorough consideration, I would suggest, to this process, as we've embarked on the legislative process of leaving the European Union. So, from my own point of view as Counsel General, I was and continue to be copied into all the ministerial advice to portfolio holders where this issue arises, so that I can give my view as to whether it's an appropriate way of dealing with the transfer of functions in that particular context. The criteria that I have in mind are, really, is there any other way of doing it, and if I was satisfied that there isn't, the question then is, is this concurrent function issue also being solved, as it were, by the section 109 Order that we have in front of us today? So, those tests are the ones that I apply to looking at any of that advice, effectively.
So, it does sound as if GOWA has had, in this respect, some impact on the Welsh Government in terms of Senedd Bills that are brought before the Senedd, and in the light that these functions don't exist in the other devolved administrations, were you also fearful that in the process of leaving the EU, this type of function, potentially, if not further restricted, could become more irksome and have further impacts on Welsh Government drafting of Senedd Bills?
The intention behind the section 109 Order was, obviously, to limit the impact of that. I'm not aware, myself, of any legislative provisions in actual current Senedd Bills, as it were, that have been dropped in order to address this issue. Many of these functions won't actually be operable until we've left the transition period anyway. I can't think of any examples currently of an issue. But this is really intended to forestall future limitations on legislation, effectively.
Thank you for that. Finally, from me, I just wondered why, in paragraphs 11(6) and 11(7), there's a power to remove UK Government functions in this area but not to modify them. So, could you just explain why the further flexibility of modification is not pursued?
So, what this effectively does is that if the Senedd wants to remove a function, then the consent is no longer required. If the Senedd wants to modify a function, or, indeed, introduce a new function, then the consent requirement remains. That's the effect of this blend of provisions. I guess the constraint, if you like, or the framework, within which all of this is being discussed is the underlying framework of the Wales Act 2017, really, which creates the requirement. So, that starting point for this, it isn't, as it were, policy preference to distinguish between one or the other; it's essentially a recognition that there is a body of consent requirements where we can essentially say, 'If the powers are to be removed in future, then that, obviously, doesn't impose new, as it were, burdens on the relevant authority. But if you're modifying or creating a new one, that remains within the framework of the original intention in the Wales Act 2017.' So, it's an acknowledgement that that's the underpinning framework, if you like, rather than a particular choice.
What I would say, though, is that in the negotiation, I suppose, around the modification of function, which would require consent from UK Ministers, then, plainly, the fact that the Senedd could simply remove that function is, as it were, leverage in that discussion, isn't it? It's a fallback that will obviously provide some context in the negotiation itself, if you like.
So, modification without consent is not possible in other words because, as you said, it changes something on the UK Government or a UK agency without them being able to participate in that decision making.
Yes, effectively that's the thinking. Yes.
Thank you. Dai Lloyd.
Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Bore da, Cwnsler Cyffredinol. Jest i fanylu ar y swyddogaethau cydredol plus, neu gydredol ychwanegol, am funud, a manylion technegol, wrth gwrs, byddan nhw o ddiddordeb mawr i'r gynulleidfa fyd-eang sy'n gwrando ar drafodaethau'r pwyllgor yma. Felly, ydych chi'n fodlon ar y rhestr o ddeddfiadau ym mharagraffau 9(8), 9(9), ac 11(6) ac 11(7) newydd? Hynny yw, mewn geiriau eraill, ydych chi'n fodlon ar nifer yr eithriadau sy'n caniatáu i'r Senedd ddileu swyddogaethau cydredol heb gydsyniad Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig?
Thank you very much, Chair. Good morning, Counsel General. I would like to look in detail at some of the concurrent plus functions and some technical details, which will of course be of great interest to the global audience who tune in to this committee's discussions. So, are you content with the list of enactments in the new paragraphs 9(8), 9(9), 11(6) and 11(7)? In other words, are you content with the extent of the carve-outs that allow the Senedd to remove concurrent functions without UK Government consent?
Ydw, yn gyffredinol. Mae cwmpas yr Order yn ehangach nag oedd e ar y cychwyn. Roedd y carve-out cyntaf jest yng nghyd-destun deddfwriaeth i adael yr Undeb Ewropeaidd, ac yn benodol, ar y cychwyn o leiaf, roedd hynny'n ddeddfwriaeth eilaidd. Mae wedi, wrth gwrs, ehangu y tu hwnt i hynny yn fwy diweddar. Felly, rwy'n credu bod y rhestr yna'n dangos beth yw'r ddeddfwriaeth sy'n cynnwys y concurrent and concurrent plus functions.
Generally speaking, yes. The scope of the Order is broader than it was at the outset. The first carve-out only applied in the context of legislation on exiting the European Union, and specifically, at the outset at least, that was subordinate legislation. It's now broadened beyond that more recently. So, I do think that that list does demonstrate what legislation includes the concurrent and concurrent plus functions.
Diolch yn fawr am hynna. Ymhellach, allaf i ofyn pam mae'r eithriad mewn perthynas efo swyddogaethau cydredol plus yn gulach na'r eithriad mewn perthynas â swyddogaethau cydredol? Hynny yw, mewn geiriau eraill, pam mae'r rhestr ym mharagraff 11(7) newydd yn fyrrach na'r rhestr ym mharagraff 11(6) newydd? Yn yr un modd, pam mae'r rhestr ym mharagraff 9(9) yn fyrrach na'r rhestr ym mharagraff 9(8) newydd?
Thank you for that. Why is the carve-out in respect of concurrent plus functions narrower than the carve-out in respect of concurrent functions? In other words, why is the list in the new paragraph 11(7) shorter than the list in the new paragraph 11(6)? Likewise, why is the list in paragraph 9(9) shorter than the list in paragraph 9(8)?
Fe wnaf i ofyn, efallai, i Anna neu Chris ymhelaethu ar hyn, ond nid yw'r gwahaniaeth rhwng concurrent a concurrent plus functions, rhwng y ddau; mae'r gwahaniaeth rhwng y functions hynny ar y cyd ar un llaw a rheini lle mae ychwanegiadau i ddefnydd y functions ar y llaw arall. Felly, mae'r ddau gategori yna'n wahanol ac, yn yr ail gategori hynny, mae jest llai o bwerau sy'n cwympo o fewn cwmpas y categori hynny. Ond fe wnaf i ofyn i Anna neu Chris ymhelaethu ar hynny, os caf i.
I'll perhaps ask Anna or Chris to expand on this point, but the difference is not between concurrent and concurrent plus functions; the difference is between the concurrent functions and where there are additions to the use of the functions on the other hand. So, both categories are different and, in that second category, there are just fewer powers that fall within the scope of that particular category. But I will ask Anna or Chris to expand on that, if I may.
Yes, as the Counsel General has said, it's not the case that there's a distinction between concurrent and concurrent plus. In the context of this, concurrent and concurrent plus aren't treated any differently because the wording is, 'functions that are to any extent exercisable concurrently', and we consider that functions that are concurrent plus are exercisable to an extent concurrently. So, they all fall within that longer list. Even though there's a shorter list in the paragraphs you've identified, as the Counsel General said, in addition to those functions that are, to an extent, exercisable concurrently that can be removed without consent in the longer list, there are also some functions that also have other restraints on the Welsh Ministers' exercising of them. So, for example, they have to get the consent of the Secretary of State before exercising it or they have to—[Inaudible.] That also means that they fall within paragraph 11(1)(a) of Schedule 7B and would require consent. So, as part of the package, we needed those carve-outs as well, but the shorter list of enactments are the only enactments that contain those functions with the extra restraints. So, they were drawn very narrowly and only the ones that were needed were put in. But that's the reason for the shorter list. It all operates as one package.
Diolch yn fawr am hynna; ateb arbennig gan y ddau ohonoch chi, sydd yn dilyn ymlaen i'r cwestiwn nesaf. A allaf i jest holi a fyddai wedi bod yn well gennych chi, Cwnsler Cyffredinol, i'r rhestrau yn y paragraffau yma—hynny yw, 9(8), 9(9), 11(6) a 11(7)—fod wedi'u diogelu at y dyfodol er mwyn eithrio swyddogaethau cydredol a grëir gan holl ddarpar ddeddfau Senedd y Deyrnas Unedig neu oddi tanynt, ac, os felly, pam nad yw'r Gorchymyn yn y Cyfrin Gyngor yn diogelu at y dyfodol rhag creu rhagor o swyddogaethau cydredol?
Thank you very much for that; excellent answers from both of you, which bring us on to the next question. Could I just ask whether you would have preferred, Counsel General, for the lists in these paragraphs—9(8), 9(9), 11(6) and 11(7)—to have been futureproofed, so as to carve out concurrent functions created under all future UK Parliament Acts, and, if so, why does the Order in Council not futureproof against the creation of further concurrent functions?
Mae rhan o'r Gorchymyn yn edrych tuag at y dyfodol yn y ffordd rŷch chi'n ei disgrifio. Hynny yw, os dŷch chi'n edrych ar functions o dan adran 8 i 8(c) o Ddeddf 2018, mae hynny yn cynnwys functions yn y dyfodol, ac hefyd os dŷch chi'n edrych ar reoliadau o dan y Deddfau sydd wedi'u rhestru, mae hynny hefyd yn caniatáu edrych ymlaen i'r dyfodol. Hynny yw, dyw pob un ddim wedi cael ei restru, wrth gwrs. Felly, mae elfen o edrych i'r dyfodol o fewn yr elfen sy'n delio gyda rheoliadau'n benodol. Os ŷch chi'n edrych ar ddeddfwriaeth sylfaenol, wel, mae gyda chi ddau opsiwn yn y cyd-destun hwnnw: hynny yw, rhestru'r rheini sydd yn mynd trwy'r broses ddeddfwriaethol, neu newydd fynd trwy'r broses ddeddfwriaethol ar hyn o bryd, a dyna beth rŷn ni wedi ei wneud. Ond os ŷch chi'n edrych i'r dyfodol o ran deddfwriaeth sylfaenol, mae gyda chi gyfle yn y Mesurau yna wrth iddyn nhw fynd trwy'r Senedd i gyflwyno newidiadau ar wyneb y Mesur sy'n gallu delio gyda hyn. Felly, mae hynny'n opsiwn sydd ar gael i Lywodraeth ac i Senedd wrth inni fynd ymlaen yn y dyfodol gyda'r Deddfau hynny. Felly, mae hynny'n cael ei gyfro trwy'r mecanwaith hynny.
Part of the Order does look to the future in the way that you describe. If you look at functions under section 8 to 8(c) of the 2018 legislation, that does include future functions, and if you look at regulations under the Acts listed, that also allows us to look to the future. Not all are listed, of course. So, there is an element of futureproofing within the element dealing with regulations specifically. If you look at primary legislation, then you have two options in that context: you can list those going through the legislative process or which have just gone through the legislative process, and that's what we have done. But if you look to the future, in terms of primary legislation, you do have an opportunity in those Bills as they go through the Senedd to introduce changes on the face of the Bill that could deal with this issue. So, that is an option that is available to the Government and the Senedd as we move forward with that legislation in the future. So, that is covered through that mechanism.
Diolch yn fawr am hynny. A chwestiwn olaf, Cadeirydd, wrtha i yn yr adran yma. Mae yna lot o sôn am bysgota y dyddiau yma, felly alla i jest ofyn: pam nad yw swyddogaethau Gweinidogion y Deyrnas Unedig mewn cysylltiad efo rheoleiddio cychod pysgota Prydain ym mharth Cymru wedi eu cynnwys yn yr eithriadau yn y Gorchymyn yn y Cyfrin Gyngor? Oes swyddogaethau pysgota Gweinidogion y Deyrnas Unedig yr hoffai'r Senedd eu dileu?
Thank you very much for that. And a final question from me, Chair, in this section. There's been a great deal of talk about fishing and fisheries, so could I just ask: why have UK Ministers' functions in respect of regulating British fishing boats in the Welsh zone not been included in the carve-outs in the Order in Council? Are there any UK Ministers' fishing functions that the Senedd might want to remove?
Mae hyn yn elfen oedd yn codi yng nghyd-destun y trafodaethau ynglŷn â'r Mesur pysgodfeydd, yn hytrach na chynnwys y Gorchymyn hwn yn benodol. Felly, mae'r newidiadau yn y Gorchymyn yn adlewyrchu'r negodiadau am beth yw'r Ddeddf pysgodfeydd nawr, ac mae hon yn elfen eithaf astrus, dwi'n credu, o'r broses, o'r ddeddfwriaeth yn y maes hwn. Mae'r pwerau rŷch chi'n sôn amdanyn nhw—y pwerau sy'n cael eu delio gyda nhw yn y Gorchymyn, heb gael eu newid, hynny yw—yn rhai efallai sydd ddim wedi cael eu defnyddio'n ddiweddar iawn, a dwi'n credu bod pobl yn derbyn yn gyffredinol ei fod e'n faes eithaf cymhleth a lletchwith y bydd angen dod nôl ato fe pan fydd gan Lywodraethau a deddfwrfeydd ychydig efallai fwy o amser ar ôl y cyfnod hwn.
Ond beth mae hyn yn golygu yw bod gan yr Ysgrifennydd Gwladol swyddogaethau sydd yn parhau ynglŷn â chychod pysgota Prydeinig, oni bai rhai Cymreig, yn nyfroedd y zone Gymreig, hynny yw, oherwydd bod hwnnw'n adlewyrchu'r trefniant rhwng y pedair gwlad cyn hynny. Felly, mae gan hwn fwy i'w wneud gyda'r broses o gael trefn ar y ddeddfwriaeth pysgodfeydd nag â'r materion eraill sydd yn y Gorchymyn.
This is an element that arose in the context of the discussions surrounding the fisheries Bill, rather than the content of this Order specifically. So, the changes in the Order reflect the changes in what is now the fisheries Act, And this is quite a complex element of the legislation in this area. The powers that you mentioned are powers dealt with in the Order and they haven't been changed, and they are ones that haven't been used recently, and I think people accept, generally speaking, that this is quite a difficult and complex area that we may need to return to when Governments and legislatures have a little more time following this particular period.
What this does mean is that the Secretary of State does have remaining functions in terms of British fishing boats, apart from Welsh fishing boats in the Welsh zone, because that just reflects the arrangements already in place between the four nations. So, this has more to do with the process of bringing order to fisheries legislation than other aspects of the Order.
Diolch yn fawr. Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd.
Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Chair.
Thank you for those answers. Carwyn Jones.
Thank you, Chair. Bore da. Good morning, Counsel General. Could I ask you about the Environment Bill, particularly the LCM on the Environment Bill? The Welsh Government's LCM referred to a UK Government ministerial commitment to carve out the concurrent plus functions created by the Environment Bill—in other words, to carve them out from Schedule 7B of the Government of Wales 2006. The question from me, really, is why the Environment Bill is not covered by the Order in Council.
The approach to referring to primary legislation in the Order in Council was twofold, really: listing Acts that had already been passed, because, for the obvious reason, you could identify them and they're settled, as it were; and, going beyond that, only when a Bill was at a sufficiently settled point, when you could point to it as being tangible, and, as I say, settled in the Order, which is why the Trade Bill, for example, is referred to, because it's almost reached the end of its parliamentary journey. That wasn't the case in relation to the Environment Bill. So, whilst there are issues around the current functions in the Bill, the Bill itself isn't sufficiently settled to persuade the Government that it's appropriate to list it in that way. However, what that also means is, because the Bill is still in progress, if you like, there is also an opportunity to put the actual carve-outs on the face of the Bill, so in that sense it can be dealt with through the Bill itself rather than the Order that's intended to tackle this issue otherwise.
Thank you for that. Could I take you on, then, to functions that have been conferred on reserved authorities, other than concurrent functions? I'll give you an example: UK Government regulations have conferred functions on the Health and Safety Executive, which means that the Senedd can't remove or modify those functions without UK Government consent. Now, of course, where we seek to modify reserved functions, then we are required by law to obtain the UK Government's consent. That doesn't work the other way, of course. It shows the utter imbalance of the current UK constitution—that's for a different day's debate, I suppose. But was there any discussion between the Welsh Government and the UK Government about those functions that have been conferred on reserved authorities outside of the concurrent functions we've just touched on?
There were no discussions that I'm aware of in relation to that broader point. I'll ask Chris, perhaps, to come in to give a little bit more context to this. As I mentioned in passing earlier to David Melding, and as you will know better than I do, when the Wales Act itself was drafted, the perception at that time was that the list of functions in this space would be diminishing, and it's the EU exit issue that has really put this back on centre stage, if you like. So, in a sense, the position in respect of other reserved authorities doesn't fall into that category of function, and so the rationale, if you like, as to why the SIs do contain functions of other reserved authorities—the rationale for why we'd consent to remove those is that they're consistent with the original intention in Schedule 7B. I think there were one or two technical exceptions to that, but that's the broad principle. I'll ask Chris if I've described that correctly, at least in terms of the discussions about the breadth of the Order.
Yes, that's right. As the Counsel General confirmed, that wasn't within the scope of what was agreed between the Governments that could be inserted into this Order. As you'll be aware, there are some exceptions to the consent requirements for cross-border bodies in Schedule 7B, and there is one change made in respect of that in the Order itself, which was the omission, originally in the Wales Act 2017, of the controller of plant variety rights. There has become a more pressing need for that to be included as a result of EU exit, because these things were dealt with at EU level, but now the controller of plant variety rights will have a role again in UK regulation. So, that's been added in by this Order. But aside from that, reserved authorities were not part of the negotiations on this particular Order.
Thank you for that. Could I take you on, Counsel General, to the definition of a function? Now, for many years, you and I operated on the basis that we were fairly clear on what a function was, but it seems now we need to give some more thought to what exactly we mean by a function. 'Function' was defined originally by paragraphs 8 to 11 of Schedule 7B to the 2006 Act. Have you, Counsel General, given any thought to asking the UK Government to use the Order in Council to clarify the meaning of a function—perhaps that's a double-edged sword, actually, given the current situation—or are you content that the definition of a function is satisfactory as it is?
I think it's really about the genesis of the Order. The Order started out in life, as it were, doing a relatively narrow job, which is to correct the redundant language, if you like, in the earlier legislation, and it's accumulated its own role and functions beyond that. So, it was never part of the intention, if you like, at the start to have a kind of omnibus approach to these broader questions, even though, obviously, the point you make is clearly incredibly important. On the question of what is a function itself, plainly, that is looked at whenever the situation arises. I'd be very happy, if the committee would find it helpful, to ask Government lawyers to speak perhaps to the committee's legal advisers about the broad approach we've taken in relation to functions. I'm a little reluctant to articulate that myself on the record, given that I might end up straying into the question of legal advice, but I'd be very happy to provide those offline conversations if you would find that helpful as a committee, certainly.
I can see the point you make about straying into offering legal opinion to this committee, which, of course, I fully understand is not your role.
A final question from me. This is, I suppose, asked more in hope than in expectation, but were there any discussions with the UK Government about the possibility of removing any reservations that were not Brexit related during the course of the last few months?
In a sense, there are some aspects of this Order that are not about Brexit. Some of it deals with the Coronavirus Act 2020 and some of it deals with some drafting infelicities, as I think they're called, in the Wales Act 2017. But apart from those, it's relatively limited, in terms of definition at least. The point of the Order, really, was to address EU exit-related issues, so it hasn't gone more broadly than that.
Thank you, Chair.
Counsel General, when do you expect the Order in Council to come into force?
The intention, Chair—subject, obviously, to Senedd and UK Parliament scrutiny—is for the Order to be made by the Privy Council at its February or March meetings, ideally.
Okay. So, that obviously sets a timetable for us in terms of responding. Just a point on the Order: why does the italic text at the start of the Order refer to laying before the UK Parliament, but doesn't refer to laying before the Senedd?
If that's the text at the very top of the Order, on the top of the first page, I think that's just a feature of the SI template that the UK Government uses. If you look down further—if I can take you further down the page, Chair—there is a reference there in the preamble to,
'approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament and Senedd'.
So, I think that tells us there—
It's in there, just not at the—
Yes. It's a template issue, I think, Chair.
Okay. Maybe we'll get the template right one day. A further point, perhaps: do you think there's going to be a need for any further Orders in Council in dealing with exiting the EU, or otherwise, in fact?
My best judgment, Chair, as of today, is that the transition period would generate the need for another Order in Council. As we've discussed today, actually, a number of Members have raised points that are germane to the broader constitutional settlement, obviously, and so in that sense, there's a series of ongoing reflections at our end around that. But there isn't any live discussion, if you like, that would lead to an Order in Council. We certainly wouldn't rule that out in the future for obvious reasons, but there isn't anything that is current at the moment.
Do you see any overlap in terms of the Order in Council and what it seeks to achieve, and then what is happening with the internal market Bill?
I think the Order in Council is an attempt, as it were, to rectify particular complexities in our devolution settlement. The internal market Bill, I'm afraid, has a very different objective, which is to limit the scope of our devolution settlement. So, in a sense, I think they approach the question from different perspectives. Obviously, the internal market Bill is going through Commons consideration and Lords amendments at the moment. I'm very much hopeful that the House of Lords will continue to show the commitment they have to the principles of devolution and the devolved constitution of the UK that they've shown so far.
Counsel General, that completes the questions that I had. I don't know if any Member has any other matter that they wanted to raise by way of clarification. If not, your answers have been very succinct and very clear. We're very grateful for that and also for that opportunity this morning. If there was anything else you wanted to add, then we have a little bit of time, but otherwise just the usual handling arrangements. There will be a transcript that will go to you in due course. Thank you and your officials for attending this morning, and for the information and the answers that you provided, which I think are very helpful and will enable us to give a very clear report in respect of the Order in Council within the timetable available to us. If there's nothing else you want to specifically add to it, then thank you for your attendance this morning.
Thank you very much, Chair.
Okay. I'll just allow them to leave the session. Thank you for that, everyone.
We now move on to item 3, which is instruments previously considered for sifting and now subject to scrutiny under Standing Orders 21.2 and 21.3. We move on to the Waste (Wales) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. You have before you the report, the Government response, the regulations, and of course the explanatory memorandum. These regulations make modifications to the Waste (Wales) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The amendments are necessary to ensure that retained EU legislation and the domestic EU legislation enforcing that legislation continue to operate effectively after the UK has left the EU. The Government response was provided on Friday afternoon, and is available in the supplementary pack that Members will have received. Any comments from the lawyers? Gareth.
There are two technical points and three merits points. The first technical point probes the way that certain decisions about waste are made—in particular, do those decisions have to be made in accordance with the legislation, or in accordance with guidance. The Welsh Government response helpfully explains that both legislation and guidance are relevant, depending on the particular waste decision being made. The second technical point raised a minor drafting error, which the Welsh Government has accepted in its response, and the error will be corrected. The first merits point notes the regulations were sifted by the committee, where it was agreed that the negative resolution procedure was appropriate. The second merits point notes that the words 'exiting the European Union' have not been included as a heading at the start of the regulations. This doesn't affect the validity of the regulations in any way, and the Welsh Government has simply noted the point. The third merits point notes a cross-reference error in the explanatory memorandum, which the Welsh Government has again noted.
Okay. Any comments or observations from Members? I don't see any, so thank you for that.
We move on, then, to item 3.2, which is the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Prescription of Drugs etc.) (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. Members have the papers before them. These are regulations that make amendments to the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Prescription of Drugs etc.) (Wales) Regulations 2004. In line with the withdrawal agreement, the amendments change references from 'exit day' to 'IP completion day' with regard to the right of specified patients from EU and EEA states and Switzerland who were receiving specified prescriptions to continue receiving those prescriptions post IP completion date. Any comments, Gareth?
Just to note that these regulations were sifted by the committee, and again it was agreed that the negative procedure was appropriate.
Okay. Any comments or observations from Members? I don't see any.
We move on to item 4, instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. We have the Non-Domestic Rating Contributions (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. These regulations amend the Non-Domestic Rating Contributions (Wales) Regulations 1992. Under Schedule 8 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988, billing authorities are required to pay non-domestic rating contributions to the Welsh Ministers. The 1992 Regulations contain rules for the calculation of those contributions for Welsh billing authorities. The regulations amend the 1992 regulations by substituting a new Schedule 4, relating to adult population figures. Are there any points, Gareth? I don't think there are.
No, it's a clear report.
Okay. Any comments or observations from Members? No, I don't see any. In which case, on to item 4.2, the Additional Learning Needs (List of Independent Special Post-16 Institutions) (Wales) Regulations 2020. These are made under the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Act 2018. They make provisions in relation to the inclusion of an independent special post-16 institution within the list published by the Welsh Ministers under section 56(2) of the Act. A clear report again, Gareth?
Any comments or observations? There aren't any. In which case, we move on, then, to item 4.3, the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2020—a bit of a tongue twister. These regulations amend the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 in relation to Wales. These 2007 regulations impose on producers the obligation to recover and recycle packaging waste in order to attain the recovery and recycling targets set out in article 6.1 of the European Parliament and Council Directive 94/62/EC of packaging and packaging waste. These regulations replace the EU recovery and recycling targets with recycling-only targets on producers. They also vary the material-specific recycling targets on obligated producers for paper, plastic, glass, aluminium, steel and wood, as well as the specific remelt target for glass. There are no merits points identified, I think, so it's a clear report. Any comments or observations? I don't see any.
So, we move on to the Senedd Cymru (Representation of the People) (Amendment) Order 2020. The National Assembly for Wales (Representation of the People) Order of 2007 sets out detailed rules for the conduct of elections to Senedd Cymru. This Order amends the 2007 Order to reflect the policy and legislative changes that have taken place since the 2016 Senedd general election in preparation for the 2021 general election. Members will recall that the committee considered a previous version of the Order at last week's meeting. That version was withdrawn and replaced by the Order that we're considering following the various points that we raised in committee. Gareth?
It's a clear report, again.
A clear report. Thank you. No comments or observations from anyone? No, I don't see any.
Item 5 then, instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3, negative resolution instruments. We have the Rating Lists (Valuation Date) (Wales) Order 2020. This is an Order that's made by the Welsh Ministers under Schedule 6 to the Local Government Finance Act 1988 and it comes into force on 23 December 2020. The Order sets 1 April 2021 as the reference date for the next revaluation of non-domestic rates in Wales, which is scheduled to take place on 1 April 2023. The revaluation will therefore be based on an assessment of the rateable value of non-domestic properties as at 1 April 2021. Gareth, merits points?
There is one merits point, which notes that the postponing of the revaluation in England and Wales is being done under the Non-Domestic Rating (Lists) (No. 2) Bill, which is a UK Bill subject to the legislative consent process. And the Welsh Government has said that postponing revaluation will mean that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be considered when the revaluation takes place and that aligning the date of revaluation in England and Wales can ensure that businesses and rate payers in Wales are not put at a disadvantage.
Okay, thank you for that report. Any comments or observations from Members? I don't see any.
If we move on, now, to item 5.2, the Animal Feed (Particular Nutritional Purposes and Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2020. These are regulations that make amendments to existing legislation to provide for the execution and enforcement of EU Commission regulations establishing a list of intended uses of feed intended for particularly nutritional purposes and repealing directive 2008/38/EC, which will take effect on 25 December 2020 in parallel with the coming into force of this instrument. Gareth.
There is one merits point, which notes the Food Standards Agency's position, that these regulations have a negligible effect on businesses and enforcement authorities and, therefore, the Welsh Government has not carried out a regulatory impact assessment.
Okay. Any comments or observations on that? No, I don't see any. So, we move on to the Local Government (Coronavirus) (Postponement of Elections) (Wales) (No. 2) Regulations 2020. Members have the report and regulations and explanatory memorandum. We also have the letter from the Trefnydd, dated 3 December 2020. The Local Government (Coronavirus) (Postponement of Elections) (Wales) Regulations 2020 postponed by-elections for principal and community councils that were due to take place during the period of 16 March 2020 to 31 January 2021, and required them to be held between 1 February 2021 and 16 April 2021. So, these regulations provide for supplementary issues to ensure that the postponed by-elections are conducted in accordance with electoral law and good practice, and that returning officers are able to carry out their duties. Over to the lawyers for merits points.
There are four merits points. The first merits point notes a breach of the 21-day rule and the reasons given by the Welsh Government for that breach, which is that registration officers need time to prepare for the first postponed by-elections, which are due to take place in early February. The second merits point notes a minor error in two footnotes in the regulations. The third merits point notes there's been no formal consultation, but that the views of key stakeholders have been sought. And the final merits point notes there has been a regulatory impact assessment, despite the regulations saying there was no regulatory impact assessment.
Okay. We note those particular comments. Any observations or comments from Members? I don't see any. In which case, we move on to the Plant Health (Amendment etc.) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. These regulations make amendments to existing legislation relating to plant health. They're made in exercise with the powers conferred by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, in order to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies arising from our withdrawal from the European Union. Over to the lawyers.
There are two merits points. The first notes there has been consultation with the Secretary of State, as required for EU exit regulations that come into force before the end of the transition period, and the second merits point asks the Government for some clarity as to why certain fees were being removed. The Welsh Government response is very helpful, in particular it is interesting to note that these regulations and other plant legislation arising as a result of exiting the European Union allow for plant law in Great Britain to focus on plant risks that are particularly relevant to Great Britain, rather than plant risks that are relevant within the European Union as a whole.
Okay. Thank you for that report. Any comments or observations? No. So, we move on to item 5.5, the Trade in Animals and Related Products (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, which amend redundant references to EU laws and systems that will no longer be relevant following the implementation period completion day. The amendments are made, in accordance with the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, to ensure no legislative hindrance to movement of live animals and trade in animal products with the EU and other listed third countries following IP completion day. Over to the lawyers.
There is one technical point and two merits points. The technical point asks the Welsh Government to explain what appears to be an unnecessary cross-reference in the regulations. The Government agrees it is unnecessary and, therefore, the error will be corrected.
The first merits point relates to the future of transporting live animals. On 3 December, the UK Government and the Welsh Government launched a consultation on animal welfare in transport, including ending the practice of transporting live animals for exports. In response, the Welsh Government says that the common framework on animal health and welfare includes a commitment not to diverge from baseline standards, but that legislation could be made that goes above those baseline standards within the UK. However, such decisions by one part of the United Kingdom should be notified to other parts of the United Kingdom, so that any risk of harmful divergence is identified and addressed in line with the common framework. The response also says that leaving the European Union allows domestic law to pursue proposals that prevent unnecessary suffering by animals during transport. And also there is further consultation around other proposals to improve animal welfare in transport, such as reducing maximum journey times and requiring animals to have more space while in transport.
The second merits point notes that the Welsh Ministers have consulted the Secretary of State before making these regulations, because these regulations come into force before the end of the transition period.
Okay, thank you for that, Gareth. We note those points. Any comments or observations from Members? I don't see any.
So, we move on to item 5.6, which is the Direct Payments to Farmers and Rural Affairs (Miscellaneous Amendments etc.) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020, which are regulations that amend retained EU law—domestic law—governing the direct payment scheme, for securing the continuation of the basic payment schemes in Wales beyond 2020, and to ensure that it is efficient and effective. Again, over to the lawyers.
There are two technical points and one merits point. The first technical point notes some errors in amendments that are being made to retained EU law, which the Welsh Government accepts in its response, and will correct those errors. The second technical point also notes a drafting error, but the error has no legal effects.
Okay, thank you. Oh, sorry, I beg your pardon.
The merits point says that some of the changes made by these regulations appear to be more than routine technical amendments, and therefore asks the Welsh Government whether a regulatory impact assessment should have been carried out. The Welsh Government response is that these are routine technical amendments, and therefore no regulatory impact assessment was required, but at the same time, the Government says that some of these changes reduce the application of sanctions, which does not sound like a routine technical amendment. It may be worth noting that the Welsh Government is currently consulting on its code for carrying out regulatory impact assessments, so perhaps the revised code will be clearer as to when a regulatory impact assessment must be carried out.
Okay. Well, we note that consultation. Again, comments or observations from Members? Yes, from Dai Lloyd.
Just to emphasise the point—when technical amendments are just a technical amendment. It's always been a bone of contention over the years in this committee that, actually, some people's view of what constitutes merely technical amendment actually is a bit more than that, and usually this committee falls on the side of, actually, if there's any doubt, we need to—
I think we've just lost Dai. Dai, we've just—
[Inaudible.]—that point, as Gareth—
Dai, we just lost those last couple of sentences of yours, I don't know if you want to—
Just to emphasise the point, as Gareth—the lawyer—has outlined that in this committee, we fall on the side of, if there's any doubt about it being merely technical, we push the Government harder, because we can't just let everything get through being technical.
It's interesting that there is a consultation process, isn't there, that's underway at the moment, in terms of regulatory impact assessments. Do we know anything about the timetable on that, Gareth?
I think there's an item later on in the agenda discussing the consultation on the code.
Okay, we'll look at that then. Any other comments or observations from Members? No.
In which case, we move on to item 5.7, which is the Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Prescribed Requirements and Default Scheme) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2021. These regulations amend the Council Tax Reduction Schemes and Prescribed Requirements (Wales) Regulations 2013, and the Council Tax Reduction Schemes (Default Scheme) (Wales) Regulations 2013, which are referred to collectively as 'the 2013 CTRS regulations'. Council tax reduction schemes are the mechanism by which local authorities provide support to low-income households in meeting their council tax liability. The regulations uprate certain figures used to calculate an applicant's entitlement to a reduction under CTRS and the subsequent level of reduction to reflect increases in the cost of living and make certain technical and consequential amendments. Over to you again, Gareth.
There is one merits point that notes there's been no formal consultation, but there has been a regulatory impact assessment, details of which are included in the explanatory memorandum.
Okay, any comments or observations? No, I don't see any.
Now, we have three sets of regulations that are due to be debated in Plenary tomorrow. If we move on to those, then, item 5.8, we have the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions and Functions of Local Authorities) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2020. With the papers, we have the report, the regulations, the explanatory memorandum and a letter from the First Minister of 3 December. There is also the written statement of 3 December and the written statement of 30 November. These regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 4) (Wales) Regulations 2020, and they also make technical amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions and Functions of Local Authorities etc.) (Wales) Regulations 2020. Members will know that, amongst other things, these regulations require bars, pubs and so on to close at 6 p.m. and prohibit travel into Wales from, or out of Wales to, areas that are subject to the highest levels of restriction in England and Scotland and also Northern Ireland. They were made on 3 December and came into force on 4 December. If I can go over, first of all, to the lawyers, Gareth.
There are four merits points. The first merits point notes the Welsh Government's statement that it believes any interference with human rights is justified. The second merits point notes there's been no formal consultation, but also notes the impact the restrictions have had on the hospitality sector. So, the merits point asks the Welsh Government whether businesses that were given just a few days' notice of these changes will be eligible for any financial support and what else did the Welsh Government consider as alternatives to these restrictions. The third merits point notes a typographical error in the explanatory notes, and the final merits point asks the Government when will it publish impact assessments in respect of these regulations, and the Welsh Government has not yet responded to these points.
Okay, thank you for that report. Comments or observations from Members? No, I don't see any.
So, we move on to 5.9, which is the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Restrictions) (Amendment) (No. 3) (Wales) Regulations 2020—
Excuse me, Chair, David Melding wanted to come in.
I beg your pardon, sorry, David.
Thank you, Mick. I just wanted clarification that should London go into tier 3, which is very likely, my interpretation is that travel to London will then be prohibited. Are there any circumstances when it will be permitted, because to consult on that, it seems to me quite a significant thing for Government and business reasons, but also, possibly, for some personal reasons as well? We're talking about the capital city and our main rail and road links. So, I just wonder if that has been considered.
There will be a general restriction on an area like that, but there are exceptions as well. I don't have a list of the exceptions of when such travel would be allowed, but we can provide it to Members if need be.
That would be very helpful. Yes, thank you.
I agree. I think that would be helpful and particularly relevant to have. Okay, any other comments or observations? Thank you for those points, David.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Restrictions) (Amendment) (No. 3) (Wales) Regulations 2020, these regulations make amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) Regulations 2020 and the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 4) (Wales) Regulations 2020. Members will know that, amongst other things, these regulations reduce the period for which a person is required to isolate from 14 days to 10 days. The regulations were made on 8 December, and came into force on 10 December. Are there any points, Gareth?
There are three merits points. The first two note the Welsh Government's position on any interference with human rights and that there's been no formal consultation. The third merits point notes there's been no regulatory impact assessment, but that there has been a previous impact assessment as regards isolation, and the expectation is now that the reduced isolation period should have a positive effect, especially in terms of the impact on equality and children.
Okay, thank you for that report. Any comments or observations on that?
If not, then we move on to item 5.10, the Public Health (Protection from Eviction) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020. We have the various papers, including the letter from the Minister of 9 December and the written statement of 10 December. These regulations were made last Wednesday, on 9 December. They came into force on the Friday, 11 December. The draft report was circulated to Members through the supplementary pack ahead of this morning's meeting, and is available in the supplementary pack at page 3. So you'll all have had a chance to see that, and thank you to everybody who has been working so hard to actually get those papers to us. Gareth.
There is a technical point as to whether it is necessary to say something in the regulations when the rules set out in the Legislation (Wales) Act 2019 automatically do the job for you. There is a merits point asking the Welsh Government to provide a bit more detail as to how it balanced the rights of tenants to a secure home over the Christmas period with the rights of landlords to do what they want with their property. There is also a merits point asking the Welsh Government who it discussed these regulations with, even if there's no formal consultation—did it discuss them with any key stakeholders? And finally, there is a merits point that notes that the explanatory memorandum includes a few helpful paragraphs summarising the various impact assessments.
Okay. Any comments? David Melding.
I think, on the policy side, which is not for us, but it's worth noting that these actions are quite extraordinary but there are extraordinary justifications for them as well, in terms of preventing evictions at a time of national emergency. So, I want to put that on record. But, of course, this has been going on since March, and they still haven't really done a proper human rights impact assessment and consultation with the landlords. I'm just concerned that, whilst there's a public interest case to suspend a landlord's rights in these circumstances, and I can see that, but how are the Welsh Government getting any intelligence on the impact this is having on the sector and the financial health of some landlords, many of which are quite small portfolio holders? I just find it a bit strange that this is not going on. I know it's difficult to do any of this in the times that we're going through, but this is nine, 10 months, and it's a very organised sector, landlord representation, and I do find it a bit odd, and they've had a chance, I think, to do a fuller assessment in terms of human rights as well.
Well, these are points, aren't they, that we've had—
I'm sorry, Chair. And we've been making this point quite consistently—to anticipate what you were going to say. [Laughter.]
Well, I was just going to say that, so I won't do it now. I think it is appropriate to write and to re-emphasise those particular points, because I think they are validly made. It may be that there is work that's going on in relation to that, it's just that we certainly don't know about it, et cetera. We haven't really had full responses in respect of these points when we've raised them previously, so I think it's proper to raise them now. Are there any comments or observations from Members? If we take those points up and we'll report back on them, because this isn't something that is just going to go away. It'll be coming back to us again, no doubt, in the not-too-distant future. Is everyone okay with that approach? Okay, well thank you for that.
We now move on to items 5.11 and 5.12. Now, I mention those specifically because they relate to regulations that were made and laid late on Friday, and they are scheduled to be debated in Plenary tomorrow. The papers are in the supplementary pack, and again to thank everyone who has worked from the Government side and so on, and from our side, to get those papers together, and again, emphasising the point that we've insisted that there has to be some scrutiny process of these before they go forward. So, I know that lawyers have been working hard over the weekend for that.
So, if we go on to 5.11, and we have the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 4) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. We have the report, the regulations, the explanatory memorandum, the letter of the First Minister of 11 December 2020, and again, the written statement of the same date. So, these regulations were made at 4.50 p.m. last Friday, 11 December. They came into force on 14 December and they make amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 4) (Wales) Regulations 2020, imposing further requirements and restrictions as a result of COVID. The draft report has been circulated to Members through the supplementary pack ahead of this morning's meeting. Gareth, if I can go over to you first for any comments.
The draft report raises some familiar merits points around the Welsh Government's position on human rights, impact assessments and consultation, but without requiring a Welsh Government response to those points.
Thank you for that. I see that it's in the supplementary pack, page 6, that the documents start. I thought page 17, pack page 30, regulations made in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health. There is substantially more evidence and detail in the report, which is obviously a response to points that we have raised. Comments or observations from Members? No, I don't see any on those.
We move on to item 5.12, then, which is the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (School Premises and Further Education Institution Premises) (Wales) Regulations 2020. These were made at 9.40 p.m. last Friday, 11 December, and came into force again on 14 December. The regulations limit the circumstances under which a pupil or student may attend the premises of a school or further education institution in Wales between 14 and 22 December 2020. And again, the draft report has been circulated to Members through the supplementary pack. If I go over to the lawyers, then, for some comments on this.
There is one technical point that notes an inconsistency between the English and the Welsh texts. There are also two familiar merits points around human rights and a consultation, which do not require a Welsh Government response. And there are two merits points that do require a Welsh Government response. The first asks the Welsh Government to explain who it consulted or discussed these regulations with before making them, and there is also a merits point asking the Welsh Government to explain what arrangements it made as regards equality impact assessments, including, in particular, children's impact assessments, as these regulations impact directly upon the lives of children.
Thank you for that. These are points that will be raised tomorrow, but I see David Melding waving to me.
Indeed. Well, I'd like to wave to you, Mick, but I was trying to attract your attention.
I appreciate that.
In relation to Gareth's latter point there, these are obviously laid in response to a very fast-moving and unfortunately deteriorating situation, so I understand that context and it doesn't permit standard consultation, but the Children's Commissioner for Wales said some quite pointed things about this decision, and I do think we ought to ask the Government, 'Who are you talking to?' The children's commissioner, and then in other areas where regulations are brought in and there are commissioners or ombudsmen, I think we should be inquiring, 'What sort of contact is there?' These are key areas; they're there to protect vulnerable sectors and people, and at least they should be contacted in some way, even if it's only a phone call the afternoon when you realise things are moving so quickly that you might have to do something within 48 hours.
I think it would be helpful to us just to know what sort of devices are being used to—. It may not be the full statutory consultation we're used to, but presumably something is going on and, if it isn't, then we need to raise that as a concern.
Yes. Any other comments or observations? No, I don't see any. We can do that formally, and also through the debate tomorrow as well. I see the Clerk's obviously making notes of those particular points, so they will arrive during the Plenary debate tomorrow, and we can also do it formally as well, just ask for that, and it gets that matter on the record as well, and a formal response to us on those points, which I think are very validly made.
If there aren't any other comments on that, we'll move on to item 6, on to the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Qualifications) (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations of 2020. These regulations ensure that, following the implementation period completion day, the existing regulatory framework for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications and the temporary and occasional provision of professional services as a social worker or a social care manager will continue to operate effectively in Wales. Gareth, over to you.
Only to note that these regulations implement agreements between the UK and Switzerland, and between the UK and the EEA/EFTA states, on citizens' rights.
Okay, any comments or observations on that? I don't see any.
We move on to item 7, then, the Official Controls (Plant Health and Genetically Modified Organisms) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations of 2020. You have the report and you have the Welsh Government response in front of you. We considered these regulations on 7 December. We laid our report the same day, and today we're just invited to note the Welsh Government's response, which has been received. Any comments, Gareth?
It's a helpful response. The committee asked whether certain civil sanctions were paid into the UK consolidated fund or the Welsh consolidated fund. The Government has helpfully confirmed that sanctions are paid into the UK consolidated fund because it is the Animal and Plant Health Agency, which is funded by the UK Government, who police plant health across Great Britain.
Yes, I thought it was an excellent response because it's very logical and I think that really, really helps. Sometimes, there's a very good, simple, logical reason that takes no time, really, to convey, and that was helpful.
Yes, thank you for that. Any other comments or observations?
If not, we move on to item 8, written statements under Standing Order 30C. We have the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme (Withdrawal Agreement) (EU Exit) Regulations of 2020. Here, the Welsh Government statement gives notification that it has consented to the making of these regulations. The 2020 regulations amend domestic legislation, which largely falls within the competence of the Senedd and the Welsh Ministers' executive powers in relation to a carbon trading scheme set up by legislation. The regulations have not been made to address a deficiency in retained EU law, but they relate to the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. Any comments, Gareth, on that?
The Welsh Ministers' statement does not say whether these UK Government regulations have any impact on the powers of the Senedd or the Welsh Ministers, but given the regulations implement the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, I don't believe there is any such impact. Separately, the Welsh Ministers' written statement seems to use generic wording that applies when retained EU law has been corrected for it to work in a domestic context, but these regulations aren't about correcting deficiencies, they're about implementing the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.
Okay, thank you for that. Any comments or observations on that? I don't see any.
I move on to the Food and Drink (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations of 2020. Again, the Welsh Government statement gives notification it's consented to the making of the regulations. The regulations make amendments to retained EU legislation on food information rules and wine, to ensure the operability of the legislation at the end of the transition period. Any comments from the lawyers?
The Welsh Ministers' statement says that these regulations relate to, among other things, monitoring production of wine and maintaining records regarding the trade in wine. But these regulations seem to be more about exemptions to wine certification rather than monitoring production and the maintenance of records.
Okay. Any other comments or observations on that? Okay, so we note those points.
On to papers to note now, on to 9.1, we have a letter from the Counsel General: ministerial forum for trade, which we're invited to note. This is one of those letters we receive in accordance with the inter-institutional relations agreement. So, it's an information letter. Any comments on that? I don't see any.
So, on to 9.2, we have the letter from the Minister for Finance and Trefnydd with regard to a consultation on a revised regulatory impact assessment code for subordinate legislation. And again, this was referred to earlier, so we're invited to note the letter from the Minister, which notes that a consultation has been launched on a revised regulatory impact assessment code for subordinate legislation. We did exchange correspondence with the Minister on this last year. Maybe it's a matter we can discuss in private session. That's agreed. Thank you for that.
We have a letter now, 9.3, a letter from the Minister for Education: Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Bill. Again, invited to note a letter from the Minister in relation to the Bill. The Minister has said she will set out her response to our report during tomorrow's general principles debate in Plenary, so that will be the debate tomorrow. Any comments? Any issues on that?
If not, we move on to 9.4, a letter from the Minister for Housing and Local Government: the Planning Applications (Temporary Modifications and Disapplication) (No. 2) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Order 2020. Just invited to note the letter from the Minister, which responds to a query again that we raised in October as to why a breach of the 21-day rule was necessary when making the Order. If there's any issue on that, can we discuss that perhaps in private session? Any comments? No.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42.
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42.
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
We move on to item 10 now, so in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi), I invite the committee to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Are we all in agreement? Is committee in agreement that we go into private session? I see it is agreed, so we now move into private session.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 10:42.
The public part of the meeting ended at 10:42.