The National Assembly For Wales

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Your Assembly – Your say, your Way: Presiding Officer unveils National Assembly Charter for youth engagement


Today (16 July) the National Assembly will make a commitment to the young people of Wales. Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, will, along with the leaders of the Assembly’s four political parties, sign a Young Person’s Charter. It will commit the Assembly to ensuring that every young person in Wales has the opportunity to contribute to the Assembly’s work. Dame Rosemary explains why this is such an important step in the development of devolution in Wales.

None of us should look at the young people of Wales and simply see them as the adults of the future.

They are people whose current needs and experiences should be listened to, and those needs ought to play an important role in terms of influencing the decision-makers that affect all our lives.

Eighty-six per cent of young people responding to our consultation said that they were interested in the things that effect them or their community, yet we have seen too many elections where the younger demographic have chosen, in large numbers, to exempt themselves from the democratic process.

I believe that’s because they can be put off politics at a young age. It’s at this stage when many appear to reach the conclusion that those who are making the key decisions that affect their lives don’t listen to their views – and never will.

I want to see a Wales where every child and young person in Wales feels that they have the opportunity to participate in the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

As Presiding Officer, I have made increasing the level of youth engagement with the work that myself and my colleagues do at the Senedd one of my top priorities for the Fourth Assembly.

And that’s why, along with the four party leaders in the Assembly, I am making this important commitment to the young people of Wales today.

Recently the National Assembly consulted young people, from all over Wales, about how we could encourage and support them to get involved in what we do here at the Assembly.

We had a fantastic response to the consultation, receiving three thousand responses – the biggest ever response to an Assembly consultation of any sort.

The responses told us that there is a huge appetite from young people across Wales to have their say on the issues that matter to them. And that we can help by ensuring they have opportunities to do this by participating in Assembly business.

In response to the consultation, the Assembly has agreed a new vision for youth engagement. We want the Assembly to be seen as a world leader in youth engagement. It is important that young people can have their opinions, on the issues that matter to them, heard and valued at the heart of the Welsh democracy.

Our approach to this has three key parts:

  • Reaching out – the Assembly will make sure that, wherever they are and whatever their background, young people in Wales can learn about the work the Assembly is doing so they can decide how it is relevant to their passions and interests.
  • Enabling debate – the Assembly will provide a variety of ways for young people to take part in our work which are fun, inspiring and tailored to their needs.
  • Feedback – the Assembly will explain to young people how their contributions are making a difference so that they and others are inspired to engage further.

We’ll do this by building on the fantastic achievements of a team of people we have who inform young people about the Assembly, how it works and how they can get involved. We see up to 20,000 young people a year, and we want to see more. Central to our efforts will be our determination to involve young people from harder-to-reach groups, and offering more engagement outside the school environment.

To achieve this, we recognise the need to strengthen our relationships with organisations who work with children and young people outside the classroom.

The internal challenge is ensuring that in everything we do as an Assembly, we make the language, forums and platforms we use to communicate our work interesting, useful, and accessible to young people. This means, amongst other things, making the most of our online presence by using our youth website and social media channels as a hub of information and discussion when appropriate

This work is underpinned by a new Charter which forms our contract with the young people of Wales. It sets out what young people can expect from the Assembly, and what we expect from them. I was delighted that the leaders of all the political parties in the Assembly have agreed to join me in signing the Charter.

I believe the approach that I am launching today is a vital step towards ensuring our work reaches the future citizens of Wales and ensuring that they feel that their voices matter.

Children and Young People Engagement Charter

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#Betsi – Revisited a Year On @SeneddPAC

Following a joint report by the Wales Audit Office and Health Inspectorate Wales in June 2013 on ‘An Overview of Governance Arrangements of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’, the Public Accounts Committee discussed the findings and agreed to conduct a short inquiry.

The Committee took evidence from the Welsh Government, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and the Wales Audit Office. The Committee also received written evidence to the inquiry from stakeholders.

Following consideration of all the evidence received, the Committee produced a report in December 2013 which outlined a number of recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider.

The Welsh Government issued a response to the Committee’s recommendations in February 2014.
And now one year, following the publication of a follow up joint report by the Wales Audit Office and Health Inspectorate Wales, the Committee are revisiting this subject by taking further evidence from Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board on their progress in implementing our recommendations when they appear before the Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday 8 July 2014.

Watch the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee talk about this forthcoming meeting.

Follow the Committee @SeneddPAC and contribute to the discussion using #betsi.

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Understanding and Engaging with the National Assembly for Wales – Business Sector Workshop

In June 2014 representatives from two businesses in Wales attended a workshop in the Senedd, Cardiff Bay.
The day included an opportunity for participants to learn about the National Assembly for Wales, how it represents the people of Wales, makes laws for Wales and holds the Welsh Government to account.

Participants also viewed the Enterprise and Business Committee meeting in the Senedd where the Committee were discussing their inquiry into Science, Technology and Engineering (STEM) skills. Before lunch the group received a tour of the Senedd.
Over lunch the participants networked with members of the Enterprise and Business Committee and discussed current issues relating to business in Wales.


The day culminated with a discussion on the structure of the Committee Service in the National Assembly and how participants could become more involved in the work of committees in the future.

Tony Knowles, VP for Global HR at SPTS Technologies took the time to tell us what he thought of the day:

If you would like some more information about the workshop programmes we provide, and the ways in which you can get involved please contact us on: or 0845 010 5500


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Guest Blog – STEM Skills

Putting a group of young scientists, mathematicians, technicians and electronics students in the same room was rather a frightening idea. It was fortunate therefore that the Assembly had arranged for us to speak over the internet.

My name is Aled Illtud, and I am studying Physics at Aberystwyth University. I, and a number of other STEM students, had the opportunity to discuss our subjects and how we can improve or maintain different aspects of those subjects. The conversation was held on Google Hangouts and a number of issues were discussed.

The conversation began with Members of the Enterprise and Business Committee asking us why we had chosen our courses, are there prospects of a job at the end of the course and how we are enjoying the subject. I was concerned mainly about fighting for an increase in the growth of the Welsh language within STEM subjects, which is apparent from the webchat, that is available for you to read.

What surprised me most was how enthusiastic the other students were to have their voices heard. It is good to see that people are sufficiently concerned about their subjects to be able to hold an interesting discussion on what needs to be changed or maintained in their subject fields.

Final Blog Image

It was good to be part of this conversation. I suggest that everyone else who is enthusiastic about his/her course should take advantage of any similar opportunities. Express your views, promote progress in your subject!

For further information on the Enterprise and Business Committee follow-up inquiry into STEM Skills in Wales, click here:

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Guest Blog – Macmillan and the inquiry into the Cancer Delivery Plan

Macmillan Wales was very pleased to work with the National Assembly for Wales’ outreach team recently to support their focus groups with people affected by cancer.

The groups were held as part of the National Assembly Health and Social Care Committee’s inquiry into the progress of the implementation of the Welsh Government’s Cancer Delivery Plan, which was published in 2012.

The plan sets out a number of ambitions and commitments for cancer treatment in Wales including supporting early diagnosis, care which is based on people’s individual needs and achieving survival rates that are the best in Europe.

Two years on from the plan’s publication, Macmillan Wales welcomes the inquiry and was pleased to support the Assembly team with organising the focus groups with people affected by cancer.

This included regional sessions in Cardiff, Llandrindod Wells, New Tredegar, Rhos-on-Sea and Swansea and a focus group at the Senedd in mid May with people living with and beyond cancer.

It is important to Macmillan Wales that the views of people affected by cancer are heard by decision makers as part of this inquiry in addition to the views of healthcare professionals, charities, and statisticians.

The focus groups were an excellent opportunity for AMs to hear what living with cancer in Wales is really like, what is working well and where improvements can be made.

A number of themes emerged from the focus groups.

They included the importance of being diagnosed early and cancer patients having a holistic assessment of their needs – including financial, emotional and practical needs – and a written care plan.

Other areas highlighted were the importance of being assigned a key worker during treatment as one point of contact for any questions or concerns patients may have.

Finally, the groups emphasised the importance of after care as many cancer patients have long or short term health problems as a result of their treatment such as fatigue, lymphoedema or problems eating.

With more than 120,000 people living with or beyond cancer in Wales at the moment, this inquiry is an important opportunity to find out how much progress has been made in implementing the Cancer Delivery Plan which was designed to support them.

We hope the AMs will take the comments from the focus groups on board ahead of the questioning for the oral evidence for the inquiry on Thursday 12 June.

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Recycling – what do you think?

It’s that time of week again. You pull together your various coloured bags and bins filled with an assortment of carefully sorted waste and you put them out for collection. Do you feel pleased about the how your pile of recycling is growing and your ‘black-bag’ waste is shrinking? Or do you scratch your head and wonder ‘what’s the point?’ How do you rate your experience of recycling? Has your local authority got it right?

The Environment and Sustainability Committee at the National Assembly for Wales has launched an inquiry into recycling and we want to know what you think. There are several ways in which you do this:

We’ll consider what you tell us and it will form part of the evidence we’re gathering. Even if you just want to share your experience of how recycling works in your area without offering an opinion, please send us something as it will help us build a picture of the situation across Wales.

Why are we looking into recycling in Wales?
We want to explore current local authority household waste recycling practice and arrangements across Wales.

Our initial research showed us that each of the 22 local authorities in Wales has different arrangements for collecting household recycling. We want to understand the reasons for this and whether this is the most efficient way to go about the collection of household recycling.

Some local authorities collect plastic, metal, glass and plastics separately. Others collect mixed recycling (known as ‘co-mingling’). We want to understand the pros and cons of these different approaches and whether they have an impact on recycling rates.

We also know that this is an issue that most people have an opinion about and we want to hear those opinions! We’ve launched some social media engagement and a consultation. We’ll also be speaking to members of the public at events throughout the summer:

  • Swansea Pride, 28 June
  • Aberafan Beach Festival, 5 July
  • Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, 8-13 July
  • Royal Welsh Show, Llanelwedd, 21-24 July
  • National Eisteddfod of Wales, Carmarthenshire, Llanelli, 1-9 August
  • Denbigh and Flint Show, Denbigh, 21 August

We hope to publish a report in the autumn that will set out our conclusions and recommendations.

Full terms of reference for our work are available here.

We look forward to hearing from you!


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