The National Assembly For Wales


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Assembly People: Annette Millett, Committee Team Support

My role within the Assembly is to support the Clerks and the Deputy Clerk of the Children, Young People and Education Committee.

I help to provide professional, impartial support and advice to the Committees in managing their business effectively and to policy divisions in their dealings with Committees.

I support the Clerks in preparing for meetings. Prior to the meeting day I will prepare the Committee room for the formal proceedings the following day. On the day of meetings my role is to meet and brief witnesses before their evidence giving sessions ensuring they fully understand how to use the translation equipment and how the meeting will run.

I support the management of public consultations; formal and informal evidence gathering; the production and publication of committee outputs (including reports); the wider communication of a committee’s work; and support the scrutiny of legislation.

 

Assembly People is a series of blog and video submissions by different staff members explaining their roles at the Assembly.


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The Senedd: words from visitors

Image from Flickr by astronomy_blog. Licensed under the Creative Commons.

Image from Flickr by astronomy_blog. Licensed under the Creative Commons.

As well as being the seat of devolution in Wales, the Senedd is also open year round as a visitor attraction. You can have a tour around the building and learn about politics in Wales from one of the tour guides, or you can attend Plenary or a committee meeting. There are events and exhibitions on all year round, so we get plenty of visitors who come for all sorts of reasons.

Recently we finished our visitor guestbook, and took the opportunity to read through some of the messages people had left. It’s a good way to understand what people really enjoy about their visits to the Senedd.

 

We had a lot of positive comments:

“I love the open feel of this building!” – Andrea, Iowa, USA.

“Staff cyfeillgar dros ben”  – Pedr, Caerdydd.

“Better than on TV!” – Carole, North Wales.

“Very friendly and informative staff.” – Claire, Stoke-on-trent.

“Hooray for democracy!” – Rob, Isle of Wight.

“Great that the seat of Welsh govn. Is open to all to explore and learn.” – Leanne, Cwmbran.

“Love this place, love this country.” Laurence, Bath.

“Beautiful building with a warm welcome from staff. Thanks.” – Simon, Farnham.

“Hands down the best Senedd I’ve been to.” – Sharon, Cyprus.

“I couldn’t give higher praises!” Helmina, Finland.

“Makes me proud to be Welsh.” Andrew, Pontypridd.

 

There were some in particular for the facilities:

“Really nice toilets!” – Raynor, Bangor.

 

 

 

And as with all things, there were people who didn’t enjoy their visits so much, for various reasons:

“Waste of money.  Another un-needed tear of Government.” – Sarah, Bridgend.

“Clean the water staining on the glass. Have pride in your assembly.” – Richard, London.

“Satisfactory.  It was good but a bit boring.” Savannah, aged 10, Cardiff.

“Not bad, not bad at all, in fact, it was ok.” – R, England.

“Why was no one at work today?” Mrs. Stephenson, Taxpayer, Mid Wales.

 

There were other comments that didn’t seem to be related to much, but were still nice to read:

“May peace and love be with you all.” – Dan, a Peace Pilgrim.

“Came to see my daddy’s dragon. Had a lovely day.” Katie, Blaina.

 

Image from Flickr by Just Ard. Licensed under the Creative Commons.

Image from Flickr by Just Ard. Licensed under the Creative Commons.

 

We had a couple of comments about the mace:

Glad to see the mace is well looked after.” – Jill, Sydney.

“It was great, but I didn’t get to touch the gold thing.” Jason, Birmingham.

 

The overall winners seemed to be our tour guides Richard and Gareth, who won scores of fans:

“The children hadn’t realised politics could be so much fun!  What a wonderful tour led by Gareth!” – Anon. Rhyl.

“Merci a Richard pour la visite. **heart emoticon** ” Emeline, France.

“Gareth is very nice and handsome.  I will remember him all my life long.” – Pauline, Nantes.

 

It’s also humbling to be reminded how much more developed our democratic system is than in some other countries:

“Impressed by your transparency!” – Anna, Ukraine.

“Compared to ours, it’s perfect.” – Ben, Tunisia.

 

Image from Flickr by plumandjello. Licensed under the Creative Commons.

Image from Flickr by plumandjello. Licensed under the Creative Commons.

 

We take a lot of pride in the Senedd as being the heart of Welsh democracy, but also as a building that is open to the public. Organisations and community groups are welcome to hold events in the Senedd as long as they can get sponsorship from an Assembly Member, which means we get a great spread of events and exhibitions in the building.

If you would like to see what’s currently on at the Senedd, please visit our calendar for more information.

If you’re interested in holding an event at the Senedd, please visit our Events Information pages

If you’re unable to make it to Cardiff Bay to visit the Assembly, you can always look around the building through our Virtual Tour.

Or have a look at the #senedd hashtag through images on Flickr

 

OTHER WAYS TO CONNECT WITH US:

Senedd Facebook

National Assembly for Wales Facebook

@assemblywales on Twitter

 

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Have your say on digital democracy in the UK

 

The UK Parliament’s Commission on Digital Democracy is investigating the opportunities digital technology can bring for parliamentary democracy in the UK. It will make recommendations in January 2015 and welcomes views from everyone.

The Commission is currently asking for views on the its third theme: Representation.

Questions they are asking:

Elected representatives

What will democracy look like in 15 – 20 years?

Will the digital era lead to pressure for more direct democracy, such as crowd-sourcing, referendums and citizens’ initiatives?

How can MPs make better use of the internet and social media to represent their constituents – and how can constituents use these tools to ensure they are being represented in the way they wish?

Does social media enhance the local link for MPs, or undermine it by involving them in more national and international discussions?

Information about politics

How can online provision of information about elections be improved, including details of where to vote, how to vote and the results?

The news media is changing rapidly – and the ways that people consume information, including news, is changing fast too. Will objective information about the political process continue to be easily available, and even if it is, will citizens be willing to seek it out?

Political campaigning

Can we expect continuous election campaigning through digital channels – what would citizens feel about that and would it undermine or strengthen representative democracy?

Note: The Commission will be consulting separately on the issue of online voting in elections in September, but if you have thoughts you wish to share before then, they would still be pleased to hear from you.

To have your say, visit their website,  email or post on any of their social media channels before 31 July.

 

What’s happening in Wales?

Since the launch of our e-democracy strategy in 2010 the Assembly has put effective use of technology at the heart of everything we do.

Assembly Members make use of technology to access papers, communicate with each other and cast their vote in the Chamber. They tweet, Facebook, link-in and YouTube practically everything they do! The people of Wales can submit and sign petitions via our website and tell us their views via social media and web-chats. They can also watch proceedings live or on demand on Senedd.TV, our dedicated channel for broadcasting Assembly business, or search for key words in our bilingual Record of Proceedings. And thanks to the work we have done on Machine Translation with Microsoft, people all over the world can now translate text between English and Welsh in Microsoft Office, simply by clicking ‘translate’.

Following the Democratic Deficit events held in Wales last year the National Assembly for Wales’s Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, also made recommendations for the Assembly which focused on what support can be provided to emerging digital platforms in covering our work.

Looking to the future, the Assembly plans to:

  • work with digital and hyperlocal media and partner organisations to create a journalism hub in the Senedd that could provide content to new digital channels;
  • make it easier to report the Assembly’s work by providing better communications facilities on the Senedd estate;
  • make the Assembly’s data more open and accessible;
  • ensure that Assembly Members are fully informed about how best to use the communication tools now available in this digital age.


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What are ‘legal highs’?

Originally posted on In Brief:

30 July 2014

Article by Philippa Watkins, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Legal highs have become seen as an emerging threat following the rapid growth in use of the drug mephedrone (meow meow, m-cat) in 2009.

The umbrella term ‘legal highs’ has been used in reference to a variety of substances, including prescription drugs such as tranquillisers, but commonly refers to ‘new psychoactive substances’ – drugs which have been synthesised to produce the same or similar effects as illegal drugs. Because they are newly created, and their chemical composition may be slightly different to that of banned substances, new psychoactive substances are not automatically controlled under drugs legislation (in the UK, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971).

Widely available via the internet and on the high street, their ease of availability, along with what may be a low price and high purity compared with illegal drugs, are thought to…

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Assembly People: Morgan Reeves, Facilities Customer Services Support

Morgan

I applied for the Apprenticeship Scheme in The National Assembly while still in school, after hearing a lot about the organisation and decided this offered a huge opportunity not to be missed. On receiving the application form, I firstly felt a sense of maturity as this was the first job I had ever applied for. After initially a little anxious, I found the application form quite a confidence booster as for a change I was bigging myself up!

After receiving a request to attend the assessment centre, I attended the red brick building of Tŷ Hywel with high hopes. The assessment centre programme was challenging but also rewarding at the same time as it provided an opportunity for me to sell myself to the assessors including one which was to be my potential line manager. A memorable part of the whole assessment day was the chance to have a tour of the prestigious Senedd building, which to this day still retains the same prestigious feeling as I walk through it.

After being successful at the assessment centre I was asked to attend an interview. On arriving at the National Assembly for Wales on the day of my interview I felt nervous but also proud that I had reached this stage. At first I feared the interview would be very formal and quite daunting – this was not the case, the interviewers helped me flourish and were listening intently to my every word.

Following the interview I was thrilled to be informed that I had been accepted into The National Assembly of Wales Apprenticeship Scheme. Prior to starting work, we were invited to meet our future line mangers and Heads of Service a few weeks before and this allowed us to familiarise ourselves with some of the people we would be working with and also to get to know about our roles within the organisation. On that day, I also learnt that I was to be a member of the Sustainability Team while also playing a big part within the Facilities Management side of the department.

At first I didn’t quite understand what my role would undertake, but after meeting with my line manager and future Head of Service this gave me a better understanding. I have since worked within the same department for over a year, I have grown up mentally and matured beyond my teenage years! This opportunity has enabled me to develop myself both personally and professionally with the making of a bright future ahead.

 

Assembly People is a series of blog and video submissions by different staff members explaining their roles at the Assembly.


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Enterprise and Business Committee – Inquiry into Tourism

Representatives across the tourism industry in Wales were given an opportunity to meet with Assembly Members to discuss and assess progress made by the Welsh Government towards achieving its Programme for Government commitments relating to tourism. This was part of the Enterprise and Business Committee Inquiry into Tourism.

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The events, which were held at Oriel y Parc in St. David’s and the National Museum Cardiff, were broken into two focused discussions, with ideas and views shared between the two areas via Twitter Board.

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The group discussions in Oriel y Parc was facilitated by Joyce Watson AM, Suzy Davies AM and Julie Morgan AM, with group discussions in Cardiff facilitated by Keith Davies AM, William Graham AM and Eluned Parrott AM.

The discussions focused on (but were not limited to) some of the following themes:

  • The clarity and strength of Wales’s tourism “brand”;
  • The effectiveness of Welsh Government attempts to maximise the value of the domestic and international tourism market;
  • Performance of Visit Wales compared with tourism development agencies in the rest of the UK;
  • The work of Visit Britain as it relates to Wales, and the extent of coordination between Visit Britain and Visit Wales;
  • The extent to which the marketing and development of tourism in Wales makes the most of Wales’s cultural, historical and natural assets; and
  • The impact of major events on Wales’s tourism economy, and the success of Welsh Government attempts to maximise this.

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The group discussions lasted for 45 minutes, with a short feedback session at the end to re-cap.

A note of the main discussion points from the events will soon be published on the link here.

You can also watch the Committee evidence sessions online via www.Senedd.tv.

The Committee hopes to produce a report with recommendations to the Welsh Government in the next term, following a final meeting with representatives from the North Wales tourism industry. The conclusions of the events will help inform the report and recommendations. You will be able to see the full report here when it has been completed.

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