The National Assembly For Wales


Leave a comment

Stonewall Cymru role models

Two members of Assembly staff are featured in Stonewall Cymru’s new LGBT role models guide:

StonewallCraig

“It’s very important that there are visible LGBT people within the organisation, that people see that being from a minority group hasn’t hindered peoples’ ability to reach senior levels… If you have reached a position of success, if you can inspire someone else, if you can lead by example, you should.”

Craig Stephenson, Director of Commission Services and Chief Adviser to the Presiding Officer

 

StonewallRhys

“It’s important to have diverse role models: one person is not the totality of gay experience… It’s not just about being visible to straight people but amongst the gay community. We can’t expect people to accept us and applaud our diversity if we can’t accept ourselves.”

Rhys Morgan, Translator and Editor

Read more about why being a role model is important to them and the other LGBT role models in Wales on Stonewall’s website.

 

 


Leave a comment

Understanding and Engaging with the Assembly

Last month the National Assembly for Wales’s Outreach Team visited ten groups across Wales to provide Understanding and Engaging workshops and hosted three events in support of Assembly Business.

This month we met with 566 people to discuss the role of the Assembly and inform them of:

  • Who their representatives are
  • How decisions made at the Assembly affect the people of Wales
  • How the Assembly hold the Welsh Government to account
  • How they can get involved in decisions made by the Assembly

IMG_0557

The Benllech 50+ Group were a particularly lively bunch. While discussing the legislative process of the National Assembly for Wales we opened up the discussion and asked the group what changes they’d like to see. Chief among their priorities was a focus on tourism and transport, issues they said are very important to them in Anglesey.

Chair of the Group, Mrs Dilys Standish said after the session:

“We’ve just had a presentation from the Outreach Team [who are based] at Colwyn Bay. It was very interesting to know how the Welsh Assembly works and all the different ways we can, as a community, get involved with the Assembly.

A wonderful afternoon has been had by all and it was very informative.”

IMG_1414

A group from Women Making a Difference also came to us at the Senedd for a presentation this month. We had a very interactive session discussing how the group would prioritise spending if they were given control of the budget. This group were also very surprised to learn about the Assembly’s petitioning system and how simple the process was to understand.

Other groups we’ve visited groups this month range from Chwarae Teg in Cardiff to YMCA in Swansea and up to the West Flintshire Communities First cluster.

If your group would be interested in receiving an Understanding and Engaging workshop, or are simply interested in our work, please contact us via OutreachTeam@assembly.wales or phone us on 0300 200 6574.

This month we’ve also been busy supporting Assembly business by hosting the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee’s poverty roundtable event at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff and their site visits to projects and organisations all across Wales, and the Enterprise and Business Committee’s Tourism report launch in Aberglasney and their Assisting Younger People into work roundtable in Swansea. You can view the pictures from these events on the Assembly’s Flickr page.

Remember to keep up with our activities by following us on Twitter @SeneddOutreach or keep an eye on the ‘Assembly in your area’ section on the Assembly website.


Leave a comment

Poverty in Wales – visits and focus group discussions with the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee.

The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee are currently holding an inquiry into Poverty in Wales. The inquiry has been divided into four strands, each focusing on one particular issue.
On Wednesday 5 November an event was held at the Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay, to launch the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee’s inquiry into Poverty in Wales, and to hold focus group discussions with individuals from various organisations across Wales currently dealing with poverty. The themes for discussion on the day were:

  • How effectively the Tackling Poverty Action Plan, Strategic Equality Plan and other government strategies work together
  • The impacts of poverty, particularly destitution and extreme poverty, on different groups of people
  • How legislation, policy and budgets targeted at tackling poverty and reducing inequality are co-ordinated and prioritised across the Welsh Government.

Photo

For more photos from this event then visit our flickr page.

On Thursday 27 November and Monday 1 December members of the Committee visited various groups of people from all across Wales, including BAWSO in Wrexham, Chwarae Teg in Llanelli and the Ebbw Vale Food Bank.
The purpose of these visits was to:

  • Find out how different groups of people experience poverty, and the particular challenges faced because of their characteristics, for example: age, disability, gender, refugee status, location, criminal record etc.;
  • Explore which services and mechanisms are most effective at preventing people getting into poverty, for example: family support programmes, advice services, secure and supportive employment, childcare, education, internet access, energy efficiency measures;
  • Find out how consistent services to improve the lives of people in poverty are across Wales, for example: food banks, access to healthcare, transport, crisis loans and debt advice.

RNIB

Chwarae Teg

Fuel poverty, access to housing and access to education and training were some of the things discussed as the main issues facing people on a low-income.

The Committee have also been taking oral evidence during their Committee Meetings at the Senedd. They have already spoken to Mary Powell-Chandler who is the Head of Save the Children, Dr Sam Clutton who is Assistant Director Policy at Barnardo’s Cymru on behalf of the End Child Poverty Network (ECPN) and Catriona Williams from Children in Wales End Child Poverty Network Cymru and a Commissioner on the UK Social Mobility Child Poverty Commission.
The Committee will continue to gather evidence before writing their report which will include recommendations to the Welsh Government. When published, the report will be available here.

You can keep up to date on the Committee’s inquiry by following @SeneddCelg on twitter.

Thanks to all of those who have contributed to the inquiry so far.


Leave a comment

Stonewall Cymru Work Placement at the National Assembly for Wales

blog2

I was fortunate to have been given a work experience placement at the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff, as part of Stonewall Cymru’s Work Placement Scheme. The scheme seeks to give young people the experience of working in LGBT friendly workplaces. The Assembly is a leading example, named in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index as the top Public Sector Employer for Wales.

On Monday morning, after a glimpse into ‘grown-up life’ (the ‘morning commute’ to Cardiff Bay!), I was given a warm welcome by Craig, my mentor for the week and Chair of OUT-NAW (the Assembly’s LGBT network), followed by a whistle-stop tour of the labyrinth that is Tŷ Hywel, the Senedd Building and the Pierhead building.

After catching my breath, I met the Presiding Officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, and sat in on some of her meetings and observed how her role contributes to the work of the Assembly. Earlier in the month, she presented a fantastic speech to the Stonewall Cymru Workplace Conference (where organisations share best practice of their equality work) and emphasised the importance of authenticity in the workplace, and how people work their best when they can be who they are: an ethos which the Assembly, under the Presiding Officer’s leadership, has fully embraced.

After lunch I met with Natalie Drury-Styles, head of the Private Office and LGBT Ally, and discussed the role of her team in supporting the vision of the Presiding Officer. I then attended and contributed to the meeting of the Private Office’s events team which was looking at the Presiding Officer’s ‘Women in Public Life’ Campaign (or #POWiPL, for all you tweeters!) which looks strategically at the important role social media now plays in public engagement.

The legal services team, headed by Elisabeth Jones, then gave me a simple overview of how legislation in Wales is made. Rather than repeat that, you can find more information of the process here: Legislation guidance (don’t worry, it’s really simple)! Of course, legislation can’t work in isolation, and requires education programmes and wider policy to support its implementation and impact, a point that Elisabeth and the team emphasised during my time at the Assembly.

As well as spending time with the Legal Services team, I also attended a second reading of the Higher Education (Wales) bill and also First Minister’s Questions. I left the Assembly with a clearer understanding of how legislation is made, how the Commission supports the Assembly in this, and how the public can get involved. For example, did you know a petition only requires ten signatures to be considered by a committee?

What the public don’t see is the amount of resource and effort that goes on behind the scenes. Assembly Members receive support from Members’ Business Support and the Professional Development Team. These teams provide training and support for AMs and their support staff to ensure that they have everything they need to undertake extremely demanding roles.

Equality and diversity, in its fullest sense, is a significant focal point for the Assembly. It is key to achieving the Assembly’s vision; and the Equalities Team work strategically to ensure departments are always thinking about these issues. Specifically, for LGBT colleagues, it was great to see the Assembly take so much pride in its positioning in the Stonewall Workplace Equality index; leading by example for the rest of the Welsh public sector.

My final highlight of the week was working with the Communications Team. In the morning I attended a symposium with Non Gwilym, Head of Communications and LGBT Ally, and heads of Communications departments from the Scottish Parliament, Northern Ireland Assembly and the Houses of Parliament. The symposium was to share good practice in communications in a collaborative and holistic way. My afternoon was spent discussing the usefulness and importance of social media with Julian Price, Social Media Manager, who outlined how social media had impacted the way in which the Assembly communicates with the public. I rounded off my week at the Assembly meeting Mari Gooberman, Education Manager, where we discussed some very exciting developments for young people that will all become clear in the next few weeks. Keep your eyes peeled!

If you can’t tell already, I had a fantastic week at the National Assembly. Every person I met, every conversation I had, every meeting and session I sat in on, was beneficial to me in some way, shape or form. The atmosphere and ethos of the institution is a credit to each member of staff, and at the end of the week I was saddened to have to hand in my key-card and leave Tŷ Hywel for the last time (a big thank you to the lovely security staff who greeted me with a smile every day, and wished me the best for the future as I left on Friday afternoon!). Stonewall Cymru chose the National Assembly to be a pilot for their Work Placement Scheme as they’re the top public sector employer for LGBT people in Wales, and I don’t think they could’ve found a better example of a workplace where people can be who they are, celebrate difference, and achieve brilliant results: the impression emanates from the moment you walk into Tŷ Hywel, where you see the Stonewall Cymru Diversity Champions certificate proudly hung on the wall.

This short blog will never be long enough for me to fully elaborate on the brilliant time I had at the National Assembly for Wales, but I hope I’ve given it my best shot and that you can see what an excellent time I had. I can’t thank all members of staff enough for being so welcoming, encouraging, informative and inspiring – this experience really will be formative in my career, and personal development: diolch yn fawr iawn, mi welai chi gyd yn y dyfodol.

Find out more about the National Assembly for Wales

Interested in Work Experience with one of Stonewall Cymru’s Diversity Champions? Email Stonewall Cymru’s workplace team.

Christian tweets at @MrChristianWebb. He is a social action ambassador for Step Up to Serve, a volunteer for Stonewall Cymru, and is a participation champion for Brook, the young people’s sexual health charity.blog1


Leave a comment

The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill

After much anticipation, the Well-being of Future Generations Bill was introduced by the Welsh Government earlier this year. We were told that this Bill will put sustainable development at the heart of public service governance in Wales, and that it will be one of only a few laws of its kind anywhere in the world. It was our role as the Environment and Sustainability Committee to assess whether the Bill will deliver these objectives. As the Bill covers many different policy areas, we heard from a varied range of stakeholders to gather their thoughts on whether the Bill will achieve what they expect from sustainable legislation.

Stage 1 Committee Report

On 28 November 2014, we published our Stage 1 Report on the Bill and made 32 recommendations to the Minister that we believe will strengthen the Bill.

Well-being of future generations (Wales) Bill

Whilst there was unanimous support for the policy intent of the Bill, Committee Members were divided as to whether the general principles of the Bill should be agreed by the Assembly. As a compromise Members agreed to support the general principles of the Bill on the condition that the Minister gives assurances that he will address the key issues outlined in the report.

The key issues include:

  • broadening the sustainable development principle;
  • clarifying and strengthening the wording of the well-being goals;
  • clarifying the application of the Bill, and role of the proposed Future Generations Commissioner, in relation to public bodies; and
  • ensuring there is cross party and stakeholder involvement in the appointment process for the Commissioner.

We believe that the sustainable development principle needs to be amended to reflect the broader issues included in both the One Wales: One Planet and Brundtland definitions of “sustainable development”, particularly climate change, using only our fair share of the earth’s resources, environmental limits and the international impact of what we do in Wales.
We agree that the wording of the well-being goals needs to be clarified, strengthened and amended to reflect the many comments made by stakeholders and the findings of the National Conversation interim report. In particular, that the goals should specifically address key issues such as environmental limits, restoration of biodiversity, international impacts and social justice, and that the language used in the goals should be clear and unambiguous.

We have recommended that amendments be brought forward to make it clear that the provisions of the Bill apply to all functions, activities and decisions of public bodies, and to ensure that the scope of the Commissioner’s role functions extends to all of these functions activities and decisions.

Members agree that there should be cross-party and stakeholder involvement in the process for appointing the Future Generations Commissioner, possibly in the form of an appointment panel making recommendations to the appointing body.

Shortly there will be a Stage 1 debate in Plenary and the Assembly will be asked if it agrees with the general principles of the Bill.

How to get involved and keep up-to date:

 


Leave a comment

Health and Social Care Committee: inquiry into alcohol and substance misuse

The Health and Social Care Committee has launched an inquiry into alcohol and substance misuse in Wales.

What is the Committee’s inquiry about?

The Committee has recently been doing some work on new psychoactive substances (“NPS”) – better known as “legal highs”. It will be publishing a report in the new year setting out its conclusions and its recommendations to the Welsh Government.

During this inquiry, the Committee has been hearing about the effect that NPS can have on people. Members know that alcohol and substance misuse can also have really serious effects on people, and want to build on their current work on NPS by looking into the issues of alcohol and substance misuse in Wales.

As part of the inquiry, Members want to know about:

  • the effect that alcohol and substance misuse has on people in Wales;
  • how well these issues are currently being tackled; and
  • whether the right local services are in place across Wales to help people and make sure that they know about the possible harms.

The Committee’s Chair, David Rees AM, said: “Alcohol and substance misuse can have devastating effects on individuals, their families and their communities. We want to know what it is that makes people use drugs or alcohol, and whether the right national approach and local services are in place to raise awareness and to give people help when they need it”.

How can you tell us what you think?

To inform the inquiry, the Committee wants to hear from people from across Wales.

Sharing your views with the Committee will help Members to make sure that they can take into account how alcohol and substance misuse affects real people in Wales on a daily basis.

There are three ways that you can contribute to the inquiry:

  • write to or email the Committee with your views on the inquiry terms of reference.

All responses must be received by 9 January 2015.

What happens then?

The Committee will then consider all of the written responses it receives, and arrange formal oral evidence sessions with key organisations and the Deputy Minister for Health.

Once it has taken evidence, the Committee will then write and publish a report which makes recommendations to the Welsh Government.

Where can you find out more information?

If you would like more information about the inquiry:

If you or somebody you know has been affected by alcohol or substance misuse, or if you would like more information, you can contact DAN 24/7 for advice. DAN 24/7 is a free and confidential helpline for anyone in Wales wanting further information or help relating to drugs and or alcohol.
Freephone: 0808 808 2234
or text DAN to: 81066
www.dan247.org.uk


Leave a comment

The Environment and Sustainability Committee – Evaluating recycling in Wales

The National Assembly for Wales’s Environment and Sustainability Committee has been looking into recycling in Wales.

Alun Ffred Jones AM, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee, explains:

‘The Committee asked people to write to them and asked certain organisations to come and speak to them in meetings at the Senedd.

Over the summer, the National Assembly for Wales went out and about across all parts of Wales to find out what people think about recycling in their areas.’

This inquiry looked at current local authority household waste recycling practices and arrangements, including the information available to householders and how recycling rates can be improved.
A public consultation was held as part of the Inquiry between 9 May 2014 and 10 June 2014. The Committee received 50 written responses from organisations such as the Wales Audit Office, Zero Waste Wales and WRAP Cymru.

The Committee also heard from over 3,000 people across Wales through a survey that was promoted by the Communications team in presentations and workshops, regional events, schools visits and visits to the Senedd. The most notable finding was that 98% of the general public and 95% of children and young people who filled in our survey said they recycled at home.

recycling

Thank you to all who completed questionnaires and online surveys, shared pictures of recycling in your area, tweeted views on recycling in Wales or responded in a number of other ways. Your input and contribution to the Committee’s work is so important. The Committee is hoping to publish its report on this inquiry before the end of the Autumn term. Keep an eye on the latest developments for this inquiry through the Inquiry into Recycling Storify.  You can also view the YouTube playlist for the Inquiry.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27 other followers