- Assembly Commission
- This article is about the National Assembly for Wales Commission, for the Northern Irish equivalent see Northern Ireland Assembly Commission.
The National Assembly for Wales Commission (usually referred to in Wales as the Assembly Commission) is the corporate body for the National Assembly for Wales. The Commission is responsible for ensuring the property, staff and services are provided for the Assembly. The Assembly Commission consists of the Presiding Officer and four Members from different Political parties, who each have different portfolios of work. The Commission is supported by staff in the Commission and Assembly Support Service.
Role of the Commission
The Government of Wales Act 2006 provides the National Assembly for Wales with significant new powers to legislate, and strengthens its scrutiny role. It also creates a legally separate Welsh Government and a Corporate Body, known as the National Assembly for Wales Commission (Assembly Commission) which has responsibility for the provision of property, staff and services to support the Assembly Members. The Commission consists of the Presiding Officer and four other Members nominated by the main political parties. The staff of the Commission are employees of the Commission and are headed by the Chief Executive and Clerk to the Assembly.
The Commission's duty under the Government of Wales Act 2006 is to provide the “property, staff and services required for the Assembly's purposes”. In practice, this means that it is the Commission's responsibility to: - acquire, hold or dispose of any property on behalf of the Assembly; - make arrangements to pay Members and provide their pensions and allowances and to employ Assembly staff; and - act in an appropriate and necessary way to provide the services required for the Assembly to do its work.
Schedule 2 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 allows the Commission to promote public awareness of the current or future electoral system for the Assembly. It also empowers the Commission to promote public awareness of the current or any pending system of devolved government in Wales. The Act allows this to take place via the use of education or information programmes and by making grants available to other bodies or persons to carry out such programmes.
After each financial year, the Assembly Commission must publish an annual report. This report must outline how the Commission has fulfilled its role and exercised its functions during the financial year, and must be laid before the Assembly. The Commission is also required to produce annual accounts for audit by the Auditor General for Wales.
The Assembly Commission
The National Assembly Commission consists of the Llywydd, plus four other Assembly Members, one nominated by each of the four party groups represented by the Assembly. The Commissioners are Sandy Mewies AM, Angela Burns AM, Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM and Peter Black AM.
The role of the Commission is to set strategic aims and objectives and consider performance, agree standards and values, oversee change, encourage innovation and enterprise for the National Assembly.
To help achieve these aims, the Commissioners have special responsibility for certain aspects of the Assembly’s work. This allows a great deal of work to take place outside of formal Commission meetings and positive working relationships to be developed with staff.
Their role is to ensure that the Assembly has enough resources (both in terms of staff and infrastructure) to work effectively. The Commissioners are also responsible for overseeing Assembly Members’ pay and allowances.
The Assembly Commission has further responsibilities to promote public awareness of the devolved government in Wales as well as the current and future electoral system.
The Commissioners for the Fourth Assembly are as follows:
The Presiding Officer, Rosemary Butler AM (Welsh Labour)
Sandy Mewies AM (Welsh Labour)
Angela Burns AM (Welsh Conservatives)
Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM (Plaid Cymru)
Peter Black AM (Welsh Liberal Democrats)
Commission for the Fourth Assembly
Name Picture Entered office Left office Political party Other Rosemary Butler AM May, 2011 Labour Chair (as Presiding Officer of the Fourth Assembly) Sandy Mewies AM May, 2011 Labour Fourth Assembly Angela Burns AM May, 2011 Conservative Party Fourth Assembly Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM May, 2011 Plaid Cymru Fourth Assembly Peter Black AM June 9, 2007 Liberal Democrats Fourth Assembly
Third Assembly Commission
The portfolios that each commissioner had from the Third Assembly are detailed below:
The Llywydd Dafydd Elis-Thomas had special responsibility for encouraging the people of Wales to engage in the democratic process, encouraging effective leadership within the Assembly, developing the future legislative powers of the Assembly and promoting effective engagement with external stakeholders.
Chris Franks AM (Commissioner for the Improving Assembly) had responsibility for the continuous improvement of services to Assembly Members and the people of Wales, as well as strategic planning and ensuring the Assembly delivers value for money. He also worked with National Assembly staff to involve stakeholders in the democratic process.
William Graham (Welsh politician) AM (Commissioner for Assembly Resources) covered the management of National Assembly assets and staff (including employees, contractors and services provided to support Assembly Members’ support staff). He was also responsible for overseeing Assembly Members’ salaries and allowances as well as ensuring the Assembly conformed to the principles of efficiency and good governance.
Peter Black (Welsh politician) AM (Commissioner for the Assembly and the Citizen) was responsible for ensuring the Assembly is effective when it undertakes its core roles of holding the Welsh government to account and making laws for Wales. In addition, he oversaw effective external communication initiatives, which included educating people about the Assembly’s role, the provision of effective information and communication technology for the Assembly and lawfulness.
Lorraine Barrett AM (Commissioner for the Sustainable Assembly) had responsibility for ensuring the National Assembly conformed to and exceeded its policies on equality and accessibility. She also had special responsibility for ensuring the National Assembly and its buildings conform to principles of sustainability.
The Government of Wales Act 2006 maintains that membership of the Assembly Commission will include the Presiding Officer and four other Assembly Members. Standing Order 3.3 sets out the arrangement for the appointment of the four other Assembly Members, and states that there will not be more than one member (other than the Presiding Officer) from the same political group.
List of Assembly Commissioners
Name Picture Entered office Left office Political party Other Dafydd Elis Thomas AM July 9, 2007 Plaid Cymru Chair (as Presiding Officer of the Third Assembly) William Graham AM June 9, 2007 Conservative Party Third Assembly Lorraine Barrett AM June 9, 2007 Labour Third Assembly Peter Black AM June 9, 2007 Liberal Democrats Third Assembly Elin Jones AM June 9, 2007 September 18, 2007 Plaid Cymru Third Assembly (became a Government Minister) Chris Franks AM September 18, 2007 Plaid Cymru Third Assembly
A number of documents were approved by the Shadow Commission with the intention that they should be implemented as soon as is possible after the establishment of the Assembly Commission following the May 2007 elections.
The policies, which are currently under development, are:
- Statement of Practices and Procedures for the Assembly Commission
- Equality of Opportunity
- Sustainable Development Policy
- Health and Safety Policy
- Welsh Language Scheme
- Corporate Governance Framework
- Financial Standards
- Staff Code of Conduct
- Public Interest Disclosure Policy
- Records Management policy
- Freedom of Information Publication Scheme
- Procurement Policy
- Risk Management Strategy
- IT Security Policy
- Business Continuity Plan
Chief Executive and Clerk to the Assembly
Claire took up post as Chief Executive and Clerk of the National Assembly in February 2007. The post was created to reflect the growing powers of the Assembly following the Government of Wales Act 2006. From May 2007, the Chief Executive and Clerk will lead an organisation independent of the Welsh Assembly Government. She is responsible for ensuring that the Assembly is provided with the property, staff and services that it requires and to help develop an Assembly that inspires confidence and has a reputation within Wales and beyond for accessible and efficient democracy.
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