AC(4)2014(2) Paper 4

Date:          29 January 2015

Time:         13:00-14:30

Venue:   Presiding Officer’s office

Author name and contact number:       Claire Clancy, ext 8233

This paper has been prepared for consideration by the National Assembly for Wales Commission. It is confidential and should not be shared more widely. When the Commission meets to consider the paper, Commissioners will determine whether the paper should remain confidential or be published.

Highlight report to the Commission


1.0       Introduction. 3

A.         Strategic Goal – provide outstanding parliamentary support. 3

2.0       Reporting of Proceedings review.. 3

3.0       Machine Translation Project 4

4.0       Members’ use of the Research Service. 4

5.0       Remuneration Board. 5

6.0       Supporting Committees. 5

7.0       Information and Communications Technology. 6

8.0       Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for Members and AMSS. 8

9.0       Engagement and work of the Assembly on EU affairs. 9

B.         Strategic goal – engage with the people of Wales and promote Wales  11

10.0   Women in Public Life. 11

11.0   Hyperlocal Newsday. 12

12.0   Influencing and preparing for constitutional change. 13

13.0   Involving young people in the work of the Assembly. 13

14.0   Outreach activities. 14

15.0   Summer shows. 15

16.0   Public Engagement with Committees. 16

17.0   Siambr Refit/Plenary Business Support Project 17

18.0   Social media. 18

19.0   Media coverage of Assembly business. 18

20.0   Media coverage of Assembly Committees. 19

21.0   Tours of the Senedd. 20

22.0   Promoting Wales Internationally. 21

C.         Strategic goal – use resources wisely. 22

23.0   Information Governance. 22

24.0   Capacity and Workforce Planning. 22

25.0   Apprenticeship Scheme. 22

26.0   Equality and accessibility. 23

27.0   Work on the Assembly Estate - 10 Year Forward Maintenance and Refurbishment Plan  24

28.0   Sustainability initiatives. 26

D.        Financial Update. 28

29.0   2014-15 Financial position. 28

30.0   Budget Update. 28

31.0   Procurement 29

E.         Freedom of Information (FOI) 31

32.0   FOI requests for the period July-December 2014. 31

January 2015





Highlight report to the Commission

1.0           Introduction

1.1           The highlight report outlines work that has recently been undertaken, or is underway, to make progress towards the Commission’s strategic goals.  The report aims to provide Commissioners with useful information so that they can perform their role of oversight and holding management to account.  This report gives an update on key activities and projects since June 2014.

A.         Strategic Goal – provide outstanding parliamentary support

2.0           Reporting of Proceedings review

2.1           A review has been underway to consider how we report proceedings, including the Record of Proceedings (ROP) and the wider question of how people get and use information about what has happened at the Assembly.

2.2           The review is:

a.  exploring and identifying different ways of working and the use of technology to improve efficiency and make best use of resources in this important area of activity; 

b. considering the form that reporting proceedings should take in order to meet the needs of Members and stakeholders; and

c.  assessing the opportunities that are available to use these products in different ways to make the Assembly’s activities more transparent, open and easier to engage with in a digital world. 

2.3           The first part of the review concentrated on making the production of the Record more cost effective and we have been looking closely at the processes involved, including making efficient use of Members’ prepared speaking notes to reduce transcript time.

2.4           Translation and Reporting Service (TRS) staff have trialled different ways of working during the autumn term in order to inform the outcome of the review.  These are now being analysed.

3.0           Machine Translation Project

3.1           Responsibility for the on-going development and promotion of the Microsoft Translator rests with TRS. They are considering ways to ensure that service capacity can meet increasing demands for bilingual services.

4.0           Members’ use of the Research Service 

Making information more interesting

4.1           The Research Service trialled a series of infographics relating to the Welsh Government’s budget this autumn.  The aim was to provide Members, AMSS and the general public with quick and easy to digest representations of the scale of overall changes within Welsh Government spending plans.  Feedback and interest from Members and the public was great.  Our infographic of the Local Government Provisional Settlement had the highest use on the Research Service Twitter feed, in terms of tweets, re-tweets, likes and being mentioned in further tweets. 

Meetings between Research Service and AMSS

4.2           The Research Service has held two ‘Business Improvement Group’ meetings with cross-party AMSS.  The group’s aim is to help us tailor our support to the changing needs of Members and their staff.  The meetings considered our approach to proactive research publications e.g. what types of publications and topics AMSS and Members find useful - and the customer experience of submitting enquires.  Some helpful ideas emerged, such as how we can make it easier for readers to access new publications relevant to them.  As a service, we are finding the meetings really help us to understand how Members, AMSS and party groups use and view our services.


Members’ use of the Research Service

4.3           Assembly Members and their staff are continuing to make excellent use of the Research Service for confidential, individual research enquiries.  For the period July to December 2014, enquiries were received from 53 AMs (88%); 49 (82%) asked at least twice; 46 (77%) asked at least 3 times and 45 (75%) asked at least 4 times – figures which are very similar to the previous period.

5.0           Remuneration Board

5.1           The Remuneration Board is currently considering the full package of remuneration for Members in the Fifth Assembly.  During the summer and autumn, the Board consulted on proposals for pension arrangements, changes to matters relating to the arrangements for AMSS and allowances for Members.  In November, the Board also consulted on proposals for Member salaries in the Fifth Assembly, which provoked significant media and public interest.  The Board will shortly issue a consultation on the Determination for the fifth year of the Fourth Assembly and the Determination for the Fifth Assembly.

5.2           The Board will continue to meet regularly with Members, Party Leaders and AMSS to gather a wide representation of political views on every strand of its remit.  It will also ensure that it gives the public the opportunity to engage with the Board through different methods of communication.

6.0           Supporting Committees

6.1           In November, Commissioners considered progress against the review of committee support. Highlights of the improvements delivered include:

·      more consistent and timely provision of papers;

·      the increasing availability of the papers in English and Welsh;

·      greater breadth and depth of engagement with the people of Wales, especially young people; and

·      delivery of an ongoing programme of professional development for Members.


6.2           There are two key pieces of work underway and due for completion in the next quarter, which will ensure Commission services provide the optimum support for Members over the remainder of the Fourth Assembly.  These are:

·      deploying temporary additional resources to address a heavy legislative scrutiny workload; and

·      holding meetings with individual Members to build up a profile of how they undertake committee work and thus inform service design.

7.0           Information and Communications Technology

Future Services Transition Project

7.1           The Future Services Transition Project was completed on time and under budget in July 2014.  All contract arrangements with Atos have now come to an end, and, with the exception of the shared telephony service, that will end in July 2015, the Assembly and Welsh Government’s ICT networks are now completely separate.  The team worked closely with the Welsh Government to successfully ensure the continuation of Siambr ICT services for Welsh Ministers following network separation.  The contract that provides ICT engineer support for Constituency Offices and homeworkers was awarded to Antur Teifi and started in August.


7.2           Since we took on full control and ownership of our systems, the team has made a significant number of changes to update and rationalise the infrastructure. These include:


·       migrating the backups of our data for the entire estate onto a new system;

·       introducing substantial cost savings;

·       reconfiguring and redistributing storage servers to increase capacity;

·       making the best use of our equipment without having to buy more servers;

·       moving key systems onto newer, more resilient hardware, removing old equipment and reducing maintenance and power costs; and

·       upgrading business critical software to the latest versions.

7.3           In September, the new service was launched.  It allows users to watch, pause and replay live broadcasts on numerous devices, including tablets and smartphones. Users can also select clips of meetings that can then be shared or embedded onto other websites.  The new site automatically takes and updates all meeting information from the Assembly’s Business Management System (ABMS), including, date, time, agenda items and attendees – all of which had to be manually inputted on the old system.


7.4           We have installed a new digital archive for the Assembly’s proceedings, moving away from tape-based recordings to a more resilient and environmentally-friendly method of storage.  The new archive offers full online access to high-quality footage for the Broadcasting Unit staff for the first time, and the host broadcaster can play back footage to broadcast partners at any time, even when the meeting is live.  As a result of implementing the new system, we have been able to restart the BSL interpretation service for First Minister’s Questions, in partnership with S4C and the Wales Council for Deaf People.  This is shown on Tuesday’s ‘Y Dydd yn y Cynulliad’ programme and the new website’s ‘Senedd Extra’ section.


The Assembly Website


7.5           The Assembly’s website was successfully migrated onto a new Sharepoint platform in early September.  Over 120,000 pages and 100,000 documents were moved onto the new platform, which allows the website to be more ‘mobile-friendly’ and offers enhanced searchability functions for users.





7.6           As an early adopter of the new top level internet domain names for Wales, the Assembly became one of the first organisations to take on .wales / .cymru website addresses in early October.  This was followed by the adoption of the new domain addresses for all Assembly e-mails in December.


8.0           Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for Members and AMSS

8.1           Between July and December, a wide range of training and development opportunities have been attended by Members and support staff with 15 new Members participating in some form of CPD activity.  In total, 145 CPD opportunities were taken up by Members during the six month period.

8.2           During the same period a total of 71 new AMSS participated in some form of CPD activity, with a total of 258 CPD opportunities undertaken.  Activities included:

·      Budget briefings for Committees

·      Legislative scrutiny with Committees

·      Mindfulness for Members

·      Media training for Members

·      Scottish Referendum briefing

·      Supreme court judgement

·      Suicide intervention

·      Effective writing

·      Social media

·      Strategic Leadership diploma

·      Effective media relations

·      Speech writing

·      Welsh





9.0           Engagement and work of the Assembly on EU affairs

Examples of activities of Committee of the Regions (CoR) Members and participation of AMs in EU conferences

9.1           The Deputy Presiding Officer David Melding AM visited Brussels for meetings with the Welsh MEPs, EU officials, and other Brussels-based representatives.

9.2           Mick Antoniw AM has been actively involved in the response of the Committee of the Regions to the Ukrainian crisis.  He has been nominated as a new member of the Committee of the Region’s CORLEAP (Eastern European Partnership political forum).

9.3           Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM spoke at a conference on the role of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in supporting territorial investments across the EU.  He also participated in a high level group visit of politicians from the Committee of the Regions to the EIB in Luxembourg in November.  All of this relates to Rhodri Glyn’s work as rapporteur for the Committee of the Regions during 2013 on two reports looking at budget synergies and synergies between public and private finance, including the role of the EIB.

9.4           Both Mick Antoniw AM and Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM also attended a number of Committee of the Regions ‘committee’ meetings and plenary sessions in Brussels during the autumn.

9.5           This January, David Melding AM, will speak at an EU conference at the Chamber of Deputies in the Italian Parliament in Rome.  The conference is looking at the role of National Parliaments in the EU and David will speak about the role of sub-National Parliaments, presenting the Assembly’s experiences with EU affairs and drawing from the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee’s report into Wales’ role in EU decision-making.

EU-related work in Committees and plenary

9.6           A wide range of EU-related work has been addressed by a number of Assembly Committees, and in plenary.  Details can be found in the Winter edition of “Europe matters” which is attached to this Highlight Report as appendix 1.

Proactive EU outputs

9.7           The EU Office and the Research Service have produced a range of pro-active publications to support Members work on EU issues.  These include the EU Weekly Update, Europe Matters, the @SeneddEurope twitter feed, and EU Policy Updates and blogs on InBrief Research blog, including the European Commission’s proposals for a European Strategic Investment Fund, the TTIP negotiations, possible EU support following the closure of the Murco plant in Milford Haven, and the recently adopted regulation on EU invasive alien species.

9.8           The Assembly’s Research Service in collaboration with colleagues from the libraries/research services in the Irish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, the House of Commons and House of Lords, produced an updated paper on the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy reforms adopted in 2013.  This paper has been shortlisted for the CAP 2014 Communication Awards by the European Commission, which takes place in Brussels on 29 January 2015.

9.9           On 26-28 January a delegation of 15 officials from the Assembly, drawn from the Research Service, Legal Service, Committees and Chamber Services, Private Office and Communications, will visit Brussels for an induction/training programme that has been organised and (in most part) financed by the European Commission.


B.         Strategic goal – engage with the people of Wales and promote Wales

10.0        Women in Public Life

10.1        As part of the Women in Public Life campaign the Presiding Officer wrote to Party Leaders asking their parties to consider steps to ensure more women stand for election in 2016.  Following their positive replies, the Presiding Officer invited them to nominate a member representative to be on the Assembly Women in Democracy Caucus.  The Caucus has met several times with the aim to seek and impart best practice, particularly from other parliaments around the world to increase women’s parliamentary representation.  The Caucus report will be published in March 2015.

Official launch of #POWiPL Mentoring and Development scheme

10.2        The Presiding Officer’s Mentoring and Developing Scheme is a programme that supports women who want to take a step into public life.  With women being significantly underrepresented in public life this scheme has an important role to play.  It will help to ensure the effective development and progression of women into roles that often have a direct influence on people’s lives across Wales.

10.3        Chwarae Teg and Cardiff Business School planned the delivery and format of the scheme on behalf of the Assembly which led to its official launch on 9 October 2014.

10.4        Fourteen mentees are now paired up with approved mentors.  They will meet on a regular basis so that the mentees can gain support, encouragement and experience to progress their personal development and confidence over the next 18 months.  Mentees will also have an opportunity to shadow those in senior management roles and public life in a variety of sectors in Wales, such as Assembly Members and Chief Executives of organisations.


Launch of Joint Statement

10.5        The Assembly, Welsh Ministers and Welsh Local Government Association reaffirmed their joint commitment to increasing the number of women in public office in Wales by signing a joint statement in the Senedd on the 25 June 2014.

10.6        All three institutions have undertaken strategic programmes to address the lack of women in public office in Wales.

11.0        Hyperlocal Newsday

11.1        This event, hosted in partnership with Cardiff University’s Centre for Community Journalism, formed part of the Presiding Officer’s on-going campaign to address the democratic deficit caused by the gap in coverage of Welsh political life in the media.

11.2        The event gave hyperlocal and community journalists access to the Senedd to enable them to report the work of the Assembly that is relevant to their locality and audiences.  Press conferences were arranged allowing all four parties the opportunity to address the journalists and to respond to their questions.

11.3        Professor Richard Sambrook, Director of the Centre for Journalism and former Director of Global News at the BBC, acted as news editor on the day offering advice and guidance to the hyperlocal and community journalists.

11.4        The news stories and interviews produced on the day can be viewed at the link below:

11.5        The Assembly is now working with Cardiff University to draft a report outlining the main findings of the day and some of the action that could be taken to support hyperlocal and community journalists in the reporting of the work of the Assembly.  We expect to publish the report early in 2015.


12.0        Influencing and preparing for constitutional change

12.1        The Presiding Officer has continued to promote her three priorities for constitutional change: capacity, sovereignty and reserved powers. She met with the new Secretary of State for Wales for the first time in November, and they agreed to have regular meetings in the future. In addition to this, they have exchanged correspondence on a variety of constitutional issues.

The Presiding Officer (and the four party leaders) gave evidence to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform when the committee held a meeting at the Senedd on 4 December 2014.

13.0        Involving young people in the work of the Assembly

13.1        Since September we have delivered 181 learning sessions, engaging face to face with 5,839 young people including two Question Time events in North Wales.  A table detailing some of the highlights in this area can be found in Annex A.

13.2        Information about how young people are getting increasingly involved in Assembly Business is now promoted on, including twitter and Facebook.

13.3        In October, a qualified youth worker joined the team to develop our youth engagement activities across Wales.  Numerous meetings with organisations and groups working with young people outside the ‘classroom experience’ have taken place.  In December, two workshops were held with the BA Youth and Community Work students at the University of Wales, Trinity St David’s.

13.4        In November, a national conversation on lowering the voting age to 16 was launched by the Presiding Officer.  This consultation will run until 2 June 2015, after which we will analyse the results and present them for discussion at a Youth Day event in the Senedd in July.


14.0        Outreach activities

14.1        Between July and December the Communications team has worked with the following groups and organisations, delivering workshops to raise awareness and share information about the Assembly and its work:

Communities First groups




Disability forums


Women Making a Difference




Age Cymru


Pop Up Talent


Disability access groups




The Scouts


Kim Inspire


The Stroke Association



All Wales Participation Network


Youth Forum network


Principle Youth Workers Group


TAG - University of Wales network of BA/MA Youth Work


Agored Cymru


Children in Wales


Youth Cymru



ISSA Wales- New leaf programme working with Muslim and BME ex- offenders


Foundation for Refugee Education (Fred) ltd


Girl Guiding



Paul Glaze from CWVYS


Jason Nancurvis from Working on Wheels




Royal Welsh Agricultural Society


National Eisteddfod


National Theatre Wales


Wales Governance Centre


Hansard Society


Swansea University


Sports Wales

Welsh Government


15.0        Summer shows

15.1        In 2014 we visited 12 national and regional shows across Wales and spoke to nearly 10,000 members of the public.  We particularly developed our offering at the National Eisteddfod and the Royal Welsh show where we secured more prominent, permanent structures, and continued our sponsorship of the Societies Pavilion at the National Eisteddfod.

15.2        We have also worked with partners to deliver the following programme of events that raised awareness of Assembly business and various initiatives.

Royal Welsh Show

15.3        At the Royal Welsh show we worked with the Environment and Sustainability Committee to deliver a reception for the Committee’s stakeholders to launch the Future Generations Bill consultation.

National Eisteddfod

15.4        In partnership with the National Library for Wales, we delivered the event - One hundred years since the beginning of the First World War – Remembering, learning, understanding, and grieving.  We used this event as a platform from which to launch our commemorative programme to mark the centenary since the start of the First World War.

15.5        Women in the Arts–a panel discussion event that discussed the role of Women in senior positions within the arts sector.

15.6        In partnership with the Wales Governance Centre we delivered the event – Wrexham prison – good idea?  This event discussed the pros and cons of the proposed super prison in Wrexham.

15.7        In partnership with the Welsh Government, S4C, the Welsh Association on translators, we delivered the event – The Welsh language in a digital age- which discussed the future of the Welsh language in the developing technological landscape.

15.8        Other major events held during this period can be found in Annex B.

16.0        Public Engagement with Committees

16.1        A number of public engagement activities have supported committee work aimed at getting a broader range of people involved in Assembly business.  Examples include:

·      Creating, promoting and summarising a survey on Recycling as part of the Environment and Sustainability Committee’s inquiry.  We heard from 3,252 people, including 2,377 children and young people.

·      Members of the Health and Social Care Committee visited projects such as the Wrexham Warehouse Project, Dan 24/7 in North Wales, DrugAid and Forsythia Youth Club in Merthyr as part of the committee’s inquiry into New Psychoactive Substances.  These visits were followed by events with frontline staff in Wrexham and Merthyr Tydfil.

·      A survey over the summer asked for young people’s opinions about the curriculum and qualifications.  Over 1,000 young people took part.  The data was used as part of the Enterprise and Business Committee’s Inquiry into Assisting Young People into Work.  The data was also sent to Professor Donaldson by the Children Young People and Education Committee to inform the Welsh Government’s Reviews of Assessment and Curriculum.

Professor Donaldson said: “I am very grateful to the committee for bringing this to my attention and for sharing with me the findings of your recent survey. It will certainly be of great interest to me as I formulate my recommendations for the Minister for Education and Skills”.

The team also filmed young people from different parts of Wales for the inquiry.  These videos were edited together into a video package which was shown to the Committee in a public committee meeting ahead of a scrutiny session with the Deputy Minister.

·      We arranged an event for the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee as part of their inquiry into Making Laws in the Fourth Assembly.  This was the first time that a committee event was CPD accredited, meaning that those in attendance were not only able to contribute to the inquiry by taking part in group discussions with Members, but also received CPD points for participating.

·      As part of the Communities, Equalities and Local Government (CELG) committee inquiry in to Poverty, sessions were arranged across Wales where Members were able to visit projects such as Remploy, RNIB and the Oasis project to discuss issues with service users.

17.0        Siambr Refit/Plenary Business Support Project

17.1        The solution that the Commission approved includes a revised desk layout, fixed refreshed IT and development of software in-house to replace the existing software in the Siambr.

17.2        A full sized desk mock-up was produced to allow Members to see the proposed desk design and give feedback.  There was a lot of constructive feedback which has now been used to refine the desk design so that it meets the needs of the Members.

17.3        Progress has also been made to design and build the software which will be used during Plenary.  Requirements gathering and test builds of the software have been progressing well and work will continue through the year.  We will be consulting Members on the software in the early part of 2015.

18.0        Social media

18.1        We have seen some significant milestones achieved during this period.  Over 60,000 users have now watched a piece of video content on our YouTube channel since 2009, while more Twitter accounts have been launched to promote specific pieces of work at the Assembly, the latest being @SeneddOutreach/@SeneddAllgym.  Further information is in Annex C.

19.0        Media coverage of Assembly business

19.1        The media relations focus has been on several key strategic projects since July which have attracted good media coverage:

Engagement with Young people

19.2        There was wide media coverage of the launch of Youth Charter in July including essay pieces by the Presiding Officer in Western Mail and Daily Post.

19.3        This was followed up in November with wide-ranging coverage of the launch of the Votes@ 16 conversation, including interviews with the Presiding Officer on BBC Wales, ITV Wales and Heart Radio.  The Western Mail and Daily Post again ran essay pieces from the Presiding Officer as well as coverage across smaller weekly titles including Golwg.

Constitutional Change

19.4        A key focus for the media team has been raising the media profile of the Presiding Officer’s position in the on-going debate about future constitutional arrangements.  This has included essay work across many platforms including the Western Mail, Daily Post and the IWA’s Clic on Wales.  This included work during the lead-up to the Scottish referendum and the debate that has followed.

19.5        The Presiding Officer’s core messages of increased capacity, sovereignty and reserved powers have been promoted at every possible opportunity during the on-going debate about Britain’s constitutional future.  For example, we issued a statement from the Presiding Officer following the publication of the Smith Commission report and those core messages have formed a central part of the media coverage across a range of Welsh media, and further afield including an interview on the state broadcaster in Iceland.

19.6        Extensive coverage was also given to: the World War 1 commemorations on the Assembly’s estate as well as the Presiding Officer’s visit to Flanders; the Assembly’s emission’s targets; and the Commonwealth Games homecoming.

20.0        Media coverage of Assembly Committees

20.1        Assembly committees have attracted good media coverage, with considerable attention paid to a number of reports. Examples were:





The presentation of a petition to the Petitions Committee calling for the Welsh Government not to proceed with the proposed ban on the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

Western Mail and South Wales Argus


The Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee inquiry into how the Bill on holiday caravan parks could damage the caravan industry in Wales.

South Wales Argus, North Wales Pioneer, North Wales Chronicle, Rhyl Journal, Denbighshire Free Press and News North Wales


The Children and Young People Committee report on Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) in Wales

BBC Wales News, ITV Wales News, S4C Newyddion and in Walesonline and South Wales Echo


The Enterprise and Business Committee report on inward investment performance in Wales

BBC Wales News, S4C Newyddion and BBC Wales Sunday Politics programme


21.0        Tours of the Senedd

21.1        Pre-booked tours of the Senedd continue to be very popular as the graphs below show (figures for 2014/2015 are for 8 months).  The feedback received is very positive and shows that groups leave with a much better understanding of the Assembly, the way it works and the current topics under consultation.

22.0        Promoting Wales Internationally

22.1        Annex D lists the main international events and visits, including diplomatic visits.

C.       Strategic goal – use resources wisely

23.0        Information Governance

23.1        An internal audit report in June recorded a satisfactory rating and noted significant progress having been made on raising awareness, across the Assembly, of the importance and responsibility for effective information governance.

23.2        A simplified protective marking scheme has been introduced; work continues to strengthen the information asset register process as a tool for managing information; and a self-assessment exercise has been undertaken by the Information Asset Owners.

23.3        The Information Governance Manager has delivered a number of awareness sessions in constituency offices to assist AMSS in relation to data protection and information management and these will continue to be offered over the coming year.  Assembly Members are being assisted with data protection queries and a new data protection guidance document will be released early in 2015.  Finally, a simple, easy-to-use information governance policy framework, will also be introduced early in 2015.

24.0        Capacity and Workforce Planning

24.1        Management Board has implemented a revised approach to Capacity Planning in order to improve our ability to deliver our corporate priorities, whilst at the same time managing effectively our finite resource pool.

25.0        Apprenticeship Scheme

25.1        The National Assembly for Wales Apprenticeship Program has been running for two years.  Four Apprentices were recruited in the first year and another six Apprentices were recruited for 2013-14.  The Apprentices are employed in various teams across the Assembly including our North Wales office.

25.2        In October 2014 the Assembly was shortlisted as finalists in the annual prestigious Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.  The awards recognise employers who commit to developing their workforce through apprenticeships.

25.3        Whilst we did not win the award, we were delighted to be nominated and will use the learning to help improve future Apprenticeship schemes.  Our experience is helping us to develop an apprenticeship programme for Members, which is due to launch in time for the Fifth Assembly.

26.0        Equality and accessibility

External Recognition

26.1        The Assembly has received the National Autistic Society Access Award, which demonstrates our commitments to being an accessible venue for visitors on the autism spectrum.

26.2        We were also shortlisted for Diverse Cymru’s Excellence in Equality Award for the Equality Impact Assessment work done by the Remuneration Board.

Events and Activities

26.3        In June we raised awareness of different equality issues and promoted the support available to staff during an Equality and Diversity Week.  Guest speakers included the Welsh Refugee Council, who discussed the realities of being a refugee in Wales, and the South Wales Police who discussed building trust and working with different communities.

26.4        In September BSL interpretation of FMQs was re-established.  A BSL version of FMQs is now available to viewers later the same day on S4C and is archived on our YouTube channel.

26.5        In October our Black Minority Ethnic (BME) staff network and the Welsh Government’s Minority Ethnic Staff Network (MESN) held a joint event to celebrate Black History Month.  The event focused on celebrating and showcasing the contribution of BME staff within the Welsh Government and the National Assembly.

26.6        To raise awareness of anti-bullying week (17-21 Nov 2014), contractors, Commission Staff, 18 Assembly Members and the Management Board took part in the Hear it. Stop it. Don’t be a Bystander Campaign by signing a pledge to commit to challenging bullying behaviour and language.

Supporting our Black Minority Ethnic (BME) staff and

Increasing BME representation in the workforce

26.7        To increase awareness, create a better understanding of the work of the Assembly and promote the Assembly as an employer of choice, our BME Action Plan Co-ordinator has attended job fairs and recruitment events, provided targeted coaching and support to potential BME job applicants, networked with over 20 diverse organisations and participated in community events like the Mela and the Black History Month Finale.

26.8        We are piloting the Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) toolkit.  The Equality Team have shared the EIA toolkit and guidance with colleagues across the organisation, ensuring that EIA’s are embedded in all policy and project development.

26.9        In August our Internal Auditor did an Equality Audit looking at the adequacy and effectiveness of the Assembly’s arrangements for equality and diversity. The audit identified a number of areas in which the Assembly is displaying good practice and some areas for improvement; overall it gave us a satisfactory grading.

27.0        Work on the Assembly Estate - 10 Year Forward Maintenance and Refurbishment Plan

27.1        As identified in the Assembly Commission Strategy for 2014-2016, we have developed a long term (rolling) prioritised investment programme for the estate, endorsed by the Investment and Resources Board.  The plan will enable the Commission to ensure that our estate remains fit for purpose, reflects the Assembly’s position nationally and internationally and positions the Senedd and the Pierhead at the heart of Welsh public life.  The following projects have been completed over the past six months in the Tŷ Hywel buildings:

Toilet Refurbishments

27.2        Recognising that the Tŷ Hywel toilets have not been refurbished since the construction of the building in 1992, we have completed refurbishments including plumbing and pipework improvements.  The refurbishments also ensured the inclusion of sustainable improvements including LED lighting, waterless urinals, sensor flushes, taps and soap dispensers.  Further enhancements included increasing the size of cubicles where space allowed this.  Considerable positive feedback has been received for these improvements to our facilities.

Stairwell Refurbishment

27.3        The stairwells had also not been refurbished since the buildings construction so have been redecorated, re-carpeted and fitted with low energy LED lighting to support our sustainability objectives.

Tea point refurbishment

27.4        The tea point refurbishments were completed in Assembly Member office areas over the summer recess to minimise disruption and this has been positively received by Members and their staff.

New furniture for the Members’ Tea Room

27.5        Responding to feedback from Commissioners and Members, additional tables and seating were provided in the Members’ Tea Room over the summer recess, to provide more table seating space in the Tea Room section for Members wishing to purchase food from the main restaurant hot counter.  During the summer we also took the opportunity to replace the stained and damaged flooring.  These additional facilities have been positively received by Members and are very well used.

Event space in the Milling Area

27.6        Following feedback from Commissioners about the availability of event space during times of peak demand, a glass screen and glass doors have been installed to the Milling area adjacent to the TŷHywel reception.  We hope that Members will welcome the additional space this will provide for Member sponsored events.


27.7        With the support of the in-house Post Office, a cashpoint was installed on the first floor corridor in September.  The cashpoint has proved to be a very valuable and well used additional facility.  However, we hope that Members and staff will continue to value and use the services of the Post Office on the Ground Floor, which are available from 10.30am to 1.30pm Tuesday to Thursday during session.

28.0        Sustainability initiatives

Public Sector Sustainability Award

28.1        In November the Assembly won the Most Sustainable Public Sector Organisation in Government at the Annual Public Sector Sustainability Awards ceremony. The award was given in recognition of an “impressive and important achievement” in contributing towards lowering the carbon emissions of the public sector.  Some of the highlights recognised by the award are that the Assembly:

·      has so far achieved a 37% reduction in energy emissions since 2008/09, against a 40% target;

·      is in the process of assessing the feasibility of joining a proposed Cardiff district heating network using energy from waste as the primary fuel;

·      will shortly be upgrading the existing Building Management System, providing further opportunities to optimise the efficiency of plant and use of energy;

·      has increased its recycle rate from 68% to 96% since 2010/11; and

·      has achieved a reduction of 50% in waste CO2e emissions over the same period.


28.2        The Commission has approved an energy reduction route map to reduce energy emissions by a further 30% by 2021 compared to 2012/13 levels.


D.        Financial Update

29.0        2014-15 Financial position

29.1        The Commission’s key financial performance indicators are to deliver a year end outturn underspend of 1% or less than the Budget, to achieve £500k of Value for Money savings and to pay invoices and expense claims within 10 days. We remain on target for each of these indicators. 

29.2        Specifically, at the end of December 2014, the Commission is forecasting the year end position to be £200k (0.4%) underspent; the total Value for Money savings identified at the end of December is £542k including procurement action delivering £61k or 11%; and over the last quarter we have averaged 3.6 days to pay invoices and expense claims. 

29.3        We have several projects being managed across this financial year and the next.  There is, therefore, a risk that changes to projects’ work programmes could affect the financial year end position.  The Investment and Resourcing Board recently reviewed the financial contingency plans to manage this risk.  The Board remains satisfied that the plans provide enough flexibility to absorb potential changes between now and the year end.

29.4        The Wales Audit Office are undertaking their interim audit in January in readiness for the year end.

29.5        The Commission will be laying a 2014-15 Supplementary Budget to increase the amounts for Annually Managed Expenditure (AME) and the income we can retain, so that both are in line with current forecasts.

30.0        Budget Update

30.1        In October, the 2015-16 Budget Building on Investment and Change was scrutinised by the Finance Committee before being debated and approved by Plenary on 19 November.

30.2        The total operational budget for 2015-16 is £50.9 million, which delivers a 1% real terms cut to the Commission when compared with 2014-15 Budget.  In 2015-16, the financial impact of bringing ICT contracted-out services in house will be felt; this change placed ICT costs within our control and will release £800k for investment in ICT service improvements and enhancements.

30.3        The proposed 2015-16 investment programme will include:

·      updating of the ICT infrastructure, notably as we push forward with consolidating the ICT service in-house as well as a Siambr refit;

·      progressing the Commission’s aspirations to become a truly bilingual organisation;

·      sustainability work to reduce our environmental impact;

·      outward engagement, including youth engagement;

·      enhancing the Commission’s information management systems; and

·      continuing our investment in the Assembly estate.

30.4        Work has now started on drafting the 2016-17 Budget Strategy in readiness for Commission discussions later in the year.

31.0        Procurement

31.1        The procurement team’s work supporting the Future ICT Services Programme has concluded.  However, they continue to work closely with ICT to support two significant procurements –a new telephony solution and the re-tender of the broadcasting contract.

31.2        The team has developed new contract management procedures and is rolling these out to all staff who manage contracts.

31.3        Contract opportunities continue to be promoted where practicable to local SMEs.  At present, 71% of our contracts by number (above £25k in value) are with local SMEs.  A recent success in this area is the contract for ICT Field Engineers, which was previously provided by Atos, was awarded to Antur Teifi - an SME from Carmarthen.

Key performance measures



Procurement savings 





E.          Freedom of Information (FOI)

32.0        FOI requests for the period July-December 2014

32.1        A list of information disclosed since the last report under the Freedom of Information Act is attached at Annex E.  This has been categorised to indicate the subject matter of FOI requests in the period.  The list also includes details of information withheld due to FOI exemptions, those that have been partially released and those where no information is held.

32.2        The chart below shows the 21 requests as they have been categorised.  There were no time and cost exemptions applied.

FOI requests by category (July-December 2014)



Annex A

Involving young people in the work of the Assembly

Health and Social Care Committee

Promoted the Legal Highs inquiry with schools and college groups, including online via the ‘yourassembly’ site.

Environment and Sustainability

Recycling Inquiry when over 2,783 young people responded to our survey.

Scrutiny of the First Minister

Every group of young people who met in the period leading up to the October meeting, were given the opportunity to suggest questions for Members to ask the First Minister during a scrutiny session on constitutional affairs.

Enterprise and Business

Collected evidence from young people to feed into the Enterprise and Business’ committee Assisting Young People into Work inquiry. 2,008 total number of young people engaged with.  

Informed groups about the STEM skills inquiry in Wales

Children and Young People

Online promotion of how young people contributed to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health inquiry. Promoted report online.

Curriculum Assessment and Qualifications scoping questionnaire (1, 087)

Private Member Bill

Financial Literacy and Inclusion Bill survey ( 623)




Annex B

Other major events held June –December 2014

Commonwealth Homecoming events


A public event on the Senedd steps followed by a private reception to congratulate the Welsh commonwealth team on their successes during Glasgow 2014.


Scottish Referendum Events


A conference delivered in partnership with the Wales Governance Centre that outlined the impact the Scottish Referendum event will have on Wales.


.Cymru/.Wales domain name change

An event delivered in partnership with Nominet to officially launch the .Cymru/.Wales domain name.

November 11  WW1 Commemorative programme

Remembrance Day 2014 marked the first in the Assembly’s annual series of events to commemorate those that lost their lives during the First World War.  In 2014 we hosted the following events that acted as the Assembly’s official commemoration for the First World War centenary:

·         Launch of the Wales for Peace programme in collaboration with CEWC Cymru.

·         An event for the British Transport Police to commemorate those that lost their lives during the First World War.

·         Two minute silence.

·         A debate for young people in Siambr Hywel.

·         A lecture by the Head of International Politics at Aberystwyth University. 



Annex C

Social Media in figures



Social Media

Outreach Team are the latest to launch on Twitter bringing the Assembly's total number of channels on social media to 57 across 6 platforms.


Achieved 60,000 views on YouTube since 2009.  43% coming from 2014 alone.

Corporate Twitter

5555th tweet posted on @AssemblyWales.  First tweet posted in April 2009.

Rebranding of Twitter accounts

All Committee and Service area Twitter accounts are now prefixed 'Senedd'.


Environment and Sustainability Committee trialling devolved analytics whereby all recording of monthly statistical activity is recorded by the channel user.


AM Remuneration Board Twitter account created to launch consultation on AM pay and benefits.  The Outreach Team have their first dedicated channel on social media which has diverse content such as images, videos and questionnaires.  Tweeted a WW1 Welsh related fact every day in November in the lead up to Armistice Day.


Most ever views for the 'InBrief' blog due to increased promotion on social media.


#1000Plenary - to celebrate the historic 1000th Plenary last week, we contacted all the Parliaments in the UK along with the Welsh Government and other organisations to advise them of the event and the hashtag #1000Plenary.  In less than 24 hours, the reach of the hashtag was over 405,000 making it the Assembly’s most successful online campaign in a small timescale.


Storify is being used more widely across the Assembly as a tool to inform the public of the work we are undertaking.  It is a great way to collate the information of a specific piece of work which can then be promoted on social media.

Annex D

International events and visits, including diplomatic visits

May – December 2014



20 May

The Presiding Officer welcomed Noel A. Kinsella, Speaker of the Canadian Senate.

20 June

Commissioner Peter Black AM represented the Presiding Officer, and gave a presentation of the Assembly’s work at the CALRE Working Group on e-democracy in Seville.

16-17 August

The Presiding Officer and the Assembly’s Party Leaders visited Flanders to attend the Service of Dedication of the New Welsh National Memorial in Pilckem Ridge, Langemark where the Presiding Officer laid a wreath on behalf of the Assembly.

17-20 September

The Presiding Officer led a delegation including Eluned Parrott AM and Antoinette Sandbach AM to Iceland.The visit was as part of the Presiding Officer’s Assembly Women in Democracy Caucus programme, and included a series of meetings to learn why Iceland is consistently ranked so highly for its gender equality in parliament as well as in wider society.

16-18 October

The Presiding Officer and Assembly Commissioners visited Flanders as part of an official WW1 commemoration programme, organised by the Flemish parliament.

19-21 October

The Deputy Presiding Officer led a cross party delegation to represent the Assembly at the 49th Plenary Conference in Ashford and Flanders.  During the visit to Flanders the DPO laid wreaths on behalf of the Assembly at the Welsh Memorial in Langemark and at the Menin Gates, Ypres.

25 October – 1 November

The Presiding Officer led a delegation, accompanied by Commissioners Sandy Mewies AM, Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM and Peter Black AM on the Assembly’s first official visit to Canada.  The visit programme included meetings at the Federal parliament in Ottawa, as well as a visit to the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick. A final copy of the report has been seen by Commissioners and is available bilingually.

27 October

The Deputy Presiding Officer welcomed the President of Ireland to the Assembly during his two day visit to Wales, as part of celebrations to mark the centenary of the birth of Dylan Thomas.

5-8 November

The Presiding Officer attended the CALRE General Assembly meeting in Santiago de Compostela (Spain).  During the meeting the Presiding Officer committed to establish and Chair the Gender Equality Working Group in 2015.


Diplomatic visits

The Presiding Officers also hosted the following diplomatic visits to the Assembly:

·      8 May – HE Mr Ranjan Mathai, Indian High Commissioner to the UK

·      14 May – HE Mr Diego Gomez-Pickering, Mexican Ambassador to the UK


·      15 May – HE Mr Konstantinos Bikas,Greek Ambassador*to the UK

·      20 June – HE Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, Jamaican High Commissioner to the UK

·      26 June – HE Dr Peter Ammon, German Ambassador to the UK

·      16 October – HE Mr Pasquale Terracciano,  Italian  Ambassador* to the UK

·      12 November – HE Dr Ivan Grdešić, Croatian Ambassador to the UK


·      19 November - HE Mr Peter Szabadhegy, Hungarian Ambassador to the UK


·      19 November – HE Dr John Freeman British Ambassador to Argentina

* These diplomatic visits took place as part of wider programmes which included meetings with Assembly Committee Chairs to discuss their countries priorities whilst holding the Presidency of the EU Council.



July - December 2014

21 requests for information were received during the period July 2014 – December 2014.  The categories are indicative of the nature of the request.

1.  Information released following access to information requests

Assembly Commission

·         Use of Electoral posters in Tŷ Hywel and the Senedd.

·         Copy of the BME action plan.

·         New microphones in the Siambr.

Assembly Commission & Members

·         Breakdown of 30 most visited websites.


·         Flag flying protocol.

2.  Information Withheld

Assembly Members

·         Assembly Member’s salary increase.  Relied on section 36 (Effective conduct of public affairs).

Committees and Legislation

·         Evidence submitted relating to the River Lodge Hotel, Llangollen.  Relied on section 36 (Effective conduct of public affairs).


3.  Partial Release of information but some information not held or withheld

Committees and Legislation

·         Cross party group meeting.  Relied on section 22 (Future Publication).

Assembly Members

·         Chauffeur driven cars.  Relied on section 40 (Personal Data).

Assembly Commission

·         Broadcasting contract information.  Relied on section 43 (Commercial Interest).


4.  No information held

Assembly Members

·         Individual voting records.  Information not held.

·         Attendance record.  Information not held.


·         Security procedures when entering the Senedd and Tŷ Hywel (received twice). Information not held.

Committees and Legislation

·         Local Land Charges Searches in Wales.  Information not held.

·         OECD review of health care.  Information not held.

·         Value for Money on learning and skills.  Information not held.

·         Value for Money on Welsh medium education (received 4 times).  Information not held.