Bi Visibility Day Friday 23 September

Mia Rees, Bisexuality lead of the Assembly's LGBT workplace network
Mia Rees, Bisexuality lead

This week it has been great to see so much support for Bi Visibility day. Both Welsh and UK Government Ministers have tweeted their support of the bisexual community and at the Liberal Democrat conference Brighton there was even a bi visibility flash mob!

The National Assembly for Wales came third in Stonewall’s Work Place Equality Index and I am proud to work in an organisation where diversity is valued, respected and welcomed.

We all know that people perform better when they can be themselves and being able to work in a supportive environment is important to all of us.

After the election I sent out an e-mail to all the AMs and Support Staff who work for the Welsh Conservative Group asking if they would be interested in being Allies of the Assembly’s OUT-NAW LGBT Network. The response was great and I was so pleased to see members from my own party supporting their colleagues.

We now have 140 Allies at the Assembly which illustrates the strong commitment people who work here have to creating an inclusive working environment.

However, I have not always been able to be open about my sexuality and have become used to being told that as a bisexual woman I am greedy, just seeking attention from men or plain confused.

I am none of the above.

Bisexuals make up the biggest proportion of the LGBT community but we are often dismissed and misrepresented.

Simply put, Bisexuals have an emotional and/or sexual orientation towards more than one gender. That’s it.

We want to work hard, get on in life and be able to be with the person we love.

I know that my sexuality does not affect my work and therefore it should not affect the way that my colleagues view me at work.

Bi Visibility day is the perfect excuse to have a conversation and remember that we are all just trying to do our jobs to the best of our ability and although I am bisexual and it is part of who I am it doesn’t define me or the work I can do.

If you have any questions about bisexuality or if you are having issues with your sexuality effecting the way others view you at work please don’t hesitate to contact me or any of the OUT-NAW team – we are here to support you.

Mia Rees (Mia.Rees@Assembly.Wales)

Lead for Bi issues

logo for OUT NAW the Assembly's LGBT workplace network

Leaving the European Union: Implications for Wales – International Law and Trade

Leaving the European Union: Implications for Wales – International Law and Trade

Following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, the National Assembly for Wales is examining the implications for Wales.

The External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee has been tasked to ensure that the interests of Wales and its people are protected during the process of withdrawal. It is also responsible for making sure that the interests of Wales and its people are represented in any new relationship with the European Union, and with the countries that make up the United Kingdom.

 

Every week over the coming months, the Committee will be hosting a series of seminars focusing on different issues and inviting experts to share their knowledge and ideas, and help Members of the Committee understand how Wales will be affected by the referendum decision. You can follow the discussions on Twitter and Facebook using #BrexitinWales.

Once they have gathered this expertise and knowledge they will need the help of the people of Wales – to ask what their views and priorities are about our future outside of the European Union and what interests are most important to safeguard.

The first seminar took place on 19 September 2016 and focused on International Law and Trade.  You can watch the full session on SeneddTV.

International Law

What is International Law?

International law is the term used to describe the rules that govern relationships between nation-states on the world stage. They’ve grown up by custom and practice, or have been agreed between different countries. Some rules are regarded as binding all countries (e.g. some the rules on genocide), others only bind the countries that have agreed to them in treaties.

There are a number of international courts and tribunals which decide disputes between countries, including the International Court of Justice, which has the widest remit, and of course the Court of Justice of the European Union. But there is no police force or bailiffs similar enforcing court judgments at the international level.

Countries have an incentive to obey international law because they want other nations to comply with it towards them. Sometimes, however, countries breach international law because they feel there is a greater advantage to them in doing so than in obeying. When that happens, other countries have a range of legal and political options to try to persuade or “punish” the wrongdoer, including trade sanctions and even the use of force. The EU system for dealing with breaches by one member country is probably the most highly-developed in the world.

International Trade

As a member of the European Union, the United Kingdom is currently part of the European Single Market. The Single Market is a customs union. This means that countries have tariff-free access to other countries within the union. Members share a common external tariff and the responsibility for trade agreements with third party countries rests with the European Union. The Single Market goes deeper than this, providing for the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour between members of the Single Market. The UK’s future relationship with the Single Market is uncertain, and will be the subject of future negotiations.

You can read more about the options open to the United Kingdom by the National Assembly for Wales’s Research Team.

Although the Assembly can’t make laws about international trade, and the Welsh Government can’t enter into formal agreements with other countries, the Welsh Government is active in promoting Welsh exports and inward investment within our powers for economic development. The National Assembly for Wales makes sure that decisions about Welsh exports and inward investment are in the best interests of Wales and its people.

How important is international trade to Wales?

In June 2016 –

– 1,370 businesses were exporting goods from Wales

– 1,789 businesses were importing goods in to Wales

The last ten years of statistics on trade data for Wales, up to June 2016, show that:

– exports from Wales were valued at £12.1 billion – of which £4.7 billion were to the European Union and £7.3 billion outside of the European Union.

– imports into Wales were valued at £6.9 billion, of which £3.5 billion were from EU nations and £3.4 billion were from outside of the European Union.

– just under 40% of Welsh exports were to the European Union.

[HMRC’s regional trade statistics are the main source of trade data for Wales]

While the United Kingdom is a net importer of goods, Wales is a net exporter – with export values of up to twice as much as imports in recent years.

This means that Wales sells and trades more goods than it buys in.

It is essential that Wales’s voice is heard and represented in the discussions about trading outside of the single market, and that we fully understand the positive and negative opportunities of alternative trade models.

Next week, the Committee will be travelling to Brussels to meet with officials to monitor and influence the negotiations and obtain further expertise. On 3 October 2016, the Committee will meet again in the Senedd to hold a seminar that will look at the impact leaving the EU will have on funding, research and the European Investment Bank.

You can follow the discussions on Twitter and Facebook using #BrexitinWales.  To keep up to date on the work of the Committee follow @SeneddEAAL.

Senedd Summer Fun

Gareth Coombes, Tour Manager, talks about the joys and challenges of organising a Family Fun Weekend at the Senedd, home of the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay.

When you think about the Senedd, the first thing that comes to mind is Plenary, the meeting where the 60 Assembly Members make Welsh laws, debate Welsh issues, question the First Minister and the make sure the Welsh Government is doing its job. The second thing you think about is usually the handsome tour guide who works there, but maybe you wouldn’t imagine that the Senedd could be also be turned into a giant play area for children and young people.

Capture

 

Well that’s exactly what happened last weekend! To celebrate the Cardiff Bay Harbour Festival and as a continuation of the Senedd’s 10th birthday celebrations this year, we hosted a Fun Weekend for all the family. Activities included soft play, Lego station, skittles, face painting and a craft area.

The day before I was really nervous, thinking that no one was going to turn up and it would just be me playing Lego all day by myself! I kept busy by setting up all the activities, making sure all the toys were in the right place, the face painters had a table and that the Welsh cakes were tasty enough (I took this job very seriously and tasted many, many Welsh cakes just to make sure) and that everything else was just right. The night before, when nearly everyone had left, I just walked around what we had created in the building, feeling excited about the days to come.

The weekend started quietly, with the weather being its usual miserable self. But as soon as the sun came out, I knew the Bay would get busier, which of course it did!

 

FullSizeRender (3)

One of the most popular activities over the weekend (and for good reason) was the ball pit in the middle of the room. Our job was to make sure that all the balls were kept in and around the ball pit, not an easy job I’ll add! On the last day I was tidying up the ball pit, putting two or three balls back at a time, when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a young boy running as fast as he could towards the soft play from the other end of the room. At this point everything went into slow motion. The boy was nearing, there was nothing I could do, and before I could react, he jumped, as high as he could, and landed like an Olympic long-jumper in the middle of the ball pit. Again in slow motion I saw about 50 balls catapult out of the pit into every conceivable direction on the Welsh slate floor, and knowing I had lost the battle, I put my head down, rested on the soft play and laughed!

IMG_3520#SeneddSelfie was used on Twitter and Instagram throughout the weekend so that our guests could share their experiences with us. Some great pictures were taken, and it was so nice to see lots of smiles in them. Many people clambered into the giant deck chair outside the Senedd, and there were some fantastic photos of children with their faces painted, with lions and butterflies galore!

Overall the weekend was a huge success with over 3,500 people visiting the building! From what I could tell, everyone thoroughly enjoyed as much as I did.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along – see you again next year!

 

 


 

The Senedd is the home of National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay. Open to the public seven days a week, its distinctive design and incredible architecture attract visitors from all over the world, and in 2015 the building was awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Free tours are available daily, and a selection of drinks and refreshments are available to purchase from the Oriel Café.

You could also find out who your Assembly Members are and how they represent your interests in the Senedd. If you visit during the week you could even watch the political action unfold as it happens in the public gallery of the Siambr, the Senedd’s debating chamber.

If you’d like to book a tour (unfortunately we can’t promise that it will be with Gareth) please call us on 0300 200 6565, email contact@assembly.wales or pop into the Senedd for more details.

The Senedd is open:

Weekdays – term time
Monday and Friday 9:30 – 16:30, Tuesday to Thursday 8:00 – end of business

Weekdays – recess
Monday to Friday 9:30 – 16:30

Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays (all year) 10:30 – 16:30

 (Please note that last admission is 30 minutes before closing).

Further information for visitors, including information for those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition can be found on our website.

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

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Visit the Senedd and Pierhead: Cadw Open Doors 2016

What is Open Doors?

On 10 September 2016 the National Assembly for Wales will be offering exclusive access to the public as part of Cadw’s annual Open Doors event.

While the Senedd and Pierhead are open to the public throughout the year, Open Doors visitors will be able see what happens behind the scenes in some areas not usually open to the public.

Senedd and Pierhead buildings from outside. Interior of Senedd showing the funnel and seats.

Where is it?

The Open Doors tour will take visitors on a journey through the history of both Cardiff Bay and the National Assembly for Wales.

It will include all three buildings within the Assembly’s Cardiff Bay estate:

The Pierhead
Start your journey through time in 1897 with the Pierhead, an iconic late Victorian building where visitors can discover the history of Cardiff Bay. The Pierhead is now a museum and exhibition centre, open to the public seven days a week.

Ty Hywel
The original home of the Assembly’s debating chamber, Ty Hywel hosts the offices of both Assembly staff and Members.

The Senedd
Celebrating its tenth birthday this year and boasting a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, the Senedd is the heart of democracy in Wales. A modern parliamentary building and home of the debating chamber of the Assembly, the Senedd is also one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings in Wales. Visitors will learn about the history and the architecture of the buildings and discover more about the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

This is the last stop on the tour and to celebrate the Senedd’s tenth birthday, Open Doors visitors this year will also receive a free tea or coffee from the Senedd’s Oriel café.

Coffee cup in the Senedd

Address: National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

When?
10 September 11:00am

How do I book my place on the tour?
Booking is essential as we can only offer a limited number of places on this exclusive behind the scenes tour.

Please call 0300 200 6565 or email contact@assembly.wales to book your place.

Further information

Cadw Open Doors is an annual celebration of the architecture and heritage of Wales and is part of European Heritage Days, which take place in 50 European countries each year in September.

For more information, including other participating attractions around Wales, please see the Cadw website.

Visiting the National Assembly for Wales

If you can’t make it on 10 September you can still visit the Senedd and Pierhead buildings which are open to the public seven days a week.

The Senedd regularly hosts a variety of events with performers, singers, exhibitions and activities happening throughout the year so come along and see what’s happening!

You could also find out who your Assembly Members are and how they represent your interests in the Senedd’s debating chamber.

The Senedd is currently open:

Monday – Friday 9:30 – 16:30

Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays (all year) 10:30 – 16:30

Further information for visitors, including information for those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition can be found on our website.

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

 

Pierhead building with open door

Pride Cymru 2016

Blog by co-chairs of OUT-NAW, the National Assembly for Wales’ LGBT workplace network.

Wow, didn’t Wales put on an excellent display of LGBT diversity and inclusion for this year’s Pride Cymru weekend? With charity cycle rides, a rugby 7s tournament, venues hosting LGBT choirs, rainbow flags all over the city, a huge parade through Cardiff city centre and, once again, this was followed by the main event at Cooper’s Field.  Year on year, Pride Cymru gets bigger and better and we’re extremely proud to be part of the celebration which has clearly developed into one of Cardiff’s annual signature events.

As most people in Wales would expect, the National Assembly played its part once again. In addition to taking our outreach bus to Cooper’s field and flying the rainbow flags across our estate, this year we were delighted to be able to illuminate the Senedd with rainbow colours throughout the weekend.

We also took part in the parade for the first time. Joined by network members, Allies, role models, Management Board members, partners and family members, we couldn’t have expected more support. One of the first to volunteer was a huge advocate for equality and diversity, our Chief Executive, Claire Clancy.  We were all proud to stand shoulder to shoulder on the parade to show our commitment to the creation of a safe, fair and inclusive Wales.

NAfW at Pride
OUT-NAW members at the Pride Cymru march
Pride Banner etc
OUT-NAW members and the public enjoying the Pride Cymru march

Of course, our contribution on Cooper’s Field had to link back to democracy but this year we made it much more fun. Lots of people posed for photographs in our Senedd selfie frame which we tweeted throughout the day.  We were delighted to see new network member, Hannah Blythyn AM, before she spoke on the main stage.  In addition to our #KnowYourAM campaign and the consultation for our new diversity plan, many young people enthusiastically took part in the Children, Young People and Education Committee’s consultation on youth work.  Their views will feed into the Committee’s consideration and is exactly what our youth engagement strategy is designed to do – place young people’s views at the heart of the Assembly’s considerations.

Iestyn on bus
Young people taking part in the Youth Work inquiry

As Stonewall’s best public sector LGBT-inclusive workplace in Wales and third best organisation in the UK, we have assisted organisations in Wales and beyond with advice, resources, coaching and mentoring once again. That is what we should do to help create more and more inclusive workplaces where LGBT staff can be themselves and it’s important to us that we continue to do that. Of note this year is that a number of approaches have been made from beyond Wales’ border. We think it’s pretty exciting that others are taking notice of what Wales is doing and we’re always happy to help those who are trying to enter or improve their performance in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index.

What has been different this year is the development of our networks beyond the expected. Members of OUT-NAW, our LGBT workplace network, are now using their skills and experience to help others. Whether that’s with the Scouts who now have a presence at Pride Cymru through the efforts of one of our network members, one of our Allies joining the board of trustees for Chwarae Teg, LGBT committees at the Law Society or national unions, through to making links to the South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus’ (SWGMC) charity work. Three members of OUT-NAW volunteer with Out and Proud, a project for LGBT+ young people in South Wales.  Hearing about the work of Out and Proud, realising that they operate on a shoe-string and couldn’t survive without willing volunteers, we decided to take action by using our own social connections and they are now the beneficiaries as the SWGMC’s nominated charity.

Making that link between our various networks has seen a wider benefit to the LGBT community and that is something to be very proud of. The young people themselves feel they’re supported not only by our volunteers but by the wider LGBT community too.  It was wonderful and moving to see them empowered to speak about their gender and sexuality issues at a recent South Wales Gay Men’s Chorus concert where hundreds of pounds were raised.  Equally inspiring was seeing them at the Assembly’s outreach bus during Pride Cymru and taking part in democratic processes through our consultation on youth services.  We need young people to feed their views into the heart of Welsh democracy and doing so from a minority viewpoint is so important.  After all, the Assembly represents all the communities of Wales so a diversity of views helps create a full and rounded picture of the issues under consideration.

So this brings us to the end of a busy year for OUT-NAW. While we are delighted to have introduced gender-neutral toilets for staff and visitors across our estate in Cardiff Bay this year, there is always more to do to help shape an inclusive democracy.  We take that responsibility seriously and we’re looking forward to the year ahead.

For another fantastic year, we would like to take this opportunity to thank OUT-NAW members, our Allies, the Assembly’s political leadership, our Management Board and the Diversity and Inclusion team, particularly Ross Davies for his drive, determination, skills and experience of LGBT diversity. He is a constant source of advice and guidance, ensuring that we take the right steps towards a more inclusive workplace.

Jayelle Robinson-Larkin and Craig Stephenson

Cyd-Gadeiryddion / Co-Chairs

OUT NAW logo
Out-Naw logo

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Betty Campbell MBE addresses Assembly staff as part of Diversity and Inclusion week

The National Assembly for Wales is committed to promoting and supporting an inclusive workplace, where difference is celebrated and valued.

The Diversity and Inclusion team here at the Assembly regularly organises events in order to raise awareness and generate discussion around issues, and Diversity and Inclusion week is something we participate in every year.

Betty Campbell photo
Picture of Betty Campbell

On 8 July 2016 Betty Campbell (MBE) was invited to speak to staff at the Assembly by its INSPIRE Women’s network, and REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage) Black Minority Ethnic network.

The networks invited Betty to the Assembly as part of a joint network initiative, so they could hear her inspirational story in her own words. Despite being told as a young girl that achieving her dream of becoming a teacher “would be insurmountable”, she wasn’t deterred and overcame many barriers to become the first black head teacher in Wales during the 1970s.

She remains a respected member of the Butetown community, where she held the position of Head at Mount Stuart Primary school, and is now recognised as an academic and important authority on education.

Betty is truly a role model for both black people and women, which is why both our INSPIRE and REACH staff networks felt privileged to have the chance to hear her story in person. The opportunity to ask Betty questions was particularly popular, in fact we had so many questions that we ran out of time for Betty to answer them.

We were lucky enough to record an interview with Betty during her visit to the Assembly, so you can share her story too.

Here is her story, in her own words: what inspired her; what helped her achieve her goals; her inspiration to others facing similar barriers and her advice to people facing their own obstacles.

Further information

Proud to be marching with the Assembly at Pride Cymru

by Claire Clancy, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Assembly

Photograph of Claire Clancy wearing a rainbow garland to prepare for Pride Cymru
Claire Clancy preparing for Pride Cymru

This Saturday I will be joining members and fellow allies of OUT-NAW, our LGBT workplace network, in marching in the Pride Cymru parade through Cardiff. Although we have been attending Pride for many years, this is the first time that the Assembly has been part of the parade and I am delighted to be joining colleagues in promoting and encouraging LGBT equality.

I think it is important that the Assembly is represented at events such as this to show that we are committed to being an inclusive organisation. We are very proud of our success in the Stonewall Workplace Index, where we have been ranked as the third best LGBT-inclusive organisation in the UK.

I will be joined in the parade by other members of the Management Board as well as staff from across the organisation.

If you are in the city centre, please wave and support us. Also, if you are attending Pride don’t forget to visit the Assembly Outreach bus.

I would also like to wish the Assembly’s rugby team good luck in the Enfys 7’s LGBT-inclusive tournament this weekend. I’m sure they would be grateful of your support this weekend too.

The Llywydd’s press release provides more information on our Pride Cymru celebrations.