Guest Blog #1
Recently the National Assembly’s outreach team conducted its first pre-legislative workshop in south Wales. The point of the session was to explain the Assembly’s legislative process and how people can contribute to the forthcoming consultation on the Welsh Government’s Housing Bill.
Here, Ceri Dunstan, Shelter Cymru Communications Manager talks about the Housing (Wales) Bill workshop she recently attended in Cardiff Bay.
On Friday 27 September, I attended a workshop on the Housing (Wales) Bill at the National Assembly. The aim of the workshop was to outline the process by which the Bill would be introduced, scrutinised and amended before finally being voted on by the Assembly.
I had felt slightly sheepish registering for the event. My role as Communications Manager at Shelter Cymru involves a lot of political campaigning, so surely I should know the legislative and scrutiny process inside out by now?
However, I was encouraged to see more than a few familiar faces from the policy and campaigning fields at the event. It seems that we all experience the same problem – when you’re knee-deep in the policy details, along with the rest of your day-to-day work, it’s easy to lose sight of the process.
The workshop helped enormously in this respect. Kevin Davies from the outreach team and Jonathan Baxter from the Members Research Service, clearly set out the different stages that the Bill will pass through, along with an approximate timescale and the points at which people can contribute to or influence changes.
There were plenty of questions, all of which Kevin and Jonathan handled well and the general feeling among those who attended seemed very positive.
I understand that this was the first time the outreach team had put on a workshop of this kind. From my experience, I’d say it was definitely a worthwhile exercise. Besides the practical support, the fact that the Assembly was actively reaching out to organisations like Shelter Cymru underlines how the contributions of the third sector and representative bodies in Wales are genuinely valued in the legislative process.