Author: Blog

Championing equality at the Assembly

Assembly Members celebrating International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

This year’s theme is #EachforEqual. The campaign is raising awareness of how all our actions, conversations, behaviours and mindsets can have an impact on society. Together, each one of us can help create a gender-equal world.

Equality at our core

The Senedd

We’re proud champions of equality at the National Assembly for Wales. Established in 1999, the Assembly had the principle of equal opportunities at its core.

The laws and rules that govern the Assembly have specific requirements that our work should be conducted “with due regard to the principle that there should be equality of opportunity for all people.”

Leading the way

As a legislature, we’ve led the way with equality. In 2003, we became the first legislature in the world to achieve a gender balance with 30 women and 30 men. Currently, 47% of AMs are female. The proportion has never fallen below 40%.

Globally the average percentage of women in national parliaments is 24%. The Assembly has always held a higher proportion of women Members than the House of Commons, Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Women hold some of the most senior roles at the Assembly. Our Presiding Officer is Elin Jones AM. The role is similar to Speakers and Presiding Officers in parliaments across the world, although responsibilities vary from country to country. Ann Jones AM is the Deputy Presiding Officer.

Manon Antoniazzi is the Chief Executive and Clerk of the Assembly. 60% of senior managers in the Assembly are women.

Giving a platform to young people

The Welsh Youth Parliament gives a platform to young people to have their voices heard and debate issues of importance. Equality and inclusivity, are at its core. Young people aged 11-18 make up the 60 Members of the Welsh Youth Parliament, 58% are young women.

Welsh Youth Parliament with the Llywydd

Our work

We investigate issues relating to gender equality including parenting and work; violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence and ensuring diverse representation in local government.

You can keep up-to-date with the work of the Assembly by following us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. You can also visit us.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Guest blog by Ann Jones AM.

Ann Jones AM and the panel

The National Assembly for Wales holds an annual event each March to celebrate International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is #EachforEqual, and I feel really proud that we’ve committed to taking equality seriously at the Assembly since it was established 20 years ago.

I’m one of the original Assembly Members voted in for the first time in 1999. This has provided me with a good overview of the Assembly and the way it works. I can truly say that it is committed to the principles of #EachforEqual. We have a legal duty to promote equality and it’s become ingrained in our culture to do so, not because we have to, but because we want to.

International recognition

In 2003, the Assembly achieved international recognition for becoming the first legislature worldwide to achieve gender parity, and in being the first to have more women than men in 2006. We currently have 47 percent women Members and continue to strive for an equal balance.

When I was voted in by my peers for the role of Deputy Presiding Officer in 2016, I saw an opportunity to showcase the work of women. Hosting events like our International Women’s Day celebrations and hearing from such inspiring women always reminds me of why I’m so passionate about promoting and supporting women in politics. It’s not always easy, and this year’s theme #EachforEqual emphasises the importance of equality throughout our society.

Inspirational talks

It was a pleasure to listen to such inspirational women at our event. Our speakers were Charlie Morgan, co-founder Warrior Women Events; Angel Ezeadum, Member of the Welsh Youth Parliament and Sophie Rae, founder of Ripple Living.

Charlie Morgan, co-founder Warrior Women Events
Angel Ezeadum, Member of the Welsh Youth Parliament
Sophie Rae, founder of Ripple Living

Their talks were incredibly empowering and thought-provoking, and I’m grateful to them for sharing their stories with us. I was also pleased to welcome Betsan Powys to chair the event.

Betsan Powys and event speakers

We welcomed a mix of people to the Pierhead and it was a good opportunity to speak to people who might not have engaged with us before. I encourage you to stay in touch. Speak to your Assembly Members about the topics that are important to you. Visit us at the Senedd and you can keep up-to-date on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

What’s next?

As we celebrate 20 years of devolution in Wales, it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come. With the next Assembly elections being held in 2021, we’ll see for the first time votes extended to 16 an 17 year olds as part of the Senedd and Elections (Wales) Bill. I’m so excited about allowing even more of Wales’ population to have their voices heard. We’ll also be changing our name from the National Assembly for Wales to Senedd Cymru, Welsh Parliament as we reflect its ever evolving responsibilities.

Celebrating Dydd Miwsig Cymru 2020

It’s Dydd Miwsig Cymru (or Welsh Language Music Day!), an annual event celebrated across Wales to raise awareness of Welsh language music.

This year, members of staff at the National Assembly for Wales are taking the opportunity to join in with Welsh Language Music Day, as part of our continued commitment to promoting the use of the Welsh language across the organisation.

We’ve been snapping selfies, making playlists and blasting Welsh language music across the Estate.

Here’s a little bit of what we’ve been up to:

Dydd Miwsig Cymru Selfies

Thank you to staff and Members who’ve taken the time to tell us their favourite Welsh songs and pose for a photo – there’s a lot of love for Welsh music here!

Playlists – what’s your favourite?

Thanks to the Welsh Youth Parliament, our learners and Chair of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, Bethan Sayed AM, for submitting their playlists of their favourite Welsh music.

We’ve also included the Llywydd’s playlist from 2018 which features some of her favourite tracks!

Welsh Youth Parliament

Bethan Sayed AM, Chair of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee

Songs for Learners

Y Llwydd

Cartographic Imaginaries: Interpreting Literary Atlas

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

An exhibition sponsored by Bethan Sayed AM
Senedd & Pierhead
8 January  – 20 February

‘Cartographic Imaginaries’ presents a collection of commissioned artwork in response to twelve English language novels set in Wales. These form part of the wider Literary Atlas of Wales project, which investigates how books and maps help us understand the spatial nature of the human condition. More specifically it explores how English language novels set in Wales contribute to our understanding of the real-and-imagined nature of the country, its history, and its communities.

In the commission brief, artists were invited to “play with traditional notions of cartographic mapping, and to explore the possibilities of visually communicating the relations between ‘page’ and ‘place’, as well as ‘books’ and ‘maps’.”

Through diverse approaches, each work proves that just as there is no single way to read a book or to know a place; each creates and inhabits its own unique ‘cartographic imaginary’. Yet together, the works embrace multiple voices that speak of the richness of writing, thinking, and inhabiting “real-and-imagined” Wales.

Concrete Ribbon Road by Joni Smith

Artist and Novel

John Abell: Revenant – Tristan Hughes (2008)

Iwan Bala: Twenty Thousand Saints – Fflur Dafydd (2008)

Valerie Coffin Price: Price The Rebecca Rioter – Amy Dillwyn (1880)

Liz Lake: Shifts – Christopher Meredith (1988)

Richard Monahan: Aberystwyth Mon Amour – Malcom Pryce (2009)

George Sfougaras: The Hiding Place – Trezza Azzopardi (2000)

Joni Smith: Mr Vogel – Lloyd Jones (2004)

Amy Sterly: Pigeon – Alys Conran (2016)

Locus: Sheepshagger by Niall Griffiths (2002)

Rhian Thomas: Border Country by Raymond Williams (1960)

Seán Vicary: The Owl Service by Alan Garner (1967)

Cardiff University Student Project Strike for a Kingdom by Menna Gallie (1959

Hiraeth for Beginners
by John Abell

Visit the exhibition in the Senedd and Pierhead before sharing your own artwork and stories as part of a collaborative activity in the Senedd.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to keep up with everything going on on the Assembly estate

How are new laws made in Wales?

Senedd funnel

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

27 November 2019

Every new law starts as an idea to change how something works or to make something better.

When a law first begins its journey, it’s called a Bill – it’s a draft version of the law.

How does a Bill become an Act?

A Bill must pass through four stages at the National Assembly and receive Royal Assent if it’s going to become an Act of the Assembly – a new Welsh Law.

The journey of a Bill: Stage 1

The Assembly Members you elect decide if Wales needs a new law.

The Bill starts its journey with a committee. Committees are small groups of Assembly Members who look at specific subjects.

The committee looking at the Bill meet with subject experts, who help shape the Bill. The committee might run a public consultation, where you could give your opinion.

The committee collects evidence from everyone they speak to, and write it all into a report. This report will say if they agrees with the main aims of the Bill. It might also suggest changes to its wording.

Finally, Assembly Members debate in the Chamber all reports written about the Bill. They vote to decide if Wales needs this new law. If a majority of Assembly Members vote ‘no’, the Bill stops at this stage.

Stage 1: Assembly Members look at the basics. They meet and decide, in principle, if Wales needs the new law.

One or more committees look at the Bill and write Stage 1 reports.
Assembly Members debate in Plenary all reports written about the Bill.
Assembly Members vote in Plenary to decide if Wales need the new Law.

The journey of a Bill: Stage 2

Assembly Members meet in committee.

They look at the Bill, and make changes to the wording. Every Assembly Member can review the Bill, and suggest changes. They may see a way they could improve it. They might think it would be better if it also did something else or that it does too much and needs to be more specific.

Every change they suggest is an amendment.

The committee working on the Bill looks at all the amendments suggested by Assembly Members. They meet and discuss what the amendments would do to the Bill, and vote to decide if they should be included. An amendment is only included if a majority of the committee’s members vote that it should be.

Stage 2: Assembly Members shape the Bill: a small group of Assembly Members meet as a committee and look at suggestions to amend the Bill.

Every Assembly Member can suggest an amendment to the Bill.

The committee working on the Bill looks at what each amendment will do to the Bill.

The committee members vote on which amendments should be included in the Bill

Senedd chamber

The journey of a Bill: Stage 3

Assembly Members meet in Plenary. Plenary is a meeting of all Assembly Members in the Siambr, the debating chamber.

They look at the Bill, review suggestions and make final changes to its wording. Every Assembly Member can review the Bill, and suggest amendments. During Plenary, every Assembly Member who suggested an amendment can explain their amendment, and give their reasons for suggesting it. Other Assembly Members can explain whether they agree with the proposed amendment.

It’s important that every Assembly Member who wants to speak in Plenary is able to have their say. Sometimes, the Bill will need more work. There is an option for the Bill to have further amendments debated and voted on. We call these extra stages Further Stage 3, Report Stage and Further Report Stage.

Most Bills don’t go through these stages though. Once every Assembly Member in Plenary has debated and voted on the final amendment, the wording of the Bill is completed. The Bill now has its final wording and is ready to move to its final stage at the National Assembly.

Stage 3: Assembly Members refine the Bill. The Bill returns to the Chamber for Assembly Members to make final changes.

Every Assembly Member can suggest an amendment to discuss and debate in Plenary.

Assembly Members who proposed an amendment can explain why they suggested it.

Assembly Members vote on which amendments should be included in the final Bill.

The journey of a Bill: Stage 4

Assembly Members vote in Plenary to agree the final wording of the Bill. Once the Bill has reached Stage 4, its wording is final. Assembly Members can’t amend the Bill any further.

During the Stage 4 debate, Assembly Members look at the final text of the Bill, and decide if it should become a new law. After the debate, they vote – ‘should this Bill become an Act, a new Welsh Law?’ If a majority of Assembly Members vote against passing the Bill, the Bill falls. Nothing further can happen with the Bill once it has fallen. If a majority of Assembly Members vote in favour of passing the Bill, then it has successfully made its way through the National Assembly. It can go on to its final stop to become a new law (an Act of the Assembly) – as long as there is no legal challenge to it.

Stage 4: Assembly Members cast a final vote on the Bill: a successful Bill completes its journey through the National Assembly.

Assembly Members debate the final wording of the Bill.

A final vote takes place to agree the final wording of the Bill.

If the Bill doesn’t pass this stage, it falls.

Royal Assent

The Queen grants Royal Assent to the Bill. It’s a formal agreement that the Bill can become an Act of the Assembly and Welsh law. To get to this stage, Assembly Members have written, scrutinised, amended and voted on the Bill. They have spoken to experts on the subject, and you may have had your own say by responding to a committee consultation.

The Queen grants Royal Assent to all Bills that successfully make it through all four stages at the National Assembly. Royal Assent is a formal agreement the Bill can become an Act of the Assembly. All primary laws made by all the Parliaments and the Assemblies of the UK must receive Royal Assent.

You can see the laws we’ve made in Wales since 2016, and how we made them by visiting www.assembly.wales/acts.

Royal Assent: the final stop on the journey where the Bill becomes an Act of the Assembly.

The Queen grants Royal Assent to the Bill.
The Bill becomes an Act of the Assembly.

A paper Bill

Assembly name change and votes at 16: The Senedd and Elections Bill reaches Stage 3

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

13 November 2019

Today Assembly Members are debating the Senedd and Elections Bill – which could introduce voting at 16 in Wales and change the name of the Assembly – as it reaches Stage 3 of its journey to becoming law.

But what does that mean? And what happens next?

Where does a new law come from?

Every new law starts as an idea to change how something works or to make something better. When a law first begins its journey, it’s called a Bill – it’s a draft version of the law.

How does a Bill become an Act?

A Bill must pass through four stages at the National Assembly and receive Royal Assent if it’s going to become an Act of the Assembly – a new Welsh Law.

The journey of a Bill: Stage 1

The Assembly Members you elect decide if Wales needs the new law.

The Bill starts its journey with a committee. Committees are small groups of Assembly Members who look at specific subjects.

The committee looking at the Bill meet with subject experts, who help shape the Bill. The committee might run a public consultation, where you could give your opinion.

You can find a list of consultations running now by visiting www.assembly.wales/consultations.

Stage 1 lets the committee collect evidence from everyone they speak to, and write it all into a report. This report will say if the committee agrees with the main aims of the Bill. It might also suggest changes to its wording.

Finally, Assembly Members debate in the Chamber all reports written about the Bill. They vote to decide if Wales needs this new law. If a majority of Assembly Members vote ‘no’, the Bill stops at this stage.

Stage 1: Assembly Members look at the basics. They meet and decide, in principle, if Wales needs the new law.

One or more committees look at the Bill and write Stage 1 reports.
Assembly Members debate in Plenary all reports written about the Bill.
Assembly Members vote in Plenary to decide if Wales need the new Law.

The journey of a Bill: Stage 2

Assembly Members meet in committee.

They look at the Bill, and make changes to the wording. Every Assembly Member can review the Bill, and suggest changes. They may see a way they could improve it. They might think it would be better if it also did something else or that it does too much and needs to be more specific.

Every change they suggest is an amendment.

The committee working on the Bill looks at all the amendments suggested by Assembly Members. They meet and discuss what the amendments would do to the Bill, and vote to decide if they should be included. An amendment is only included if a majority of the committee’s members vote that it should be.

Stage 2: Assembly Members shape the Bill: a small group of Assembly Members meet as a committee and look at suggestions to amend the Bill.

Every Assembly Member can suggest an amendment to the Bill.

The committee working on the Bill looks at what each amendment will do to the Bill.

The committee members vote on which amendments should be included in the Bill

The journey of a Bill: Stage 3

Assembly Members meet in Plenary. Plenary is a meeting of all Assembly Members in the Siambr, the debating chamber.

They look at the Bill, review suggestions and make final changes to its wording. Every Assembly Member can review the Bill, and suggest amendments. During Plenary, every Assembly Member who suggested an amendment can explain their amendment, and give their reasons for suggesting it. Other Assembly Members can explain whether they agree with the proposed amendment.

It’s important that every Assembly Member who wants to speak in Plenary is able to have their say. Sometimes, the Bill will need more work. There is an option for the Bill to have further amendments debated and voted on. We call these extra stages Further Stage 3, Report Stage and Further Report Stage.

Most Bills don’t go through these stages though. Once every Assembly Member in Plenary has debated and voted on the final amendment, the wording of the Bill is completed. The Bill now has its final wording and is ready to move to its final stage at the National Assembly.

Stage 3: Assembly Members refine the Bill. The Bill returns to the Chamber for Assembly Members to make final changes.

Every Assembly Member can suggest an amendment to discuss and debate in Plenary.

Assembly Members who proposed an amendment can explain why they suggested it.

Assembly Members vote on which amendments should be included in the final Bill.

The journey of a Bill: Stage 4

Assembly Members vote in Plenary to agree the final wording of the Bill. Once the Bill has reached Stage 4, its wording is final. Assembly Members can’t amend the Bill any further.

During the Stage 4 debate, Assembly Members look at the final text of the Bill, and decide if it should become a new law. After the debate, they vote – ‘should this Bill become an Act, a new Welsh Law?’ If a majority of Assembly Members vote against passing the Bill, the Bill falls. Nothing further can happen with the Bill once it has fallen. If a majority of Assembly Members vote in favour of passing the Bill, then it has successfully made its way through the National Assembly. It can go on to its final stop to become a new law (an Act of the Assembly) – as long as there is no legal challenge to it.

Stage 4: Assembly Members cast a final vote on the Bill: a successful Bill completes its journey through the National Assembly.

Assembly Members debate the final wording of the Bill.

A final vote takes place to agree the final wording of the Bill.

If the Bill doesn’t pass this stage, it falls.

Royal Assent

The Queen grants Royal Assent to the Bill. It’s a formal agreement that the Bill can become an Act of the Assembly and Welsh law. To get to this stage, Assembly Members have written, scrutinised, amended and voted on the Bill. They have spoken to experts on the subject, and you may have had your own say by responding to a committee consultation.

The Queen grants Royal Assent to all Bills that successfully make it through all four stages at the National Assembly. Royal Assent is a formal agreement the Bill can become an Act of the Assembly. All primary laws made by all the Parliaments and the Assemblies of the UK must receive Royal Assent.

You can see the laws we’ve made in Wales since 2016, and how we made them by visiting www.assembly.wales/acts.

Royal Assent: the final stop on the journey where the Bill becomes an Act of the Assembly.

The Queen grants Royal Assent to the Bill.
The Bill becomes an Act of the Assembly.

Pierhead Bees – Summer update, August 2019

Matthew Jones, Sustainability Manager

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

Winter

The Pierhead Bees coped with their first winter well – they thinned down their numbers and huddled together for warmth in the hive, keeping it a toasty 30+ degrees in the middle to protect their queen. 

We left all the honey in the hives last year as they hadn’t been with us for the full season, and even supplemented their diet with some fondant which they munched through in the spring without having to leave the hives.

Spring into Summer

The different personalities of the hives have  continued to be evident throughout their first year.  Hive two has still been much more boisterous with the keepers inspecting them, but they have also been busier.  They started making plenty of food and increasing their numbers again early in the spring, while hive one was still taking it slow after the winter. 

So much so in fact that we even had to borrow some frames of food from hive two and give it to the bees in hive one; rewarding their lethargy, we know!

As the abundance of flowering plants has grown into the summer, especially on the undeveloped areas of land around the Bay where the bees can forage, hive one caught up and both were displaying ample food stocks.

This trend continued and recently we actually had to add a super (extra layer) to hive one to store all their food, and another one for brood– all the extra baby bees they’ve been making.

Hive two in the meantime changed dramatically- relaxing their behaviour for a while whilst we noticed they had stopped making eggs.  Although it can be difficult to spot the queen during an inspection visit, a behaviour change and lack of eggs are sure-fire signs the queen is no longer present.  The following week we then noticed two queen or supercedure cells; the hive trying to make a new queen.  We had to leave both of these to hatch, and in the ruthless efficiency of nature the two queens would battle it out with only the strongest surviving.

We had to allow this process to take its course; servicing only hive one whilst the queen from hive two left to mate with a male from another hive, and return home before settling down to take up her new role as matriarch and egg-layer. 

A precarious time during which she could become lost or even eaten by a bird, we were obviously on tenterhooks awaiting her safe return.  Our keepers had to be patient while we avoided any disturbance of the hive during this critical time.  That patience paid off though and we are pleased to report that at the start of August we found new eggs in hive two.  Baby bees are being made and the hive has a new leader to work for. 

Long live the queen!

For more information on the Pierhead Bees project email sustainability@assembly.wales

The Assembly has signed up to the Race at Work Charter

Leadership Team posing with pledges saying proud to sign up to Race at Work Charter

We are pleased to announce we are now a signatory of the Business in the Community Race at Work Charter.

We know, from the Race Disparity Audit’s Ethnicity Facts and Figures website and the Business in the Community Race at Work Survey, that ethnic minorities still face significant disparities in employment and progression, and that is something that needs to change. The McGregor-Smith review has highlighted the fact that greater progress and positive outcomes are now needed to ensure all organisations benefit from the wealth of diverse talent on offer.

The Charter helps businesses improve racial equality in the workplace and is composed of five principle calls to action for leaders and organisations across all sectors. The five principle call to action are:

• Appointing an executive sponsor for race.

• Capture ethnicity data and publicise progress.

• Commit at Board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying.

• Make clear that supporting equality in the workplace is the
responsibility of all leaders and managers.

• Take action that supports ethnic minority career progression.

Map
BHM logo

October is Black History Month and seems a great time to launch the fact that we have signed up to the Charter. Signing up means we are committing to taking practical steps to improving ethnic equality in the workplace and tackling barriers that ethnic minority people face in recruitment and progression and ensuring that our organisation is representative of British society today.

Manon Antoniazzi, Chief Executive and Clerk of the National Assembly for Wales, said:

“Signing the Charter will complement our ongoing diversity work to ensure that, as a parliamentary organisation that is for all the people of Wales, we behave as an inclusive employer, attracting and retaining talent, enabling everyone we employ to realise their full potential and that we break down the barriers that currently block opportunities for certain groups of people irrespective of their race and ethnicity. I am very excited to see our progress as we embark upon the Charter, in addition to other benchmarking and recognition activities.”

Joyce Watson AM, Assembly Commissioner with responsibility for diversity and inclusion, said:

“I am really pleased to see that the Assembly Commission is a signatory to this charter. Wales is a diverse nation as this should be reflected in its workforce. As Commissioner for Equality and People I will both promote and monitor progress.”

Elin Jones AM, Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales, said:

It is important that the Assembly continues to lead the way in promoting an inclusive culture throughout our organisation.

“We want to build on our record as a modern, accessible parliament with which people from a diverse range of backgrounds can easily and meaningfully interact.

“I see us signing this Charter as a valuable part of ensuring that.”

Business in the Community logo

GWLAD – ten things you need to know

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

1. What is it?

To celebrate 20 years of devolution, the National Assembly for Wales is hosting the GWLAD festival – five days of events in Cardiff Bay, followed by three mini-festivals during the Autumn of 2019.
We have worked in partnership with a number of organisations to create events which offer something for everyone: art, music, comedy and sport, as well as thought-provoking lectures and panel discussions on a range of topics including journalism, politics and culture.

2. When is it?

25-29 September 2019
We also have two regional festivals planned for Autumn 2019 – follow our social media channels for details.

3. Where is it?

Events this week will be held in either the Senedd or Pierhead buildings in Cardiff Bay. If you’re not in south Wales don’t worry, we have three mini festivals planned for later in the year across the country. Keep an eye on our social media channels for details.

4. Who is going to be there?

Charlotte Church and Rhys Ifans will be with us to chat about their careers, what inspires them and Welsh devolution.

Journalist Carole Cadwalladr will be talking about breaking the Cambridge Analytica story, while Welsh sporting legends Colin Charvis, Tanni Grey Thompson and Professor Laura McAllister will be discussing how to inspire the next generation of sporting heroes.

5. What’s new?

BBC Question Time will be broadcast from the Senedd for the very first time. Guests from the worlds of politics and media answer topical questions raised by members of the public. Got a question? Apply via the BBC to be part of the audience.

Gig GWLAD
In another first, the Senedd will be hosting a spectacular night of music to celebrate the thriving and varied music scene in Wales.
Come along on 28 September to see Geraint Jarman, Eädyth & Jukebox, Gwilym, Rachel K Collier and Afro Cluster.

6. I don’t like politics – what’s on for me?

How about some comedy?

Little Wander, the team behind the Machynlleth Comedy Festival will be bringing some of our finest Welsh comedians to the Senedd for the first time. Taking to the Senedd stage for the first time will be: Tudur Owen, Lloyd Langford, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Mike Bubbins, Matt Rees and Esyllt Sears.



Or some sport?

If rugby is your thing, come along to the Pierhead where we’ll be showing the Wales v Australia match on a big screen – your early morning journey will even be rewarded with a bacon roll and a cuppa.
You can also celebrate Welsh sporting achievements with Colin Charvis, Tanni Grey Thompson and Professor Laura McAllister as they discuss inspiring the next generation of heroes.

7. What about current affairs?

Join Public Affairs Cymru on 29 September as they look at the rise of fake news and its impact on political reporting. Panellists include Guto Harri – former Director of Communications for Boris Johnson, Ruth Mosalski of Wales Online and James Williams, BBC Political Correspondent.

How will Brexit affect Wales? Assembly Members from across the political spectrum – Jeremy Miles (Welsh Labour), Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) and Nick Ramsey (Welsh Conservatives) will be discussing Brexit, poverty and automation in Wales.

Cardiff University will be looking at how devolved issues in Wales are covered by mainstream media and broadcasters on 28 September.

Cardiff University’s Dr Justin Lewis will be asking do we need journalists? during his session on reporting and communicating news in the digital age.

8. What else is on?

Art and culture

During September the Senedd is hosting Many Voices, One Nation exhibition, featuring work by Ed Brydon, Luce + Harry, Zillah Bowes, John Poutney, James Hudson and Huw Alden Davies.
Come along on 28 September for an exclusive “in conversation” event with some of the artists as they talk about their influences and inspiration.


Can using a graphic novel format make history more accessible? Our talk about Chartism and the Newport rising looks at new ways to get people engaged with history, 28 September 14.00-15.00.

Aberystwyth University will be looking at the promotion of minority languages and what Wales could learn from the experiences of other nations such as Catalonia, Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.


Politics

ITV Wales’ Adrian Masters chairs a discussion looking back at 20 years of devolution in Wales on Wednesday 25 September.
The BBC’s Welsh Affairs Editor and Radio Wales presenter Vaughan Roderick will also be looking at the impact of devolution in Wales during his session as guest speaker, as we host the BBC Cymru Wales annual Patrick Hannan lecture on 27 September.
The Wales Governance Centre will be looking to the future during their session: Devolution: what does Wales think?

The Assembly has always boasted strong female representation, and in 2003 became the first in the world to achieve 50/50 gender balance. Join Chwarae Teg for an inspiring discussion on creating a Senedd equal for all women.

The economy

Ahead of Black History Month Wales, join Race Council Cymru for a look at challenges for equality in the Welsh economy. The expert panel includes Chantal Patel, Head of Inter-professional Studies at Swansea University, Sahar Al Faifi of MEND (Muslim Engagement and Development), Professor Parvaiz Ali, former head of Nuclear Medicine at Singleton Hospital, and Professor Emmanuel Ogbonna of Cardiff Business School.

The Institute of Welsh Affairs will be looking at the foundational economy – what is it and what difference can it make to Welsh communities?

9. How much are tickets?

All tickets to GWLAD events are free. They cannot be reissued or sold.

10. What if I don’t have a ticket?

We have a very limited number of extra tickets for popular events which will be made available this week.
A number of events will also be streamed live on Senedd TV and on the National Assembly for Wales’ social media channels.
Keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook channels for further details of both tickets and broadcasts.

You can see a full list of all GWLAD events on our devolution20.wales website.

Caring for the Pierhead bees: our staff volunteers

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

August 2019

The Assembly’s Pierhead building has been the home of two rooftop beehives since July 2018, regularly monitored and cared for by a small team of staff volunteers.

Despite having a rooftop location the hives are in a safe, sheltered spot which gives them protection from the worst of Cardiff Bay’s weather. Under the watchful eyes of our volunteers they settled in through autumn and survived their first winter.

Now it’s summer again, the bees are working hard and have started producing honey.

Here, some of our volunteers talk about their experiences:

Emily

It’s the height of summer and the Pierhead Bees are busier than ever foraging the surrounding areas of the Pierhead to build up stores of their glorious golden honey.

Whilst one of the hives had a relatively slow start this summer, the bees have more than made up for it and have now built up frame after frame of honey which will be harvested in the Autumn. It never ceases to amaze me just how hard working the bees are… To make just 1KG of honey, our Pierhead bees will have flown 145, 000km and could have visited up to 2000 flowers per day! As you can see from the photos below, they have been very busy indeed.

So how do the bees make honey? Our bees have been busy foraging the local area for nectar found in plants and wildflowers. The nectar is collected, then once inside the beehive, the worker bees repeatedly consume, digest and regurgitate the nectar into the cells. When it is the right consistency, the honey is then sealed which is what you can see in the photos below.

This will be the first season where we will be able to harvest honey, and as a new beekeeper I am excited to see the process. Honey has been harvested for thousands of years for its various benefits. Not only does it taste delicious and never goes off, but it has many medicinal properties too. It is anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory and can even be used to help relieve hay fever symptoms. Hopefully the bees will be kind enough to share some of their honey with us later in the year!

Did you know?
Honey stores have been found in the tombs of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and when excavated were still edible 3000 years later! Proving the theory that honey never goes off!

Sian D

As a nature lover, I feel very lucky to be part of such an exciting project at the Assembly.

Who knew that there was so much to learn about bees?! I’ve been working on the project for just over a year now and I still find myself constantly learning about their ways and tricks. I’m nearly always surprised each time I lift the lid off a hive and peer in – particularly at the astonishing speed with which the hives change and develop.

The busy nature of the bees means that it is essential that we carry out weekly inspections during the summer months, while the flowers are blooming and pollination activity is in full swing. We work as a pair during the inspections, thoroughly scanning each frame as we work our way through the hive. While we scan we look for honey (their food supply); pollen; capped brood cells; larva; eggs; and the usually inconspicuous queen.

During an inspection you may find some of the bees raising their behinds in the air and frantically fanning their wings. If you are brave enough to put your face close to them then you will smell a lovely fresh scent of lemon being wafted up your nostrils. This scent that they release helps the foraging bees find their way home.

As you scan through the hives you will also find that the capped cells come in different sizes. The large raised ones will contain a drone bee (male) and the flatter cells contain a smaller female bee.

Did you know that the queen bee can choose the sex of its offspring? When a virgin queen first leaves the hive she will have multiple matings with drone bees during her flight. She then stores the sperm using it bit by bit as she lays her eggs. Her stores will usually last around three years. If she fertilizes an egg with sperm then a female bee will emerge, and a drone will emerge from an unfertilized egg. This ‘choice’ is determined by the size of the brood cells made by the worker bees. And these are only a few of the many fascinating facts about the wondrous bees!

Sian C

I jumped at the opportunity to be involved in the bee keeping here at the Assembly and my experience so far has not disappointed.

The bee keeping is fascinating and I find the time spent up on top of the Pierhead so relaxing. Caring for the bees and watching the hives grow and change has been an education, and I am in awe of the colonies and the way in which nature works.

I have learnt so much, not just about the bees, but also it has further peaked my interest in environmental issues and from this I have made some big changes to my consumer habits, diet and garden! Not only have I learnt a new skill, I have also met some amazing new people from all walks of Assembly life, many of whom I wouldn’t have had a chance to speak with beyond a quick ‘hello’ in the corridor.

Thanks for the opportunity to be part of such an innovative project – I love it!

Katy

I am always surprised to see the letters ‘Dr.’ in front of my name. But I am a doctor. Not the type you’d want on a plane when the stewards shout ‘is there a doctor on-board?!’ for I am (what my friends have coined) a ‘Dr of Bees’. My PhD was based on studying wild pollinators which involved identifying bee species and the flowers they feed on.

So, I was so excited to discover that the Assembly had started keeping bees. I am now a member of the Bee team (by no means secondary) and it is such a privilege. Although I had studied wild pollinator communities, I didn’t have any experience of keeping honey bees. I have learned so much from Nature’s Little Helpers and my fellow Bee team colleagues, thank you for the opportunity.

They are amazing animals. They truly work as a ‘hive mind’, each having specialised roles depending on their age, which they perform so diligently. The youngest bees are the cleaners. They progress through the roles of feeding their larval brothers and sisters, building the combs, guarding the hive and finally flying away to collect pollen and nectar.

Together they create the most meticulous and astonishing collective. And of course there is the Queen. But she doesn’t reign as you might imagine, for it is the worker bees that call the shots. Through cues, they control the queen’s activity – they even decide whether she lays a male or female grub!


Due to their rooftop location and not wanting to disturb the bees, the hives are not open to the public, although if you look carefully you might spot one of them gathering pollen around Cardiff Bay.