Category: Behind the Scenes

Celebrating Dydd Miwsig Cymru (Welsh Language Music Day)

Today is 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. All week, Welsh learners at the Assembly have been learning the words to the national anthem, Hen Wlad fy Nhadau.

Exclusive playlist from Elin Jones AM, Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales

As part of our Welsh Language Music Celebrations, the Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales, Elin Jones AM has created a playlist of her favourite Welsh language songs to give a flavour of the rich offering that exists in the industry.


1. Ethiopia Newydd – Geraint Jarman a’r Cynganeddwyr
2. Tyrd Olau Gwyn – Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog
3. Sebona Fi – Yws Gwynedd
4. Cymru, Lloegr a Llanrwst – Y Cyrff
5. Cwcwll – Beganifs
6. Rhedeg i Paris – Yr Anhrefn
7. Harbwr Diogel – Elin Fflur
8. Julia Gitar – Jess
9. Cân i Gymru – Datblygu
10. Coffi Du – Gwibdaith Hen Frân

Talking about her selections, the Llywydd said:

“I’m really pleased to support this effort so that people in Wales can hear the variety of music that’s available both in Welsh and in English. Having grown up listening to Welsh Language pop bands, I’ve put together a selection of my favourite music in Welsh that includes some of the songs I was listening to when I was very young, and some of the songs recently released in what is a vibrant Welsh language pop industry.”

The Senedd gears up to host a special St David’s Day gig on 1 March


Continuing on the theme of Welsh Language Music Day, we’re counting down to March the 1st when the Senedd will be the stage for a very special gig for St David’s Day. GDSD provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate the best of Wales’ musical talent with performances from:

Adwaith
Hannah Grace
Mellt
Reuel Elijah and Mace
Roughion (DJ Set)

The event is being held in partnership with the BBC Horizons project and Y Selar.

For more information about the gig, click here.

Admission to the gig is FREE and tickets can be accessed here.

 

 

 

Towards a Parliament that Works for Wales

Elin Jones AM, Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales, delivered the Annual Lecture of the Wales Governance Centre (Cardiff University) on Wednesday 6 December 2017 at the Pierhead  in Cardiff Bay.

A full video of the lecture is available on YouTube or you can read the transcript below….

It gives me great pleasure to be with you this evening and I’m grateful to you, the Wales Governance Centre, for the invitation and opportunity to deliver this lecture as another term and indeed another year draws to a close.

Difficult term

The past few months have not been easy, to say the very least. The sadness which struck the Assembly in light of Carl Sargeant’s death has been accompanied by a whole range of emotions, questions and reactions which will no doubt continue for many months to come. And throughout it all, as Llywydd, it has been my duty to ensure that our Assembly treats Carl’s family with the respect they deserve, and that our Members have been able to mark the passing of a close colleague with the dignity expected of our national democratic legislature.

I have no doubt that our small, but perfectly formed circular chamber provides strength to our politicians – both at times of scrutiny when they want to challenge, to confront or to remonstrate, or on those rare occasions, when we want to unite – sometimes in defiance, but also to express grief and pride. It is during these times that I am most proud to be the Llywydd – when our democratic institution becomes a focal point for a collective national expression. And it’s during the difficult times, that the Assembly demonstrates true resilience and endurance.

For me, a member of the Assembly’s class of ’99, old enough to recall the disappointment of ’79, this resilience continues to be a remarkable phenomenon. For some here this evening it is what they have always known and have come to accept and expect of us.

The Brett and Wil Generation

There are some young, first year politics students in the audience this evening who have made quite an impression on me over recent weeks – you may have seen Geneva, Aisha, Brett and Wil on the Sunday Politics Show recently, speaking eloquently about how we can make politics and the political environment in Wales better for the next generation. This is the generation which is ready and waiting to take on the baton into the middle part of this century – if not before.

Brett and Wil had already secured a starring role on television a few weeks earlier when they rushed over, with great excitement, to the Welsh Government’s Office in Cathays Park after hearing there was a reshuffle underway. They declared this on Twitter – I think I may have retweeted one of them – only to be interviewed later by ITV Wales. And it was during a discussion with reporter Rob Osborne, they revealed that remarkably they had no memory of any time at all when Jane Hutt was not a government Minister.
Listening to them speak, I started thinking about their ages, which I have since confirmed, and I worked out that I was campaigning as a candidate in the first ever election to the National Assembly for Wales when each one of these students – or political pundits as I’m sure they’d now like to be known – was born, between July 1998 and February 1999.

As one of those considered to be the ‘young intake’ of that first National Assembly, it is a sobering fact when you realise that you have been an elected Member throughout the lifetime of an entire new generation. To take it a step further, Wil, who is from Aberystwyth, has never ever had another constituency AM apart from Elin Jones. And long may that be the case!

This is the generation that considers Rhodri Morgan and Carwyn Jones as household names. Brett tells a funny story of how he once went on holiday in a caravan on the same site as Rhodri Morgan. To him it was a perfectly natural, ordinary thing to camp in a grassy field next to the leader of your nation’s government.

For Brett, Wil, Aisha and Geneva – this is the Wales they know, this is who we are. The National Assembly is as much a part of this nation’s identity as Calon Lan, Parc y Scarlets or Gareth Bale.

There are now three generations of Welsh devolutionists – the fighters, the founders and the future:

  • The fighters are those who spent most of their lives battling for self-government, only to succeed and then pass it on to the next generation
  • The founders are those of us who have had the duty to enshrine the Assembly’s place and status in the nation’s psyche and to solidify the foundations upon which it has been built
  • And then there’s the future, the next generation – those who want to run with it and make it thrive. And I’m not just talking about our future politicians. This applies to our future leaders in other areas too who contribute to the politics of Wales outside the elected arena: the academics, the economists, the policy makers, the statisticians, the psephologists, and the commentators. For these people – indeed for all the people of Wales, whether they are interested in politics or not – we have a duty to strengthen the core of our democratic institution.

Continue reading “Towards a Parliament that Works for Wales”

The Wales Act 2017 – A new chapter for devolution in Wales

2018 will see new powers being given to Wales, but what difference could it make to you and life in Wales? 

SeneddInk

On 18 September 1997, the people of Wales voted in favour of the creation of the National Assembly for Wales.

Since then, devolution in Wales has been through a number of changes (with as many different settlements as there have been Welsh rugby grand slams—a particularly successful period for Welsh rugby!).

The Assembly and Welsh Government were formally separated, the Assembly took on primary law-making powers, Legislative Competence Orders came and went, the power to pass Measures became a power to pass Acts, and Wales received powers to raise taxes and borrow money.

On 31 January this year, the Wales Act 2017 received Royal Assent, marking the start of the next phase of Welsh devolution. But what does it mean for Wales?

The introductory text to the Act describes it as “An Act to amend the Government of Wales Act 2006 and the Wales Act 2014 and to make provision about the functions of the Welsh Ministers and about Welsh tribunals; and for connected purposes”. What this means in practice is that the Act:

  • Includes for the first time a declaration that the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government are permanent parts of the UK’s constitutional and political landscape;
  • Introduces a new model of devolution: a reserved powers model (similar to that in place in Scotland);
  • Gives the Welsh Ministers new powers in areas such as energy, planning, roads and harbours;
  • Gives the Assembly new powers over its own internal, organisational and electoral arrangements;
  • Establishes the concept of Welsh tribunals and a President of Welsh tribunals.

Clearly the Act will provide the Assembly with greater control over some areas, in particular Assembly elections. However it also reserves control over other policy areas to Westminster including, notably, the legal jurisdiction of Wales.

Most provisions of the Act will come into force on the day to be specified by the Secretary of State for Wales, known as the Principal Appointed Day, which is the 1 April 2018. The tax raising powers provided by the Wales Act 2014 will come on stream on the same day.

So what changes can we expect as a result of the Wales Act 2017?

Naturally the Welsh Government and Assembly will wish to use new powers gained to legislate to improve the lives of people in Wales. One other possibility is that the Assembly itself might change. In November 2016, the Assembly Commission announced that it would take forward work to explore how the new powers in the Act might be used to reform the Assembly. This was followed by an announcement in June 2017 that, following a public consultation, the Commission would seek to change the name of the Assembly to Welsh Parliament/Senedd Cymru.

In addition, the Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform, tasked with looking at the number of Members the Assembly needs, how they should be elected, and what the minimum voting age should be, reported in December 2017. Read their report here.

Whatever the outcome of the Panel’s work, it is clear the next phase of devolution in Wales is just beginning.

Huw Gapper, Senior Constitutional Change Officer

Future Senedd Consultation

Sudan meets Wales: What can the Parliament of Sudan learn from the National Assembly for Wales?

Over the last year or so, staff from the National Assembly for Wales have been working in partnership with a social purpose enterprise, Global Partners Governance (GPG), to share best practice with the Parliament of Sudan. As part of this relationship, it was decided that a visit to the National Assembly for Wales would be beneficial for a small delegation of Sudanese MPs and staff.

IMG_2168

A 1.5 day programme was prepared for the delegates. The programme included sessions on the following subject areas:

Development of the Assembly’s Research Service

To date, the Parliament of Sudan has not established a Research Service. This session reinforced the worth of having an impartial Research Service to support Assembly Members’ in their role. Delegates were very interested in the templates and ‘golden rules’ that the Research Service use here at the National Assembly for Wales.

Examples were used in this session to demonstrate how the Research Service works in partnership with Assembly Committees to support their work. Delegates were eager to learn more about this and expressed great interest in each aspect of the session.

How the Assembly engages with Welsh citizens and linking public engagement to Assembly Business

This session demonstrated how important public engagement and public perception of the National Assembly for Wales is, and what tools are used to reach out to target audiences.

Youth Engagement and Education

This was an opportunity to observe an educational visit, and to meet participating school children. The delegation were also given an overview of the Assembly’s Youth Engagement Service. A particular interest was shown in getting young people and children involved from an early age.

Continue reading “Sudan meets Wales: What can the Parliament of Sudan learn from the National Assembly for Wales?”

Diwrnod #ShwmaeSumae Day – Our guide to promoting Welsh in the workplace

Once again this year, Assembly Members and staff will mark Shwmae/Su’mae Day with a week of activities. Everyone will be encouraged to start all conversations in Welsh with ‘Shwmae’ or ‘Su’mae’, and leaflets and stickers will be distributed throughout the building to raise awareness of the day.

Dysgu Learn 2

Many of the activities will be aimed at the large number of learners in the organisation. Indeed, the Assembly is at the forefront of providing Welsh lessons in the workplace. There is a team of three internal tutors who provide lessons at all levels to Assembly Members and their staff and to Assembly Commission staff.

Be flexible for your staff and their needs

The team can offer flexibility in its provision: as well as offering formal lessons that follow the usual textbooks, it is also able to offer learners one-to-one sessions. Some of these sessions can focus on specific elements such as pronunciation or improving the skills of fluent Welsh speakers. There are dedicated sessions for entire services within the Assembly such as the security service or ICT service, with the sessions tailored to the specific needs of those services.

Dysgu Learn

Make it fun and natural

The team also occasionally organises more informal events – for example, during Shwmae/Su’mae Day or around St David’s Day, a quiz, treasure hunt etc are arranged. The Assembly Choir has recently been formed, in part to offer learners the opportunity to enjoy using their Welsh.

The team utilises the ability of Welsh speakers in the organisation by appointing mentors for learners. Therefore, instead of having a formal lesson only once or twice a week, learners have the opportunity to practice their spoken Welsh skills in a less formal atmosphere.

In order to ensure that more conversations begin through the medium of Welsh throughout the year, we provide ‘iaith gwaith’ lanyards or special lanyards for learners that the Assembly produced some years ago.

In summary…

Llyfrau Books

The ultimate aim is to increase the capacity of the whole organisation to operate as a naturally bilingual organisation. Increasing the number of Welsh learners who can communicate bilingually is one way of achieving that goal.

Here are some of the things that we have been doing to encourage learners in the Assembly:

  • producing laminated desk resources on different issues: general greetings and sayings; chairing meetings; answering the phone;
  • using other Welsh speakers in the organisation to become mentors for learners;
  • organising informal events such as ‘coffee and chat’;
  • holding taster sessions for beginners on specific topics such as general greetings or the national anthem;
  • awareness raising events such as exhibitions during St David’s Day, Shwmae Day or St Dwynwen’s Day;
  • asking staff to say ‘Shwmae’ to coincide with Shwmae/Su’mae Day.

Visit the Senedd and Pierhead: Cadw Open Doors 2017

About CADW Open Doors

Every year, buildings and sites across Wales open their doors to the public for Cadw Open Doors, offering a chance for people to visit hundreds of attractions across the country for free. On Saturday, 30 September the National Assembly for Wales will be offering exclusive access to the public.

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.

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

Pierhead building with open door

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

The Senedd in Cardiff Bay

An iconic landmark in Cardiff Bay, 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.

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

When?

There are two tours taking place on 30 September at 11:00 and 14.00.

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. The 11:00 tour is FULL but there are spaces available on the 14.00 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 30 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

A Day in the Senedd with Urdd competition winner Lora Lewis

Lora Lewis joined the Assembly’s Translation and Reporting Service for a day after winning the Urdd translation competition. Here she talks about her experience behind the scenes…

As someone who has considered a career in the translation industry, competing in the Urdd competition was a natural step once I discovered that the prize was a day at the Assembly. This certainly appealed to me straight away and I set about translating the competition piece. Luckily, I got the news that I had won, and Aoife, a member of staff in the translation and reporting service at the Assembly, got in touch with me shortly afterwards and the preparations began. In no time at all, I was handing over all my possessions to go through the cameras as if I was in an airport before entering the building.

To start with, I met the Presiding Officer, Elin Jones, and had an opportunity to chat to her about the work that goes on in the Senedd, as well as introducing myself to her. The Presiding Officer was very welcoming and we even had time to take a quick photograph.

After that, it was time to start the work experience for real. I met Rhiannon and she gave me a detailed presentation of the work on the Record of Proceedings and the way they use appropriate software when transcribing and editing the official Record. I had an opportunity to do this myself using voice recognition software that could record what I said through a microphone. Without a doubt, this was great and showed me how important technology is in the workplace to facilitate these kinds of tasks.

urdd

I was most interested in simultaneous translation, and I was very lucky to get an introduction to this aspect in particular from Cai, a translator in the department. This aspect is definitely one that frightens many translators, and it’s an element of the work that certainly worried me – but Cai was ready to reassure me by offering lots of useful tips. I was introduced to simultaneous translation through a visit to the interpreting booths in the committee rooms and the Chamber. I also got to watch Plenary when the First Minister was speaking. The simultaneous translation there was very exciting and gave me an insight into how difficult this aspect of the work is, as well as what an incredible skill it is to develop.

Continue reading “A Day in the Senedd with Urdd competition winner Lora Lewis”