Category: Get Involved

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

Public Accounts: Making sure your money is spent wisely by Governments.

Pierhead building at sunset in Cardiff Bay

Without scrutiny of public accounts, tax avoidance such as that by Amazon and Starbucks would not have been brought to light.

It’s not just relevant to officials and auditors, it is important to everyone.

It’s following where and how your taxes are spent.

This is money spent on behalf of everyone, and this happens on a national level through to devolved administrations and regional governments to the local level. In all these instances there are elected politicians deciding how to spend our money, and it is vital that this expenditure is monitored, to ensure it is effective and efficient.

This role has earnt the Westminster Public Accounts Committee the title of ‘the Queen of the Select Committees’, and as Margaret Hodge MP said in correspondence to Gus O’Donell, (the then Head of the UK Civil Service) ‘It is the duty of the Committee to pursue fearlessly the public and taxpayers’ interest whenever and wherever we deem it necessary’.

Without this call to account, recent tax avoidance by major corporations would not have been brought into the public domain, and there may not have been an opportunity to question anybody on the failings of publicly funded projects such as the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales (RIFW).

It had never occurred to me that I might enjoy what at first sight appeared to be very dry audit work, monitoring government spend’  – Dame Margaret Hodge MP

The Senedd in Cardiff Bay

Public Accounts Network Event

The National Assembly for Wales Public Accounts Committee is excited to be hosting the inaugural public accounts network meeting.

Being a member of the Public Accounts Committee is a big responsibility, and, so as a Committee, we all want to ensure we are up to the challenge, and are doing the best we can to ensure your money is being spent responsibly.

On Monday 18th September,  will be bringing together a wide range of people with an interest in public accounts Committees, to learn from each other, develop new skills and share best practice.

There will be representatives from across the UK and further afield, to discuss how we are currently undertaking this important work, and what can be done better.

  • Dame Margaret Hodge MP keynote – What makes an effective public accounts committee? Margaret Hodge will be talking about her five years as Chair of the Westminster Public Accounts Committee, and her pursuit of reconnecting ‘Parliament with people as voters, taxpayers and citizens by giving a voice to the issues that mattered to them’.
  • Panel-led discussion – ‘A working relationship’ – The role of the Auditors in the work of Public Accounts Committees.
    Chair: Anthony Barrett, Assistant Auditor General, Wales Audit Office
  • Academic Case Study –‘Comparative effectiveness of the devolved PACs of the UK’. Helen Foster, FCA, BA(Hons), MPA, FHEA – Lecturer in Accounting – Ulster University Business School
  • The other side of Public Accounts Committee – A witnesses’ perspective
    James Price, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Economy, Skills and Natural Resources Group, Welsh Government

The full agenda can be accessed here: View Agenda

Get Involved

Feel free to send us the questions you want answered ahead of the event on anything related to public accounts, such as:

  • How Public Accounts Committees work?
  • What reports are produced by Auditor Generals or Public Accounts Committees?
  • What techniques and methods should be used to to monitor Government spending?
  • Or any questions would you ask of those responsible for spending your money.

Tweet us your questions using #SeneddPAC (click to Tweet) or email us at seneddpac@assembly.wales

We will then be able to take your questions to the event on 18 September and feed it into the discussions.

Event Booking

Venue: The Pierhead, Cardiff Bay
Date: 18th September 2017
Time: 9:30am – 16:00pm

For anyone interested in the event, there are limited spaces available for the day. To book your space contact:

Seneddpac@assembly.wales

Follow updates during the day on our twitter feed and join the conversation using #SeneddPAC

 

Royal Welsh Show 2017

The National Assembly for Wales returns to the Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells from 24 – 27 July with a new programme of events and the chance for the public to meet Assembly Members and staff and find out more about work our work. Based in the Green Pavilion, everyone is welcome to visit our stand to give your views and options on our work.

Taking place throughout the week

On the stand

Whether you’re familiar with our work or not, by the end of your visit to the Assembly stand you’ll have learnt something new about us and what we do. Enjoy a cuppa and learn about your Assembly Members, how they represent you and how you can get in touch with them to air your views and concerns. You can find out more about our current inquiries and upcoming work that may be of interest to you or your community.

For kids

While parents put their feet up, children can take part in different games and activities around the stand to help them learn more about what we do. They will be able to find out about making laws and have a go at voting about the hobbies and activities that are important to them. There are also games to play and colouring in for younger visitors.

Tell us what makes you proud of Wales

We’re proud of our country. Our history, our culture, our heroes, our language, our land – our home. Most of all we’re proud to represent you, the people of Wales, and to make decisions and create laws that will shape the future of Welsh life. We want you to tell us what you love most about life in Wales and what makes you proud. Share your views with us on the stand or tell us on Twitter using #myWales.

Sessions and Events

Wednesday 26 July

09.00-10.00 Stronger Voice for Wales Stakeholder Breakfast Event (Constitutional andLegislative Affairs Committee), National Assembly for Wales stand

You don’t have to be a constitutional expert to have your say on constitutional issues. The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee are looking at how Wales works with other parliaments and governments and want to hear from people and organisations who have experience of giving evidence at UK and Welsh levels and what barriers they may have faced. By asking these questions and hearing their experiences, the Committee would be able to recommend the best model of working for the future.

Thursday 27 July

10.30-11.30 Launch of Inquiry into Rethinking Food in Wales (Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee), Food and Drink Hall

What’s your vision for the future of food and drink in Wales and what needs to be done to achieve it? Members of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee will be meeting with stallholders to launch and discuss their new inquiry into rethinking food in Wales. By meeting with food producers and exhibitors the Committee hopes to learn more about how Wales could create an innovative food industry sustaining high quality jobs, and become an internationally renowned destination for food lovers.

We’re looking forward to welcoming you at the Royal Welsh Show. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram throughout the week for the latest Assembly news from the showground.

 

 

 

 

What’s in your medicine cabinet? The Public Accounts Committee inquiry into Medicines Management

Do you have concerns about the number of items on your repeat prescription?

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Have you experienced difficulties in getting the right medicine from a pharmacist? Have you had any problems while in hospital with incomplete drug charts meaning you got the wrong medicine?

These are some of the issues the Public Accounts Committee have been considering as part of their inquiry into Medicines Management.

With over £800 million spent on medicines and over 79.5 million medicines dispensed in Wales per year, NHS Wales uses medicine on a substantial scale. In the last 10 years there has been a 46% increase in the number of items dispensed, and in the face of this growing demand, Welsh Government is urging prudent prescribing, to optimise people’s medicines so that patients receive the best possible outcomes and so that the NHS gets value for money from medicines.

The Auditor General for Wales published a report on medicines management within primary and secondary care settings, on 15 December 2016. This looked at whether NHS Wales is managing medicines effectively, in primary care, in secondary care and at the interface between primary and secondary care. The report considered health bodies’ corporate arrangements for medicines management, such as strategic and workforce planning, the profile of medicines issues at Boards and committees, and arrangements for monitoring health bodies’ performance in relation to medicines.

The Auditor General concluded that:

  • There was scope to make prescribing safer and more cost effective within primary care;
  • There are medicine related safety risks and inefficiencies when people move in and out of hospital;
  • There are problems in hospitals with medicine storage, gaps in medicine information and frustration at delays in implementing electronic prescribing.

The Committee explored a number of these issues with the Welsh Government at our meeting in March 2017.

The Committee were concerned to find that it had taken so long to introduce electronic prescribing (this was first discussed in 2007, but is not likely to come in until 2023).

Another area the Committee felt could be improved was around developing a central system for very expensive medicines which are not run of the mill rather than each health board holding a store of the medicine.

Of particular concern to the Committee, was repeat prescriptions and whether all the medicines were being used or whether patients end up with stockpiles due to the difficulties of altering the prescription.  This is an issue as money is wasted every day through patients receiving medicines they do not really need and which may not be required. The Government explained to the Committee that this was a ‘tripartite thing’ with the patient, pharmacy and prescriber all having responsibility.

The Committee would be keen to hear your experiences around this, or any other part of medicine management –we would welcome hearing your experiences via twitter @SeneddPAC or by e-mail seneddpac@assembly.wales

Next steps:

The Committee will be taking evidence from Health Boards and Pharmacists to explore how well best practice is being shared and their response to some of the Committee’s concerns.

The full meeting held in March can be watched on Senedd TV and the transcript for the meeting along with all the written evidence received by the Committee to date can be access on the Public Accounts Committee page.  The June meeting will be available on Senedd TV.

A Visitor’s Guide to the Senedd

Visiting Cardiff for the UEFA Champion’s League Final? You’ll find a warm welcome in the capital city of Wales. We are a country full of culture and heritage, and Cardiff is a fantastic place to soak up the atmosphere of this amazing sporting event.

If you find yourself in Cardiff Bay for the UEFA Champion’s League Festival, why not pay a visit to the Senedd and visit one of Wales’ most modern and most important buildings?  We’ve put together a handy guide to help you make the most of your visit.

For information in other languages:

Pour plus d’informations en français: link

Per informazioni in italiano: link

Para información en español: link

IMG_7855What is the Senedd?

The Senedd is the home of the National Assembly for Wales, and represents the heart of democracy in Wales. A modern parliamentary building which celebrated its tenth birthday last year, the Senedd is also one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings in Wales.

It is also a public building, welcoming visitors seven days a week, and boasts a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Most importantly it’s free to visit and offers some of the best views in Cardiff Bay, so please come inside and have a look around.

What’s inside?

The debating chamber

The Senedd houses the debating chamber of the National Assembly for Wales. Look down below the huge funnel and you’ll be able to see where our politicians sit during parliamentary debates. Take one of our free tours to discover more about the building and what happens here.

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Café and gift shop

The Senedd has also has a café (more on that below) and a shop, which stocks local produce, souvenirs and gifts. Pick up Welsh whisky, Melin Tregwynt textile products and Senedd branded souvenirs as mementos of your visit.

Exhibitions

Next to the café is an exhibition area which regularly hosts a variety of events, exhibitions and other activities throughout the year. Come along and see what’s happening!

Take a guided tour

The best way to get to know the Senedd is through a guided tour. Visitors will learn about the history and the unique architecture of the building and discover more about the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

The tours are FREE. All you need to do is turn up and we’ll let you know what time the next one starts.

Enjoy a taste of Wales

The Senedd’s café offers a selection of hot and cold drinks, or you could sample some traditional Welsh treats – enjoy a Welsh cake or a slice of bara brith (Welsh fruit cake) with a nice British pot of tea.

The views from the seating area are fantastic – watch boats sailing on the sparkling water of Cardiff Bay, or view the hustle and bustle of the Champions League festival from below the Senedd’s impressive canopy.

Facilities and access

As with any government building, all visitors are required to go through security on their way in to the Senedd. Our security team are trained to be aware of the needs of visitors with disabilities, or who might have specific requirements based on their religious beliefs.

The Senedd is fully accessible with ramp access at the front of the building and lifts to all floors inside. A hearing loop system is available to hearing aid users.

The building offers fully assisted changing facilities and gender-neutral washrooms which are suitable for all.

Take a selfie with our Snapchat GeoFilter

If you are on Snapchat – keep an eye out for our special filter and share your photos on social media!

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

The Right to Buy in Wales is changing

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I’m John Griffiths AM (@JGriffithsLab), the Chair of the Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee.

John Griffiths AM

About the Abolition of the Right to Buy Bill

On 13 March, the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant AM, introduced the Abolition of the Right to Buy and Associated Rights (Wales) Bill into the Assembly. The Government’s aim for the proposed law is to protect the supply of social housing in Wales by ending all variations of the Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire.

What do the proposed changes mean?

The Right to Buy to buy for tenants of local authorities and registered landlords would be abolished after a period of at least one year after the introduction of the law. By introducing the proposed law, the Welsh Government’s stated aim is to protect the Welsh stock of social housing from reducing further, ensuring it is available to provide safe, secure and affordable housing for people who are unable to access the housing market to buy or rent a home.

Some local authorities, including Flintshire, Carmarthenshire and Anglesey have already suspended the Right to Buy scheme. The proposed law would end the Right to Buy scheme in all local authorities across Wales.

How could the changes affect me?

In making sure that existing tenants are aware of the changes, the proposed law requires the Welsh Government to publish information on its effects before abolition takes place, and social landlords must also in turn provide that information to every affected tenant within two months of the proposed law coming into force. After a waiting period of at least one year after coming into force, all rights will be abolished. This means every affected tenant can still exercise their Right to Buy within that period, but not after.

The Right to Buy across the UK

The Right to Buy and Associated Rights have already been brought to an end by the Scottish Government in Scotland, but a different approach is being taken in England by the UK Government. The UK Government has introduced its own plans to extend the Right to Buy Policy to more homes.

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The work of the Committee

The National Assembly for Wales’s Equality, Local Government and Communities Committee is a group of eight Assembly Members from across Wales who reflect the political makeup of the Assembly. Our job is to scrutinise decisions of the Welsh Government on matters within our remit to ensure they are in the best interests of Wales and its communities.

As the subject matter of the proposed law falls within the remit of the Committee, we have been asked to look at its ‘general principles’ or main aims. This is called ‘Stage 1’, and we use this part of the process to hear evidence and prepare a report making recommendations to the Welsh Government for changes to the proposed law if necessary. We have until 7 July to do this.

Getting involved

In May, the Committee intends to hold public engagement sessions across Wales to hear tenants’ views about the proposed law and the implications for them. These views will help inform the Committee’s inquiry alongside the written and oral evidence received.

If you are interested in taking part in these sessions, or would like us to visit, please e-mail celyn.cooper@assembly.wales.

A DialogueApp page has also been set up so that you can have your say on the Bill and share some of your ideas on how the Bill could be improved.

Updates

For all the latest information and developments, you can:

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Encouraging public participation in the work of the Assembly

Improving engagement with the people of Wales is a big priority for us at the Assembly, and increasingly we have been doing this by involving people in discussions with Assembly committees on issues they are passionate about.

This plays an important role in helping Assembly committees scrutinise the Welsh Government, but recently we have been looking into what affect these participation projects have on those citizens involved.

The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee’s inquiry into Business Rates saw small businesses from different parts of Wales take part in video interviews with outreach officers. Their contributions were shown to Assembly Members and helped inform the Committee’s scrutiny work.

Having taken part in the video interview, and having received updates from Assembly staff on the results of their contribution, participants were asked if they felt that they had the opportunity to express their views, and given the opportunity, would they take part in an activity like this again.

They were also asked to state how much they agreed or disagreed with the following statements before they took part, and how they felt about the same statements having taken part:

  • People like me don’t have a say in the decisions the National Assembly for Wales makes;
  • I have the confidence and information needed to get involved in politics;
  • I know what role the National Assembly for Wales plays in making sure the Welsh Government is doing its job properly;
  • I pay a lot of attention to Welsh politics;
  • The National Assembly for Wales is essential to our democracy;
  • I know what decisions get made in Wales by the National Assembly for Wales;
  • I will vote in an upcoming National Assembly for Wales election.

This was the first time we have measured the effect of participation in one of our engagement initiatives from the participants’ perspective, the results of which showed us that all participants would take part again if given the opportunity, and that they felt that they had the opportunity to express their views. The most significant change in perception when comparing the responses before and after taking part were evident with the following statements:

  • ‘People like me don’t have a say in the decisions the National Assembly for Wales’: none of the participants disagreed with this statement before taking part, compared to 67% who disagreed with the statement having taken part.
  • ‘I have the confidence and information needed to get involved in politics’: half of the participants disagreed with this statement before taking part, where as 88% agreed with this statement after taking part.

Our intention is to seek to gather this type of information for the range of different engagement initiatives we deliver here, in order for us to understand their effectiveness and improve our offer in the future.

Read more: Public engagement at the National Assembly for Wales featured in a recent post on the Parliaments and Legislatures blog by Kevin Davies and Cristina Leston-Bandeira.

Kevin Davies is Senior Public Engagement Manager at the National Assembly for Wales.

Stay up to date with what’s happening at the Assembly – we have a number of social media channels you can follow.


How easy is it to contribute to our work? What changes could we make to encourage more people to get more involved?

We are running a user needs survey until Friday 10 February 2017 and would love to hear your ideas.