Category: The Senedd

How are new laws made in Wales?

Senedd funnel

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

27 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 continues its journey to becoming law.

But what happens next? How are new laws made in Wales?

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

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.

10 reasons to visit the Senedd this Summer

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

Looking for something to do this weekend? Why not head to Cardiff Bay to visit the Senedd?

From politics to architecture, from art to artisan Welsh products, the Senedd has something for everyone.

1. The award-winning architecture and design

The Senedd is truly one of a kind. It’s huge funnel and canopy made of sustainable Canadian cedar wood are best viewed from inside the building, where you can explore on two levels.

2. Explore the Senedd trail

Looking for some fun, free children’s activities to enjoy this weekend? Little explorers can time-travel through the centuries on our children’s trails. Search the Senedd and collect the clues – and find out lots of interesting facts along the way. Hand your completed card back to Reception and enter the draw to win a prize!

3. See what happens behind the scenes

Over the summer our guided tours include exclusive access to areas not usually open to the public. Our friendly, expert guides will take you on a journey through the history of the Bay through to the architecture of the Senedd and Wales today.
Best of all, tours are free and run daily at 11.00 / 14.00 / 15.00

4. Enjoy a taste of Wales in our café and shop

A day of exploring the Bay calls for a paned (Welsh for ‘cuppa’) and cake in our café. Choose from a range of refreshments and enjoy beautiful views of the Bay through the Senedd’s huge windows. Next to the café is the shop, which stocks Welsh produce, books and gifts.

5. Take in some art

The Senedd will be hosting some great new exhibitions throughout the Summer.

You could create your own postcard from Wales inspired by Steve Knapik MBE’s huge installation and post it in our post box.
Discover some of the history of Cardiff Bay through Jack K Neale’s old black and white images of ships sailing out of Bute Docks, carrying South Wales coal back to France.
Or think about what you’d add to Drawn Together, a national project which invited people to take five minutes to draw something they could see. In total over 4,500 people participated, with drawings received from every county in Wales.

6. The friendliest security in Cardiff

As with any parliamentary building, all visitors are required to go through airport-style security on their way into the Senedd. However, our Security team strive to make a good first impression. Here is a very small selection of the many comments we’ve received about them on Trip Advisor:

“Had to pass through security, but they were the politest I’ve encountered (Heathrow take note)”
Celticfire

“Friendliest government building I have ever visited! Beautiful and interesting building manned by the friendliest staff I’ve ever come across. Even the security guards were a delight ensuring an easy, safe transit into the building.”
Gillyflower58

“Airport style security performed by some very happy and friendly staff.”
138Paul138

Did we mention we also have a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence?

7. Enjoy the Senedd’s environmental design

Baking hot in Cardiff Bay? The Senedd’s unique design keeps it lovely and cool on summer days. It’s windows actually open and close automatically to help regulate the temperature inside.

8. Help us celebrate 20 years

This year we are celebrating 20 years of the National Assembly for Wales. Share your aspirations for Wales over the next 20 years on our board.

9. We’ve got Lego®, Duplo® and activities for little ones

If you’re feeling inspired after seeing the Bright Bricks dragon, princess and wizard in Mermaid Quay, come along and add your own Lego® creation to our map of Wales. Throughout the holidays we also have colouring and craft available to keep little ones entertained while you enjoy a well-earned sit down.

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10. It’s free!

And how much does it cost to access all this, I hear you ask? Nothing. The Senedd is a public building – your building – and we are open 7 days a week. Whether you’re visiting Cardiff for the weekend or you’re a local who’s never ventured inside, head down to the Senedd this summer as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the National Assembly for Wales.


World Bee Day 2019: The Pierhead Bees

Summer 2018

During the bees’ first year at the Pierhead we are not expecting much honey, but they have settled in and are in good health.  Staff volunteers monitor the hives once a week, and we are also lucky enough to have a couple of members of staff with their own apiaries who bring a wealth of knowledge to maintaining the hives.

Despite being only a few months into the project the two hives are already demonstrating their own unique personalities, with Hive 2 definitely hosting a much rowdier crowd!

Spring 2019

The bees spent the autumn slimming down their numbers and building up their foodstock to make the over-wintering process as efficient as possible.

After our last inspection of them in November it was important not to open the hive and let them cool down too much.  They then spent the winter using up the food they’d stored in the cells, most of which will have been delicious honey.  Huddled together in the hive and vibrating their wings for warmth, they manage to keep the core temperature a toasty 35 degrees!  The bees will even rotate as a group- to keep the queen warm in the middle and ensure they all spend their fair share on the outside.

To help the bees get through the long winter and into spring before more natural food appears, we provided the bees with some fondant- a sugar based food rather like icing sugar.  You can see from the images below how they made use of it through February, March, and into April:

We also made some other provisions for the hives over winter.  As well as checking they had enough food we strapped them down to protect against high winds, and also fitted mouse guards.  Mice will love the warm dry space in the middle of winter, especially when it’s full of honey!

Our small efforts, coupled with the bees natural survival skills, meant the two hives made it through into spring safely.  We’ve checked on them to look at their food supply and health, as well as rearrange their frames a bit to ensure they have enough space.  They’re out foraging round the Bay now- enjoying the wealth of tree blossom and flowers the warm weather has brought.

Jamboree in the Senedd: Marking 20 years of devolution

The Senedd was a hive of activity on Bank Holiday Monday, 6 May 2019, when we hosted a fun-filled jamboree to mark 20 years of devolution in Wales.

Kicking things off with a colourful parade around the Bay were Samba Galez, whose samba drum beats could be heard all the way across the Cardiff Bay barrage in Penarth.

Inside the building, visitors were greeted by Dewi, an 8ft dragon made from over 185,00 individual LEGO® bricks. Upstairs, children were invited to “build their Wales” out of bricks on a giant map on the floor of the Senedd, complete a piece of the Senedd LEGO®mosaic, or just play with the DUPLO®.

There were workshops with bilingual beat-boxer Mr Phormula, and No Fit State were on hand to help visitors practice their juggling, hula-hooping and other circus skills. Younger guests enjoyed getting their hands dirty with the Science Boffins’ slimy experiments.  

Downstairs, one of the most popular performers were the incredible KLA Dance troupe who delighted the crowds with their dazzling dance routines.

Welsh language music played all day long, courtesy of a pedal powered disco ‘Disgo Ynni Da’, and there was a chance to hear the story of the Welsh language in a show by educational theatre company In Character.

To help mark the 20th anniversary of devolution, visitors were also invited to share their thoughts about shaping the future of Wales. A notice board posed the question What are your hopes and aspirations for your area by 2039? and we received contributions received from people of all ages.

Environmental issues featured prominently, with many people noting that they hoped to see less plastic waste by 2039. Building safer cycle routes was also a popular topic as well as promoting a healthier and fitter way of life, to improve the nation’s physical and mental wellbeing.

By the end of the day, over 1,350 people had come through the doors to celebrate with us, and learn a little bit more about the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

___

There’s more!

Over the summer months we will be holding a series of events to mark 20 years of devolution. A packed schedule will culminate in a festival of democracy at the end of September which will see names from the arts, sports, journalism and politics gather in Cardiff Bay.

Follow @AssemblyWales on Twitter or NationalAssemblyforWales on Facebook to keep up with the latest announcements.

Meet the team: Security Officers

Our Security Officers are responsible for the safety and security of all those who visit or work at the National Assembly for Wales. Here, some of the team talk about the role…

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

Shahzad

Shahzad, Security Officer

“I have been working in Security now for six months. I have had the most amazing and wonderful experiences.  To be able to work and be part of the Welsh Assembly staff is an honour in itself and such an accolade to have.

The National Assembly holds diversity and multi-cultural ethos in its core values. I have seen Welsh local school children, charities, different ethnic backgrounds and organisations from all walks of life during my role as a Security Officer. Local people from the Association of Muslim professionals to the Autistic Society to the local woman’s forum to name a few. I feel that we have so much to offer from Ty Hywel, the Senedd and our iconic Pierhead buildings. 

Local cultures and public in general from all walks of life visit us on a daily basis and we are such a symbol of hope and prosperity. Within the last 6 months I have seen a positive change within myself and flourished in terms of commitment, resilience and being able to adjust to business needs and requirements. I have grown within myself and every day is a learning curve.

I am currently learning Welsh and have been on numerous courses.  There are so many opportunities to enhance skills and develop within my role.  I am also able to provide time to my family due to different shift patterns and work life balance. 

Being able to speak different dialects from the Asian background the joy it brings to the public and myself I felt being really helpful.  This was only possible whilst I am working for the Welsh Assembly.

The positive culture and friendly professional attitude coupled with hard work is in the heart of what we do in Security. So we are firm at the same time in touch with our customer service and adhere to a professional code at all times.

I am proud to be part of the National Assembly Security team and look forward to a long career.

The personal support I receive is the best I have seen in my entire career.  From my colleagues to my managers and senior managers the support and help I receive have been absolutely wonderful.”


Chris

Chris, Security Officer

“My responsibilities as a Security Officer vary day to day.  It’s a challenging role that requires constant vigilance and composure which is demanding yet rewarding. I witness the team ethic instilled within the department every day and a consistency that is essential for the provision of public safety. It’s great to work alongside the police and external agencies to maintain the wellbeing of all visitors and staff on the Assembly estate.

The frequency of events and role rotation keeps each day interesting, from weekly Plenary to National Eisteddfod, Champions League to Grand Slam Celebrations.  There are plenty of opportunities to develop skills by accessing on-site training or courses and I look forward to further developing my role at the Assembly.”

Stacey

Stacey, Security Officer

“Working as part of the security team is a varied role and no two days are the same. We get to engage with stakeholders across the entire organisation and with members of the public from all walks of life. We also get to be involved with the running of the political environment within the assembly working closely with the members themselves. We work a varied shift pattern which elevates the same mundane hours of work week in week out.

The role also has a training element encouraging the team to be trained in first aid, conflict management and evacuation procedures to name a few.

We also get the opportunity to work alongside prestigious events such as homecoming events for the welsh rugby team, Geraint Thomas’ homecoming and the GB Olympic teams.

There is always something to be a part of and the variety of the role is what makes it so interesting.”


Security Officers are the first point of contact for Assembly Members, staff and all visitors to the Senedd, Pierhead and Tŷ Hywel buildings.  They must be able to provide first class customer service, along with the necessary skills to protect the people, property and equipment within the estate.


We are currently recruiting for new Security Officers.

Find out more or make an application on our recruitment pages.

Visiting the National Assembly for Wales: World autism awareness week


Here at the National Assembly for Wales we are proud to promote equality for everyone.

L-R: External images of Ty Hywel, The Senedd and Pierhead buildings

We work to make sure that our buildings are accessible to visitors with autism.

The Senedd is the main public building of the National Assembly for Wales. Boasting an iconic debating chamber, stunning architecture and views over Cardiff Bay, it is also free for the public to visit throughout the year.

The Pierhead is the red brick building with a clock tower, next to the Senedd. One of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Cardiff Bay, it’s open for the public to explore daily.

Tŷ Hywel is the office building behind the Senedd where Assembly Members and staff of the National Assembly for Wales are based. Although this is not a visitor attraction, people may enter the building to visit an Assembly Member or a member of staff. We also offer educational workshops in this building, where we have a special debating chamber just for children and young people. 

We have created a webpage to provide information for visitors with autism, and guides which cover each building in detail. We look at the Senedd, Pierhead and Ty Hywel buildings and some of the things visitors may be worried about, including:

  • Security checks, and what happens when you enter the buildings
  • Noises to expect and recordings of the sounds you might hear
  • Sensory issues such as lighting and smells
  • Information about our Quiet Rooms, which can be used for prayer, quiet reflection, or a calm break for people struggling with sensory overload.

You can also ask for any of the guides in:

  • Hard copy
  • Easy read version
  • Large print
  • Braille

You can find all the guides, sound recordings and further information on our Visitors with an Autism Spectrum Condition webpage.

As well as visitors with autism spectrum conditions, we strive to make our buildings accessible to all visitors. Our facilities include:

  • Ramps and lifts
  • Autism-friendly labelling
  • Hearing loop systems
  • Wheelchair hire
  • A range of toilet facilities including gender neutral toilets, accessible toilets, a Changing Places facility with adult hoist, and toilets for people with mobility issues
  • Disabled parking spaces.

More information on the things we have included in the design of our estate, to ensure the building meets its target of being exemplar in terms of accessibility, is available on our Security and Access webpage.

We hope you enjoy your visit and welcome feedback on improvements that can be made.


More information on our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion is set out in our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2016-21.

If you have any questions you can contact us on 0300 200 6565 or email contact@assembly.wales.


Get the Guide (PDF, 137 KB)