Tag: Eisteddfod

A Stronger Voice for Wales in a Changing Britain

You don’t have to be a constitutional expert to have your say on constitutional issues.

The National Assembly for Wales’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee has been looking at how Wales works with other Parliaments and Governments: the relationship between them, how well they work together and share ideas. By understanding current and past relationships, the Committee want to be able to recommend the best model of working for the future.

Different legislature buildings

But what sort of relationship does the people of Wales want our institution to have with other parliaments and governments?

Huw Irranca-Davies AM, Chair of the Committee will deliver a talk at this year’s National Eisteddfod focusing on what he will argue are the most profound constitutional challenges the people of Wales have faced for many generations, both as a nation – Wales – and as a family of nations within the United Kingdom. How Wales rises to those challenges will be the defining test of our generation.

The National Eisteddfod is of course a celebration of traditional Welsh culture and arts and language, but it is also a place where the identity of Wales and its people is constantly imagined and re-imagined. It is also where the politics and constitution of Wales – and Wales within the United Kingdom – have been hotly discussed and debated down the decades, on the Maes and off.

A UK which is negotiating its way out of membership of the EU. An England which is perhaps confused about its identity – or its multiple identities – and is experimenting with different forms of devolution in London and now in its grand metropolitan cities & regions. A Scotland which voted in one referendum to stay as part of the UK, with a government which toyed with the idea of a second referendum, yet has gone cool on the idea – at least for now. And the institutions of Northern Ireland in suspended animation with the threat of Direct Rule hanging over them. A Wales with a Scotland-style Reserved Powers Model finally, but with some expert commentators – and indeed the Welsh Government itself – arguing that the Wales Act in combination with the EU (Withdrawal) Bill risks rolling devolution backwards.

'Wales should not be afraid of leading the way in developing clear, succinct and understandable law'

In this turbulent, fast-changing environment, it is absolutely right to ask the fundamental question of how we ensure Wales has a strong voice right now, and a stronger voice in the future. In the midst of all the cacophony and clamour, the strongest possible voice for Wales in this union of nations is an absolute imperative.

Join us at this year’s Eisteddfod

Monday 7 August

Societies Pavilion 2

11.30 – 12.30

The Chair of the National Assembly for Wales’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, Huw Irranca-Davies AM, will talk about its ‘Stronger Voice for Wales’ inquiry.

This will be followed by an opportunity to meet Members of the Committee to talk about these issues which will become particularly important as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications – Engagement firsts at the National Assembly for Wales

For the first time, the Assembly has established a Committee with specific responsibility for communications, culture, the arts, the historic environment, broadcasting and the media.

These issues are the things that enrich our lives, that fashion and explain our narrative as a nation, that are the soul of our unique culture and heritage, and help define what it is to be Welsh.

The new Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee is a group of eight Assembly Members from across Wales, who represent the five political parties which make up the Assembly. Over the summer, the Committee provided a variety of opportunities for people to get in touch and tell us what they thought the Committee should prioritise.

Committee Members

Back in July, the Assembly used Facebook Live for the very first time. Over 2,700 people watched Chair of the Committee, Bethan Jenkins AM talk about her hopes for the Committee. We had lots of ideas through the Facebook Live feed, on Twitter, and by e-mail.

The Committee also held an event at the Eisteddfod where people in attendance put forward their ideas and prioritise. One of those suggestions was that the Committee should look at Welsh Language usage among young people, considering the announcement the First Minister and the Minister for Life Long Learning and Welsh Language made about the aim of growing the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050.

With a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to get in touch, this is what you told us were your priorities…

Welsh language

  • How the WG aim to increase the number of Welsh speakers to one million by 2050, including Welsh language usage among young people
  • Welsh language in secondary education, including a proposal to get rid of the concept of second language education and replace it with one continuum of Welsh learning
  • Encouraging people to carry on using the Welsh language after they leave school
  • Bilingual support for deaf and hard of hearing people

Culture

  • Funding for and access to music education
  • A strategy to develop the music industry in Wales
  • Fees and terms for the visual and applied arts
  • Access to and funding of the arts at a grassroots and local level
  • How Wales supports its traditional and unique cultural arts
  • Progression of Expert Review into Local Museums report
  • The Wales brand

Heritage

  • Preserving local heritage in Wales
  • Cultural and historical education in Wales

Communications

  • What can the Welsh Government do to tackle the democratic deficit in Wales
  • The state of local journalism in Wales
  • Welsh media representation on a UK level
  • Funding for the Welsh media
  • The implications of the BBC Charter on S4C
  • Citizen participation and access to political information

The Committee took these suggestions into consideration whilst planning the big issues they wanted to tackle over the next 5 years. There was a lot of common ground between the suggestions the Committee received and some of the Committees priorities, including:

  • how the ambition of achieving a million Welsh speakers can be achieved
  • concern at the continuing decline of local media and local news journalism
  • lack of portrayal of Wales on UK broadcast networks
  • the role of Radio in Wales
  • the remit, funding and accountability of S4C

We have grouped the remaining ideas together, and want the public to decide which issue you think the Committee should investigate in the next couple of months, once the Committee has completed its work on the Welsh language strategy. This is the first time an Assembly Committee will have given the public the ability to so directly decide what its focus should be.

Get involved by completing and sharing this survey.

This is not to say that we will ignore all but the most popular issue. All of these responses will help us decide our priorities further down the line, and we intend to follow-up all of these areas, be that through a formal inquiry, by asking questions to Ministers or by seeking plenary debates.
The Committee is committed to engaging the range of individuals, groups, businesses and organisations in its work, and hope that by providing opportunities to directly affect the Committees work that it effectively represents the interest of Wales and its people.
More about the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee.

#AskLlywydd – The Presiding Officer, Elin Jones AM, answers your questions

The Presiding Officer, Elin Jones AM, will be at the National Eisteddfod on 2 August in conversation with ITV Wales journalist Catrin Hâf Jones, talking about the unique challenges and opportunities she faces in the Fifth Assembly. The Presiding Officer will also answer questions from the audience and submitted through social media.

1E

Questions can be sent in advance or on the day, either by using #AskLlywydd  / #HoliLlywydd on Twitter, or by posting on the Assembly’s Facebook pages, where the session will be streamed live from 11:00am.

How do I watch?

If you are at the Eisteddfod you will be able to watch the interview live from 11:00am in the Societies 1 pavilion. If you are not able to attend we will be streaming the interview live in both English and Welsh to our Facebook accounts:

Assembly Wales Facebook

Cynylliad Cymru Facebook

You will also be able to watch the full interview on Senedd.tv after the event, along with transcripts.

How do I submit a question?

You can submit your questions for the Presiding Officer in a number of ways:

  • On Twitter – Follow @AssemblyWales on Twitter and reply to any tweets relating to this topic, or use the hashtag #AskLlywydd. Also feel free to Direct Message us if you’d like it to be confidential.
  • On Facebook – Like the Assembly’s Facebook Page and leave a comment on a relevant status. If you can’t see a relevant status then leave a comment on the page with the hashtag #AskLlywydd.
  • E-Mail – You can send your questions by e-mail to: communications@assembly.wales 
  • On Instagram – If you can express your views in a creative visual way we’d love to see it. Tag our Senedd Instagram account within your picture or just use the hashtag #AskLlywydd. Alternatively you can leave a comment on any one of our Instagram posts again with the hashtag #AskLlywydd
  • On YouTube – Why not film yourself asking your question and then send us the link through any of the channels above?
  • Comments – Leave a comment on this blog post right now!

Need some ideas?

The Assembly for Wales can make laws in 21 devolved areas:

  • Agriculture, Forestry, Animals, Plants and Rural Development
  • Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings
  • Culture
  • Economic Development
  • Education and Training
  • Environment
  • Fire and Rescue Services and Fire Safety
  • Food
  • Health
  • Highways and Transport
  • Housing
  • Local government
  • National Assembly for Wales
  • Public Administration
  • Social Welfare
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Taxation
  • Tourism
  • Town and Country Planning
  • Water and Flood Defence
  • Welsh Language

Here are some further links that you may also find helpful:

Key Issues for the Fifth Assembly – This publication sets out a selection of issues likely to matter in the Fifth Assembly, from the steel industry to the future of Welsh law-making.

Wales and the EU: What does the vote to leave the EU mean for Wales? – Our Research Service explains what could happen after the Leave vote in Wales.

New Assembly Commission launches strategy for Fifth Assembly – News article about the new strategy for the fifth Assembly.

The Role of the Presiding Officer – Information about the role of the Presiding officer.

 More about Elin Jones AM, Presiding Officer

Elin Jones AM is the current Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales.

The Presiding Officer is the highest authority in the Assembly and chairs the meeting of all 60 Assembly Members in Plenary, remaining politically impartial at all times.

The Presiding Officer also plays an active role in representing the Assembly and Wales’s interests on a national, UK and international stage. They chair the Assembly Commission, which makes sure that Assembly Members have the staff and resources they need to carry out their roles effectively for the people of Wales.

The key functions of the Presiding Officer are:

  • to chair Plenary meetings;
  • to determine questions as to the interpretation or application of Standing Orders;
  • to represent the Assembly in exchanges with any other bodies, whether within or outside the United Kingdom, in relation to matters affecting the Assembly.

See also:

Llywydd gives evidence to Assembly Committee – Changes the Presiding Officer would like to make to the Wales Bill.

Elin Jones lays out what she wants to achieve as Presiding Officer of the National Assembly – An interview with WalesOnline on what the Presiding Officer wants to achieve in her role over the next five years.

What happens next?

Once all your questions have been collected, a few will be selected and answered on the day by the Presiding Officer.

We will collate your questions and pass them to Catrin Hâf Jones before the interview. She will then incorporate them into her conversation with Elin Jones AM, Presiding Officer. If you’re at the Eisteddfod you can come and watch the interview in person, or watch live via our Facebook pages. Afterwards, the conversation will be available online on Senedd.TV. We’ll let you know if your question was answered.

The Presiding Officer in conversation with Catrin Hâf Jones will take place on 2 August at 11:00am at the National Eisteddfod in Abergavenny.

We look forward to hearing your views!

If you are at the Eisteddfod you will be able to watch the interview live from 11:00am in the Societies 1 pavilion. If you are not able to attend we will be streaming the interview live in both English and Welsh to our Facebook accounts:

Assembly Wales Facebook

Cynylliad Cymru Facebook

You will also be able to watch the full interview on Senedd.tv after the event, along with transcripts.

View this post in Welsh

The Curriculum in Wales – over 1000 young people have their say!

Over the summer the Assembly spoke with over 1000 children and young people across Wales to capture their views on the curriculum, qualifications and assessments.

Through a survey which was promoted at summer events like the National Eisteddfod and Royal Welsh Show, young people were given an opportunity to tell us what skills and subjects should (or shouldn’t!) be taught in schools, how careers advice could be improved and what they thought about the Welsh Baccalaureate.

Assembly Outreach Bus

An amazing 1177 young people responded, from every region in Wales! The results have shown that financial literacy, politics and modern business languages (like Chinese) should be taught more in schools, and only 29% of respondents felt that what they were currently being taught in schools, adequately prepares them for later life and finding a job.

Once published, the survey results were shared with Assembly Members and the Assembly Committees. The Children, Young People and Education Committee shared the findings with Professor Graham Donaldson, who is leading the Welsh Government’s Review of the Curriculum and Assessment in Wales, and wrote of his gratitude in bringing the statistics to his attention.

Summer Event

The results were also considered by the Enterprise and Business Committee, as part of the Inquiry into Assisting Young People into Work. Parts of the inquiry focus on careers advice young people receive in schools, and the results highlight what a number of young people told them through video evidence – namely, that careers advice needs to be improved in schools to help young people decide how to go about finding work and getting the skills they need to do that.

Bethan Jenkins AM

Finally, Bethan Jenkins AM spoke recently spoke in a Plenary debate, about her desire to improve financial literacy skills in Wales. She would like to do so by asking the National Assembly to consider her Financial Education and Inclusion (Wales) Bill. The purpose of this law would be to promote financial literacy in the Welsh population by making it part of the school curriculum. She was able to use these results to successfully argue for the Bill’s consideration.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part in the survey, and for taking that opportunity to have their say!

The Assembly Outreach Bus at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, 3 – 7 July 2012

The International Music Festival at Llangollen, North Wales was the next stop for the Assembly Outreach Bus. This event has been staged every summer since 1947 and continues to be a platform for many competitors from across the globe to showcase their cultures and musical heritage.

We welcomed over 1000 people to the bus during the festival, many of whom completed the quiz, and many other activities we had on offer such as the Member Wall “have your say” post cards, relating to issues affecting their constituency or region in Wales. We were pleased to hear that many of the school children from Wales had visited the Senedd and learnt about the democratic process in Wales, some were even in the process of deciding which pictures to submit to the Presiding Officers’ Photography Competition “Democracy in Action in Wales”. The First Minister also paid a visit to the bus on Thursday.

The heavy rain that was forecast for the end of the week did arrive on Friday which left the main car park closed due to flooding. This affected the turn out to the Eisteddfod although the new awning on the bus did keep everyone relatively dry! I’m sure you’ll agree from the pictures it looks quite impressive and ensures we stand out.

On Saturday we had a few visits from Assembly Members that represented the surrounding constituencies; Lesley Griffiths AM and Ken Skates AM; we informed them that many of their constituents had filled in the post cards on the Member Wall and that we would be sending feedback to them shortly after returning to Cardiff Bay. Aled Roberts AM also dropped by to take a look at the bus at the end of the day.

 The next stop for the bus will be the Bridgend Show 13 – 15 July.

Pictures of the Outreach Bus at Llangollen Eisteddfod are on Flickr