Supplementary memorandum submitted by
Rt Hon Peter Hain MP, Secretary of State for Wales, Wales Office
Thank you for you letter of 10 November. Rhodri
and I very much enjoyed the session with your Committee; as you
rightly said, it was nothing if not lively! In terms of the questions
to which you requested a written response:
How will the Bill ensure that the National Assembly
will have both the powers and resources to fund any necessary
increase in staff?
As to powers, the Bill will establish a National
Assembly for Wales Commission (comprising a limited number of
Assembly Members) which will be the corporate body with powers
to provide or secure that the Assembly is provided with the staff,
services and property required for the Assembly's purposes.
The resources required by the Assembly Commission
will be payable out of the Welsh Consolidated Fund. This fund
will be broadly analagous to the current "Welsh Block":
that is, it will represent the resources which will be available
to fund the Commission and Ministers, consisting principally of
the grant from the Secretary of State for Wales but also including
other sources of income. Bodies whose needs will have to be met
out of the Welsh Consolidated Fund will be the Welsh Assembly
Government itself; the Wales Audit Office and the office of the
Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.
Will the National Assembly for Wales have explicit
powers to scrutinise and authorise a Welsh Consolidated Fund?
The size of the Welsh Consolidated Fund will
be determined in essentially the same way as the Welsh Block is
currently, and will be accounted for transparently to enable scrutiny.
However payments out of the Welsh Consolidated Fund will only
be made if authorised by a Budget Resolution passed by the Assembly.
The only exceptions to this will be the distribution of National
Non-Domestic Rates and the costs of the Auditor General for Wales
and Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. The independence of these
office-holders from the Welsh Assembly Government will be assured
through arrangements whereby their costs will be charged directly
on the Welsh Consolidated Fund (and therefore not subject to a
vote in the Assembly), though these will be transparent arrangements
to ensure that both bodies account publicly for their funding
What proportion of the staff from the current
ASPBs (to be incorporated into the WAG) will be working for the
WAG, and for the NAW respectively?
Those bodies which merge before the "Better
Governance for Wales" proposals are implemented will in legal
terms be merging with the existing corporate body which is the
National Assembly for Wales. However all the functions carried
out by staff from the ASPBs which are merging with the Welsh Assembly
Government will become functions of the Welsh Assembly Government,
so in effect the staff carrying out those functions will be Welsh
Assembly Government staff. The permanent staff of the National
Assembly for Wales will not be civil servants once the Welsh Assembly
Government and the National Assembly for Wales are legally separated.
Thereafter, as with all Welsh Assembly Government staff, individual
staff will be free to make career choices. There will be a policy,
after that separation takes place, of facilitating secondments
between the Welsh Assembly Government and National Assembly for
Wales (and indeed other public bodies).
The Memoranda of Understanding between Wales and
Whitehall will be revised in the event of the formal separation
of the executive and the legislature. What changes would you like
to see in the Memoranda of Understanding?
Once the position in Wales changes as a result
of legislation implementing "Better Governance for Wales",
the agreements and guidance on the conduct of business between
the Welsh Assembly Government and Whitehall Departments will clearly
need to be revised. The revised documents will have to correctly
reflect structure, terminology and accountabilites; and to fully
support the processes required to ensure that the new arrangements
established under the legislation work effectively.
Do you see any problems with having provisions
to the Bill to limit the number of Ministers and deputy Ministers?
Will we see such provision when the Bill is published?
The First Minister and I agree that this would
be a good idea and there will be provision in the Bill when it
Please do not hesitate to let me know if I can
be of further assistance. As I said at the end of the evidence
session, I think that your Committee has done tremendous work
scrutinising Wales Bills, and I very much hope your Report considers
how the pre-legislative scrutiny of future Orders in Council might
best be undertaken.
Notional results for a National List
Note on methodology: The figures below
provide notional results for the 2003 and 1999 Assembly elections.
The model assumes that the five regional lists are replaced by
a single national list. The figures have been produced by aggregating
the results from the five regions.
The purpose of this modelling is to assess the
extent to which the introduction of a single national list would
lead to fragmentation in the Assembly by enabling fringe parties
to achieve representation. It also assesses the effect of applying
a 5% threshold to a notional list.
2003 Assembly electionsno threshold
1999 Assembly electionsno threshold
2003 Assembly electionswith 5% threshold
1999 Assembly electionswith 5% threshold