Select Committee on Welsh Affairs First Report


88. The National Assembly Committee made a number of specific recommendations in its Report that were of a more technical nature and concerned the new working practices for both the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Assembly Government. We decided that it would have been a duplication of work to revisit those areas.

The Statutory Duties of the National Assembly for Wales

89. Under the Government of Wales Act 1998, there are a number of statutory duties placed on the National Assembly:

90. Following any separation of the executive and the legislature, the National Assembly Committee considered whether any of the statutory obligations outlined in the 1998 Act should remain, and whether the obligations should fall on the Government, the Legislature or both.[148] They recommend that:

  • separate equality of opportunity duties be placed upon the Government and the Assembly Commission as is appropriate to their different roles, and that both be required to lay a report annually before the National Assembly. [149]
  • section 121 obligations should in future fall upon the Government, which should be obliged to lay an annual report before the National Assembly and the Commission should report on its compliance.[150]
  • the Government considers seriously the proposal for a statutory obligation upon them to consult business and trade unions thorough a Business Partnership Council, but we see no need for such an obligation in respect of the Legislature.[151]

Special Provision for the Welsh Language

91. The National Assembly Committee received evidence requesting that responsibility for the whole of the field of the Welsh language should be able to be transferred to the National Assembly by a single Order in Council. This would not mean that all matters relating to the Welsh language would be transferred, e.g. broadcasting is currently non-devolved, so S4C would not be devolved. In response, the National Assembly Committee asked the "appropriateness question;" "is it appropriate for the NAW to have legislative control over the Welsh language in devolved areas? The answer to that question appears to be 'yes'".[152] It therefore recommended that consideration be given to special provision in the Bill in respect of legislation on the Welsh language.[153]

Resource Budget

92. The National Assembly Committee argued that it is important for Members to be able to examine the way money has been spent as well as planned expenditure. This is an essential prerequisite for Members to be able to scrutinise devolved public expenditure in Wales.[154] The Committee therefore recommended that the Bill requires budgets to be presented in such a way as will enable Members to compare outturn with approved expenditure.[155]

93. We note the recommendations of the National Assembly Committee in relation to the statutory duties of the National Assembly, the special provision for the Welsh language and the examination of the Resource Budget. We look forward to hearing the response of the Government on those recommendations.

147   National Assembly Committee Report, Paragraph 32. Back

148   National Assembly Committee Report, Paragraph 33. Back

149   National Assembly Committee Report, Paragraph 34. Back

150   National Assembly Committee Report, Paragraph 35. Back

151   National Assembly Committee Report, Paragraph 37. Back

152   National Assembly Committee Report, Paragraph 76. Back

153   National Assembly Committee Report, Paragraph 76. Back

154   National Assembly Committee Report, Paragraph 121. Back

155   National Assembly Committee Report, Paragraph 21. Back

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Prepared 13 December 2005