House of Lords portcullis
House of Lords
Session 2005 - 06
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament

Government of Wales Bill


Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

17

 

(13)   

The standing orders may include provision as to the participation (including

voting) in Assembly proceedings of the Presiding Officer and Deputy

Presiding Officer and any person acting by virtue of subsection (12).

(14)   

The validity of any act of a person as Presiding Officer or Deputy Presiding

Officer, or of any person acting by virtue of subsection (12), is not affected by

5

any defect in the person’s appointment by the Assembly.

(15)   

Subsections (10) to (12) are subject to paragraph 11 of Schedule 2.

26      

Clerk of Assembly

(1)   

The Assembly Commission must appoint a person to be the Clerk of the

Assembly (referred to in this Act as “the Clerk”).

10

(2)   

The person appointed under subsection (1) is to be known as the Clerk of the

Assembly or by such other title as the standing orders may provide.

(3)   

The Clerk’s functions may be exercised by any other member of the staff of the

Assembly (or person seconded to work at the Assembly) authorised by the

Assembly Commission if—

15

(a)   

the office of Clerk is vacant, or

(b)   

the Clerk is for any reason unable to act.

(4)   

The Clerk may authorise any other member of the staff of the Assembly (or

person seconded to work at the Assembly) to exercise functions on the Clerk’s

behalf.

20

27      

Assembly Commission

(1)   

There is to be a body corporate to be known as the National Assembly for

Wales Commission or Comisiwn Cynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru (referred to

in this Act as “the Assembly Commission”).

(2)   

The members of the Assembly Commission are to be—

25

(a)   

the Presiding Officer, and

(b)   

four other Assembly members not belonging to the same political

group.

(3)   

The standing orders must make provision for the appointment of the four other

Assembly members as members of the Assembly Commission.

30

(4)   

The Assembly Commission must—

(a)   

provide to the Assembly, or

(b)   

ensure that the Assembly is provided with,

   

the property, staff and services required for the Assembly’s purposes.

(5)   

The Assembly may give special or general directions to the Assembly

35

Commission for the purpose of, or in connection with, the exercise of the

Assembly Commission’s functions.

(6)   

Any property, rights or liabilities acquired or incurred in relation to matters to

which the Assembly would otherwise be entitled or subject are to be treated for

all purposes as property, rights or liabilities of the Assembly Commission.

40

(7)   

For further provision about the Assembly Commission see Schedule 2.

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

18

 

Committees

28      

Committees and sub-committees

(1)   

The standing orders may provide—

(a)   

for the appointment of committees of the Assembly, and

(b)   

for such committees to have power to appoint sub-committees.

5

(2)   

The members of a committee of the Assembly, or of a sub-committee of such a

committee, may not include anyone who is not an Assembly member.

(3)   

The standing orders must make provision about the membership, chairing and

procedure of committees of the Assembly and sub-committees of such

committees.

10

(4)   

The standing orders may include provision for excluding from the proceedings

of a committee of the Assembly, or a sub-committee of such a committee, an

Assembly member who is not a member of the committee or sub-committee.

(5)   

The validity of any proceedings of a committee of the Assembly, or of a sub-

committee of such a committee, is not affected by—

15

(a)   

any vacancy in its membership,

(b)   

any defect in the appointment of its members or of the person who

chairs it, or

(c)   

any failure to comply with provisions of the standing orders relating to

procedure.

20

29      

Composition of committees

(1)   

The provision included in the standing orders in compliance with section 28(3)

must meet the requirements of this section.

(2)   

The standing orders shall include provision for ensuring that in apportioning

members to committees and sub-committees regard is had to the balance of

25

political parties represented in the Assembly.

(3)   

The provision must secure that the Presiding Officer decides questions arising

under provision made in compliance with this section.

30      

Audit Committee

(1)   

The committees of the Assembly must include one to be known as the

30

Accounts Committee (or Pwyllgor Cyfrifon) or any other name that the

Assembly chooses to allow through its standing orders.

(2)   

The Accounts Committee is to have the number of members specified by the

standing orders.

(3)   

None of the following may be a member of the Accounts Committee—

35

(a)   

the First Minister or any person designated to exercise the functions of

the First Minister,

(b)   

a Welsh Minister appointed under section 48,

(c)   

the Counsel General or any person designated to exercise the functions

of the Counsel General, or

40

(d)   

a Deputy Welsh Minister.

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

19

 

(4)   

The Accounts Committee must not be chaired by an Assembly member who is

a member of a political group with an executive role.

Proceedings etc.

31      

Standing orders

(1)   

Assembly proceedings are to be regulated by standing orders (referred to in

5

this Act as “the standing orders”).

(2)   

The standing orders must include provision for preserving order in Assembly

proceedings, including provision for—

(a)   

preventing conduct which would constitute a criminal offence or

contempt of court, and

10

(b)   

a sub judice rule.

(3)   

The standing orders may include provision for excluding an Assembly

member from Assembly proceedings.

(4)   

The standing orders may include provision for withdrawing from an

Assembly member any or all of the rights and privileges of membership of the

15

Assembly.

(5)   

The standing orders—

(a)   

must include provision requiring the proceedings of the Assembly to

be held in public, and for proceedings of a committee of the Assembly

or a sub-committee of such a committee to be held in public except in

20

circumstances provided for in the standing orders, and

(b)   

may include provision as to the conditions to be complied with by

members of the public attending the proceedings (including provision

for excluding any member of the public who does not comply with the

conditions).

25

(6)   

The standing orders must include provision—

(a)   

for reporting the proceedings of the Assembly, and for reporting

proceedings of committees of the Assembly and sub-committees of

such committees which are held in public, and

(b)   

for publishing the reports of proceedings as soon as reasonably

30

practicable after the proceedings take place.

(7)   

The Assembly may by resolution remake or revise the standing orders; but if

the motion for a resolution to remake or revise the standing orders is passed on

a vote, it has no effect unless at least two-thirds of the Assembly members

voting support it.

35

(8)   

The Clerk must from time to time publish the standing orders.

32      

Participation by UK Ministers etc.

(1)   

The Secretary of State for Wales is entitled to participate in proceedings of the

Assembly but not to vote.

(2)   

The standing orders must include provision for any documents which—

40

(a)   

contain material relating to any proceedings of the Assembly which

have taken place or are to take place, and

(b)   

are made available to all Assembly members,

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

20

 

   

to be made available to the Secretary of State for Wales no later than the time

when they are made available to Assembly members.

(3)   

The standing orders may make provision for—

(a)   

the participation of the Secretary of State for Wales in proceedings of

any committee of the Assembly, or any sub-committee of any such

5

committee, and

(b)   

the participation in any Assembly proceedings of other Ministers of the

Crown and of persons serving in the department of the Secretary of

State for Wales or of any other Minister of the Crown.

(4)   

The provision made by virtue of subsection (3) may not include provision

10

conferring any right to vote.

(5)   

The standing orders may include provision for the making available of

documents or information in connection with participation in Assembly

proceedings pursuant to, or to standing orders made under, this section.

33      

Consultation about UK Government’s legislative programme

15

(1)   

As soon as is reasonably practicable after the beginning of each session of

Parliament, the Secretary of State for Wales must undertake with the Assembly

such consultation about the UK Government’s legislative programme for the

session as appears to the Secretary of State to be appropriate.

(2)   

The consultation in relation to the UK Government’s legislative programme

20

for a session must include participating in proceedings of the Assembly

relating to it on at least one occasion.

(3)   

For this purpose the UK Government’s legislative programme for a session of

Parliament consists of the bills which, at the beginning of the session, are

intended to be introduced into either House of Parliament during the session

25

by a Minister of the Crown.

(4)   

If, at any time after the beginning of a session of Parliament, it is decided that

a bill should be introduced into either House of Parliament during the session

by a Minister of the Crown and no consultation about the bill has been

undertaken under subsection (1), the Secretary of State for Wales must

30

undertake with the Assembly such consultation about the bill as appears to the

Secretary of State to be appropriate.

(5)   

This section does not require the undertaking of consultation with the

Assembly about a bill if it appears to the Secretary of State for Wales that there

are considerations relating to the bill that make such consultation

35

inappropriate.

34      

Participation by Counsel General

(1)   

If not an Assembly member the Counsel General may participate in Assembly

proceedings to the extent permitted by the standing orders, but may not vote.

(2)   

And the standing orders may in other respects provide that they are to apply

40

to the Counsel General if not an Assembly member as to an Assembly member.

(3)   

The Counsel General may, in any Assembly proceedings, decline to answer

any question or produce any document concerning the operation of the system

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

21

 

of criminal prosecution in any particular case if considering that answering the

question or producing the document—

(a)   

might prejudice criminal proceedings in the case, or

(b)   

would otherwise be contrary to the public interest.

35      

Equality of treatment

5

(1)   

The Assembly must, in the conduct of Assembly proceedings, give effect, so far

as is both appropriate in the circumstances and reasonably practicable, to the

principle that the English and Welsh languages should be treated on a basis of

equality.

(2)   

The Assembly must make appropriate arrangements with a view to securing

10

that Assembly proceedings are conducted with due regard to the principle that

there should be equality of opportunity for all people.

36      

Integrity

(1)   

The standing orders must include provision—

(a)   

for a register of interests of Assembly members, and

15

(b)   

for the register to be published and made available for public

inspection.

(2)   

The standing orders must require Assembly members to register in the register

of interests registrable interests, as defined for the purposes of this subsection.

(3)   

The standing orders must require any Assembly member who has—

20

(a)   

a financial interest, as defined for the purposes of this subsection, or

(b)   

any other interest, or an interest of any other kind, as so defined,

   

in any matter to declare that interest before taking part in Assembly

proceedings relating to that matter.

(4)   

The standing orders may include provision for preventing or restricting the

25

participation in any Assembly proceedings of an Assembly member who has

an interest within subsection (2) or (3) in any matter to which the proceedings

relate.

(5)   

The standing orders must include provision prohibiting an Assembly member

from—

30

(a)   

advocating or initiating any cause or matter on behalf of any person, by

any means specified in the standing orders, in consideration of any

payment or benefit in kind of a description so specified, or

(b)   

urging, in consideration of any such payment or benefit in kind, any

other Assembly member to advocate or initiate any cause or matter on

35

behalf of any person by any such means.

(6)   

The standing orders must include provision about (or for the making of a code

or protocol about) the different roles and responsibilities of Assembly

constituency members and Assembly regional members; and—

(a)   

Assembly constituency members must not describe themselves in a

40

manner which suggests that they are Assembly regional members, and

(b)   

Assembly regional members must not describe themselves in a manner

which suggests that they are Assembly constituency members.

(7)   

An Assembly member who—

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

22

 

(a)   

takes part in Assembly proceedings without having complied with, or

in contravention of, any provision included in the standing orders in

pursuance of subsections (2) to (4), or

(b)   

contravenes any provision included in the standing orders in

pursuance of subsection (5),

5

   

commits an offence.

(8)   

A person guilty of an offence under subsection (7) is liable on summary

conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(9)   

A prosecution for a offence under subsection (7) cannot be instituted except by

or with the consent of Director of Public Prosecutions.

10

(10)   

The validity of any Assembly proceedings is not affected by any contravention

or failure to comply with any provision included in the standing orders in

pursuance of this section.

(11)   

In this section—

(a)   

references to an Assembly member (apart from those in subsection (6))

15

includes the Counsel General, if not an Assembly member, and

(b)   

“financial interest” includes a benefit in kind.

Witnesses and documents

37      

Power to call

(1)   

Subject as follows, the Assembly may require any person—

20

(a)   

to attend Assembly proceedings for the purpose of giving evidence, or

(b)   

to produce for the purposes of the Assembly (or a committee of the

Assembly or a sub-committee of such a committee) documents in the

possession, or under the control, of the person,

   

concerning any matter relevant to the exercise by the Welsh Ministers of any of

25

their functions.

(2)   

The Assembly may not impose a requirement under subsection (1) on a person

who is not involved in the exercise of functions, or the carrying on of activities,

in relation to Wales.

(3)   

The Assembly may not impose a requirement under subsection (1) on a person

30

who—

(a)   

is or has been a Minister of the Crown, or

(b)   

serves or has served in the department of a Minister of the Crown,

in relation to the exercise of any functions of a Minister of the Crown.

(4)   

The Assembly—

35

(a)   

may not impose a requirement under subsection (1) on a person who is

a full-time judge of any court, and

(b)   

may not impose such a requirement on a person who is not within

paragraph (a) but who is or has been a member of any court or tribunal

in connection with the exercise of functions as such a member.

40

(5)   

Where a requirement under subsection (1) is imposed on a person who is or has

been a member of the staff of the Welsh Assembly Government (or a person

seconded to work for the Welsh Assembly Government) in relation to the

 
 

Government of Wales Bill
Part 1 — National Assembly for Wales

23

 

exercise of any functions of the Welsh Ministers, the First Minister or the

Counsel General, any of them may issue a direction under subsection (6).

(6)   

A direction under this subsection is a direction—

(a)   

that the person on whom the requirement was imposed need not

comply with it, and

5

(b)   

that the requirement is instead to be complied with by another person

specified in the direction.

(7)   

The powers conferred by subsection (1)—

(a)   

may be exercised by and for the purposes of the Audit Committee, and

(b)   

may be exercised by and for the purposes of any other committee of the

10

Assembly, or any sub-committee of any committee of the Assembly, if

the committee or sub-committee is expressly authorised to do so by the

Assembly (whether by the standing orders or otherwise).

(8)   

A person is not obliged under this section to answer any question or produce

any document which the person would be entitled to refuse to answer or

15

produce in or for the purposes of proceedings in a court in England and Wales.

(9)   

A person acting as prosecutor in criminal proceedings is not obliged under this

section to answer any question or produce any document concerning the

operation of the system of criminal prosecution in any particular case if the

appropriate officer—

20

(a)   

considers that answering the question or producing the document

might prejudice criminal proceedings in the case or would otherwise be

contrary to the public interest, and

(b)   

has authorised the person to decline to answer the question or produce

the document on that ground.

25

(10)   

In subsection (9) “the appropriate officer” means—

(a)   

if the proceedings were instituted by or on behalf of the Welsh

Ministers, the First Minister or the Counsel General, the Counsel

General, and

(b)   

otherwise, the Attorney General.

30

38      

Notice

(1)   

A requirement under section 37 is to be imposed on a person by the Clerk

giving the person notice in writing specifying—

(a)   

whether the requirement is imposed for the purposes of the Assembly

or a specified committee or sub-committee, and

35

(b)   

the matters mentioned in either paragraph (a) or paragraph (b) of

subsection (2).

(2)   

Those matters are—

(a)   

the time and place at which the person is to attend and the particular

subject concerning which the person is required to give evidence;

40

(b)   

the documents, or types of documents, which the person is to produce,

the date by which and person to whom they are to be produced and the

particular subject concerning which they are required.

(3)   

Notice under subsection (1) is to be given—

(a)   

in the case of an individual, by sending it in accordance with subsection

45

(4) addressed to the person at the person’s usual or last known address

 
 

 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Lords home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 2006
Revised 30 June 2006