Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad

Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee


Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Adam Price
Alun Davies
Huw Irranca-Davies Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Samuel Kurtz

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Gerallt Roberts Ail Glerc
Second Clerk
Kate Rabaiotti Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol
Legal Adviser
P Gareth Williams Clerc
Sarah Sargent Ail Glerc
Second Clerk

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 13:31.

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 13:31. 

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Croeso i bawb. Prynhawn da.

Welcome, everyone, and good afternoon.

Welcome to this afternoon's session of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. We have a full agenda in front of us today, but, before we start, just some housekeeping rules. This is a fully virtual meeting today. We've got lots of business to get to, but it's in a virtual setting. The Record of Proceedings will be published as usual and apart from the procedural adaptations for conducting these proceedings in virtual format, all the other Standing Order requirements are in place. If we can just make sure that our mobile devices are switched to silent, please. We're operating through Welsh and English as normal in today's meeting and the operator will control microphones during the public meeting.

2. Offerynnau nad ydynt yn cynnwys materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i’r Senedd o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3
2. Instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3

With that, as we're fully quorate—everybody's here, present and correct—we'll go on to item No. 2, which, as normal, is instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Orders 21.2 and 21.3. The first of these is item 2.1, it's a made negative resolution instrument, SL(6)446, the Non-Domestic Rating (Heat Networks Relief) (Wales) Regulations 2024. These regulations give effect to a new relief from non-domestic rating liability and they prescribe conditions to be satisfied to be eligible for heat networks relief, and they define a heat network. The provisions will have effect in relation to financial years from 1 April 2024. There are no reporting points, so, colleagues, unless there's anything you want to raise on that, we'll go straight on to item No. 3.

3. Offerynnau sy’n cynnwys materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i’r Senedd o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3
3. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3

We have several within this section. These are instruments that do raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under those Standing Orders 21.2 and 21.3. Several items, as I mentioned, and the first of these is a made negative resolution instrument, item 3.1, this is SL(6)440, the Agricultural Holdings (Units of Production) (Wales) Order 2024. We have a draft report in our packs. This Order sets out figures for agricultural incomes that are associated with various farming activities and are used to determine whether or not the land in question is a commercial unit of agricultural land, which is one of the tests for determining succession rights for agricultural tenancies. This Order covers the period from 12 September 2023 through to 11 September 2024. We have not received a Welsh Government report yet, but I wonder if we could ask our lawyer, Kate, for any points you have on this.

Yes. Thank you. The technical reporting point relates to the period of time between Welsh Government receiving the relevant statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, on 13 September 2023, and making this Order. Succession cases brought forward by individuals in Wales have effectively been put on hold since 12 September 2023, because they can't progress without the figures in this Order and it's not clear from the explanatory memorandum why it's taken a further five months, then, for the Order to be brought forward, and we're waiting for Welsh Government's response.

Thank you for that, Kate. So, if we're content with that reporting point, colleagues, we'll go on to item No. 3.2, SL(6)441, the Firefighters' Pension Schemes and Compensation Scheme (Amendment) (Wales) Order 2024. This Order amends the 1992 and the 2007 firemen's pension scheme Orders to extend the period during which persons who are employed in Wales as retained firefighters have access to a pension scheme. It also amends the Firefighters’ Compensation Scheme (Wales) Order 2007 to allow awards to be made in relation to injuries sustained while a person is performing certain duties other than firefighting under a temporary secondary employment with the same fire and rescue authority. Now, our lawyers have identified six technical and two merits reporting points, but we have not yet received a Welsh Government response. Kate, what do you want to tell us about this regulation?


Three of the technical reporting points identify inconsistencies between Welsh and English, and the remaining three relate to potentially defective drafting. The first merits point is to note that different names have been used to refer to the same pension scheme, which is likely to cause confusion to the reader of the Order. And then the final merits point is drawing your attention to paragraph 2.1 of the explanatory memorandum, which explains that some of the instruments being amended by this Order were originally made in English only, and the Welsh Ministers have determined that it would not be proportionate to revoke and remake these instruments bilingually. So, as a result, where these instruments are amended in the Welsh language text of the Order, the mechanics are set out in Welsh, but the text being inserted appears in English. We are waiting for Welsh Government's response to those technical points and the first merits point.

Thank you, Kate. Those issues around translation are a common theme that we can pick up in our subsequent reports and analysis as well. But, colleagues, if you're content with that, we can move ahead, then, to the next items.

What I would suggest is that we group the next three items under section 3 together, because they are related. These are item 3.3, which is SL(6)442, the Independent Schools (Provision of Information) (Wales) Regulations 2024, item 3.4, SL(6)443, the Independent School Standards (Wales) Regulations 2024, and item 3.5, SL(6)444, the Independent Schools (Prohibition on Participation in Management) (Wales) Regulations 2024. If you're content to group these, then I just draw your attention to the three draft reports under papers 4 to 6 in your pack.

This suite of regulations revokes, replaces and creates various regulations relating to independent schools. The Independent School Standards (Wales) Regulations 2024 revokes the 2003 regulations of the same name and prescribes the standards that are to be met by independent schools for the purposes of registration, reporting and inspection in accordance with the Education Act 2002. The Independent Schools (Provision of Information) (Wales) Regulations 2024 revoke and replace the 2003 regulations of the same name, and they make provision for the form and the content of an application to register an independent school, as well as the information that must be provided periodically by the proprietors of independent schools under the Education Act 2002. And then, finally, the Independent Schools (Prohibition on Participation in Management) (Wales) Regulations 2024 make provisions about giving, varying, revoking or appealing a section 167A direction under the Education Act 2002. Now, our lawyers have identified one merits reporting point in relation to each set of regulations, although each merits point is different. Our lawyers have also identified one technical reporting point in relation to the Independent Schools (Prohibition on Participation in Management) (Wales) Regulations 2024. We have not had a Welsh Government response yet, so, Kate, your points on this.

Thank you. The merits points in relation to each set of regulations are fairly self-explanatory; they just bring various matters to Members' attention. The technical point on the prohibition on participation in management regulations identifies potentially defective drafting in that the term 'appropriate authority' is used throughout the regulations, but it hasn't been defined or given a meaning. So, that's the point on which we need a Welsh Government response, and we're waiting to receive that.

Lovely. Thank you, Kate. Colleagues, I assume you're content with those reporting points.

Okay, we'll go on, then, to the final item in this section, which is item 3.6, SL(6)448, the Non-Domestic Rating (Miscellaneous and Consequential Amendments to Secondary Legislation) (Wales) Regulations 2024, and we have a draft report and a letter from the Minister for Finance and Local Government to the Llywydd in our pack. These regulations address matters raised in the three technical reporting points identified in our committee's report on the 2023 regulations. Certain amendments made by the 2023 regulations should have been expressed as having an effect for financial years beginning on or after 1 April 2024. Instead, these provisions took effect from the date that the 2023 regulations came into force, which is 27 October 2023. These regulations in front of us today resolve this issue by restating the law as it applied before 27 October 2023 with immediate effect, and remaking the amendments in the 2023 regulations to take effect from 1 April this year, 2024. And our lawyers have identified one technical and two merits reporting points, and, again, we haven't yet had the Welsh Government response. So, Kate, over to you again.


The instrument has two coming-into-force dates, and so the technical reporting point asks Welsh Government to explain why only one date has been included in the italic text at the start of the instrument, and that's the point that we're waiting for Welsh Government's response on. The first merits points notes that the law was incorrect for a period of time before these regulations came into force, but, according to the explanatory memorandum, Welsh Government is not aware of any adverse effects arising from this error. And then the final merits point is just to note the breach of the 21-day rule and the explanation provided.

4. Offerynnau sy’n cynnwys materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i’r Senedd o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.2 neu 21.3—trafodwyd eisoes
4. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3—previously considered

We go on, then, to item No. 4, which is instruments that do raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3 that we've previously considered. There's only one item in this section, colleagues, and it's item 4.1, SL(6)437, the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2023, and we have the report and, as we should have for this, a Welsh Government response. We considered this instrument in our meeting on 22 January, and we laid our report the same day, so I just invite you to note the Welsh Government response here, unless there's anything you want to raise, colleagues. No, okay. Is there anything, Kate, that you want to raise on this?

Yes, if I could just draw one point to your attention. These amending regulations were made to fix errors identified in this committee's report on the principal set of regulations, but there were again eight technical and two merits points. So, in response to four of the reporting points on these amending regulations, Welsh Government says that it will amend the principal regulations again when the opportunity arises. In response to two of the reporting points, Welsh Government also says that it's liaising with the statutory instrument registrar about the possibility of resolving issues through a correction slip. Correction slips are obviously a matter for the SI registrar, but we think these issues may be too substantive to resolve in that way, and so I'd just suggest that you may want to seek an update from Welsh Government after it's had its discussions with the SI registrar to just confirm which issues are going to be fixed now through a correction slip and which will have to wait for these further amending regulations to be made.

Colleagues, if you're in agreement with that, I think we should; this is often a case when our interpretation of what's appropriate to be dealt with in which way, by correction slips and so on, is quite pertinent. So, if you're happy to take up that suggestion from our legal officer, we'll do that.

Okay. And my thanks to you, Kate, and our legal team there, for once again casting your eye across all of these statutory instruments coming forward. We're doing our job very, very well indeed, picking up all the necessary points. 

5. Offerynnau sy’n cynnwys materion i gyflwyno adroddiad arnynt i’r Senedd o dan Reol Sefydlog 21.7 - trafodwyd eisoes
5. Instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.7 - previously considered

And I say that, because, as we come to item No. 5, the instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.7 that we've previously considered, there are none, so, I'm getting my thanks in to you, Kate, and the legal people early, before we say goodbye to you temporarily.

6. Cytundeb cysylltiadau rhyngsefydliadol
6. Inter-institutional relations agreement

Okay, colleagues, we'll head on, then, to item No. 6, which are notifications and correspondence under the inter-institutional relations agreement. Now, we start with item 6.1, where we have to note the written statement and correspondence from the Minister for Finance and Local Government, confirming that the Minister for Climate Change attended the third meeting of the Inter-ministerial Group for Housing, Communities and Local Government on her behalf, as the items related to her portfolio. And the Minister confirms that, during the meeting, the attendees discussed the challenges that each Government faces around affordable homes and housing supply, as well as the progress made on building safety, cladding remediation, insurance, mortgage and lending markets, and reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete. And the Minister also confirms that the UK Government and officials from the Northern Ireland Executive will work together on preparations for the next meeting of that IMG, which is scheduled for March or April this year.

Item 6.2, then, in this section, we note there, in our packs, the written statement and correspondence from the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, informing us that the Welsh Government has given consent to the making of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 (Consequential Provision) Regulations 2024. Those regulations were laid in the UK Parliament on 24 January 2024. The Counsel General confirms that the Welsh Government officials received a final version of the regulations for review on 18 January 2024, and that they included a mix of devolved and reserved provisions that do not amend primary legislation within the Senedd's competence. The Counsel General states that the Welsh Government considers it appropriate to give consent to the regulations as they make consequential provision flowing from sections 2 and 5 of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023. And the Counsel General also states helpfully that they also have no wider policy impact and no policy discretion is exercised in devolved areas in the regulations.

If you're content to note that, colleagues, we'll go on to item 6.3, which is the last item in this section. We have correspondence to note from the Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip, in which she informs us that she is due to attend a meeting of the Interministerial Group for Safety, Security and Migration on 5 February. The Minister informs us that the meeting will focus on the UK Government's illegal migration cap Bill, asylum dispersal and the recent report published on the cap on safe and legal migration routes. There will also be a discussion on the Ukrainian scheme, the Israel-Hamas conflict, and recent net migration reforms. And the Minister also tells us that a communiqué will be published after the meeting and that she will notify us of this in due course.

7. Papurau i’w nodi
7. Papers to note

And with that, colleagues, we go on to item No. 7, where we have several items under the papers to note. The first of those, under item 7.1, is correspondence and a written statement from the Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution in relation to the Welsh Government's future of Welsh law programme for 2021-26. The Counsel General tells us that he has laid a revised programme, which fulfils the commitment made in the second annual report on the programme to revise the programme to reflect various things, including a commitment to create a code of law in relation to planning, which we're familiar with, and to show that a code of law for the historic environment has been created. 

Item 7.2—and, as per normal, colleagues, if there's anything you want to raise on these, just shout at me as we go along there—I invite you to note the correspondence from the Minister for Climate Change in relation to the Infrastructure (Wales) Bill. The Minister provides copies of her correspondence with the UK Government, which confirm that the Minister of State for Housing, Planning and Building Safety granted Minister of the Crown consents in relation to the provisions contained in the Infrastructure (Wales) Bill, as requested—that's good to hear—and also that the UK Government has not agreed to the Welsh Government's request to extend competence in the offshore region, but has agreed for officials to continue discussions in this area. So, it's not a totally shut door; discussions will continue.

Item 7.3, then, we note the correspondence in the packs from the chair of the Independent Remuneration Board of the Senedd, in which she responds to a recommendation made in relation to the remuneration board in our report on the inquiry into UK-EU governance.

And finally in this section, item 7.4. We are invited to note the correspondence with the Business Committee in relation to its limited review of Standing Order 26C for consolidation Acts of the Senedd. The Business Committee confirms that, during its review, it considered the issues raised in our letter of 28 September and has now laid a report proposing that the Senedd agrees an amendment to Standing Orders to clarify when detailed committee consideration is completed, as well as several minor typographical corrections to Standing Order 26C. And the Business Committee also confirms that its procedural work programme includes a commitment to a full review of Standing Order 26C once the next consolidation Bill has been considered by the Senedd. And that, obviously, is of great interest to us, so we note that.

8. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod
8. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting


bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).


that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Colleagues, that concludes all the respective business that we need to cover in public session today, so, can I ask—? We've got a fair bit of business to get through in private now, so, under Standing Order 17.42, are you happy to exclude the public now for the remainder of the meeting? We are. So, if I could ask our clerks to move us into private session now.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 13:51.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 13:51.