Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad

Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee


Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Alun Davies Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor Dros Dro
Temporary Committee Chair
Carolyn Thomas Yn dirprwyo ar ran Huw Irranca-Davies
Substitute for Huw Irranca-Davies
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 13:30.

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 13:30. 

1. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.22 i ethol Cadeirydd dros dro ar gyfer cyfarfod y pwyllgor
1. Motion to elect a temporary Chair under Standing Order 17.22 for the committee meeting

Good afternoon. The meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee is now open. The committee Chair, Huw Irranca-Davies, has recused himself from today's meeting following his appointment as Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs. The first item of business is, therefore, the election of a temporary Chair. I therefore would like to invite nominations from committee members for a temporary Chair to be elected under Standing Order 17.22.

Thank you. Alun Davies has therefore been elected, and I invite him to take the chair. 

Penodwyd Alun Davies yn Gadeirydd dros dro.

Alun Davies was appointed temporary Chair.

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

Thank you very much. I'm grateful to Members, and grateful to you, Gareth, for opening the meeting. I think we should start by congratulating Huw Irranca-Davies on his appointment to Government. I think many of us were very pleased to see that, especially, perhaps, Sam, who will be shadowing him in the new position in Government. So, we're electing a new, substantive Chair for the committee, I think, this week. So, I will chair this meeting.

We do have apologies as well, I should say, from Adam Price, who is unable to join us this afternoon. Carolyn Thomas is here in place of Huw Irranca-Davies and we're very pleased to see you again, Carolyn. You've subbed on the committee a number of times in the past and we're always pleased to see you attending. 

In terms of where we are now, I need to just run through a couple of preliminary points before we start the meeting. The sound operator will control microphones, as we're all aware. The procedural adaptions for conducting proceedings in a virtual format are in place, but all other Standing Order requirements remain in place. Can I ask Members to ensure that all mobile devices are switched to silent? We are aware that the Senedd operates through the medium of the Welsh and English languages, and interpretation is available. Members are reminded that the sound operator is controlling the microphones, so you don't need to mute or unmute yourselves during this meeting.

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

With that, let's move on to the first substantive item, item 3, instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. These are made negative instruments. The first item under this point is item 3.1, SL(6)466, the Education (Pupil Exclusions and Appeals) (Pupil Referral Units) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2024. Senedd lawyers have identified four technical and one merits reporting points, and I'm pleased to say that we have received a Welsh Government response as well. Now, Kate, as our lawyer, do you have any issues you want to highlight from either the draft report or the Welsh Government response?

Just to note that the first technical reporting point identifies potentially defective drafting, and, in response, the Welsh Government agrees with that but does not consider that this needs correcting on the basis that it will not cause confusion. The second technical point is seeking a further explanation in relation to one of the amendments, which doesn't appear to serve a purpose, and, again, the Welsh Government agrees but does not consider that amendment is necessary. The third technical reporting point relates to a historical error in the 2003 regulations that are being amended, and the Welsh Government's response is that it will be amending those regulations, expected to be later this year, to fix that point. The final technical reporting point is noting an inconsistency in the form of verb used in one of the Welsh amendments, and, again, the Welsh Government accepts this but it considers that the meaning is sufficiently clear that the reader will not be misled. And finally, the merits point is just noting that no consultation was undertaken.

I'm grateful to you for that, Kate. Carolyn or Sam, do you have any comments or observations to make, or do you agree the reporting points? I can see that you're both nodding there, so we agree that. I'm grateful to you for that.

Kate, I'll come straight back to you now on item 3.2, SL(6)470, the Home Energy Efficiency Schemes (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2024. These regulations amend the regulations of the same name from 2011 by extending certain eligibility criteria for grant support available to low-income households. Senedd lawyers have identified three merits reporting points. Can I invite you, Kate, again to highlight any issues on this?

Thank you. The three merits points are all identifying issues in the regulations. The first is noting an inconsistency in the numbering of divisions in the 2011 regulations, which is perpetuated by these regulations rather than being amended. But, in response, the Welsh Government says it does not intend to make any amendment because this issue has been there since 2013 and it doesn't cause any uncertainty to the reader. The second merits point is about an error in the description of subdivisions, and, again, there's a historical error in the 2011 regulations. Again, the Welsh Government doesn't think that this creates any uncertainty, but they are going to be amending the error in the 2011 regulations next time they're amended. And then, finally, the third merits point is asking the Welsh Government whether it considered expressly defining a term that's used in the transitional provision in the regulations, because this would help from an accessibility perspective. In response, the Welsh Government notes the point but considers that the drafting is sufficiently clear.


Okay. I'm grateful to you for that, Kate. Do we have any comments or observations, Sam or Carolyn? None at all, so I take it that you both agree the reporting points on this report. So, we'll move on to the next item, 3.3, which is SL(6)473, the Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances)—I just about got there—(England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2024. Now, ironically, given the name of these regulations, they clarify the technical language in existing domestic legislation for polychlorinated biphenyls. In 2020, amendments were made to the regulations originally made in 2000 to reflect new requirements to remove equipment containing volumes of PCBs—which is a far better description—over a certain threshold before the end of 2025. We have technical reporting point here, and a Welsh Government's response is not required. Could you outline that reporting point please, Kate?

Yes. The technical reporting point is just noting that the regulations have been made in English only. 

Thank you for that. If there are no comments or observations—I don't see any—then I will take it that Members agree the reporting point. 

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 move on to item 4, instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd that have been previously considered. The first item here is item 4.1, which is SL(6)461, the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Act 2022 (Commencement No. 2 and Transitory Provision) (Amendment) Order 2024. We considered this as a committee at our meeting on 11 March, and we laid a report the same day. Members are now invited to note the Welsh Government response to the report that has since been received. Do we have any further comments before I ask Carolyn and Sam for their comments or observations, Kate?   

Just to say the response provides the further information that was requested, and so there's nothing further to add from legal.

Yes, it's quite straightforward there. I assume that you're both content—both Members are content. I see you nodding. 

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

So, we'll move on to item 5, then, which is notifications and correspondence under the inter-instutitional relations agreement. The first item here is item 5.1, correspondence from the Welsh Government on inter-ministerial groups. We have a paper here, paper 6, which is a letter from the Minister for Finance and Local Government: inter-ministerial finance standing committee, 19 March 2024. We're simply invited to note this correspondence from the then Minister in relation to the standing committee that took place on 14 March. The Minister informs us of the discussions that took place and directs us to a communique published by the Welsh Government.

I do not believe that Members wish to make any comment or observation on that, so we'll move on to item 5.2, correspondence from the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, on the Biocidal Products (Health and Safety) (Amendment and Transitional Provisions etc.) Regulations 2024. We have a letter here from the then Minister in relation to these regulations. The Minister informs us that she's given consent for the Secretary of State to lay the regulations in relation to Wales. The Minister wrote to us previously to inform us of the Welsh Government's intention to consent. It's a letter that's very similar to previous letters that the committee has received, and the Minister states that 

'it is considered appropriate for the substance of the amendments to apply to Wales as the Regulations are technical in nature and contain no change of policy.' 

If Members have no comment or observation, I'll move on to item 5.3, which is a written statement by the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd on the Sea Fisheries (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2024. The Minister informs the Senedd that the Welsh Government has given consent for the UK Government to make the regulations, as they ensure the UK has complied with its obligations under this convention. The regulations were laid before the UK Parliament on 14 March and will come into force on 7 June 2024. If there are no comments or observations on that matter, we'll move on to the papers to note, which is item 6.

6. Papurau i'w nodi
6. Papers to note

The first item here is a written statement by the then Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution and the then Minister for Social Justice and Chief Whip in relation to the publication of the 'Preparing for the Devolution of Policing in Wales' report. This report explores the potential options for a devolved policing service in Wales. The Minister's statement and the report will form the basis for future consideration. If there are no comments or observations on that, we'll move on to the next item.

It's been suggested that we group the following two items for our convenience: item 6.2 and item 6.3. This is correspondence relating to the publication of our report on the Welsh Government's legislative consent memoranda on the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill. We have correspondence with the Business Committee in relation to a recommendation made in our report regarding a review of Standing Order 29.1. And then we have correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for Housing, Local Government and Planning in response to recommendations made in our report, which was published on 14 March, as well as to our letter to her, of 19 March, which asked for clarification on matters including financial implications and the UK Government's impact assessment.

Unless we have any further comment or observation on that, we move on to 6.4, which is correspondence between the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, and Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, and the chair of the House of Lords Constitution Committee in relation to the scrutiny of common frameworks. Members will be aware that Baroness Drake, the chair of the Constitution Committee, wrote to Rt Hon Michael Gove, following the fifth meeting of the inter-parliamentary forum, requesting his views about the role that the forum could play in future monitoring of common frameworks. The letter also requested that details of the outcomes of the evaluation of the entire common frameworks process be provided in a letter, in order to be considered at the next meeting of the forum. In response, the Secretary of State informs Baroness Drake that the stakeholder engagement was completed at the end of February, and the results of that engagement are now being considered. It is his expectation to publish a final report before the summer, and he states that it will be shared with the devolved administrations. This is something, Gareth, that we've taken a great interest in as a committee in the past, and I trust that we will continue that interest in the future. So, it might be something that we will wish to consider in more detail at some point.

Item 6.5 is correspondence from the Finance Committee on the Welsh Government's draft budget. Following previous concerns that have been raised around the impact of the Welsh Government's approach on the ability of committees to effectively scrutinise the draft budget, the Chair of the Finance Committee has asked committees to consider a number of issues to help inform future scrutiny. This is something that we may wish to consider as a potential response when we move into private session, unless anybody has any comments to make now.

We'll move on to item 6.6. This is correspondence from the Culture, Communications, Welsh Language, Sport and International Relations Committee to the chair of the House of Lords International Agreements Committee in relation to the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. The Chair of the culture committee states it's been agreed to maintain a watching brief over implementation of the convention as it relates to devolved matters falling within its remit. We do have, in our papers, a letter from the Welsh Government to the culture committee, dated 6 March, and a letter from the UK Government to the same committee, dated 8 March, and that's something that we will continue to focus on in the future.

Item 6.7 is a written statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Education in relation to amendments to UK Government legislation to support the establishment of the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research. The amendments include adding references to the commission and making technical amendments in relation to provisions that are being repealed as a consequence of the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Act 2022.

Item 6.8 is correspondence related to the cancellation of the fifth meeting of the UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly. Members will remember that this was due to be held in Brussels on 18 and 19 March. Colleagues from the Scottish Parliament, as well as this committee, wrote to the co-chairs of the UK-EU Parliamentary Partnership Assembly to express regret at the late-notice cancellation to seek to understand the basis upon which the decision was made to cancel in order to put procedures in place to avoid a similar situation in the future. This is something else we can return to later.

Item 6.9 is correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for Housing, Local Government and Planning. Here, she responds to our outgoing letter of 19 March, which was, at the time, addressed to her as the then Minister for Climate Change. The Cabinet Secretary has retained responsibility for this LCM following the recent ministerial appointments and reshuffles. When the Cabinet Secretary appeared before our committee on 11 March in her previous role, she gave a commitment to provide us with the chronology of the engagement between the UK Government and the Welsh Government regarding the UK Bill, and that is provided in this letter. Again, that's something we can to return to later.

Item 6.10, the final item under this area, is correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and the Cabinet Office. She responds to the recommendations made in the committee's report on the Local Government Finance (Wales) Bill. The Cabinet Secretary has also responded to recommendations in the reports of the Local Government and Housing Committee and the Finance Committee. We understand that those responses are being published by the respective committees. This is something else I assume we will wish to return to in private session.

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

Unless Members have any issues they now wish to raise, I will move on to item 7, which is a motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of this 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.

If Members are content, Gareth, as clerk, we will move into private session.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 13:47.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 13:47.