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
Samuel Kurtz
Sarah Murphy Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair

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 yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 13:30.

The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.

The meeting began at 13:30.

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

Good afternoon. Welcome to this meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee. As a reminder, this is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv, and the Record of Proceedings will be published as usual. In terms of housekeeping arrangements, in the event of a fire alarm, Members should leave the room by the marked fire exits and follow instructions from the ushers and staff. There is no test forecast for today. Please can Members ensure that all mobile devices are switched to silent mode. Senedd Cymru operates through the medium of both the Welsh and English languages. Interpretation is available during today's meeting. Members are reminded that the sound operator is controlling the microphones and, as such, you do not need to mute and unmute yourselves during the public meeting.

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

So, that brings me on to item 2. We have instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3, and we have one item under this section today. Item 2.1 is a draft affirmative resolution instrument. This is SL(6)484, the Mandatory Use of Closed Circuit Television in Slaughterhouses (Wales) Regulations 2024. These regulations make provision complementary to the Welfare of Animals (Transport) (Wales) Order 2007 and the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing (Wales) Regulations 2014 by introducing specific requirements on operators of slaughterhouses regarding CCTV systems and their installation and operation. This also includes giving powers to inspectors for inspection, seizure and enforcement. These regulations were initially laid by the Welsh Government on 12 March, withdrawn, and then relaid in their present form. Senedd lawyers have identified two merits reporting points, and a Welsh Government response is not required. Do our legal team have any issues to highlight arising from the draft report?

If I could just draw your attention to the second merits reporting point, which is simply to note that comparable regulations are already in place in England and Scotland and they've been in force since 2018 and 2021 respectively.

Thank you very much. Do Members have any comments or observations? We're happy, then, to agree the reporting points. Diolch.

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

Item 3, instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. Here we have item 3.1, the Agricultural Wages (Wales) Order 2024. The committee considered this instrument at its meeting on 22 April and laid its report the same day. Members are invited to note the Welsh Government response to the report, which has since been received. Does our legal team have any issues to highlight from the response, please?

Yes. Just to remind Members, there were a significant number of technical reporting points raised in relation to this Order. In general, the Welsh Government's response is that it will pass the committee's comments on to the agricultural wages panel, which prepares these Orders, so that the points can be taken into account for the next Order. But, there are three points of principle raised by the responses, which Members may just wish to note. Firstly, the response emphasises that the Order is drafted and prepared by the panel. So, Members may wish to note that, regardless of the process for preparing the Order, it is still the Welsh Ministers who make the Order and lay it before the Senedd, so they are responsible to the Senedd for its form and content. Second, in response to a number of the reporting points, the Welsh Government notes that the provisions reported on use the same wording as in previous Orders. Here, Members may just wish to note that the fact that wording has been used before does not guarantee that the provision remains sufficiently clear and accessible today. Precedent text should be reviewed before being reused to ensure it remains clear and reflects current best practice for drafting. Then, finally, in response to the tenth reporting point, which notes a lack of clarity in one of the provisions, the Welsh Government acknowledges this but suggests that the criteria will be made clear in accompanying guidance. So, Members might want to note here that guidance is not a substitute for clarity in legislation, because the legislation is the law. So, those were the points of principle that I was going to draw to your attention. But, in relation to the substantive responses, the Welsh Government have confirmed that the panel will take these into account next time they make an Order. So, Members may just wish to revisit this next time you get an Order in front of you.

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

At item 4 we have notifications and correspondence under the inter-institutional relations agreement. At item 4.1, we have correspondence from the Welsh Government in relation to the inter-ministerial group meetings. Firstly, a letter from the Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs in relation to a meeting of the environment, food and rural affairs inter-ministerial group, which was due to meet on 1 May and was cancelled. Secondly, a written statement by the Counsel General in relation to the sixth meeting of the Interministerial Standing Committee, which took place on 12 March, and which he chaired. The Counsel General statement sets out the nature of the topics discussed, including the improved engagement and co-operation he states he has seen recently relating to the UK legislative programme. He says that he has requested, and I quote,

'further official level discussions to facilitate progress on the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill; the Victims and Prisoners Bill; the Trade (CPTPP) Bill and the Leasehold Reform Bill',

two of which we will be discussing in our private discussion today. He states that the next meeting is scheduled to be held in June, and, if Members are content to note these items, we will now move on to the next item. Thank you very much.

At item 4.2, we have correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for Education in relation to a memorandum of understanding between Welsh Ministers and HM Prison and Probation Service, which was published on 11 April. Their terms of inter-institutional agreement include a commitment from the Government that it would share with the committee the text of any memoranda of understanding. In the case of this MOU, the Cabinet Secretary says it

'describes the working relationship between the Welsh Government and HM Prison and Probation Service.'

She further says that it

'covers offender learning and skills within custody and sets out how offender learning is to be taken forward in Wales.'

If Members are content to note, we will then move on to the next item.


I found it quite a curious memorandum of understanding, because it does give high-level structures, but I'm unclear as to how those structures will work in practice and how they'll be managed in practice. I'm unclear as to who is this place would hold the Welsh Government to account for that. I don't know if it's this committee, the Children, Young People and Education Committee or the Equality and Social Justice Committee.

Thank you very much, Alun. That is on the record. We will go away now and investigate that, if you're happy with that.

I was going to say that I think somebody, whichever is the appropriate committee, should look harder at this, because I think there is a great deal left unsaid in the memorandum of understanding, and I'm not convinced that this memorandum of understanding delivers the sort of education that is required in the secure estate in Wales.

Thank you very much, and for sharing what I know is your own experience with this area. So, thank you very much. We will go away. Thank you—professional experience I meant. 

5. Papurau i’w nodi
5. Papers to note

At item 5, we have papers to note, and there are a few items in this section today. At item 5.1, we have correspondence from the Counsel General in relation to making corrections to draft affirmative statutory instruments. The Counsel General has replied to our letter of 23 April, in which we raised some concerns with the Welsh Government's proposals of how it would apply corrections prior to making a draft affirmative statutory instrument. We asked for clarification and confirmation that the Welsh Government is applying the same criteria for correction-prior-to-making that the SI registrar applies for correction slips for instruments already made. The Counsel General has referred back to previous correspondence with the committee, while also confirming that the Welsh Government would not seek to make substantive changes as part of the correction-prior-to-making progess. Do Members have any comments they wish to make, or is this something that we would like to return to in private session? Okay, we'll return to it in private. Thank you very much.

And then, moving on to item 5.2, we have correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and Social Justice providing the Welsh Government's response to our report on their legislative consent memorandum on the Criminal Justice Bill. Are Members content to note this? If so, we'll move on to the next item. Thank you.

And then, at item 5.3, we have correspondence from Adam Price in relation to the deaths reported at Parc prison. Before I bring you in, Adam, I should say that these are serious matters that are likely to be the subject of various investigations, including inquests, which are normally required for deaths in custody, and also the ombudsman's investigations. Can I remind Members, therefore, that we must be careful to avoid prejudicing or appearing to interfere with any ongoing investigations? Adam, I'd like to bring you in now, please.

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Cadeirydd. Wrth gwrs, mae eisiau bod yn ymwybodol o'r angen am beidio â rhagfarnu unrhyw ganlyniad o'r gwahanol ymchwiliadau sydd ar y gweill yn dilyn nifer o farwolaethau sydd wedi bod yn y carchar, ond, yn naturiol, mae'n peri pryder a gofid i ni i weld cynifer o farwolaethau'n digwydd mewn amser cymharol fyr. Gan feddwl, wrth gwrs, fel rydyn ni wedi clywed, fod yna gyfrifoldeb gyda ni fel Senedd am nifer o bethau sydd yn ymwneud ag ystad carchardai yng Nghymru—mae’n wir ym maes addysg ac mae hefyd yn wir ym maes iechyd—gyda golwg ar hynny, a hefyd gyda ffocws penodol y pwyllgor yma o ran cyfiawnder, roeddwn i’n meddwl ei fod e’n bwysig bod yna graffu yn digwydd i ni geisio canfod ar lefel gyffredinol beth yw’r sefyllfa o fewn y carchar ar hyn o bryd, ac i ofyn a fyddai’n bosibl i ni alw cwmni G4S i ddod i’r pwyllgor er mwyn i ni fedru gofyn am ragor o wybodaeth o ran eu dealltwriaeth nhw, ac fel ein bod ni hefyd yn gallu craffu yn gyffredinol ynglŷn â’r sefyllfa.

Thank you very much, Chair. Of course, we do need to be aware of the requirement not to prejudice any result of the various inquiries that are under way as a result of the number of deaths that have occurred in the prison, but, naturally, seeing so many deaths in such a relatively short period of time does cause concern. As we've heard, there is responsibility that we hold as a Senedd for a number of matters related to the prison estate—it's also true in the areas of education and health—and given this committee's particular focus in terms of justice, I thought it was important that scrutiny happened in order for us to try and discover on a general level what the situation is within the prison at present, and also to ask whether it would be possible for us to ask G4S to come to the committee in order for us to be able to ask for more information in terms of their understanding, and so that we can also do some general scrutiny of the situation.


Thank you very much, Adam. Thank you for writing to the committee and thank you for highlighting it, and also relating it to the remit of the committee. I think this is something that we should all discuss further in private session, if everyone is happy to do so. Okay. Thank you very much.

So, now we move on to item 5.4, which is correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for Housing, Local Government and Planning to the Llywydd, and she states that there will shortly be a supplementary legislative consent memorandum laid before the Senedd in respect of the Renters (Reform) Bill. We laid our report on the initial memorandum last Friday. The Cabinet Secretary states that the supplementary memorandum is needed because 250 Report Stage amendments were published on 18 April,

'which further affect the blanket ban provisions in Wales',

as well as amendments that affect the Housing Acts of 1996 and 2004, which the Welsh Government believe will require legislative consent. As such, she states that they will be unable to consider all these amendments within the required time frame, but will endeavour to lay a supplementary LCM as soon as possible, and hopefully by Tuesday 14 May, which is tomorrow—and clerks will update us if that comes in prior to the meeting, which it has not. So, do Members have any comments that they wish to make? If not, then we'll move on to the next item.

Can I say I think this is an appalling way of legislating? It really is poor—250 amendments at such a late stage in the process. I think it demonstrates the dangers of the sort of joint legislation that we see between the two Parliaments. This, and the conversation we'll be having later about framework legislation, leads me to think that we need, as a committee, to look hard at how legislation is reaching the statute book at the moment. We did a very good investigation, I thought, some time ago now with Daniel Greenberg, and I think we need to probably go in that direction again, because this isn't the first time that this has happened. 

Absolutely. Thank you for raising that and putting that on the record as well, Alun. If there are no other comments I'm going to move on now to item 6.

6. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod
6. 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(vi).


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

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

This is the motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Do Members agree? Yes. We will now move into private session, please. 

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 13:43.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 13:43.