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Frequently Asked Questions​

This page contains key information relating to Expert Panel on Assembly Electoral Reform.  

Why has the Expert Panel been established?

The Wales Act 2017 gives the Assembly the autonomy over its own affairs to become a stronger, more accessible, inclusive and forward-looking legislature that delivers effectively for the people of Wales. The Assembly Commission has decided to take forward work begun by its predecessor in the Fourth Assembly to address the capacity of the Assembly, acting on behalf of the institution, with cross-party support and, most importantly, in the interests of the people of Wales. The Expert Panel has been established to consider three key issues:

  • how many Members the Assembly needs to carry out its vital functions holding the Welsh Government to account, making laws for Wales, agreeing Welsh taxes, and representing the people of Wales;
  •  the most suitable electoral system to be used to elect them; and
  •  the minimum voting age for Assembly elections.
When will the Expert Panel publish its conclusions and recommendations?

The Expert Panel has been tasked with reporting in autumn 2017.

How many Members does the Assembly need?

The National Assembly for Wales is a small parliament which is thought by its Members to have insufficient capacity to carry out its legislative, scrutiny and representative functions. This was also the view of the independent Commission on Devolution in Wales in 2014 in its report to the UK Government.

The scale of the legislative programme and the Assembly's substantially increased powers since it was first established, including tax-raising powers, has impacted on the capacity of Members to carry out their vital scrutiny role.  The UK's departure from the European Union is also likely to generate additional pressures.
Part of the Expert Panel's role is to prepare independent and politically neutral evidence-based conclusions and recommendations on the number of Members which the Assembly needs.
How much would more Members cost?

In January 2015 the Fourth Assembly Commission reported on the future of the Assembly and estimated the direct costs of increases in the number of Members by 20, 30 or 40. The estimates ranged from £7m to £9m for an additional 20 Members (of which <£1m would be one-off costs), to £14m to £17m for an additional 40 Members (of which up to £2m would be one off costs). The maximum end of this range would result in a shift in the Commission's budget from 0.3 per cent to 0.4 per cent of the devolved Welsh budget.

How much is the Panel's work going to cost?

The Panel members are experts in their fields. Their report and recommendations will be robust, evidence-based and politically neutral, identifying options for reform of some of the most fundamental constitutional arrangements in Wales

Panel members will be paid for their work in line with the rates paid to other similar office holders advising the Assembly. The daily rates are £333 for the Panel chair and £267 for Panel members.

The Expert Panel has been tasked with reporting in autumn 2017. The costs of the Panel's work will be published as part of its final report.

Who sits on the Panel?

The Panel members bring a wealth of expertise in the fields of electoral systems, parliamentary work and capacity, the constitutional position of the National Assembly, and wider issues of governance, including equalities, diversity and engagement.

The Panel members are:

  • Professor Laura McAllister (Chair) - Professor of Public Policy and the Governance of Wales at the Wales Governance Centre
  • Professor Rosie Campbell - Professor of Politics at Birkbeck University of London and Professor Sarah Childs – Professor of Politics and Gender at the University of Bristol (joint membership)
  • Rob Clements – former Director of Service Delivery at the House of Commons
  • Professor David Farrell - Chair of Politics at University College Dublin
  • Dr Alan Renwick - Deputy Director of the Constitution Unit at University College London
  • Sir Paul Silk - Chair of the Commission on Devolution in Wales from 2011 to 2014 and former Clerk to the National Assembly for Wales
How can the public have their say?

The Expert Panel has invited experts, stakeholders and the public to provide comments or evidence to inform its work. Comments or evidence can be submitted by 19 May 2017 by email to constitutional.change@assembly.wales. The Expert Panel has prepared a privacy policy which outlines how submissions will be used.

Once the Panel has reported in autumn 2017, the Assembly Commission will then consider how to take forward any reform to the Assembly's electoral arrangements. If the Commission brings forward proposals, it will want to give people a formal opportunity to make their views known on future electoral arrangements, therefore any proposals will be subject to public consultation, as well as scrutiny by the Assembly and its Members.

Learn more about the Assembly's legislative scrutiny process.

Would legislation be required to increase the number of Assembly Members?

Any changes recommended by the Expert Panel would require the Assembly to pass a Bill setting out the details of the changes. The powers to introduce legislation to change the number of Members and the electoral system were conferred on the Assembly by the Wales Act 2017.

Any such Bill would be subject to the Assembly's legislative scrutiny processes. In addition, the Bill would require a super-majority at its final legislative stage. This means that at least 40 Members would need to vote in favour of the Bill.

Learn more about the Assembly's legislative scrutiny process.

What is the Political Reference Group?

The Expert Panel operates independently from the Assembly and political parties. However to help the Expert Panel ensure that its work is grounded in the political realities of representative democracy in Wales, the Llywydd has established and chairs a Political Reference Group. The members of the Political Reference Group have been nominated by the political parties represented in the Assembly. The Political Reference Group has an advisory role. It acts as a sounding board for the Panel's emerging findings, and will help the Panel to ensure its work culminates in workable recommendations.


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