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Comisiwn y Cynulliad
Assembly Commission

NAFWC 2010 (Paper 2 Part 1)
Draft Budget 2011-12

Date: 21 September 2010
Time:After Plenary
Venue:Conference Room 4b
Author name and contact number: Claire Clancy, ext 8233

This paper has been prepared for consideration by the National Assembly for Wales Commission. It has been deemed suitable for publication after such consideration in line with the Commission’s rules for conduct of business. Premature publication or disclosure of the contents of this paper is not permitted as this might prejudice the Commission’s deliberations

1.0 Purpose and summary of issues

1.1To approve the Commission’s Draft Budget for 2011-12, to be laid by 24 September in accordance with Standing Orders.  The proposed draft budget document is attached (Annex A).

2.0 Recommendations

2.1 That the Commission agrees its Draft Budget for 2011-12 as set out at Annex A;

2.2 That we seek a temporary change to Standing Orders to allow the Commission’s final budget to be laid after 30 October.

3.0 Discussion

3.1 The Commission agreed its budget strategy for 2011-12 and the following three years when it met on 8 July, as follows:

  • introduce a separate budget ambit (Assembly Members’ Budget) for expenditure on Members’ pay and allowances.  The levels of Members’ pay and allowances will be determined by the newly established Remuneration Board.  This recognises that the Commission’s role is restricted to making budgetary provision for the decisions made by the Board;

  • reduce the Assembly Members’ and Assembly Services Budgets by 5 per cent for 2011-12 and plan to deliver budget reductions over the term of the Fourth Assembly that are in line with reductions in the Welsh block;

  • build in estimates in 2011-12 for costs arising from the Assembly elections, to be excluded from the budget reduction target;

  • be guided by the following priorities:

    • to protect the Assembly’s core business of legislation;

    • to make a successful transition to the Fourth Assembly;

    • to make any changes necessary following the Referendum on further powers for the Assembly; and

    • to plan for reduced resources as the scale of the cuts to be made beyond 2011-12 will mean fundamental changes.

3.2 In keeping with the budget strategy set out at the beginning of this draft budget, the draft Assembly Members’ budget for 2011-12 reflects a 5 per cent real terms reduction on equivalent budgets in 2010-11, but also includes a separate amount estimated for those election costs which are covered in the Determination (see further below under Election Expenditure).  As this draft budget is being laid in advance of the Remuneration Board’s decisions, the Commission does not know the levels at which Assembly Members’ pay and allowances will be set for 2011-12.  The Remuneration Board will decide these levels.

3.3 For the Assembly Services budget the Draft Budget has been balanced, achieving the 5 per cent real terms reduction on 2010-11.  This has been made possible by offering a voluntary early severance scheme in 2010-11 which we anticipate will deliver up to £0.9m of recurring salary savings.  Other reductions have been included, as well as unavoidable or necessary increases, and these are set out in the budget document.

3.4 The Draft Budget must be laid by 24 September and will be scrutinised by the Finance Committee on 14 October.  A change to Standing Orders will be sought to allow the Finance Committee to lay its report beyond the three week requirement of SO 27.8.  As the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) is planned for publication on 20 October and this is then followed by October recess, we plan to seek a change to Standing Orders to allow the Commission’s final budget to be laid beyond the 30 October date set by SO 27.9.  This will allow sufficient time for pause and review in light of the CSR outcome.

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