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Comisiwn y Cynulliad
Assembly Commission

NAFWC 2010
Minutes of 30 September 2010 meeting

Date: 30 September 2010
Time:16:00
Venue:Conference room 4B

Present:
Llywydd, Chair
Lorraine Barrett AM (Labour)
Peter Black AM (Liberal Democrats)
Chris Franks AM (Plaid Cymru)
William Graham AM (Conservatives)

Officials present:
Claire Clancy, Chief Executive and Clerk
Dianne Bevan, Chief Operating Officer
Keith Bush, Director of Legal Services
Adrian Crompton, Director of Assembly Business
Ian Summers, Head of Corporate Unit
Aled Eirug, Constitutional Adviser
Helen Finlayson, Secretariat

Independent Advisers:
None

Observers:
None

Others:
None

1. Introduction

Declarations of interest
There were no declarations of interest.

Minutes of meeting – 21 September 2010
The minutes were formally agreed.

Matters arising from the meeting on 21 September 2010
There were no matters arising.

2. Dissolution
Dianne Bevan introduced paper two, noting that extensive consultation had been undertaken with Assembly Members and Support Staff which had, together with legal advice, informed the revised proposals.  She confirmed that the revised proposals were transitional arrangements for the 2011 elections and that changes might be made for future elections.

The Commission discussed the proposals, and requested that further guidance was prepared on the use of constituency and regional offices during dissolution and on archiving electronic materials.  The Commission expressed its thanks to Members and Support Staff for their responses to the consultation exercise

The Commission agreed by majority that: support staff funded through Assembly allowances may work on on-going casework and general office duties during dissolution; nominated support staff would be provided with office facilities in Ty Hywel during dissolution; the maximum notice period for support staff employed by Members who would be standing down; support staff may continue to work in Ty Hywel subject to the programme of office maintenance; and the principles for ICT arrangements.

3. Car parking charges implementation
Dianne Bevan introduced paper three, noting that extensive consultation had been undertaken with Assembly Members, Support Staff, Assembly staff, Trade Unions and other estate users which had informed the revised proposals.

The Commission noted the consultation responses in relation to the car parking charging arrangements agreed in principle at its July meeting and commented that the guidance had improved markedly as a result.  They asked for the arrangements for payments during sickness absence to be reconsidered, but otherwise approved the Guidance for the introduction of a car parking charge.

4. A Guide to the Assembly Commission
Claire Clancy introduced paper four, noting that during the Third Assembly questions had arisen about the role of the Commission.  The Guide to the Commission had been developed to bring together current practice and provide a clear and accessible source of information about the role and responsibilities of the Commission.

The Commission approved the Guide to the Assembly Commission.

5. e-democracy strategy
Dianne Bevan introduced paper five, noting that the e-democracy strategy proposed ways of increasing engagement with the people of Wales using new technologies and communication channels.

The Commission discussed the strategy and thanked staff for their innovative approach to further increasing effective dialogue and engagement.  They noted that a CALRE survey had placed the Assembly in the top two parliaments in Europe on e-delivery.

The Commission agreed the strategic direction outlined in the paper.

6. Management Board report to the Commission
Keith Bush reported that a letter had been received by the Chief Executive from the Welsh Language Board setting out an intention to investigate whether there had been a breach of the Welsh Language Scheme.  A response had been sent reiterating the Commission’s position that the Board had no power to carry out a statutory investigation but agreeing to respond voluntarily to the allegation and requesting further details, including information as to the proposed procedure.

Dianne Bevan provided the Commission with an update on the Members’ rollout of the UNO project.  She noted that while some problems had been experienced, the project was remaining within cost estimates.  The Commission thanked ICT staff for their professionalism and hard work on the UNO project.

The Commission received an update on the Voluntary Early Severance and Retirement Scheme, noting that around 20 people would be leaving the organisation during October.

7. Matters to note
The Commission noted and agreed the updated ICT Security Usage Rules, in particular the revised rules in relation to use of webmail by Members and their staff.  They asked for this to be communicated to Members and support staff quickly, and for the message to remind everyone about the security rules on downloading files.  They also asked for an easy process to be established for access to blocked websites to be unblocked when appropriate.

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