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Comisiwn y Cynulliad
Assembly Commission

NAFWC 2010 (Paper 2 Part 1)
Future organisational plans

Date: 30 November 2010
Time:After Plenary
Venue:Conference Room 4B
Author name and contact number: Dianne Bevan, ext 8991

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

  • Purpose and summary of issues

1.1 A new Assembly staff structure was put in place for the start of the Third Assembly in May 2007.  Adjustments have been made along the way, but in preparing for the Fourth Assembly we need to ensure that our current structure and its management arrangements are the best fit possible for the future.

1.2 The Chief Executive, Directors and the Management Board have been considering the options and this paper sets out our intended way forward.  This paper has been prepared to explain the plans to the Commission and to seek any views.

  • Recommendations

That Commissioners note the restructuring plans.

  • Discussion

3.1 There have been some key drivers for the changes outlined in this paper.

3.2 We will be working with reduced resources and limits on future growth for the foreseeable future.  The recent voluntary severance exercise means we have 25 fewer people and we plan to make savings from future staff turnover.

3.3 We are conscious of particular challenges facing us in our lead-in to the next Assembly, including the 3 March Referendum on further devolution which may bring changes in the way the Assembly legislates.  We need to manage these changes without an increase in resources.

3.4 There are opportunities for us to improve the services we provide for the Commission, Members and the people of Wales.  The external and internal pressures on Assembly Members and the Commission have been intense in the last 12 months.  One of our aims in the Fourth Assembly project is to organise ourselves to support all Members in doing the best job they can, and to build on our success in opening up the Assembly to the public.

3.5 In all of the context areas I have mentioned, the key nature of communications, both external and internal, has been clear.  We believe that good communication should be at the heart of the organisation, in a way which deploys our current resources in the most effective way.

3.6 We already have a strong record in working flexibly across service boundaries, and this will need to continue and to be broadened to recognise the reduction in the need to do some types of work and the increase in demand for others.  We are a small enough organisation to be able to feel part of the same large team and to pull together to ensure that this team succeeds.

Proposals

3.7 No jobs will be placed at risk by the new structure. Indeed, ensuring that we operate in the most efficient and effective way will help us to work productively and so to protect jobs in the future.  The plans will mean that the Management Board will be reduced by one Head of Service.  Apart from the management responsibilities described, most roles will stay the same or very similar to those which exist at the moment.

3.9 The plans largely relate to the organisation of the Corporate Unit and the Operations Directorate and do not significantly affect the current staffing structures of the Assembly Business or Legal Services Directorates.  In percentage and number terms, these first two areas have seen more departures under voluntary severance.  The Operations area manages the bulk of the non-staff budget where further savings and efficiencies might be gained.

3.10 In addition to the main changes set out below, some adjustments to reporting arrangements and functions are taking place within service teams to support our aim to improve efficiency and customer service.

Bringing together a Commission and Members’ Support Service

3.11 The current Corporate Unit has a wide range of tasks and functions and does a first class job, but some aspects of its work might be best accommodated in other parts of the organisation. More focus is needed on supporting the Commission and senior management in wider and positive engagement with Members.  This is particularly important at times when the Commission needs to take unpopular decisions, which Assembly staff will implement.  To give high level focus to key areas, a refocused service will be led by Craig Stephenson, reporting to the Chief Executive, as follows:

  • Assembly Commission Secretariat - support for the Assembly Commission, Presiding Officer and Deputy Presiding Officer, Chief Executive and Directors;

  • support for the Remuneration Board;

  • liaison with or support for the new Commissioner for Standards;

  • Members’ Business Support and lead on the enhanced service model for Assembly Members; and

  • co-ordination of support for development of Members and their staff.

3.12 This service will include some of the staff of the existing Corporate Unit, but some Corporate Unit functions and people will transfer to other parts of the Assembly as explained below.

Putting Communications at the heart of the organisation

3.13 Non Gwilym, as Head of Communications, will report to the Chief Executive and lead the following core communications services:

  • internal and external communications;

  • direct support for Presiding Officers in their externally facing roles;

  • media and publications (with aspects of support for broadcasting, to be discussed);

  • public relations, outreach and international support;

  • marketing and events (policy and design aspects not covered by Front of House team – see below);

  • Welsh language and bilingual services; and

  • Freedom of Information.

A new “Front of House” Service

3.14 The Assembly estate is our window on the world and with the opening of the Pierhead, the demand for contact with, access to and use of our landmark buildings has increased.  Combined with the need to change working arrangements and reductions in staff numbers as a result of the severance scheme, we propose to bring together a new team of existing staff with relevant functions, reporting to Connie Robertson (in addition to her existing responsibilities) within the Operations Directorate.  This team will include:

  • visitor services and Assembly shop;

  • education;

  • north Wales office;

  • security;

  • porters; and

  • front of house functions for on-site events.

Bringing together the co-ordination of strategy, performance, governance and resources

3.15 In a transparent and high profile organisation like the Assembly, our planning, performance and standards of governance are, rightly, under particular scrutiny.  We have an excellent record, but there are some areas where we could strengthen the support given to some key aspects.  These plans will bring together the people carrying out these functions under Steve O’Donoghue (in addition to his existing responsibilities), within the Operations Directorate.  The functions transferring will include:

  • Change Programme office and support;

  • development of the Commission’s strategic goals and monitoring performance against our objectives;

  • risk management;

  • policy development and service delivery in key areas including equality;

  • procurement and contract management advice and performance monitoring, to meet the challenges of making savings in major external spending during a key procurement period; and

  • internal audit (with a direct line of accountability and advice to the Chief Executive as Accounting Officer but line management by the Head of Assembly Resources)

4.0 Next Steps

4.1 We are talking to staff who are directly involved in the changes and TUS first.  Detailed planning about posts, the formation and location of new teams, budgets and appointments to new or changed roles will then take place, taking into account the input of those involved.

4.2 Our aim is to begin making the changes from 1 December, but that the changes should be phased between 1 December and the end of March 2011.  Exact timing will be agreed between Heads of Service and to suit the teams involved.

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