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The Siambr

The Siambr is the large, circular debating chamber which lies at the heart of the Senedd building and houses every Plenary meeting.

Visiting the Siambr and attending Plenary

All Plenary meetings are held in public. A gallery is provided especially for members of the public to sit and watch proceedings. The gallery sits above the Siambr and includes 120 seats. How to attend a Plenary meeting

The ‘electronic’ Siambr

The Siambr is an electronic debating chamber. Every Member has an individual computer terminal, to enable them to research subjects for debate and to undertake work when not being called to speak. They also have access to headphones to amplify the sound in the Siambr or to use the simultaneous interpretation services provided. Digital clocks are located around the Siambr to time the speakers – if they turn to red it means that the speaker has overrun his or her allotted time. Members are also able to use the screens in the Siambr to show films or electronic presentations of relevance to a particular item of business.

Seating arrangements

The chair of Plenary meetings (that is, the Presiding Officer or Deputy Presiding Officer normally) sits at the front of the Siambr, facing all Members. Government Ministers (the Cabinet) sit in the first row of seats facing the Chair. The First Minister sits in the centre of the Cabinet row. All other Members sit behind and around them, in their respective party groups. Seating arrangement.

Siambr officials

Assembly officials also sit in the Siambr. Clerks sit to the right and the left of the chair in order to advise on procedural matters and to maintain a list of those who have requested to speak on items of business. They are also responsible for timing individual speakers, operating the electronic voting system and recording the outcome of any votes taken. Those who produce the Record of Proceedings – the official written verbatim record of Plenary meetings - sit behind the chair and take notes throughout the meeting. Behind the glass screens in the Siambr sit the simultaneous translators and engineers. Ushers are also present to pass messages to and from Assembly Members in the Chamber.

Following Siambr proceedings

Proceedings in the Siambr are broadcast live on senedd.tv. An archive of previous Plenary meetings is also available on senedd.tv if you are unable to follow proceedings live. As well as watching senedd.tv, you can also follow Siambr proceedings by viewing a document called the Votes and Proceedings. This is uploaded to the internet as soon as possible after the Plenary meeting and notes all items of business taken during the meeting, what decisions were taken by the Assembly, and the results of any votes. A detailed vote summary is also published as soon as possible after all Plenary meetings. This lists each item on which the Assembly was asked to vote and notes the name of each Member and how they voted.

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