Y Pwyllgor Deddfwriaeth, Cyfiawnder a’r Cyfansoddiad
Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee09/05/2023
Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol
Committee Members in Attendance
|Alun Davies MS|
|Huw Irranca-Davies MS||Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor|
|James Evans MS|
|Peredur Owen Griffiths MS|
Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol
Senedd Officials in Attendance
|Gerallt Roberts||Ail Glerc|
|Kate Rabaiotti||Cynghorydd Cyfreithiol|
|P Gareth Williams||Clerc|
|Sarah Sargent||Ail Glerc|
Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.
The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.
Cyfarfu’r pwyllgor yn y Senedd a thrwy gynhadledd fideo.
Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:00.
The committee met in the Senedd and by video-conference.
The meeting began at 09:00.
Bore da. Croeso, bawb. Welcome to this meeting of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee on Tuesday 9 May 2023. Just to remind you, this is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv, and the Record of Proceedings will be published as normal. In the event of a fire alarm, which we're not expecting today, by the way, if you can just follow the ushers and staff to the fire exits and out to the safe areas. If you can just make sure your devices are switched to silent, as normal. We're operating, as always, through the medium of Welsh and English, and we have interpretation available throughout the meeting. So, we'll get straight under way. We have all our committee members here, so no apologies to report.
So, we'll move on to item No. 2, instruments that raise no reporting issues under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. We have one item to look at here. It's item 2.1, SL(6)350, the Local Authorities (Capital Finance and Accounting) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2023. These regulations amend the Local Authorities (Capital Finance and Accounting) (Wales) Regulations 2003, which provide that a local authority must not charge an amount to its revenue account to reflect any fluctuation in the fair value of a local authority's investment in a pooled investment fund. Instead, such amounts must be recorded in a separate account established and used solely for that purpose. These regulations extend the application of this provision to 31 March 2025. We have no reporting points on this one, so are colleagues content with that? There we are. Okay. We'll agree the reporting points there.
We move to item No. 3, instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3. We have several items to look at here. The first of all is a made negative resolution instrument under item 3.1, SL(6)351, the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions (Wales) Order 2023, and you have a draft report in your pack. This Order makes provision for the determination of the remuneration of schoolteachers, within the meaning of section 122 of the Education Act 2002, in Wales, and other conditions of employment of schoolteachers in Wales that relate to their professional duties and working time. The Order gives effect to section 2 of the 'School Teachers' Pay and Conditions (Wales) Document 2022', bringing into effect pay increases for the current 2022-23 academic year. Our lawyers have identified one merits point. Kate, over to you.
Thank you. The merits point draws your attention to the context in which this Order has been made, as set out in the written statement of 19 April. The draft report also notes that, according to the explanatory memorandum, Welsh Government will provide additional in-year grant funding to local authorities, to fully fund the additional costs of the increase in teacher pay.
That's great, thank you, Kate. So, with that merits point, are we happy to agree that? We are, so we move on to item 3.2 under this section, which is SL(6)354, the Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2023. We have a draft report and a letter from the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd of 26 April. These regulations amend the Water Resources (Control of Agricultural Pollution) (Wales) Regulations 2021, which seek to tackle the causes of water pollution from agricultural activities across Wales. The amendments will extend the transitional provision for the 170 kg/ha annual nitrogen holding limit on the spreading of livestock manures, and the associated record-keeping requirement, for holdings or parts of holdings not previously within a nitrate vulnerable zone, from 30 April 2023 to 31 October 2023. Our lawyers have identified two merits points. Kate.
Oh, yes, indeed.
Can I just declare an interest in this item, please?
Yes, indeed. Thank you. And it's on your—
It's on my register of interests, yes.
Thank you very much, James. Kate.
The first merits point is just to note the breach of the 21-day convention and the explanation provided by the Minister. And the second merits point identifies a lack of clarity in the explanatory memorandum, which could cause confusion to readers.
That's great, thank you very much. With those reporting points, are you happy to agree? We are.
That takes us on, then, to an affirmative resolution instrument under item 3.3. It's SL(6)348, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2023, and we have a draft report and a letter from the Minister for Climate Change of 3 April 2023. These regulations amend the Rent Act 1977, specifically to provide for succession to a secure contract, where previously the right of succession specified an assured tenancy. Assured tenancies were, of course, abolished in Wales by the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016. These amendments ensure that existing provision continues by referencing the relevant Welsh occupation contracts alongside references to types of tenancies that now only exist in England.
And alongside the report, Members are also invited to note the correspondence from the Minister for Climate Change from 3 April, which refers to both this and the next item, whereby consequential amendments to the Rent Act 1977 were not included in the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (Consequential Amendments) Regulations 2022, which, the Minister states, and I quote,
'left the statute book in an uncertain position which may have had significant consequences for both tenants and landlords.'
Separately, the need to make an amendment regarding the issuing of written statements of occupation contracts has also been identified, and, as such, these regulations, and those in the next item, have been laid and will be debated in Plenary on 16 May. And our lawyers have identified one merits reporting point here. Kate.
The merits point is simply to note that letter from the Minister.
That's brilliant. Are we happy to agree the reporting points? We are.
We go on to item 3.4, SL(6)353, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 (Amendment of Schedule 12 and Consequential Amendment) Regulations 2023. And we have a draft report and a letter from the Minister for Climate Change of 3 April. These regulations make various amendments to Schedule 12 to the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016, which deals with the conversion of tenancies and licences that were in existence prior to the 2016 Act coming into force on 1 December 2022. And the amendments relate to where there has been a change in the identity of the contract holder, or where a substitute contract comes into existence during or after the information provision period. The letter from the Minister for Climate Change, as mentioned in the previous item, relates to these regulations also. And our lawyers have identified one technical and two merits reporting points. Kate.
Yes, the technical point identifies an inconsistency between the Welsh and English texts. The first merits point is again to note the letter from the Minister for Climate Change, and then, finally, the second merits point asks Welsh Government whether, in the absence of a formal consultation, it has promoted awareness of the amendments relating to written statements, as the explanatory memorandum states that the position was not previously clear. And we're waiting for Welsh Government's response.
Okay. So, we're waiting for Welsh Government's response. Any comments, or happy to wait on that? In which case, we'll agree those reporting points. Thank you, Kate.
That takes us to item 3.5, the last in this section, SL(6)352, the Education Workforce Council (Additional Categories of Registration) (Wales) Order 2023. And we have a draft report here in the pack. The Order amends the Education (Wales) Act 2014, which confers functions on the Education Workforce Council in relation to persons who are required to register with the council. Amongst other things, the Order adds additional categories for registered persons, and outlines the eligibility criteria for gaining provisional registration as a youth worker. It also imposes duties on the council to prepare and maintain a list of youth worker and youth support worker qualifications, and to inform Welsh Ministers on an annual basis of any amendments to that list of qualifications. The Order also makes amendments to existing regulations in relation to school teachers and learning support workers, and in relation to the amount of registration fee payable by the new categories of registration. So, our lawyers have identified two technical and two merits reporting points. Kate.
Yes, the two technical points identify matters that require further explanation from Welsh Government in relation to the drafting of the Order. The first merits point asks Welsh Government whether the title of the Order sufficiently reflects what it does, which is more than simply creating additional categories of registration. And then, finally, the second merits point identifies an inconsistency within the legislation as amended, and asks Welsh Government whether further amendments should have been made to ensure consistency of terms used to describe the various types of support worker. And, again, we're waiting for Welsh Government's response.
Okay, so while we're awaiting the response, are we happy to agree those points? We are. Excellent. Thank you, Kate.
That takes us on then to item No. 4. Item No. 4 is instruments that raise issues to be reported to the Senedd under Standing Order 21.2 or 21.3 that we've previously considered as a committee.
The first of these on our agenda today is item 4.1, SL(6)341, the Food Additives, Food Flavourings, and Novel Foods (Authorisations) and Food and Feed (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2023, and we have a report and a Welsh Government response in our packs. We considered this instrument at our meeting on 24 April, and we laid our report the same day. So, I simply invite Members to note the Welsh Government response to the report, which we've received. Okay, happy to do that.
We go on to item 4.2, SL(6)349, the Education (Admission Appeals Arrangements) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2023, and again we have a report and a Welsh Government response in your pack. Again, I'd simply ask Members to note the Welsh Government response to the report, which we've received—which you're happy to do.
That takes us on, then, to item No. 5, notifications and correspondence under the inter-institutional relations agreement. Under this we have, first of all, item 5.1, a written statement and correspondence from the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd in respect of the inter-ministerial group on UK-EU relations. It notes there that the Minister attended a meeting of the inter-ministerial group on UK-EU relations on 20 March 2023 on behalf of the Minister for Economy. And the Minister confirms in that statement that the meeting was held in preparation for subsequent UK-EU meetings of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee and the partnership council under the trade and co-operation agreement, held on 24 March. And the draft agendas for both of these meetings were considered at that meeting.
So, we'll then move on to item 5.2, if there are no comments, where we have a written statement by the Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd in respect of the Plant Health and Phytosanitary Conditions (Oak Processionary Moth and Plant Pests) (Amendment) Regulations 2023. So, Members will recall that, in our meeting on 24 April, we considered correspondence from the Minister, informing us of her intent to consent to the UK Government making and laying these regulations following a request from Lord Benyon, the Minister for Biosecurity, Marine and Rural Affairs. And the Minister now confirms that consent has been given to the UK Government. The Minister explains that consent has been given for reasons of efficiency, expediency and to preserve the interconnected nature of the GB plant health regime. The Minister also notes that the amendments are technical in nature and contain no diversion of policy. So, we note that.
And we move on to item 5.3, which is the last item in this section, and we have correspondence from the Minister for Climate Change in respect of the summary of the meeting of Interministerial Group for Net Zero, Energy and Climate Change, held on 23 March 2023, where the Minister confirms that the UK emissions trading scheme and the UK net-zero growth plan were discussed at that meeting. Are we happy to note that? We are.
Okay. So, then we move to our normal item, item 6, papers to note. You'll be please there are no papers to note today, beyond those we've discussed already.
bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi).
that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi).
Cynigiwyd y cynnig.
In which case, colleagues, could I ask you whether, under Standing Order 17.42, you're now happy to exclude the public for the remainder of the meeting and we'll go into private? We are. If we can move into private, please.
Derbyniwyd y cynnig.
Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 09:15.
The public part of the meeting ended at 09:15.