Parties divvy up the chairs

John Osmond reports on today’s announcement of the Assembly’s new committee structure which combines policy development with scrutiny

The National Assembly for Wales today approved a new committee structure which includes five broad subject committees which have a dual role of looking at both policy development and scrutiny of legislation. This outcome follows a wrangle between the parties which we reported on here.

The chairs of these new committees are the most powerful positions within the Assembly after Government Cabinet members and attract an additional remuneration of £12,000. Labour has taken three of them and Plaid and the Conservatives one each, as follows:

  • Children and Young People – Christine Chapman, Labour
  • Environment and Sustainability – Dafydd Elis Thomas, Plaid
  • Health and Social Care – Mark Drakeford, Labour
  • Communities, Equality and Local Government – Ann Jones
  • Enterprise and Business – Andrew RT Davies, Conservative

The Deputy Presiding Officer, Conservative David Melding, will chair a Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee. This will have an especially important role in this session in view of the impending appointment of a Calman-style Commission, following Scotland, to re-examine how the Welsh devolution settlement is operating.

Plaid Cymru’s Jocelyn Davies will chair a Finance Committee which had been resisted by the Welsh Government which had become irritated by its interfering ways in the last session. Its creation is a triumph of the legislature over the executive. In addition, there will be a Petitions Committee, Public Accounts Committee, and a Standards Committee. Commenting on the new arrangements, Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler said:

“The new committee system means that the detailed subject knowledge of individual Members will be brought to bear on the scrutiny of legislation as well as government policy. And so, at the same time as simplifying the system, the Assembly is also creating the structure and environment for better scrutiny of Bills, policy and finance. I am confident that this change will make it easier for the people of Wales to engage with the Assembly’s proceedings. It will provide the window for smaller organisations to get involved in our work and so better reflect the interests and needs of Welsh voters.”

The full details of the Assembly’s committee membership is as follows:

Committee Members Chair
Children and young people

(10 members)

Labour: Christine Chapman, Keith Davies, Julie Morgan, Lynne Neagle, Jenny Rathbone

Conservatives: Angela Burns and Suzy Davies

Plaid Cymru: Simon Thomas, Jocelyn Davies

Liberal Democrats: Kirsty Williams

Labour: Christine Chapman
Environment and sustainability

(10 members)

Labour: Mick Antoniw, Rebecca Evans, Vaughan Gething, Julie James and David Rees

Conservatives: Antoinette Sandbach and Russell George

Plaid Cymru: Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Llyr Huws Gruffydd

Liberal Democrats: William Powell

Plaid: Dafydd Elis-Thomas
Health and social care

(10 members)

Labour: Mick Antoniw, Mark Drakeford, Rebecca Evans, Vaughan Gething and Lynne Neagle

Conservatives: Darren Millar and Janet Finch-Saunders

Plaid Cymru: Elin Jones, Lindsay Whittle

Liberal Democrats: Kirsty Williams

Labour: Mark Drakeford
Communities, equality and local government

(10 members)

Labour: Mike Hedges, Ann Jones, Gwyn Price, Ken Skates and Joyce Watson

Conservatives: Mark Isherwood and William Graham

Plaid Cymru: Rhodri Glyn Thomas, Bethan Jenkins

Liberal Democrats: Peter Black

Labour: Ann Jones
Enterprise and Business

(10 members)

Labour: Keith Davies, Julie James, David Rees, Ken Skates, Joyce Watson

Conservatives: Andrew RT Davies and Byron Davies

Plaid Cymru: Alun Ffred Jones, Leanne Wood

Liberal Democrats: William Powell

Conservatives: Andrew RT Davies
Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee

(1 from each party + DPO)

Labour: Julie James

Conservatives: Antoinette  Sanbach

Plaid Cymru: Simon Thomas

Liberal Democrats: Peter Black

Deputy Presiding Officer: David Melding

(8 members)

Labour: Christine Chapman, Julie Morgan, Ann Jones, Mike Hedges

Conservatives: Nick Ramsay

Plaid Cymru: Ieuan Wyn Jones, Jocelyn Davies

Liberal Democrats: Peter Black

Plaid: Jocelyn Davies
Public Accounts Committee

(8 members)

Labour: Mike Hedges, Gwyn Price, Jenny Rathbone, Julie Morgan

Conservatives: Darren Millar and Mohammad Asghar

Plaid Cymru: Leanne Wood

Liberal Democrats: Peter Black

Conservatives: Darren Millar

(4 members)

Labour: Joyce Watson

Conservatives: Russell George

Plaid Cymru: Bethan Jenkins

Liberal Democrats: William Powell (Chair)

Liberal Democrats: William Powell

(4 members)

Labour: Mick Antoniw

Conservatives: Mark Isherwood

Plaid Cymru: Llyr Huws Gruffydd

Liberal Democrats: Kirsty Williams

Labour: Mick Antoniw

John Osmond is Director of the IWA.

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