WCVA Policy and Public Affairs Digest
WCVA Policy and
Public Affairs Digest
February 2018The Extra Politicians EditionWe’d like your feedback on the Digest.
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The Assembly has launched its consultation into electoral reform, looking at increasing the number of AMs among other measures. This promises to be interesting. AMs are keen to see their numbers increase, but whether the public has the appetite for more politicians… well, that’s open to question. We’ll keep track of this one and bring you more info as and when we can.
It’s been another busy Brexit fortnight: there’s been a new report from the External Affairs Committee, highlighting its concerns about leaving the EU, while ourselves, SCVO and NICVA have issued a joint statement outlining our own recommendations to avoid or minimise the negative impacts of Brexit.
See you in a fortnight! (By which time, we’ll only be one week from gofod3. Not signed up to come yet? Check out the details below.)
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AMs have voted in favour of taking forward a consultation on the recommendations of the expert panel on electoral reform, which includes increasing the number of Assembly Members. Presiding Officer Elin Jones, in her role as Assembly Commissioner, said there is a need to address the ‘capacity gap’ in the Assembly.
Vikki Howells AM outlined her proposal for an inclusive play bill to the Senedd, which would place a duty on councils to provide play equipment that meets the needs of children with disabilities, highlighting the UN convention on the Rights of the Child that affords all children the right to play. There was much cross-party support; however the Minister for Children and Social Care said that legislation is not necessarily the best way forward, citing the Children and Families Measure of 2010 which requires councils to secure sufficient play opportunities.
During First Minister’s Questions, the First Minister was asked about the promotion of sustainable wildlife tourism. In response, he noted the funding awarded to Wildlife Trust for its Wild Wales Adventures and Legends project and other projects up to 2019.
WCVA, SCVO and NICVA have issued a joint statement detailing recommendations to avoid or minimise the negative impacts of Brexit. These include staying in the single market and customs union.
The External Affairs committee has called for Welsh Government to urgently examine the likely parameters of different Brexit scenarios, including ‘no deal’. Recommendations were made in a new report, which cited WCVA concerns around equalities and human rights post-Brexit. The report pledges to debate this issue in the Assembly this Spring term.
The leaders of Plaid Cymru in Westminster, the SNP, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats have written to Jeremy Corbyn urging him to rethink Labour’s opposition to the UK’s membership of the single market and custom’s union. The Welsh Conservative leader, Andrew RT Davies, has warned against retaining these memberships.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader, Jane Dodds, has warned the UK Parliament’s Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee about the potential damage of Brexit on the devolution settlement.
Jack Sargeant has been elected as AM for Alyn and Deeside, succeeding his father, Carl Sargeant.
Creating a Parliament for Wales – closes 6 April.
Charities that are connected with non-charitable organisations – closes 15 May.
Local toilets strategies: Statutory guidance for Local Authorities – closes 4 April.
Regional investment in Wales after Brexit – closes 23 March.
The Third Sector Scheme
The Third Sector Scheme sets out how Welsh Government and the third sector work together and communicate. Sector networks meet biannually with each Cabinet Secretary and Minister, while the Third Sector Partnership Council looks at cross-cutting sector issues and is chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services. Find out more here.
Elections to the Third Sector Partnership Council are under way. WCVA members should have by now received their nomination papers. Watch this short video to find out why nominating is so important.
The sector met with the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport. A sector response to the Prosperity For All Economic Action Plan was outlined in a paper, stating the need for a clear framework and dedicated action plan for the social business sector, recognising its specific needs and strengths. The paper also requested that the Cabinet Secretary’s team explore further the role of community ownership of assets to support economic development, enterprise and regeneration.
The sector also met with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance. They discussed issues around Brexit, new Welsh tax raising powers, procurement and the implementation of the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act.
Read agendas, minutes and papers from recent Cabinet Secretary meetings here.
From the committees
The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee met with the panel members of the Parliamentary Review into Health and Social Care. Dr Ruth Hussey stressed the key role of the third sector in understanding the community and strengthening the commissioning function, while Eric Gregory argued for the sector to be involved in holistic governance arrangements.
The Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee has called for the establishment of a Speakers Conference to improve the way parliaments work together and hold UK governments to account.
The Public Accounts Committee held a session to meet with care-experienced children and young people and to hear evidence from organisations such as the Fostering Network and Children in Wales on care services in Wales.
Publications and comment Reports and blogs from around Wales
The Charity Finance Group has published a guide to help voluntary organisations comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulations, which come into force in May.
NCVO has published its latest Annual Report, The Road Ahead.
The Honorary Treasurers’ Forum has published a handbook for charity treasurers.
Dates for your diary Protecting rights, regulatory standards, the environment and the devolution settlement post-Brexit
2 March, Rhyl
A roundtable discussion held by the Repeal Bill Alliance. Book here.
8 March, Cardiff
Our sector-wide event to learn from and network with each other. More info here.
Volunteering engagement events
12 March, Lampeter
15 March, Pontypool
16 March, Wrexham
Updates on local and national developments in volunteering, including digital developments. Book here.
15 March, Belfast
An event from the Open Government Network on democratic ownership and the future of open government and democracy. More info here.