On Day 4, the Westminster Seminar travelled to Cardiff, Wales, to spend a day in the National Assembly for Wales learning about this legislature.
The day started with a warm welcome from Elin Jones AM, Speaker of the National Assembly for Wales, who spoke about her role and current Assembly reforms. Rhun ap Iorwerth AM, Chair, CPA Wales Branch, spoke frankly and expansively about the political scene in Wales, and Manon Antoniazzi, CEO and Clerk of the Assembly, spoke about staffing and the business it supports. Delegates had many questions to ask the panel including about the renaissance of local languages and the future of Wales as a devolved legislature. Delyth Lewis, Youth Parliament Project Manager then spoke about introducing a Youth Parliament for Wales after consulting over 5,000 young people. Using their feedback, the Youth Parliament was designed to follow the format of the National Assembly for Wales and enable young people to influence issues that are important to them.
Delegates were then taken round the impressive Senedd building by Richard Gwyn Jones, Tour Manager, who explained the design of the building and how it is accessible to all members of the public seven days a week. The beautiful golden mace has a Commonwealth link as it was presented to the Assembly by the Parliament of New South Wales at the ceremony to mark the official opening of the Assembly Building, the Senedd, in Cardiff on St David's Day in 2006.
In the optional public engagement session, Dr Non Gwilym, Head of Communications, and Kevin Davies, Head of Public Engagement, spoke about the challenges facing the National Assembly for Wales. Some of these include increasing public awareness about the responsibilities of the Assembly, and clarifying the distinct roles of the Assembly and the Welsh Government.
The visit to the National Assembly for Wales showcased how a relatively new parliament can do things differently. The modern design of the chamber and offices means it is fully accessible to all, and features including natural ventilation and passive systems to heat and cool the building reduces its carbon footprint. To read more about the Senedd, click here.
Please click to read about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 5 of the Westminster Seminar 2018.