Attending a Committee Meeting: on the day of the meeting
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There are two public car parks near the Senedd, with a small charge for short stays. In special circumstances, a visitor parking space may be reserved at the Senedd by contacting the clerking team. If you have asked for a disabled parking space to be booked, this will be adjacent to the Senedd building, via the barrier in front of Tŷ Hywel. These are also subject to availability and presentation of a valid Blue Badge on arrival.
We recommend that you arrive at least 20 minutes before you are scheduled to provide oral evidence to the committee. An airport-style security check is carried out on every visitor to the Senedd building on arrival. After passing through the security scanners, please report to the reception desk in the Senedd building. Reception staff will take your name, provide you with a security pass, and direct you downstairs to the witness waiting room, where other witnesses may also be waiting. Reception staff can print out agendas of meetings on request.
Oral evidence is also taken in the Committee Rooms in Tŷ Hywel. If you are providing evidence in one of these rooms, you will be asked (in advance by the clerking team) to go to the Tŷ Hywel entrance. There, you will go through airport-style security checks, be provided with a security pass at the Tŷ Hywel reception, and be directed to a waiting room.
The committee's support officer will normally meet you in the witness waiting room (either in the Senedd building or Tŷ Hywel), and will be happy to answer any questions you may have. S/he will also demonstrate how to use the headsets that provide a simultaneous translation of any Welsh spoken in the meeting and also amplification of sound, if required.
When the committee is ready, the support officer will collect you from the waiting room and show you to the committee room.
If you are providing oral evidence via video conference, the clerking team will usually establish the video link with you during a break in the formal meeting prior to the beginning of your evidence to make sure everything is working correctly and answer any questions you may have.
During the meeting
Once in the committee room you may be asked to make a brief opening statement to the members of the committee before they begin asking questions. You can choose to accept or decline this offer (if you want to decline this offer, just say that you are happy for them to go straight into questions).
Committee members will have received your paper before the meeting, so an opening statement should be very brief. Opening remarks can be limited to who you are (or what your organisation is), what your interest in the inquiry is, and possibly one or two key issues that you would like members to give particular consideration to. Members will then ask questions, primarily based on your evidence, but also taking account of other information they have received.
The Senedd's committees operate bilingually. You are welcome to address the committee and answer questions in Welsh or English. Members are also able to use either language during proceedings. During the meeting simultaneous interpretation will be available from Welsh to English.
If you feel that you do not have the information you need to answer a question, or if there is more detailed information that may be useful to support your answer, you may offer to provide the committee with a note supplying the relevant information. Likewise, committee members may ask you to provide written information to supplement your answer. This should be supplied to the clerking team as soon as possible after the meeting.
During the meeting, if you feel it would be outside the remit of your role to express an opinion on a particular question, or that a question is otherwise 'unfair', you can say so to the committee's chair. However, you may still be asked to try to answer the question if the committee collectively decides that it is reasonable.
A committee meeting room is normally set out in a boardroom fashion with microphones placed around the table. The microphones are necessary for interpretation, amplification and broadcasting purposes. A red light indicates when your microphone is operating. This is controlled by the broadcast engineer who is watching proceedings, so there is no need for you to press any of the buttons. Please do not move the microphones as this affects the quality of the sound in the room.
Most committee business is held in public and broadcast live on the internet on the Senedd TV website. A verbatim (word for word) transcript of each public meeting is produced. All sessions are archived and can be viewed on the Senedd TV website. The meeting may also be broadcast on BBC Democracy Live and on television at a later date (at present, proceedings may be shown on S4C and BBC Parliament).
After the meeting
After the meeting you will be sent a copy of the draft transcript (word for word – or 'verbatim') for correction, along with guidance notes about how to let the clerking team know if there are any inaccuracies in the text. You will be asked to return the corrected draft by a specified date, after which the transcript will be published. You may also be sent a feedback form so you can tell the clerking team about your experience.
At the end of its inquiry, the committee will consider all the evidence it has received, and decide on the key themes and issues. It will then produce a report and some recommendations based on the evidence received in the inquiry. The clerking team will let you know when the report has been published.