Senedd publishes 2019-2020 Annual Reports and Accounts
The Senedd has published its set of annual reports and accounts for 2019-2020.
The Senedd began the year marking 20 years as the National Assembly for Wales and ended it as Senedd Cymru – a Welsh parliament which has continued to hold the government to account on behalf of the people of Wales during a global pandemic. During the year, Brexit was a dominant feature of Senedd business with its role as a legislature tested as it dealt with and scrutinised a substantial amount of Brexit related legislation.
The Senedd and Elections (Wales) Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 15 January 2020. Unlike most legislation, the Bill was introduced by the Llywydd, on behalf of the Commission. The new law extends the franchise for elections to the Senedd to include 16 and 17-year-olds and qualifying foreign citizens - the biggest change to the electoral franchise in Wales since 1969. The Act also renamed the National Assembly for Wales as Senedd Cymru or Welsh Parliament.
The 2019-20 financial year saw the Senedd celebrate the past and plan for the future. As part of a year-long engagement programme to mark 20 years since the first Assembly Elections in 1999, the Gwlad festival was held successfully with events held all over the country. As the focus of the programme was on the way ahead, members of the flourishing Youth Parliament played a central role in discussing Wales' future throughout the year. Wales's first Citizens' Assembly saw 60 people, independently chosen to reflect the nation, come together for a weekend to discuss how voters want to be involved in the work of the Senedd.
In providing parliamentary support, the Senedd saw the introduction of 6 new Bills, a further 6 Bills become Acts (including its own Senedd and Elections Bill), supported 70 plenary sessions, 377 committee meetings and the publishing of 97 committee reports.
Llywydd of the Senedd, Elin Jones MS, said;
"Our determination to continue to meet as a Parliament during the current pandemic reflects our desire to hold Ministers to account and reflect the views of the public. It is a subject which runs as a golden thread through the Annual Report; from committee inquiries to the development of our Youth Parliament."
In introducing the annual reports, Manon Antoniazzi, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Senedd, said:
"I am pleased to present an account of a year of sector-leading innovation underpinned by sound stewardship of resources in the service of our Parliament and the people of Wales.
"As governments across the UK plan how to come out of the lockdown, parliaments too will be considering how some of their new ways of working may become permanent. And while that will pose a new set of challenges, I remain confident that we, as Senedd Commission staff, will ensure that our Parliament has everything it needs to remain at the heart of Welsh public life."
The Senedd's commitment to promote diversity and inclusion, through its parliamentary and engagement work and as an employer, is highlighted in its Diversity and Inclusion Report. While the Senedd recognises that more needs to be done to increase the diversity of its workforce to better represent the communities that it serves, recent efforts have seen a 43% increase in apprenticeship applicants from BAME communities. The organisation's equal pay data is positive and the equal pay lead that women have over men has decreased since last year.
The Senedd's ongoing commitment to embed a culture of dignity and respect within the organisation has continued with training sessions for staff and Members as well as the "Call It Out" campaign to challenge unacceptable behaviour.
Year-on-year efforts to improve the Senedd's energy efficiency and become a greener organisation are also bearing fruit outlined in the Environment and Sustainability Report. It has halved its energy footprint, compared to its 2012-2013 baseline year, with business travel becoming more efficient, thanks to a new electric pool car and no waste sent to landfill. Beehives were introduced onto the estate last year which has led to further work this year with RSPB and Bug Life to improve pollinator habitat, including building a small pond.
Finally, the Senedd's Official Language Scheme Report describes how its first language skills survey aimed to ensure that teams across the organisation have the necessary language skills to deliver exemplary bilingual services.