Listening to the people of Wales in a challenging year
Senedd Annual Report and Accounts 2020-21
Today the Senedd Commission is publishing its Annual Report and Accounts summarising its achievements during a challenging year. The report outlines how public engagement has adapted throughout the pandemic as the Senedd scrutinised essential Covid-19 rules on behalf of the people of Wales.
As the nation adapted to the pandemic, the Senedd was one of the first parliaments in the world to move to fully bilingual online meetings, and is using its expertise to help others do the same.
Wales’s parliament has seen significant changes, with the institution officially becoming known as the Welsh Parliament / Senedd Cymru. For the first time, 16 and 17 year olds voted in the 2021 Senedd Elections.
Committees have tackled large volumes of legislation relating to both the response to the pandemic and Brexit whilst complex stages of legislation has been navigated virtually for the first time.
Today’s publication also gives the Senedd Commission’s Accounts a clean bill of health, reflecting the organisation’s commitment to the prudent and transparent use of public resources.
Engaging with the people of Wales
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Senedd has continued to engage with the public and involve people in the work of the institution. Due to the Senedd building being closed, outreach work was adapted to engage with people remotely.
The second GWLAD festival, held online, covered a range of topics including the environment, youth homelessness, rural communities, business, and the arts. Half of those who attended events had never engaged with the Senedd before.
Record petition signatures
The fifth Senedd saw the total amount of public petition signatures hit the one million mark, with more people than ever making their voices heard. In 2020 the Senedd launched a new petitions website, with a record amount of petitions submitted for consideration and one petition, related to Covid rules, receiving 67,940 signatures.
Topics have included a ban on wild animals in travelling circuses, access to a new drug for people with cystic fibrosis and funding for specialist sports prosthetics for child amputees.
Llywydd of the Senedd, Elin Jones MS, said:
“I am pleased that people have engaged with their Senedd throughout the Covid crisis because our decisions are more effective when citizens are involved.
“The 2021 Senedd election was an historic one, with 16 and 17-year-olds casting their vote for the first time, and the enhancement of our petitions process shows that the people of Wales are engaging with devolution now more than ever before.
“Our 2020-21 Annual Report reflects what has been a turbulent time and I am proud of the way in which Commission Staff have continued to provide parliamentary support for Members in both hybrid and virtual proceedings.
“Using technology and innovation we have continued to pass important legislation and hold the Welsh Government to account.”
Manon Antoniazzi, Clerk and Chief Executive of the Senedd, added:
“The pandemic has brought with it unprecedented challenges for the Senedd as an institution.
The many achievements set out in the Annual Report and a clean bill of health for the Accounts are testament to the Commission’s sustainable use of resources throughout the public health crisis.
“As Covid restrictions ease further, we will continue to adapt our ways of working in a manner that ensures the Senedd remains a flexible, fair and inclusive place to work.”