Dear Huw,

A Stronger Voice for Wales: engaging with Wales and the devolved institutions

Thank you for your letter dated 17 January 2017. Members of the Children, Young People and Education Committee were keen to respond to your call for information on inter-institutional working. My comments for the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee (CLA) are directly in relation to Strand II: Inter-institutional relations on policy matters.

The Committee is keen to pursue good working relationships with counterpart committees of the UK Parliament and devolved administrations on issues of common interest and concern. In particular, we believe it is very important to link up work on child health, poverty and abuse to other parts of the UK by examining their own interventions. There is a great deal of scope for the Committee to build relationships with counterpart committees in Holyrood, Stormont and Westminster. I have discussed this with Committee staff and I am keen for them to examine potential joint lines of inquiry with other administrations.

To give you a sense of background, the Fourth Assembly’s Children and Young People Committee undertook active work outside of Wales. Notably in advance of the introduction of the Qualifications Wales Bill, the Committee met with Quality and Qualifications Ireland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority. This played a key role in shaping the Committee’s approach to scrutiny and ultimately the shape the new qualifications body took.

It is also of note, the Committee visited the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) at their headquarters in Paris. The Committee met those responsible for the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and the OECD’s review of Wales’ education system. These visits played a critical role in shaping our approach to scrutiny and in turn influencing the Welsh Government’s policies.

Going back to the second and third Assembly, the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee undertook some policy fact-finding work to the devolved administrations. These were seen as critical to informing inquiry work and future planning.

Many of the policy issues the Committee will consider will have strong similarities with other parts of the UK, Europe and beyond. As such, I firmly believe that our Committee’s work would benefit from developing better inter-institutional relationships. We would welcome any advice or support from your Committee to help us achieve this.

Yours Sincerely,

Lynne Neagle AC / AM Cadeirydd / Chair