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Introductions, apologies and declaration of interests
This page gives details of any meetings held which will, or did, discuss the matter, and includes links to the relevant Papers, Agendas and Minutes.
Note: Meeting Agenda can change at short notice. Particularly where future meeting dates are indicated more than a week in advance. Please check before planning to attend a Committee Meeting that the item you are interested in has not been moved.
Minutes of 27 April, actions and matters arising
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ARAC (03-20) Paper 1 - Minutes of 27 April 2020
ARAC (03-20) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the 27 April meeting were agreed.
2.2 The Chair provided an update on the action around the planning for an Executive Board meeting with Independent Advisers on the strategy for the sixth Senedd. Discussions had been held with Manon Antoniazzi, Dave Tosh and the Chair of the Commission’s Remuneration, Engagement and Workforce Advisory Committee (REWAC) and efforts were ongoing to find a suitable date for a meeting. Ann Beynon encouraged officials to consider external factors during that meeting and the Chair agreed that consideration should be given to engaging with relevant external people in due course.
2.3 The Chair recommended that action point 2.3 (review of cyber security) should be marked as complete as Gareth Watts had confirmed that ICT would soon refresh their cyber security strategy.
2.4 In relation to the action around the revised communication strategy for the name change project, and to supplement a paper circulated out of committee, Arwyn Jones provided an update to the Committee. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the next stage of the strategy was being planned for the autumn and would align with awareness-raising around votes at 16 and the 2021 Senedd elections. Results of polling with focus groups would be used to inform the strategy. Arwyn added that colleagues were liaising closely with the Welsh Government and the Electoral Commission to co-ordinate engagement activity. Committee members recommended that Commission officials continue to pursue formal meetings with both organisations as a matter of priority and the Chair asked for regular updates from officials. In the meantime, the restructuring of the communications team would go ahead and this would include the appointment of a social media communications lead and creation of a social media team from among the existing staff.
2.5 Ann Beynon provided feedback to the Committee on discussions at the recent meeting of the Commission’s Remuneration, Engagement and Workforce Advisory Committee (REWAC). The results of a recent PULSE survey, where staff were asked to comment on their physical and mental wellbeing during lockdown, were discussed and the Committee had noted the mitigation in place in terms of policies and that staff felt supported. The Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report was also considered, with detailed discussions around the Commission’s disability and BAME statistics.
2.6 Committee members congratulated the Senedd Commission on being awarded Platinum Investors in People (IIP) status.
• (2.5) Regular item to be included under matters arising for Ann to provide feedback on discussions at REWAC
Introductions, apologies and declaration of interests
1.1 The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and noted apologies had been received from Suzy Davies MS.
1.2 He also thanked and praised officials for the extraordinary effort in producing the papers contained in the pack as well as the papers circulated out of committee.
1.3 No interests were declared.
Minutes of 20 January, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (02-20) Paper 1 - Minutes of 20 January 2020
ACARAC (02-20) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the 20 January meeting were agreed.
2.2 Committee members agreed to have further discussions with officials to take forward actions around attending a future Executive Board meeting to discuss the strategy for the sixth Senedd, and a briefing session with Members’ Business Support on the monitoring of Assembly Members’ expenses.
2.3 Gareth responded to questions on timescales for implementation of the cyber security audit recommendations and for conducting the audit on compliance culture. Gareth explained that due to the disruption caused by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, and his involvement in the leadership of the Commission’s response, some audit work would be delayed.
2.4 The Chair invited Arwyn to update the Committee on the communications plan for the name change project. Arwyn explained that, as the name change date was set in legislation, there was no scope to change it. However, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the planned launch events had been replaced with a more low key approach, with the possibility of a harder launch later in the year. He also explained that discussions were ongoing around the opportunities presented by the lowering of the voting age to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote, registrations for which would be opening on 1 June 2020 (for the 2021 Senedd elections) to further launch or raise awareness of the name change.
2.5 Committee members acknowledged the change in approach and discussed the potential for raising awareness through social media channels, including those of Assembly Members, along with the use of focus groups. In response, Arwyn outlined plans to increase expertise within the Commission on the use of social media. It was noted that the messages should be kept as simple as possible to help the public understand the role of the Senedd as a legislature and holding the Welsh Government to account.
2.6 The Committee noted there had been early engagement with key stakeholders and that there would be a written statement from the Llywydd on 6 May.
2.7 The Chair thanked Arwyn for the update and asked him to keep the Committee informed of communication plans. It was agreed that the Committee would return to this at the June meeting.
· (2.2) The Chair and Dave to discuss with the Chair of the Remuneration, Engagement and Workforce Advisory Committee, the timing of a meeting of Executive Board with Independent Advisers to discuss the strategy for the sixth Senedd.
· (2.2) The Chair and Gareth to discuss the best approach to providing the briefing to ACARAC on the work of Members’ Business Support (MBS) and the monitoring of Assembly Members’ expenses
· (2.3) Gareth to discuss with Suzy timeframes for implementing recommendations from review of cyber-security
· (2.3) Gareth to advise on timing of the review of compliance culture
· (2.7) Arwyn to share details of revised communications strategy on name change with ACARAC members – and provide feedback to ACARAC at ... view the full minutes text for item 2
Minutes of 21 October, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (01-20) Paper 1 - Minutes of 21 October 2019
ACARAC (01-20) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the 21 October meeting were agreed.
Minutes of 15 July, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (05-19) Paper 1 - Minutes of 15 July 2019
ACARAC (05-19) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the 15 July meeting were agreed.
2.2 In relation to the one outstanding action around the Electoral Commission (para 2.1), Committee members had received an update prior to the meeting.
2.3 The Chair commented that the incremental pension provision (para 3.4) would continue to be an issue for the 2019-20 accounts.
2.4 In relation to the suggested joint session with REWAC (para 6.2), it was agreed that a further meeting between the two Committee Chairs, Manon and Dave was to be arranged.
Minutes of 17 June, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (04-19) Paper 1 - Minutes of 17 June 2019
ACARAC (04-19) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the 17 June meeting were agreed. All actions were completed apart from the action around the Electoral Commission which was ongoing.
2.2 The Chair responded to a question from Ann Beynon by advising that a general overview of considerations by the Remuneration, Engagement and Workforce Advisory Committee (REWAC) had been scheduled for the October meeting.
Minutes of 25 March, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (03-19) Paper 1 - Minutes of 25 March 2019
ACARAC (03-19) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the meeting of 25 March were agreed. Actions were either completed or ongoing.
2.2 Action 3.4 (procurement strategy): Dave Tosh and Jan Koziel, Head of Procurement had held several productive discussions with the South Wales Chamber of Commerce around potential barriers for companies to tender for contracts. Ann Beynon suggested these discussions should continue, involving Gareth Watts where necessary. The Chair welcomed the update and that discussions would continue with other organisations. The Committee agreed to return to this topic at a future meeting.
Minutes of 11 February, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (02-19) Paper 1 - Minutes of 11 February 2019
ACARAC (02-19) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the meeting of 11 February were agreed.
2.2 Action 2.2 (Welsh Consolidated Fund - WCF): Gareth had met the new Deputy Director responsible for WCF at Welsh Government on 21 March who agreed to exchange information in order to avoid a re-occurrence of the issues raised last year. The Chair welcomed this update and thanked Gareth for his efforts.
Minutes of 26 November, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (01-19) Paper 1 - Minutes of 26 November 2018
ACARAC (01-19) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 Subject to one minor point of clarification in relation to the Welsh Consolidated Fund, the minutes of the meeting of 26 November were agreed.
2.2 Action 2.2 (Welsh Consolidated Fund): Gareth had been in contact with his counterpart at the Welsh Government who was yet to confirm a date to meet. Gareth would provide an update ahead of the next meeting. The Chair encouraged Gareth to pursue this.
2.3 Action 5.1 (Events Review): Gareth noted that good progress was being made against the action plan for communication and benefits realisation and agreed to circulate further details to members for discussion at next meeting.
– (2.2) Gareth Watts to provide an update on discussions with the Welsh Government around the Welsh Consolidated Fund.
– (2.3) Gareth Watts to circulate further details of progress against the Events Review action plan.
Minutes of 9 July, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (05-18) Paper 1 - Minutes of 9 July 2018
ACARAC (05-18) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 With one minor change, the minutes of the meeting of 9 July were agreed.
2.2 Action 4.3 (Welsh Consolidated Fund- WCF): Gareth Watts confirmed that the WCF Payments and Receipts accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2018 had been certified by the Assistant Auditor General for Wales with an unqualified opinion. The WCF Annual Governance Statement referenced the matter which had previously been discussed by the Committee and stated that discussions between the Welsh Government, the Assembly Commission and the Auditor General for Wales would continue to establish whether any further action was required by the Welsh Government to ensure this issue was resolved. Gareth would be involved and would update the Committee. Gareth Lucey re-confirmed that, from the perspective of both the Assembly Commission and WCF audit teams, there was no irregularity regarding the Standards Commissioner’s salary payments.
2.3 Action 5.8: the Clerking team will consult with Committee members regarding the forward work programme.
2.4 Action 6.4 (finance system project update): now superseded, the project SRO will be invited to the February ACARAC meeting.
– Gareth Watts to provide a WCF update.
– Clerking team to share FWP with Committee members to ensure dates are suitable and to invite suggestions for future agenda items.
– Clerking team to invite Finance System project SRO to the February meeting for an update on phase 3.
Minutes of 18 June, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (04-18) Paper 1 - Minutes of 18 June 2018
ACARAC (04-18) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the meeting on 18 June were agreed.
2.2 The Chair thanked Dave Tosh for circulating a revised SIRO report which now included GDPR preparations and cyber-security statistics. No other actions were outstanding.
Minutes of 23 April, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (03-18) Paper 1 - Minutes of 23 April 2018
ACARAC (03-18) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the meeting on 23 April were agreed subject to one amendment which would be made before publication.
2.2 Gareth Watts confirmed that action 6.4 (consider referencing PAC and Finance Committee on the Commission’s Assurance Map) was part of a wider review of assurances and an update would be shared with the Committee in the autumn.
Minutes of 5 February, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (02-18) Paper 1 - Minutes of 5 February 2018
ACARAC (02-18) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the meeting on 5 February were agreed and the completed actions captured in paper 2 were noted.
Minutes of 27 November, actions and matters arising
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ACARAC (01-18) Paper 1 - Minutes of 27 November 2017
ACARAC (01-18) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the meeting on 27 November were agreed and the updates on actions captured in paper 2 were noted.
2.2 In relation to action point 2.3 (treatment of AGW Salary), Gareth Watts was awaiting details of what was required in terms of further assurance to the Permanent Secretary following meetings he and Nia Morgan had held with Welsh Government officials over the summer recess. The Committee were concerned that this could become an issue if it had not been finalised before the end of the financial year. Gareth would continue to chase the Welsh Government on this matter and update the Committee accordingly.
2.3 Regarding action point 6.1 (Cyber Security), it was agreed that officials from ICT would be invited to attend the meeting in April to update the Committee on cyber vulnerabilities and response plans.
- Head of ICT and/or Head of Infrastructure & Operations Management to attend the April meeting to update the Committee on Cyber Security.
Introductions, apologies and declarations of interest
1.1 Eric Gregory declared that he continued to be part of the implementation team for the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales.
1.2 No other interests were declared.
Minutes of 19 June, actions and matters arising
ACARAC (04-17) Paper 1 - Minutes of 19 June 2017
ACARAC (04-17) Paper 2 – Summary of actions
2.1 The minutes of the meeting on 19 June were agreed and the updates on actions captured in paper 2, were noted.
2.2 Regarding action point 5.3 (Consider methods of communicating IRB decisions more widely), at a recent Management Board away day, it was agreed that Nia Morgan would provide briefings to Suzy Davies during their catch-up meetings. The Management Board would also be provided with updates and the opportunity to contribute to the forward work programme.
2.3 Action point 5.3 (Share results of governance structures post IRB away day). Dave Tosh confirmed that the terms of reference for both the Management Board and the Investment and Resourcing Board would be reviewed to ensure that that they remained fit for purpose and that they accurately set out the distinct role each Board plays within the Commission governance arrangements. Dave also explained that as part of this exercise they were also reviewing the membership of each Board. He agreed to update the Committee with revised terms of reference for Management and Investment and Resourcing Boards.
2.4 Suzy Davies, Manon Antoniazzi and Nia Morgan covered action point 8.1 (Brief ACARAC following attendance at Finance Committee meeting). They had explained to the Finance Committee the process behind profiling the budget and the planning and scrutiny that takes place during the budget setting process. In a bid to increase transparency, the Finance Committee requested that the Commission estimate the underspend against the Determination during 2018-19 and produce a detailed list of potential areas of spend and prioritisation. The Finance Committee requested that this information be included in the budget document to be laid by 30 September 2017.
2.5 Suzy informed ACARAC that there was currently a prioritised list of investment projects for 2018-19, however it was hard to predict actual spend during 2018-19 due to the changing political landscape. An estimate of the likely surplus would also be included within the 2018-19 budget document, however Nia noted that there had been no clear pattern of utilisation of the Determination budget identified in prior years and it would be difficult to provide an accurate forecast.
2.6 Dave discussed the corporate risk reference ICT16 (Cyber Threats - Protection, Detection and Response) which had been revised to be more specific and meaningful. He informed the committee that following the recent breach at Westminster, an organisation wide message had been sent reminding all users to be vigilant and to report anything suspicious to the ICT service desk.
2.7 A further discussion took place on the continuing need for AMs and AMSS to be aware of their actions with regards to cyber security. Suzy agreed for Commissioners to be involved in encouraging their parties to be pro-active when training and drop-in sessions were organised.
2.8 Committee members were yet to share any GDPR contacts with the Information Governance Manager, but Dave was happy ... view the full minutes text for item 2
Introductions, apologies and declaration of interests
1.1 Eric Gregory declared that he was a business representative for the Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales.
1.2 No other interests were declared.