6. The Government of Wales Act 2006 (Devolved Welsh Authorities) (Amendment) Order 2024

– in the Senedd at 4:41 pm on 18 June 2024.

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Photo of David Rees David Rees Labour 4:41, 18 June 2024

(Translated)

Item 6 is the Government of Wales Act 2006 (Devolved Welsh Authorities) (Amendment) Order 2024. I call on the Cabinet Secretary for Education to move the motion. Lynne Neagle.

(Translated)

Motion NDM8608 Lynne Neagle

To propose that the Senedd, in accordance with Standing Order 27.5 approves the draft version of The Government of Wales Act 2006 (Devolved Welsh Authorities) (Amendment) Order 2024.

The draft Order and Explanatory Memorandum were laid in the Table Office on 21 May 2024.

(Translated)

Motion moved.

Photo of Lynne Neagle Lynne Neagle Labour 4:41, 18 June 2024

Diolch, Dirprwy Lywydd. I move the motion. The Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Act 2022 provides for the establishment of the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research—the commission—and the dissolution of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales or HEFCW. The commission will be the regulatory body responsible for the funding, oversight and regulation of tertiary education and research in Wales. Tertiary education encompasses higher education, further education and training, apprenticeships, sixth forms and adult community learning.

The Government of Wales Act 2006 (Devolved Welsh Authorities) (Amendment) Order 2024 makes provision in respect of the status of the commission and HEFCW as devolved Welsh authorities. Section 157A of the Government of Wales Act 2006 defines a devolved Welsh authority as a public authority whose functions

'are exercisable only in relation to Wales' and whose functions wholly or mainly

'do not relate to reserved matters.'

Any public authority that does not meet the conditions of a devolved Welsh authority is a reserved authority. 

Public authorities are also devolved Welsh authorities by virtue of being listed in Schedule 9A to the Act. Including public authorities within the list at Schedule 9A, rather than relying on the definition, provides a confirmatory role and increases transparency in relation to the identification of devolved Welsh authorities. The Order before you today will amend Schedule 9A of the Government of Wales Act to reflect the dissolution of HEFCW and the establishment of the commission by adding the commission to the list of devolved Welsh authorities and removing HEFCW.

I would like to thank the LJC committee for their consideration of the draft Order. Members will have seen my response to their report. In relation to the technical point on the inclusion of the Senedd in the headnote of the draft, officials have raised this with officials at the Wales Office, and requested that this follows recent Orders in Council and the guidance within statutory instrument practice.

The committee also requested an update on the implications of the dissolution of the UK Parliament. I provided Members with an update on 11 June 2024 in relation to this. As Members will be aware, this Order has been laid in both the Senedd and in Parliament, but cannot be made until it has been approved by both Houses of Parliament and the Senedd. It will be a matter for an incoming UK Government to table a new motion seeking the approval of this Order. I will keep Members updated on this following the general election

Photo of David Rees David Rees Labour 4:44, 18 June 2024

(Translated)

And I call on the Chair of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee, Mike Hedges.

Photo of Mike Hedges Mike Hedges Labour

Thank you, Deputy Presiding Officer. The LJC committee considered these draft regulations on 10 June, and our report and the Welsh Government's response are available on today's agenda. Our report contains two technical and one merits reporting points. Before I briefly summarise our technical reporting, I will just highlight the written statement the Cabinet Secretary issued last week, which relates to the single merits point in our report. 

As the Cabinet Secretary has just outlined, this draft Order cannot be made until it has been approved by both Houses of Parliament and the Senedd. Given the dissolution of the UK Parliament ahead of the next UK election, in the statement the Cabinet Secretary indicated that it will now be a matter for the incoming UK Government to table a new motion seeking the approval of both Houses of Parliament, and the Senedd's consideration will go ahead in the meantime.

Our merits point had identified this issue and we asked the Welsh Government to provide an update on the future of the draft Order. In formally responding to this point in our report, the Welsh Government drew our attention to the written statement and confirmed that Members would be kept informed of progress on the Order once the new UK Government is formed and UK parliamentary business is resumed. 

Turning to our first technical reporting point, the Order is in English only. In our report, we highlight the reasoning provided in the explanatory memorandum, which states that, as the Order in Council is UK Government legislation, the draft Order is laid before the Senedd in English only.

Our second technical reporting point notes that the italic headnote at the top of the draft Order states only that the draft is laid before the Parliament for approval by resolution of each House. The Welsh Government told us that, while the draft was prepared to be consistent with the headnote on Orders in Council previously made under section 109 of the Government of Wales Act 2006, the Welsh Government does consider that reference to the Senedd should have been included in the headnote as a matter of good practice and has asked the Wales Office to ensure that the headnotes of future draft Orders include a reference to the Senedd's role in the process. Diolch.

Photo of David Rees David Rees Labour 4:46, 18 June 2024

(Translated)

I call on the Cabinet Secretary to reply.

Photo of Lynne Neagle Lynne Neagle Labour

Thank you, Dirprwy Lywydd. Can I just thank the Chair of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee for his contribution to the debate? And I ask Members to approve the Order. 

Photo of David Rees David Rees Labour

(Translated)

The proposal is to agree the motion. Does any Member object? No. The motion is therefore agreed in accordance with Standing Order 12.36.

(Translated)

Motion agreed in accordance with Standing Order 12.36.