Renewing our Democracy: Update on the Assembly Reform programme
As you are aware, the first phase of the Assembly reform programme is now well underway. The Senedd and Elections Bill is currently being discussed by the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee and the Finance Committee in the usual way. If passed by the Assembly, the Bill will lower the voting age to 16 and change the Assembly’s name to Senedd.
The next stage in the Bill’s journey through the Assembly is a Stage 1 Plenary debate on 10 July. During the debate, Assembly Members will discuss and vote on whether the Bill should proceed to the next stage of the legislative process. You can follow the progress of the Bill here.
The proposed second phase of the reform programme is to make the Assembly a more effective, accessible and diverse legislature by increasing the number of Assembly Members and reforming the electoral system. These were recommendations of the Expert Panel chaired by Professor Laura McAllister.
As the challenges facing the Assembly’s capacity intensify, the Commission is confident that the case in favour of increasing the number of Members has been made. Nevertheless, the issue of reforming the electoral system continues to spark a wide range of views.
The Assembly Commission has decided it is not possible to legislate on Phase 2 of electoral reform during this Assembly (i.e. before 2021). However, work to explore issues relating to the size of the Assembly and how Members should be elected will continue, assisting the public debate and political parties as they consider their views on these matters.
For further information on the Assembly reform work please visit: www.assembly.wales/assemblyreform