Housing associations in Wales: public or private bodies?

29 September 2016

Article by Jonathan Baxter, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

Image from Flikr by Part 3 Licensed under the Creative Commons

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) today (29 September 2016) announced that Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) in Wales are to be reclassified as public sector bodies in the national accounts.  This decision could negatively impact on the ability of RSLs (what most of us call housing associations) to access private finance, and consequently their ability to develop affordable housing.  Analogous decisions have also been announced by ONS today in respect of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Today’s announcement had been widely expected by the sector. It is not a political decision, but rather the ONS following international rules on public sector accounting.  In 2015, the ONS reclassified English Private Registered Providers (PRPs) of social housing, also colloquially called housing associations, as public sector bodies.  That decision highlighted the amount of government control over associations as the reason for reclassifying them.  The UK Government subsequently brought forward a number of measures in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to deregulate the sector in England, so the ONS will be able to return English PRPs to the private sector at some point in the near future.  It now seems that the Welsh Government may have to do the same and bring forward its own legislation to reduce the government controls identified by the ONS.

The practical impact of the reclassification is to put housing association debt on the public balance sheet for national accounting purposes, greatly increasing public sector borrowing much to the chagrin of HM Treasury. In Wales, this could add over £2 billion of debt to the public sector balance sheet.  In England, the decision increased public sector net debt by almost £60 billion.

The ONS made its decision to classify PRPs as public sector bodies in England primarily on the basis of legislative and regulatory changes brought about through the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008. The ONS found that the amount of control exercised by the UK Government over housing associations, primarily through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), meant they should be classed as part of the public sector.  Although the regulation of Welsh Housing Associations is primarily governed by the Housing Act 1996, many of the same controls are exercised by the Welsh Government (in its role as the regulator of housing associations) as by the HCA.  That is reflected in today’s statement by ONS, which says they:

…concluded that RSLs are subject to public sector control due to, amongst other things: Welsh Ministers’ powers over the management of an RSL, Welsh Ministers’ consent powers over the disposal of land and the disposal of housing assets, and Welsh Ministers’ powers over constitutional changes of an RSL.

While the Welsh Government is expected to be given some time to resolve this issue before the Treasury seeks to impose controls on borrowing, a decision on the way forward is likely to be made soon to avoid uncertainty, particularly amongst lenders. Community Housing Cymru, which is the representative body for housing associations in Wales, has issued a statement and will issue legal advice to its Members shortly.

Moves towards what could be perceived as deregulation of the sector may be resisted by some stakeholders, but there may be little alternative. If Welsh housing associations remain part of the public sector (for accounting purposes at least) they could be subject to Treasury caps on borrowing and the target of delivering 20,000 affordable homes by the end of the Fifth Assembly could be far more challenging.

Boundary Reform in Wales

28 September 2016

Article by Joseph Champion, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

Image of two maps of Wales. One showing the current constituency boundaries and the other showing the proposed boundaries.

The Boundary Commission for Wales is currently reviewing the Parliamentary constituencies in Wales, with a view to reducing the overall size of the House of Commons. This follows the UK Parliament’s Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 (the 2011 Act). The current process is known as the ‘2018 Review’. The final recommendations that stem from the 2018 Review will be reported to the UK Government and its implementation will be subject to Parliamentary approval.

These changes will not affect National Assembly of Wales electoral arrangements, due to Section 13 of the 2011 Act. This amendment, to the Government of Wales Act 2006, de-coupled UK Parliament and the Assembly’s electoral constituencies.

This was important as at the time of the 2013 Review, there was a discussion around if and how the Assembly would replicate the 30 constituency seat model, and how it would it affect the political makeup of the Assembly.

Part 2 of the 2011 Act sets out the rules that the Boundary Commissions across the UK have to follow when drawing up the new constituencies. While there are a number of rules and considerations, such as traditional geographical and social boundaries, the most significant is to be the number of registered electors in each constituency.

The 2011 Act also placed a duty on each Boundary Commission to review constituency boundaries and report their findings ‘before 1st October of every fifth year after that [the date of the first review, 2013]’.

Policy Background

The 2011 Act was a product of the coalition agreement between the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats. This blog is only concerned with the aspects of the Act that deal with the reform of UK Parliamentary constituencies.

The 2011 Act mandated that the House of Commons be reduced to 600 members in time for the 2015 Election. In order to achieve this, it directed the Boundary Commission for each UK nation to produce a review of its constituency boundaries by October 2013. In Wales, the final findings of the 2013 review were published in October 2012 and allocated 30 seats to Wales.

However following a political disagreement between the then coalition partners, implementation of the new boundaries was delayed. The disagreement centred on reform to the House of Lords, which the Liberal Democrats were pressing for and which over a 100 Conservatives did not support.

In response the Liberal Democrats did not support the move to reduce the number of House of Commons members. Consequently, implementation of the new rules was delayed, through the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013, until after the 2018 Review.

The 2018 Review and the method used for designing new constituencies

The Boundary Commission for Wales (The Commission), as far as possible, sought to create constituencies in Wales:

  • From electoral wards that are adjacent to each other; and
  • That do not contain ‘detached parts’, i.e. where the only physical connection between one part of the constituency and the remainder would require passage through a different constituency.

As already mentioned, the Commission was required to follow the rules set out in the 2011 Act. This meant having to ensure that every constituency has an electorate (as at the review date) that is no less than 95 per cent and no more than 105 per cent of the ‘UK electoral quota’ (UKEQ).

The UKEQ is calculated by dividing the number of electors registered to vote at the review date by 596. The review date is defined in the 2011 Act as ‘two years and ten months’ before the Commission’s final review is due. This meant the 2018 review used data from 1 December 2015. 44,562,440 electors were registered across the UK on this date.

Consequently, the UKEQ for the 2018 Review was 74,769. This meant that there must be no less than 71,031 and no more than 78,507 electors per constituency in Wales. As a result, large changes were predicted for Wales as the median parliamentary electorate across constituencies in Wales was about 54,300 in 2015.

The House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee’s report What next on the redrawing of parliamentary constituency boundaries? highlighted that, based on 2010 electoral data, even if the number of electors was allowed to vary by 10% from the UKEQ, only 4 constituencies in Wales would remain unaffected.

There are four exceptions to the UKEQ in the 2011 Act, which are known as ‘protected constituencies’. In Scotland there is the Orkney and Shetland and the Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituencies. There are also two proposed ‘protected constituencies’ on the Isle of Wight.

The Boundary Commission for Wales has published its Initial Proposals for the 2018 Review. The proposals reduce the number of constituencies in Wales from 40 to 29. The Commission’s Initial Proposals Report contains a detailed view of each constituency and the electoral wards that they contain.

The new boundaries are intended to be in place for the next UK General Election, which is currently planned for May 2020. Any by-elections that take place prior to this date will be based on the current boundaries.

The future for electoral boundaries in Wales

If the Wales Bill 2016-17 goes through in its current form, then the Welsh Ministers will gain control over “the specification or number of constituencies, regions or any equivalent electoral area”, in relation to elections to the National Assembly for Wales.

This means they will be able to increase the number of seats available and seek, through the Boundary Commission for Wales, to make adjustments to the Assembly’s constituency boundaries.

In terms of Parliamentary constituencies, the Commission, having taken account of the responses of the public consultation, will have to draft and submit a formal written report to the UK Government before October 2018. The subsequent Parliamentary process needed to change the Parliamentary Boundaries is detailed in a House of Commons Briefing Paper ‘2018 Review of Parliamentary constituencies: Wales’.

In summary, once the UK Government receives the reports from the Boundary Commissions, it must lay them before Parliament in the form of a Draft Order, or Orders, of Council. The recommendations contained in the Draft Order[s] must be approved by both Houses of Parliament. If Parliament does not approve the Draft Order[s] the Government may then amend the proposals and lay a new Order[s]. Parliamentary approval will then have to be re-sought.

Public consultation on the Initial Proposals

Throughout October and November 2016, the Boundary Commission for Wales will be holding public hearings across Wales on their initial proposals. These hearings are

…intended to provide an opportunity for people to make representations about any of the Commission’s initial proposals, including the naming of constituencies and to present any counter-proposals.

To find out more about these public hearings, and about the wider consultation on the Initial Proposals, see the Boundary Commission for Wales’ website. The consultation will close on 5 December 2016.

How effective are Welsh in Education Strategic Plans?

27 September 2016

Article by Sian Thomas, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg / View this post in Welsh

This article was originally posted on 17 February 2016 but has been updated following the publication of Estyn’s report on local authority Welsh in Education Strategic Plans.

This is a picture of some schoolchildren.

Courtesy of westerntelegraph.co.uk

In February 2016, Assembly Members debated how effective Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPs) have been in supporting the Welsh Government’s local and national ambitions for Welsh-medium education. The debate in Plenary followed the publication of a report by the Fourth Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee (PDF 1.53MB) in December 2015 and the Welsh Government’s response (PDF 293KB), published 17 February 2016.

What are Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPS)?

The Welsh Government requires each local authority to produce a Welsh in Education Strategic Plan. WESPs are 3 year plans and are reviewed on an annual basis. WESPs are relatively new, becoming operational from April 2012, and subsequently put on a legal footing in the School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013. A WESP is required to set out:

  • The local authority’s proposals on how it will improve the planning of the provision of Welsh-medium education in its area; the standards of Welsh medium education and the teaching of Welsh in its area;
  • The local authority’s targets for improving the planning of the provision of Welsh-medium education in its area and for improving the standards of that education and of the teaching of Welsh in its area;
  • Progress made to meet the targets contained in the previous plan or previous revised plan.

Integral to these plans is the local authority’s assessment of the demand for Welsh-medium education in its area, and what steps it will take to meet it.

The Assembly’s scrutiny role is to examine the performance of the Welsh Government, rather than local authorities. The Children, Young People and Education Committee therefore looked specifically at the Welsh Government’s decision to require local authorities to produce and publish WESPs and whether this approach means that national ambitions and targets for Welsh-medium education are more likely to be delivered.

What are the Welsh Government’s targets for Welsh-medium education?

In April 2010, the Welsh Government published its Welsh-medium Education Strategy (WMES). This aims to:

  • improve the planning of Welsh medium education at all ages
  • plan for an appropriate workforce
  • improve the central support mechanisms for Welsh-medium education and training
  • contribute to the acquisition and reinforcement of Welsh-language skills in families and in the community.

The WMES strategy includes a number of national targets, used to monitor progress. In turn, local authorities set local targets in their WESPs and submit annual updates to the Welsh Government. Huw Lewis, Minister for Education and Skills outlined the link between WESPS and the Welsh-medium Education Strategy, telling the CYPE Committee:

“The Strategy includes fixed five-year and indicative ten-year targets based on outcomes. Tangible progress against these targets would then be measured within a more effective, accountable and coherent planning system. Central to this planning system is the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan.”

The Welsh Government’s 2011 WESP guidelines set out a requirement that local authorities report on the following WMES targets:

  • More seven-year-old children being taught through the medium of Welsh as a percentage of the Year 2 cohort
  • More learners continuing to improve their language skills on transfer from primary school to secondary school
  • More learners studying for qualifications through the medium of Welsh
  • More learners aged 16-19 studying Welsh and subjects through the medium of Welsh
  • More learners with improved skills in Welsh.

The guidelines also required local authorities to report progress on: standards of attainment in Welsh and Welsh Second Language; Welsh-medium provision for learners with additional learning needs; workforce planning and continuing professional development.

The Welsh in Education Strategic Plans and assessing Demand for Welsh Medium Education (Wales) Regulations 2013 also sets out a list of matters which must be dealt with within a WESP.

What exactly did the Children, Young People and Education Committee look into?

The Committee considered:

  • Whether WESPs are contributing to the outcomes and targets set out in the Welsh Government’s overarching Welsh Medium Education Strategy;
  • Whether WESPs are (or have the potential) to deliver the required change at a local authority level (for example delivering provision to meet any increased demand for Welsh medium education);
  • Arrangements for target setting; monitoring; reviewing; reporting; approving; and ensuring compliance with delivering the requirements for WESPs (and the role of the local authority and the Welsh Government in this regard);
  • Whether WESPs evidence effective interaction between the Welsh Government’s Welsh-medium education strategy and other relevant policies and legislation (for example school transport policy; 21st Century Schools programme; A living language: a language for living – Moving forward policy statement; Flying Start; planning policy);
  • Whether the outcomes of WESPs deliver equal outcomes for all pupils (for example primary/secondary pupils; children from low income households).

What did the Children, Young People and Education Committee find?

Published in December 2015, the Committee’s report stated:

“Welsh in Education Strategic Plans (WESPs) have the potential to deliver a significant increase in the numbers of children and young people being taught and studying for qualifications through the medium of Welsh. When WESPs were introduced, stakeholders saw this potential and welcomed them. However, many of those stakeholders are disappointed by the lack of impact WESPs have had in practice. For them, the story of WESPs so far is one of a missed opportunity. More worryingly, there are growing concerns they are not fit for purpose.”

The then Minister recognised that not all the Welsh Government’s national targets would be delivered, telling the Committee:

“We have already acknowledged in the last two Annual Reports on the Welsh-medium Education Strategy that we would be unlikely to meet all the 2015 targets. Against that background, it seems unlikely that those targets which will not be met in 2015 will also be met in 2020 without improved planning and action at local authority level.”

An example of one of these targets is set out in the following infographic from the Committee’s report which sets out the targets for seven year olds being taught through the medium of Welsh alongside data on the percentage change by local authority between 2010-2014.

This is an infographic showing data regarding the target for educating seven year olds through the medium of Welsh.

Source: Welsh-medium Education Strategy Annual report 2014–15, Welsh Government

The Committee made 17 recommendations, including recommending that the ‘Welsh Government must ensure that WMES targets are reflected in WESPs and be more robust in its approval of WESPs to ensure they reflect the Welsh Government’s ambitions.’

The report also noted the ‘dual role local authorities have in both assessing [and meeting] the demand for Welsh-medium provision whilst also promoting its growth’ and that evidence suggested ‘there was a strong view that local authorities have struggled to fully grasp this dual role.’ The Committee went on to recommend that ‘the Welsh Government should be clearer with local authorities about its expectations in relation to the promotion of growth of Welsh-medium education so that all local authorities buy into the Welsh Government’s ambitions.’

What was the previous Welsh Government’s response to the Committee’s 17 recommendations?

In its response (PDF 293KB), the Welsh Government said:

“Local authorities have had 3 years in which to develop and refine their WESPs but the extent to which Ministerial approval has required modifications suggests that there is still some way to go before they are sufficiently embedded in local authority processes to contribute more effectively to the targets and outcomes of the Welsh-medium Education Strategy.”

“The Government views the introduction of WESPs as an important component in creating the system necessary to improve both the planning for, and standards of Welsh-medium education. Whilst this mechanism has been accepted by local authorities, it is too early to judge the impact of the Plans, especially as the initial approval of WESPs and, subsequently, the revised Plans has involved considerable modifications.”

It accepted 6 recommendations, accepted a further 6 ‘in principle’ and rejected 5.

You can watch the debate on Senedd TV.

Welsh Farming Facts and Figures

26 September 2016

Article by Edward Armstrong, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg / View this post in Welsh

Farming in Wales shares some similar characteristics to other parts of the UK but it also has some unique features which shape both the size and character of the industry. These features have shaped and influenced agricultural policy in Wales and are likely to be important as the sector and government considers future policies and strategies for the industry following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

We have published a research note on the farming industry in Wales which provides a detailed comparison of the industry to other countries in the UK. This blog highlights some of the key similarities and differences identified in the Research Note.

What is the impact of agriculture on employment and gross value added in Wales?

There were approximately 647,700 people working in the UK agricultural sector in 2015, 9% of which (58,300) are in Wales. Agriculture’s shares of total regional employment in Wales was 4.07%, greater than the national average of 1.42% indicating that agriculture makes a more significant contribution to Welsh employment than in other parts of the UK.

Gross Value Added (GVA) at basic prices measures the contribution to the economy of an industry or sector. Agriculture’s share of GVA in the UK was 0.61% in 2014 and 0.71% in Wales, demonstrating that the economic contribution of agriculture in Wales is also greater than the national average.

What is the average farm income in Wales?

The average farm business income (FBI) represents the return to all unpaid labour (farmers, spouses and partners) and to all their capital invested in the farm business including land and farm buildings. In Wales, the average FBI in 2014-15 was £29,000, less than in England (£40,000) and the UK (£35,000) as a whole.

According to Forecasts of Farm Incomes 2015-16, the average FBI in Wales decreased to £24,500 compared to 2014-15 which reflects the decrease in prices paid to famers for their produce. This was specifically the case in the dairy sector which saw a 40-45% decrease in Wales and England and an almost 80% decrease in Northern Ireland. For more information on the fall in farm incomes see our previous blog post.

How is agricultural land used in Wales?

Wales comprises 10% (1.753m hectares) of utilised agricultural area of the UK and 9% (2.1m hectares) of the land mass. Approximately 84% of the land area is used for agriculture, greater than the other devolved countries. Land use is dominated by permanent pasture grassland, which accounts for more than 75% of the utilised area followed by 14% for croppable and 10% for common rough grazing.

Approximately 80% of the land area is designated as a less favourable area (LFA), i.e. where production conditions are difficult such as areas where land, climatic and cultivation conditions are poor.

What is the breakdown of farm holdings?

According to Agriculture in the UK 2015, there were approximately 214,500 farm holdings in the UK in 2015, 16.2% (34,800) of which were in Wales. The average size of holdings in Wales was 48 hectares, smaller than both England (88 ha) and Scotland (107 ha).

Figure 1 shows a detailed breakdown of farm holdings by type in Wales. Cattle and sheep grazing on LFA land accounts for approximately 29% (10,805) of holdings in Wales reflecting the dominance of grassland pasture on LFA land. In contrast, cereals, general cropping and horticulture account for only a combined 2.7% (972) of holdings reflecting the relatively limited amount of croppable area.

Farm holdings by type in Wales

Source: Welsh June Agricultural Survey. Farming, Facts and Figure Wales, 2016.

The Conclusion

Agriculture in Wales is heavily focused on the grazing of livestock, specifically sheep, on LFA land in comparatively small farm holdings that make relatively modest incomes.

The pattern of farming in Wales is dictated by a number of factors, the most important of which include;

  • Wales is more mountainous and has a wetter climate than much of the UK so a large proportion of the country is classified as LFA. The land is therefore more suited to pasture and livestock farming and not arable cropping.
  • The widespread highlands are more favourable towards sheep, specifically hardy Welsh Mountain sheep.

The dairy industry and arable farming are restricted to the more geographically and climatically productive areas. These are predominantly in lowland areas in the southwest, southeast, northeast, coastal regions and river valleys.

Draft BBC Charter: What does this mean for Wales?

23 September 2016

Article by Robin Wilkinson, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg / View this post in Welsh

This article is intended to inform and complement the Plenary debate scheduled for Tuesday 27 September 2016.

Last week the UK Government Department for Culture, Media and Sport published the Draft BBC Charter. The BBC Charter is the constitutional basis of the BBC: it sets out in broad terms how the BBC should be organised and what it should do. These requirements are fleshed out in an Agreement between the BBC and the UK Government, a draft of which was published alongside the Draft Charter. The Draft Charter is set to run from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2027.

Previous Assembly business: Does the BBC do enough for Wales?

Towards the end of the last Assembly, the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee (CELG) conducted an inquiry into how the BBC Charter should reflect Welsh interests. Key concerns raised by the Committee included:

  • Between 2006-7 and 2014-15 BBC Cymru Wales spend on English language TV output for Welsh audiences reduced from £24.6 million to £20.8 million: a reduction of about 30% in real terms.
  • Since about 2006 BBC network spend has increased in Wales, to the extent that in 2014-15 Wales secured 7.8% – or £59.1 million – of UK BBC network television spend, greater than its 4.9% population share. The Committee shared stakeholders concerns that, welcome though this spend in Wales was, the network programmes made with it did little to address specifically Welsh issues.

This is an infographic showing BBC Wales expenditure

The Committee made a number of suggestions as to how the BBC’s activities as they relate to Wales could be improved. These included:

  • The Committee endorsed calls from the Welsh Government and the Institute of Welsh Affairs for the BBC to invest an extra £30 million into the services it provides for Wales.
  • The BBC should decentralise its commissioning arrangements so that more big decisions are made in Wales.
  • The BBC should set itself targets for Welsh portrayal in its network productions, and report on these annually.

The Committee’s concerns were clear: the BBC does not spend enough money on Welsh productions, or make enough distinctly Welsh programming. Many of the Committee’s views have subsequently also been expressed in the following reports:

To what extent are these concerns addressed by the Draft Charter and accompanying Draft Agreement?

The Draft Charter: does it address the Committee’s concerns?

Key points for Wales in the Draft Charter and Agreement include:

  • A strengthened public purpose which states that the BBC must “reflect, represent and serve the diverse communities of all of the UK’s nations and regions and, in doing so, support the creative economy across the UK”.
  • Accountability arrangements between the BBC, the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales were established in a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this year. These have been re-affirmed in the Draft Charter, which states that the BBC must comply with requests to provide evidence or submit reports to Assembly committees in the same manner as they do committees of the Houses of Parliament. The Welsh Government must be consulted when the Charter is reviewed or renewed.
  • The BBC’s annual plan, report and accounts must include details of provision for the UK’s nations and regions.
  • The new BBC Board – which will govern the BBC – will have a non-executive director from Wales, whose appointment will be agreed between the UK and Welsh Governments.
  • Ofcom has a new role in regulating the BBC, including ensuring that audiences in the individual nations are “well served”. Ofcom must “secure the provision of more distinctive output and services” on the BBC: which could be interpreted to mean more regionally and nationally distinct programme-making.
  • As well as policing content, Ofcom will be responsible for ensuring that a “suitable proportion” of network programmes are made outside of London, including in each of the UK’s nations. Back in 2006 the BBC set itself the target of investing 17% of its overall network spend in the devolved nations, broadly in line with their combined population size: something it has exceeded in Wales. The UK Government intends for this minimum requirement not to be reduced.

These provisions suggest that the next Charter period could see more regionally and nationally distinct programming on the BBC, including that for Welsh audiences: depending on the extent to which these provisions are accompanied by money and action.

However, BBC Wales recently announced that the organisation would need to save £9 million a year by 2022 to cope with the “cash flat” licence fee agreement. Rhodri Talfan Davies, BBC Wales Director, told staff that he hoped to limit savings in content areas to around £3 million over 5 years, whilst directing any new investment at English language television services.

Mr Talfan Davies has previously indicated that the BBC management is receptive to requests from the Welsh Government and elsewhere for extra funding for BBC Wales, though how this receptiveness converts to extra money remains to be seen.

What about S4C?

Since 2013, the majority of S4C’s funding has come from the BBC licence fee. Prior to this, its funding came from the UK Government’s DCMS, which continues to provide a small grant.

In 2011-12, S4C received £101 million from DCMS. In 2014-15, its budget reduced to around £82 million. The CELG Committee stated that the 36 per cent real terms funding reductions imposed on S4C since 2010 have been ‘both severe and disproportionate’. The BBC Draft Agreement states that S4C will receive £74.5 million from the licence fee annually until 2020-21.

The UK Government is planning a review of S4C in 2017, to consider its funding arrangements, remit and accountability.

The Welsh Government’s view

When giving evidence last week to the Assembly’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, Minister for Lifelong Learning and the Welsh Language Alun Davies AM (who has responsibility for the Welsh Government’s broadcasting policy) noted the broad agreement between the Welsh Government and the CELG Committee’s work on the BBC Charter. He described the agreement between the BBC and S4C as “mature”, whilst stating that more funding for both the BBC and S4C would be welcome. He noted that he will be meeting the Secretary of State next week to discuss the draft Charter.

Presumably more details of the Welsh Government’s views will become clear on Tuesday 27 September, when the Assembly debates the Draft Charter in Plenary.