Thursday, October 04, 2012

Fiona N's Briefing Paper on the Welsh situation.  Yep, it really is as bad as one suspected.


liveotherwise said...

It looks like Badman all over again! It's licensing, not registration, what on earth has brought this on?

Fiona Nicholson said...

It's different from Badman in a number of ways (eg no requirement to interview child on his/her own) but it does envisage a controlling role for local authorities in the same way as Badman did.

With the odd exception, I haven't heard Welsh local authorities asking for "more powers" in the same way as many English LAs did, though.

So I think it's come from the Welsh Assembly Government - knowing virtually nothing - attempting to tidy up and simplify this area of the law.

This is of course an impossible task as anyone with any sense would have told WAG, so I have to think they didn't actually ask before they surprised everyone with this.

WAG has announced a shedload of prospective legislation recently, particularly in education. It seems keen to stir things up since devolution last year.

The Welsh law-making process is different from England, notably in making more use of draft Bills and pre-legislative scrutiny, while having no second chamber (it gets through the equivalent of the Commons and that's it.)

Another thing that's different from England is the Assembly Member system.

This system has some advantages over the Westminster parliament, in that it enables access to a wider range of members; instead of dealing with only one constituency member (who may or may not be supportive), five AMs are available, often representing a wider range of political opinions.

The current Assembly, elected in 2011, is finely balanced, comprising 30 Labour, 14 Conservative, 11 Plaid Cymru and five Liberal Democrat AMs.

Labour often relies on Plaid Cymru or the Liberal Democrats for support, and the home education proposals might become a bargaining chip if the government needs support to pass the rest of the Education Bill, hence the role of the opposition members is critical.