Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM has accused the Welsh Government of breaking its promise and ignoring its own policy when it comes to responding to reports published by Assembly committees.
Last year, concerns were raised between Assembly Members on the Public Accounts Committee and the Permanent Secretary regarding the Welsh Government’s partial acceptance or acceptance in principle of the Committee’s recommendations.
In correspondence received from the permanent secretary in January, it was stated that the Welsh Government would no longer accept any recommendations in principle. Instead, new guidelines would come into effect by “January 2018 at the latest” which would require the Welsh Government to use the terms “accept” or “reject” in any response given to recommendations and to cease any use of “partly” or “in principle” when accepting recommendations.
However, the Welsh Government’s response to the Children, Young People and Education committee report, Mind Over Matter, dated 25 June 2018, uses fifteen different uses of “accept in principle”.
Llyr Gruffydd AM has now written to the permanent secretary asking for immediate clarity. He said:
“The continuation of this practice raises serious questions about whether the promises to AMs were actioned or whether departments within the Welsh Government are choosing to ignore guidance and templates available to officials in defiance of the policy.
“Has the policy changed at all? Or are the Welsh Government ignoring their own policy? We need clarity or this government will stand accused of breaking promises to elected members.
“The Government’s response to the Mind Over Matter report was roundly criticised by AMs and wider stakeholders. This has forced the Government to look again at its response to the recommendations.
“In light of the permanent’s secretary’s previous commitments I seek confirmation that the approach due to be in place by January 2018 will now be implemented with immediate effect and that the practice of ‘part’ or ‘in principle’ acceptance of committee recommendations will no longer be used.”